Don't-Miss Desktop Stories
The Mac Pro gives professional Mac users more processor power, storage options, and external ports than the previous Power Mac line. But these new systems aren't for everyone. If you don't run high-end professional applications and don't truly need a huge amount of internal storage or access to PCI Express slots, you might find that the remarkably powerful 20-inch iMac Core Duo is a much better value.
Apple completes its transition to Intel-based hardware with this Power Mac replacement that's powered by two dual-core Intel Xeon chips. Unlike its previous desktop offerings, Apple has just one standard configuration -- but there are millions of different configurations. Most notably, Mac users can select dual-core 2GHz, 2.66GHz, or 3GHz chips; they can choose between several different graphics card options; they can stock the four hard-drive bays with extra storage (up to TB); and they can max out the installed Fully Buffered Memory modules to 16GB. AirPort Express and Bluetooth wireless connectivity are options as well; there is no installed modem.
For the most part, the features that Apple removed from the standard iMac to make this one more affordable are good choices given the target market. For schools that can live with that potentially extra expense, the $899 iMac Education Configuration should be hard to pass up.
This Intel-powered iMac replaces the PowerPC-based eMac as Apple's educational offering. Apart from a smaller hard drive capacity and a built-in Combo drive instead of a SuperDrive, this 17-inch model differs from the other 17-inch 1.83GHz iMac by sporting integrated graphics and not featuring a built-in Bluetooth module. Build-to-order options include a 160GB hard drive instead of the standard 80GB drive, an external USB modem, memory up to 2GB, and the pre-installed iWork '06 suite.
Rob Griffiths takes a look at the Core Duo mini in detail, and a more general look at the transition from PowerPC to Intel, as seen through the eyes of the mini. Think of it as an incredibly detailed hands-on report, based on his first week with the unit.
One of two Intel-based Mac minis, this model features a 1.5GHz single-core processor. The form factor of this mini remains unchanged from its PowerPC-based predecessor, although it adds two additional USB 2.0 ports for a total of four while dropping S-video and composite ports. Internally, the new mini has a faster frontside bus and built-in wireless networking via AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth. The mini uses the Intel GMA950 as its graphics processor; since the chip doesn' have its own dedicated video memory, it shares memory with the main system RAM. The mini also gains the remote-and-software combo that makes up Front Row, allowing you to control audio, video, and photos from across the room.
The first Intel-based Mac minis come with significantly upgrade features, home-entertainment capabilities... and a higher price compared to their G4-based predecessors. Do the changes to the Mac mini make it a worthwhile upgrade?
Unlike the single-core 1.5GHz Intel-based Mac mini, this model is powered by a 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo chip. It also features more storage capacity and an 8X dual-layer SuperDrive. Other features -- an integrated graphics processor that shares memory with the system RAM, built-in wireless networking capabilities, and the Front Row multimedia management program -- are the same as what you get with the 1.5GHz Mac mini.
What’s an Intel chip doing in an iMac? Almost exactly the same things PowerPC chips do in older models—just faster on some tasks and, for now, slower on others. Anyone with a recently revved iMac won’t have much reason to rush out and buy an iMac Core Duo—you won’t find the computing experience all that different from newer models. But for other users getting by with older machines, there’s no reason to hesitate: these Intel-based iMacs are already great computers, and they’ll only get better.
The Intel-based Mac era begins with this 20-inch iMac, which runs on a 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo chip. This new Mac features faster RAM than its G5-based predecessor, although maximum memory has dropped to 2GB from 2.5GB in the iMac G5. A mini-DVI port in the new iMac lets you use a second external monitor, and the graphics card has undergone a slight upgrade to the ATI Radeon X1600. (You can upgrade to 256MB of graphics memory for the 20-inch iMac.) Other than that, this latest iMac isn't that much different from the late 2005 models -- right down to the built-in iSight camera and pre-installed Front Row multimedia software.
The Intel-based Mac era begins with this 17-inch iMac, which runs on a 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo chip. This new Mac features faster RAM than its G5-based predecessor, although maximum memory has dropped to 2GB from 2.5GB in the iMac G5. A mini-DVI port in the new iMac lets you use a second external monitor, and the graphics card has undergone a slight upgrade to the ATI Radeon X1600. Other than that, this latest iMac isn't that much different from the late 2005 models -- right down to the built-in iSight camera and pre-installed Front Row multimedia software.
The value of this quad-core 2.5GHz desktop depends on what you do with it. With many apps, it’s the fastest Mac yet—but not by much. But users of high-end media-processing and scientific programs will discover that this machine excels at processor-intensive tasks.
Apple adds a dual-core processor -- two processing units on a single chip -- to its Power Mac line. This particular model features two dual-core G5 chips, letting applications take advantage of four 1MB L2 caches, four 128-bit Velocity Engines and eight double-precision floating point units. This desktop also adds PCI Express, a high-performance interface that's particularly appealing to video pros. Also new: a double-layer SuperDrive, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and faster DDR2 RAM.
Compared with their predecessors, the Power Mac G5 Dual models offer an array of new workstation-class capabilities, including impressive improvements in graphics, advanced networking, enormous memory capacity, and state-of-the-art expansion slots.
Apple adds a dual-core processor -- two processing units on a single chip -- to its Power Mac line. The new desktops also add PCI Express, a high-performance interface that's particularly appealing to video pros. (To that end, the Power Mac line offers several video card build-to-order options above the Nvidia GeForce 6600 LE that comes standard on this model.) Also new: a double-layer SuperDrive, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and faster DDR2 RAM.