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Intel's Merom to power Apple's next-gen iMacs

post #1 of 238
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Apple Computer in September plans to unveil a new line of iMac computers with faster processors and a little surprise to boot, AppleInsider has learned.

It will be the third time the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has introduced upgrades to its flagship, all-in-one consumer desktop line in less than twelve months.

Apple selects Merom

People familiar with the Mac maker's plans say it will sidestep Intel Corp's Core 2 Duo desktop processors, formerly code-named Conroe, in favor of adopting the mobile variant of chips, previously known as Merom, throughout the entire line. The company will also add a new member to the iMac family, a stunning 23-inch model, those same people say.

Apple's decision to forgo the use of Conroe in both its iMac and Mac Pro desktops suggests the chips are unlikely to find their way into the company's Mac computer line this year. It also explains why the Mac maker has yet to introduce new iMac models despite widespread availability of Conroe for several weeks. By contrast, Intel has only begun to ship Merom in production quantities within the last few days.

Conroe, the unpopular kid in class

While many Apple followers had initially projected Conroe to find a seat in the recently introduced Mac Pro high-end desktops, AppleInsider was first to report this past July that the company had selected Intel's higher-performance Xeon server processors instead.

Speculation immediately turned towards Conroe making an appearance in the iMac line, but insiders say Merom's lower power requirements and reduced heat dissipation are better suited for the iMac's sleek and ultra-compact industrial design.

Up to 40 percent speed increases

Still, preliminary tests indicate that Merom will offer up to a 40 percent speed increase over the Yonah chip it replaces -- the same chips found in the existing line of iMacs. Merom is available in speeds of 2.0GHz, 2.16GHz and 2.33GHz.

Third time's a charm

For Apple, September will mark the third time it has updated the iMac line in less than a year. Last October, it debut the iMac G5 with built-in iSight. Almost immediately, it followed up with the iMac Core Duo in January -- the first Mac to make the transition to Intel processors.
post #2 of 238
wow

23" iMac
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post #3 of 238
Mid range mac product rumors to start in 5...4...3...
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post #4 of 238
The 23" news makes me happy. I would assume the highest end Merom chip would hit that unit. Now the big question is when... Tuesday? September 12th?
post #5 of 238
Very good news. I use a 23" display at the office (hooked up to a 1.5 PB) and the 23" does spoil you - there is even a tendency to turn your nose up at the 20" iMac!

The Merom for the iMac isn't really a surprise as the space behind the monitor is closer to a notebook that a desktop. What would be very nice is if Apple moved to a design closer to their displays - basically getting rid of the chins. It may mean an external power brick, but my 23" display just seem to "float" on the desk - a nicer experience (for me) than our 20" iMac at home. It also allows the display to be lower on the desk, which is nice for small kids and old folks with bi-focals.
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post #6 of 238
Merom's fine. It's more expensive but the cooling requirements will be lower. Looking forward to seeing a 23" iMac. That should be a svelte machine.

I'd also love to see 4 dimm sockets for these new iMacs.
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post #7 of 238
So yes, are they going to completely bypass Conroe or use it in a smaller tower Mac, I wonder.
post #8 of 238
I just hope they fix the 17 inch model while they're at it. It's been using the same display since the G4 17 inch iMac.. and I'm telling you, its viewing angle isn't near as good as on the other displays.

Other than that Merom seems good. Good stuff.
post #9 of 238
when's the paris expo?
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post #10 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison

Merom's fine. It's more expensive but the cooling requirements will be lower. Looking forward to seeing a 23" iMac.

Good point on the more expensive front. Any ideas on how much a 23" with an assumed 2.33 Merom chip will run? Think apple will be able to stay at the current $1699 price point or jump to the $1999?
post #11 of 238
May they will make a black one and charge extra for it like the macbooks
post #12 of 238
"Up to 40 percent speed increases"

Where did they get this? From reviews at Anand, more on the order of 5-10%, 20% best case scenario. It's a shame really IMO as Conroe is Intel's best chip as far as bang for the buck.
post #13 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac

"Up to 40 percent speed increases"

Where did they get this? From reviews at Anand, more on the order of 5-10%, 20% best case scenario. It's a shame really IMO as Conroe is Intel's best chip as far as bang for the buck.

++ It's a shame to see them skipping on the Conroe - we have to pay a price premium for lower clocked chips because they can't fit them in the thermal envelope of the iMac. I really hope we see Conroe somewhere in the lineup at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later.
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post #14 of 238
Yawn. Wow, now people are going to have 23" displays to throw away when the computer in them becomes outdated. What a waste. Still wating for news on an updated Mac mini.
post #15 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenaustus

What would be very nice is if Apple moved to a design closer to their displays - basically getting rid of the chins.

Haha, the chins! Great name for the bit below the screen on iMacs. This is my least favorite aspect of their design. I would sacrifice thinness to get rid of the chin on the new 23".
post #16 of 238
Mmm, a HD iMac...

..how much will it cost?
post #17 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac

"Up to 40 percent speed increases"

Where did they get this? From reviews at Anand, more on the order of 5-10%, 20% best case scenario. It's a shame really IMO as Conroe is Intel's best chip as far as bang for the buck.


Read somewhere that the top end woodcrest is cheeper than it's conroe counterpart. Lower end woodcrest models are more though.
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post #18 of 238
I'm not surprised. Merom allows for a machine that is elegant and quiet yet still powerful Apple values those over speed gains conroe would offer.
post #19 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pie Man

++ It's a shame to see them skipping on the Conroe - we have to pay a price premium for lower clocked chips because they can't fit them in the thermal envelope of the iMac. I really hope we see Conroe somewhere in the lineup at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later.

It's the price you pay for a quiet all in one computer.
post #20 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by Celemourn

Read somewhere that the top end woodcrest is cheeper than it's conroe counterpart. Lower end woodcrest models are more though.

Yeah the 2.9 ghz core 2 extreme is 1k ($999 to be exact) but the 2.4 ghz is like $350 and 2.3 ghz Merom is over $600.
post #21 of 238
Merom isn't 64-bit right?
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post #22 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig

I'm not surprised. Merom allows for a machine that is elegant and quiet yet still powerful Apple values those over speed gains conroe would offer.

You forgot to mention that it allows Apple to avoid those pesky pc comparissons.
post #23 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pie Man

++ It's a shame to see them skipping on the Conroe - we have to pay a price premium for lower clocked chips because they can't fit them in the thermal envelope of the iMac. I really hope we see Conroe somewhere in the lineup at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later.

I'm almost certain they would work with the iMac. Conroe is pretty close to the power of what was in the iSight G5 iMac, which has basically the same enclosure and cooling system arrangement as the Core Duo replacement. The G5 unit was reputed to be quiet.
post #24 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by irchs

Merom isn't 64-bit right?

It is 64-bit.
post #25 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac

You forgot to mention that it allows Apple to avoid those pesky pc comparissons.

Not really. They'll just use the same mismatches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by irchs

Merom isn't 64-bit right?

As 64-bit as woodcrest and conroe.
post #26 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by ic1male

It is 64-bit.

ah that's good I am sold then, bring on the update! I assume the 64-bitness of Leopard will be exploited by this new chip?
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post #27 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by irchs

ah that's good I am sold then, bring on the update! I assume the 64-bitness of Leopard will be exploited by this new chip?

Yes you potentially can address more memory, (if you can afford to buy it).
post #28 of 238
NO! WANT CONROE NOW :cry:
post #29 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by neudesign

Haha, the chins! Great name for the bit below the screen on iMacs. This is my least favorite aspect of their design. I would sacrifice thinness to get rid of the chin on the new 23".

Noooooooooooooooo! I love the chin! I'd be very sad to see it go.
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post #30 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flounder

Noooooooooooooooo! I love the chin! I'd be very sad to see it go.

why? its hidious!! needs to be more like the cinema displays, smooth and sleek.
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post #31 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac

You forgot to mention that it allows Apple to avoid those pesky pc comparissons.

The iMac is a unique machine no matter what the processor and doesn't lend itself to PC comparisons anyways.

I'm glad they're using merom. Personally, the competely silent nature of my intel iMac is my favorite thing about it.
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post #32 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac

Yes you potentially can address more memory, (if you can afford to buy it).

For the x86 arch, there is an efficiency benefit to 64 bit because it doubles the number of addressable registers over standard IA32.
post #33 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbaynham

why? its hidious!! needs to be more like the cinema displays, smooth and sleek.

It's extremely convenient for post-it notes, and I think it just plain looks good anyways.
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post #34 of 238
Bit of a shame really as Conroe would be quite a bit cheaper and better FSB/cache than Merom. Expect to see price increases on Merom iMacs.

This decision was obviously based on heat issues and I believe Apple are loathe to redesign the iMac case again.
post #35 of 238
Flounder,

You're right perhaps I'm being a little pessimistic. On the bright side, if you buy a 23" iMac with a 2.3 ghz Merom you won't have to worry about a better one coming out for at least a year or so, when core 2 is replaced. No Kentsfield quad cores in Apple's future.
post #36 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by palegolas

I just hope they fix the 17 inch model while they're at it. It's been using the same display since the G4 17 inch iMac.. and I'm telling you, its viewing angle isn't near as good as on the other displays.

Very true. I suppose it allows Apple to reduce cost and protect margin on the lowest end iMac. Surely, with panel improvements and price reductions since this 17" was introduced, Apple could do better.

If a 23" is introduced, could the 17" be dropped (maybe taking an education only spot)?
post #37 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel

Mid range mac product rumors to start in 5...4...3...

I don't know about any such rumors, it's just a really, really obvious gap in Apple's product line in lieu of which a lot of potential customers are foregoing Apple purchases. Basically, a mini with a single graphics card slot and a desktop hard disk is all a lot of people would care for. My guess is that it would sell incredibly well.
post #38 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga

I don't know about any such rumors, it's just a really, really obvious gap in Apple's product line in lieu of which a lot of potential customers are foregoing Apple purchases. Basically, a mini with a single graphics card slot and a desktop hard disk is all a lot of people would care for. My guess is that it would sell incredibly well.

I agree on all points.

Given the current discussion of how the Mac Pro's cards are still very proprietary to Apple, I don't think the modular graphics is going to quell many of the complaints because the number of compatible cards will remain very small with practically no aftermarket.
post #39 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM

For the x86 arch, there is an efficiency benefit to 64 bit because it doubles the number of addressable registers over standard IA32.

There is that, and then there is processing 64-bit numbers which becomes 4x faster than 32-bit chips. Useful when processing audio (I am a big user of Ableton Live), and images I imagine.
Jan

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post #40 of 238
Nice ... looking forward to the announcement. A 23" would be a welcome addition, especially to those who need the extra screen real estate.

It makes sense for Apple to go for Merom considering it's performance and heat output and the iMac case.

8)
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