New iMac innards a step in the right direction

By Mike on 11:19 am

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Apple's new iMac is thinner and lighter than any desktop before. It really solidifies the idea that these are just laptops stuck to the back of a screen. Japanese tech site Kodawarisan submitted the late-2012 iMac to its first teardown. Inside we find some decidedly non-laptop design features.

The logic board is laptop-like in most ways. Very sparse compared to your typical desktop PC motherboard. Heatpipes with blower cooler keep the CPU and GPU sufficiently chilly. There's four USB ports, two thunderbolts, and an ethernet port. Looks like it takes up to three sticks of DDR3-RAM, presumably in a triple channel configuration. I'm told the 27'' model has a hatch to easily upgrade the memory, but the 21'' model doesn't.

The nVidia GPU stripped naked. The late-2012 iMac comes with one of four: GT 640M, GT 650M, GT 660M, or GT 675M. The first three come with 512mb of GDDR5 while the latter ships with a fill gigabyte of graphics memory. Even the lowly GT 640M should be enough to handle most current games at playable frame rates.

Is that what I think it is? It sure looks like a fully upgradable CPU. The image depicts an "Ivy Bridge" Core i5-3470S, which is a low power, quad-core chip running at 2.9ghz. It has a TDP of 65W. Apple has always used low voltage variants to keep the thermals down while keeping performance reasonable. Though it's likely the top end model uses a standard CPU. Intel doesn't produce low voltage i5s running at 3.2ghz.

The logic board appears to use an LGA 1155 CPU socket. In theory, there's nothing stopping you from upgrading to an i7, assuming the firmware allows it.

In the last picture, we see the iMac with all its innards exposed. Including a removable hard drive. Apple combines traditional HDDs with SSDs, called a fusion drive. You should be able to remove and swap out the drive with any 2.5'' one. The SSD is nowhere to be seen in this picture, nor does it appear to be soldered  to the logic board. It is possible Apple is combining the two drives into one package, as Seagate does.

As for getting into the system, it's rumoured to be quite easy. Simply remove the display with suction cups. Though at least one French site claimed it was glued. Due to poor translation, it's unclear. We'll have to wait for the first teardowns on this side of the pond to get a full grasp of how easy it is to take apart.

Assuming it is easy to get into, this is a major step in the right direction for Apple. When you pay that much for a computer, it shouldn't be disposable. Keep them fixable.

The new iMac starts at a relatively steep $1299, as one would expect.

Source and Images: Kodawarisan

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