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A closer look at Apple's new iMac Core Duo

post #1 of 67
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In addition to being the first of Apple Computer's personal computer offerings to make the transition to Intel microprocessors, the new iMac Core Duo also sports a plethora of architectural and technological changes, which sources have began detailing to AppleInsider.

For starters, the iMac Core Duo uses a Low Voltage Differential Signaling (LVDS) interface -- a low noise, low power, low amplitude method for high-speed data transfer -- for transmitting data to the computer's 17- or 20- inch LCD display.

Though the new iMac looks remarkably similar to the iMac G5 with iSight announced late last year, one way to differentiate the two models is to look for the presence of a mini-DVI output port featured only on the iMac Core Duo. This new DVI out port will allow users to choose between video mirroring or extended desktop (with an added Apple DVI Display Adapter).

The iMac Core Duo is reportedly the first iMac to support Apple's extended desktop feature, which lets users extend their viewing capabilities by using two or more displays at the same time. With this functionality, users can choose to view a single document or application across multiple displays, or use each display to view a different document or application.

Like the previous iMac, the iMac Core Duo sports a built in iSight, which sources say uses a CMOS sensor with a fixed-focus plastic lens rather than a CCD sensor with automatic focus like the one used in Apple's stand-alone iSight product.

Sources also report that support for AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth in the new iMacs is achieved through separate cards instead of a single a combo card used by Apple in the past. Antennas for the wireless technologies are mounted at the top of the iMac enclosure -- the Bluetooth one on the left side and AirPort Extreme on the right.

True to reports making the rounds on the Web, the first Intel Macs use EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) -- essentially an updated BIOS specification that allows vendors to create operating-system-independent device drivers that are stored within the hardware itself. The EFI BIOS is also used to select and load the operating system when the computers first starts up.

The iMac Core Duo's Boot Manager -- accessible by holding the option key at startup -- also features some slight interface improvements, sources say, but for the most part remains visually unpleasant. The systems also include a NVRAM (Non-Volatile RAM) as opposed to a PRAM (Parameter RAM) and a SMC (System Management Control) as opposed to a PMU (Power Management Unit). The NVRAM is still resettable by using the Command-Option-P-R key combo.

Each new iMac Core Duo appears to be shipping with Mac OS X 10.4.4 for Intel build 8G1165, which does not include support for the Mac OS 9 Classic environment.
post #2 of 67
Phase-Change RAM? Nanotube RAM? Sounds like an episode of Star Trek.

PRAM stands for Parameter RAM if you ask other Mac publications, and NVRAM Non-Volatile RAM.
post #3 of 67
The iMac Core Duo is reportedly the first iMac to support Apple's extended desktop feature, which lets users extend their viewing capabilities by using two or more displays at the same time.?

Great!! Up to 23" Cinema Display!


And to avoid panic... I think it's safe to say that 10.4.4 doesn't REMOVE Classic support from PowerPC Macs. It just doesn't have it for Intel Macs. (Although some kind of hack or virtual environment for Classic on Intel Macs from a third party wouldn't surprise me.)
post #4 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by nagromme
[i]And to avoid panic... I think it's safe to say that 10.4.4 doesn't REMOVE Classic support from PowerPC Macs. It just doesn't have it for Intel Macs. (Although some kind of hack or virtual environment for Classic on Intel Macs from a third party wouldn't surprise me.)

Bye bye, HyperCard.

But what you say about an emulator is true: there is a 680x0 emulator Mac emulator called Basilisk, which has been ported almost everywhere.

(Using Basilisk, I actually booted into System 7.5.5 on my Sony PSP! It was surprisingly responsive too.)

There is a PowerPC emulator called PearPC, which is unfortunately extremely slow relative to Rosetta, but would allow a native Mac OS 9 to be run.
post #5 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by michaelb
Bye bye, HyperCard.

But what you say about an emulator is true: there is a 680x0 emulator Mac emulator called Basilisk, which has been ported almost everywhere.

(Using Basilisk, I actually booted into System 7.5.5 on my Sony PSP! It was surprisingly responsive too.)

There is a PowerPC emulator called PearPC, which is unfortunately extremely slow relative to Rosetta, but would allow a native Mac OS 9 to be run.

Yeah there's vMac and BasiliskII for Mac...they'll probably run just fine using Rosetta, but it would be nice if the authors UB'ed them.
post #6 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by nagromme
The iMac Core Duo is reportedly the first iMac to support Apple's extended desktop feature, which lets users extend their viewing capabilities by using two or more displays at the same time.?

Great!! Up to 23" Cinema Display!


And to avoid panic... I think it's safe to say that 10.4.4 doesn't REMOVE Classic support from PowerPC Macs. It just doesn't have it for Intel Macs. (Although some kind of hack or virtual environment for Classic on Intel Macs from a third party wouldn't surprise me.)

Do you think the iMac is limited to a 23" Cinema Display because the x1600 cannot handle more than it's built-in 17"/20" AND a 23"? (As the MacBook Pro can handle it's 15" and up to a 30" CD.)
post #7 of 67
Any word on the startup chime? This hasn't changed...has it?
post #8 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by Unfiltered
Do you think the iMac is limited to a 23" Cinema Display because the x1600 cannot handle more than it's built-in 17"/20" AND a 23"? (As the MacBook Pro can handle it's 15" and up to a 30" CD.)

No, it's probably due to the miniDVI port not being dual-link, which is required for the number of pixels the 30" has.
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post #9 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by Brenborn
Any word on the startup chime? This hasn't changed...has it?

I hope not

What I'd love to see is a video of a new Intel-based iMac booting from scratch, taken with a stand-alone camera pointed at the machine. With audio, of course!

Purely for geekiness' sake, you understand!

However, I'd put money on it being identical to the traditional Mac startup. Albeit with a possibly slightly different chime.
Cheers,

Chris
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Cheers,

Chris
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post #10 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by displaced
I hope not

What I'd love to see is a video of a new Intel-based iMac booting from scratch, taken with a stand-alone camera pointed at the machine. With audio, of course!

Purely for geekiness' sake, you understand!

However, I'd put money on it being identical to the traditional Mac startup. Albeit with a possibly slightly different chime.

I've heard from people on the floor that it's the exact same chime (contrary to certain rumors that were floating around before the keynote.)
post #11 of 67
These intel macs are so fast and os9.2 is so old, why not run it in Rosetta?
You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
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You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
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post #12 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by Brenborn
Any word on the startup chime? This hasn't changed...has it?

Yes
You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
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You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
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post #13 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by a_greer
Yes

Good one
post #14 of 67
That's just wrong...

Just a question... Are these Core Duo chips the Yonah processors everyone is all hyped up about?

Please excuse the ignorance...
post #15 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by OllieWallieWhiskers
Are these Core Duo chips the Yonah processors everyone is all hyped up about?

Yup
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post #16 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by OllieWallieWhiskers
Just a question... Are these Core Duo chips the Yonah processors everyone is all hyped up about?

Yes.
post #17 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by a_greer
These intel macs are so fast and os9.2 is so old, why not run it in Rosetta?

It isn't simple. It's an entire OS itself, remember. The support for it in OS X had a fair amount of work to do absrtacting it from the hardware (remember that low level software such as disk utilities didn't work).

How much work would it require to adapt it to an x86 with different support chips?

A second reason is that Apple can finally rid itself of it.
post #18 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by a_greer
Yes

Sheesh! I had my headphones on!
post #19 of 67
I think I might run out and buy one, just to try my Windows Vista Betas.. lol
post #20 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by webmail
I think I might run out and buy one, just to try my Windows Vista Betas.. lol

You know, I'm surprised that we haven't already heard about that. After these went on sale this week, there are already stats up about how it did in Xbench 1.2 (Intel version).
post #21 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
Yeah there's vMac and BasiliskII for Mac...they'll probably run just fine using Rosetta, but it would be nice if the authors UB'ed them.

That'll happen. Both of those run on Windows and Linux already so I imagine it's just a recompile away.
post #22 of 67
You have to remember that vMac emulates a Mac Plus, and Basilisk II only 68k machines, which means up to Mac OS 8.1.

If someone wants to run a Classic PPC app and/or Mac OS 9.x on an intel Mac, there are currently no solution aside from PearPC which doesn't exist for the Mac OS and is very slow.

I wonder if it would be possible for the Basilisk II team to implement PPC support using Rosetta as a translator, but compiling the rest of the Basilisk II in intel native code.
post #23 of 67
Why bother with all this... Trying to get classic to run on a new machine... Anyone who has a need to run classic apps must already have a Mac.
Let the intel Mac do it's thing, and keep the PPC Mac around for those occasions when classic is necessary...
Or, here's a thought... update your hardware/software so that it runs natively on the intel chip!!!

I know alot of people use Classic more intensively than I do... But the only time I ever use it is with my old, slow, usb Umax scanner. I only use it once in a great while... I figure if I were to buy an MacBook Pro, I may as well buy a new scanner...

Out with the old, in with the new!!
post #24 of 67
Wouldn't be great to have Apple OS on one display and Windows on the other using just the Macintel.
post #25 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by sammick
Wouldn't be great to have Apple OS on one display and Windows on the other using just the Macintel.

You can do that already, though not on the intel based Macs.
post #26 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by aegisdesign
You can do that already, though not on the intel based Macs.

Damn! I'm hours too slow.
post #27 of 67
I doubt this. I checked with those Apple rep. on the floor.

He said that the iMac could not use two displays.

Otherwise I would buy one right there.

The main reason I want to get a Mac is I need to make DVD
for my son's piano class tape recording every week.

The experience on Mac is so much better than on PC that
it is worth to buy a Mac just for that reason.
post #28 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by DualP
I doubt this. I checked with those Apple rep. on the floor.

He said that the iMac could not use two displays.

Otherwise I would buy one right there.

The main reason I want to get a Mac is I need to make DVD
for my son's piano class tape recording every week.

The experience on Mac is so much better than on PC that
it is worth to buy a Mac just for that reason.

The new intel based iMac can run two displays. It supports both mirroring the internal display and also spanning two displays. However, it doesn't run Windows (yet).

See http://www.apple.com/imac/whatsinside.html under 'Graphics and Video'


The G5 iMac can't span two monitors without a hack to switch off the purely arbitrary limitation Apple imposed. It can however run Windows already, via VirtualPC. Ergo, you can run Windows on one monitor, and OSX on the other.

See Hack - http://www.rutemoeller.com/mp/ibook/ibook_e.html

And IME, there's nothing easier than iMovie and iDVD for doing exactly what you want a Mac for.
post #29 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by DualP
I doubt this. I checked with those Apple rep. on the floor.

He said that the iMac could not use two displays.

Well, he was wrong.

look here, under the ATI radeon logo.

The intel iMac will do desktop spanning. The iMac G5 will only do mirroring unless you use a hack.
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post #30 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by a_greer
Yes

That's a little old now!

(Both the joke and the tune)
post #31 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by MacCrazy
That's a little old now!

(... and the tune)

That's just reminded me.

Now that Intel have modified their brand a little, have we seen the back of this tune? Is there going to be a new one for Core Duo and everything after?
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post #32 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. H
Well, he was wrong.

look here, under the ATI radeon logo.

The intel iMac will do desktop spanning. The iMac G5 will only do mirroring unless you use a hack.

EVEYYONE nvolved knows it's wrong. I don't see how an Apple rep, on the floor of Macworld, who has been told the features of the new machines in a class, so that they can extoll them at the biggest event of the year for Apple, and its community, can get this wrong.

Something is fishy.
post #33 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
I don't see how an Apple rep, on the floor of Macworld, who has been told the features of the new machines in a class, so that they can extoll them at the biggest event of the year for Apple, and its community, can get this wrong.

Something is fishy.

Maybe it was the same (crap) rep as the one in this video?

It's perfectly possible that in Steve's crazy efforts to lock down his announcements as tightly as possible, the reps are not properly trained.
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post #34 of 67
Thanks, guys.

I will get an iMac soon.

One question:If I will get a 23" display later, should
I get the 256M video memory?
post #35 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. H
Maybe it was the same (crap) rep as the one in this video?

It's perfectly possible that in Steve's crazy efforts to lock down his announcements as tightly as possible, the reps are not properly trained.

I don't expect a rep who is not specialised, to know much about apps that just came out, except for some of the main features. But there a few new things about the machine that they will know. Second monitors is one of them.

I don't expect them to know if the iSight camera is running off a Firewire bus, or a USB one, or something else. It doesn't matter.
post #36 of 67
The rep said it can only do mirroring.
post #37 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by DualP
The rep said it can only do mirroring.

Yeah, well, that's just wacko.
post #38 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by aegisdesign

And IME, there's nothing easier than iMovie and iDVD for doing exactly what you want a Mac for.

Could not agree more, after tried with quite a few options
on PC.
post #39 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
I don't expect a rep who is not specialised, to know much about apps that just came out, except for some of the main features. But there a few new things about the machine that they will know. Second monitors is one of them.

I remember when all the smart kids on my street wanted to grow up and work for Apple as a sales rep. But their dreams were buried beneath a pile of textbooks and internships as they studied to be doctors and lawyers and quantum mechanics.

The reality is that smart people dont generally work as sales reps. I never walk into any shop ( even the Apple Store ) expecting them to give me answers to any question more complex than "How much is this?".

The rep in the Macbook video is a perfect example. If thats the quality of employee they choose for Macworld then Im not surprised in the least that they actually know anything about the new machines. Im sure they dont spend weeks agonizing over buying an iMac, weighing the absence of DVI and dual head. Hence they probably dont even notice it on the feature list they got to read 10 minutes before the show opened.
post #40 of 67
Quote:
Originally posted by DualP
Thanks, guys.

I will get an iMac soon.

One question:If I will get a 23" display later, should
I get the 256M video memory?

Definitely if you're running multiple screens. 128MB is enough but 256MB is better. Macs use their graphics cards for a lot of the visual processing and effects you see.
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