A closer look at Apple's new iMac Core Duo

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    boogabooga Posts: 1,077member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 66
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    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.)
  • Reply 3 of 66
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 66
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 66
    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.)
  • Reply 6 of 66
    Any word on the startup chime? This hasn't changed...has it?
  • Reply 7 of 66
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,728member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 66
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 66
    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.)
  • Reply 10 of 66
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    These intel macs are so fast and os9.2 is so old, why not run it in Rosetta?
  • Reply 11 of 66
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Brenborn

    Any word on the startup chime? This hasn't changed...has it?



    Yes
  • Reply 12 of 66
    Quote:

    Originally posted by a_greer

    Yes



    Good one
  • Reply 13 of 66
    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...
  • Reply 14 of 66
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,728member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by OllieWallieWhiskers

    Are these Core Duo chips the Yonah processors everyone is all hyped up about?



    Yup
  • Reply 15 of 66
    wmfwmf Posts: 1,164member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by OllieWallieWhiskers

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



    Yes.
  • Reply 16 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,743member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,743member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by a_greer

    Yes



    Sheesh! I had my headphones on!
  • Reply 18 of 66
    webmailwebmail Posts: 639member
    I think I might run out and buy one, just to try my Windows Vista Betas.. lol
  • Reply 19 of 66
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,743member
    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).
  • Reply 20 of 66
    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.
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