Apple Releases New iMacs – Early 2011

Apple made a major update to the iMacs line today. While the Macs are cosmetically the same as the previous generation, all are now quad-core, and all are based on Intel’s so-called “Sandy Bridge” CPUs, as well shipping wiht the latest “Thunderbolt” I/O ports, which are very high-speed.

They are claiming speeds up to 70% faster than existing iMacs, and video card updates that are up to three times faster.

It’s still using a 21.5-inch or 27-inch IPS LED-backlit display.

Additions/Changes/Information:
* Starting CPU: Intel Core i5 (Core i7 up to 3.4GHz)
* Thunderbolt I/O (21.5-inch has one port, 27-inch has two)
* Facetime HD camera and software. Full HD between the latest Macs, standard between iPads, iPhone 4, and older Macs.

I believe the iMac is the first desktop to offer Thunderbolt, which came out in the new MacBook Pros a few months ago. It’s up to 10Gbps (not 10GBps) and is over 10 times faster than FireWire 800 and up to 20 times faster than existing USB 2.0. It’s quite a bit faster than USB 3.0 as well. You could run VMs off of a Thunderbolt connected hard drive.

One very unique aspect of Thunderbolt, it’s capable of supporting Gigabit ethernet and high resolution DisplayPort connections with the right adapters.

Low-End 21.5-inch Model:
* Starting Price: $1,199 US
* 21.5-inch Display
* AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 512 MB GDDR5 Memory
* 2.5GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
* 4GB DDR 3 (up to 16GB) Memory
* 500 GB Hard Drive

Next 21.5-inch Model:
* Starting Price: $1,499 US
* 21.5-inch Display
* AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 512 MB GDDR5 Memory
* 2.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
* 4GB DDR 3 (up to 16GB) Memory
* 1 TB Hard Drive

27-inch iMac
* Starting Price: $1,699 US
* AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 512 MB GDDR5 Memory
* 2.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
* 4GB DDR 3 (up to 16GB) Memory
* 1 TB Hard Drive

27-inch iMac – Top-End
* Starting Price: $1,999 US
* AMD Radeon HD 6970M with 1 MB GDDR5 Memory
* 3.1GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
* 4GB DDR 3 (up to 16GB) Memory
* 1 TB Hard Drive

The more expensive models of both the 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs can have the CPUs upgraded, with the 21.5-inch taking up to a 2.8GHz Quad-Core i7 and the 27-inch taking up to a 3.4GHz Quad-Core i7.

You also get a choice of a Magic Mouse or a Magic Trackpad for the input device, in addition to the cordless keyboard.

All in all a very powerful upgrade, and one that’s sure to interest quite a few VM users.

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