Originally Posted by Bregalad
I think we're going to see another lame update that only adds an SD slot and one other minor change like BluRay. With expectations set that low it should be easy for Apple to exceed them.
I'm hoping not. That is I'm really hoping this machine transitions to a new architecture. The last "upgrade" was a bit of a joke that not many fell for. So an upgrade that can really drive sales is in order.
If they make the darned iMac case any thinner there's zero chance of getting a quad core processor or user accessible hard drive bay. I can't explain why their own technicians haven't lynched Jonathan Ive for burying the part with the highest failure rate in the bottom of the case and gluing foil to it. I would much rather they move to an LED backlit display and use the space freed up for better cooling and re-arranging the components so the ones that are most likely to need servicing are easy to get to.
Thinnest isn't so much an issues as there really aren't any alternatives to iMac in Apples line up. If they had a midrange machine Apple could make iMac as thin and light as they wanted because my dollars would be going towards a machine with midrange hardware. Of course Apple doesn't have this midrange machine in their line up thus the need to press for better iMac designs.
As to case design yeah the current iMac sucks badly. Frankly it is testament to design burying function and is frankly a joke for business users because of that. As you note access sucks and what is really needed are drive bays <-- note the "S". That is easily accessible drive bays for at least 3 "drives". Where drives could be 1.8" SSD for all I care.
Intel has few options for the iMac right now. Both the Penryn and Clarksfield mobile quads are priced way too high for what you get. There's no way Apple is going to pay more for an iMac processor than they currently do for Mac Pro processors.
Well considering one processor is a special order Apple item, I'm not to sure this is a concern for Apple. The price on Clarksfield is really unknown to us as Apple likely buys in lots of tens or hundreds of thousands. Considering Apples use of laptop processors they might actually be Intels volume leader now.
However, that brings up a very interesting topic. Intel does have a low power, quad core (8 thread) Nehalem Xeon that draws only 60W. The current high end iMac needs 55W for its CPU and northbridge combo so a 60W CPU with integrated northbridge isn't much of a stretch. In addition the price of the 2.26GHz Xeon is almost identical to the price of the 3.06GHz mobile Penryns in the iMac so it's completely doable.
A lot of people say that a desk top processor is impossible in iMac, but I ten to agree with you it is not impossible. Cooling is a trick though as that heat does have to be removed from one concentrated spot. It is not impossible though as any body that has looked inside a 1U server box can tell you. Given that new heat conduction tech could be thrown at the problem.
Convincing people that 8 threads at 2.26GHz with a turbo mode that can clock individual cores much higher is a suitable replacement for a 2 thread processor at 3.06GHz seems like something Apple could pull off.
I'd go for it in heart beat! Really I would. First the XEON ought to be about 20% faster clock for clock. Second Snow Leopard looks like it is going to be really good on such hardware. Plus the general speed up you will get from SL anyways. Such a machine ought to be very impressive for most desktop users and remain that way for a long time.
Convincing us that a 4 thread processor running at just 1.73GHz is an improvement would require Steve Jobs to extend his reality distortion field by several orders of magnitude.
Yes this is true but then again he sold people on the G5 even though it sucked up against Intel CPU's of the day. That is for general desktop usage and not canned benchmarks with optimized software. Lets face it Core 2 is a dead technology and is only applicable where the heat can't be tolerated. Core 2 Quad could potentially work well on something like the Mini that is ran at close to the same clock speed but giving users 2 more threads. Even here though some of Intels new tech processor might be a better choice, for the same reason you mentioned above; everything is integrated into the chip thus overall power usage is lower.
It does look like Apple is in a hard place right now with respect to the iMac and a suitable processor but maybe they have something going on with Intel we don't know about. There are persistent rumors that Intel will go straight to 32nm for its new laptop chips for example. Or maybe Apple knocked some heads together at PA Semi and Intel to come up with a custom Intel chip just for Apple. All I know is another round of Core 2 in the iMac is enough to make one gag.