MWSF: iMac with Intel processor is up to twice as fast

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Apple claims its newest iMac, which features Intel’s new Core Duo processor, is twice as fast as its predecessor. Despite the major change under the hood, the iMac remains with the same design and at the same price as before, with systems starting at $1,299.

The new iMac, which starts shipping today, will be Apple’s first computer to feature a CPU built by Intel. Up until now, Apple has used the PowerPC architecture developed in conjunction with Motorola and IBM to drive all of its iMac computers.

On the outside, the iMac G5 looks the same as before — it’s a square, all-in-one design that features either a 17-inch or 20-inch LCD display. But under the hood it’s considerably faster, according to benchmarks that Apple CEO Steve Jobs put up on the screen during his keynote presentation to Macworld Expo attendees in San Francisco, Calif. on Tuesday.

The system features a built in iSight webcam, 8x “SuperDrive” optical drive capable of burning recordable DVD media, 512MB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM expandable to 2GB, hard drive storage capacity up to 500GB, and ATI Radeon X1600 PCI Express-based graphics with 128MB GDDR3 memory. Also standard is a wireless remote control that is held magnetically to the iMac when not in use — that remote provides you with the ability to control music, pictures and movies using Front Row, an Apple application that’s included on the iMac.

The iMac also features 10/100/1000baseT Ethernet, built-in AirPort Extreme — Apple’s 802.11g-compliant wireless networking, and built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) for connecting PDAs, smartphones, printers and other devices. The computer itself features three USB 2.0 ports (another two are on the keyboard) and two FireWire 400 ports.

Also included is a new mini-DVI video output to connect the iMac to up to a 23-inch Apple Cinema HD display. And no longer are iMacs limited to mirroring the internal display’s contents on an external display — an “extended desktop mode” provides additional desktop real estate if a second monitor is used.

Also standard on these new iMacs is iLife ‘06, Apple’s suite of applications that includes iTunes, iPhoto, iDVD, iMovie, GarageBand, and, for the first time, iWeb, a Web publishing application that integrates with the other content you create and manage using the other iLife applications.

The new iMac touts Apple’s latest Mac OS X release, v10.4.4, which runs natively on the Intel processor (as does the iLife software). Also included is Apple’s Mighty Mouse and keyboard.

The $1,299 17-inch model features a 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo processor and 160GB Serial ATA hard drive. The $1,699 20-inch model features a 2.0GHz processor and 250GB storage.

This story, "MWSF: iMac with Intel processor is up to twice as fast" was originally published by PCWorld.

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