Apple updates iMac with Thunderbolt and Intel Sandy Bridge chips

Darren Allan

May 3, 2011

Apple has announced a refresh of its all-in-one iMac line, with the addition of Intel Sandy Bridge processors and speedy Thunderbolt I/O technology.

The new iMac comes souped-up with quad-core Intel Core i5 processors, going up to a Core i7 running at 3.4GHz at the top end. The chips eat up video work such as encoding and decoding, and new AMD HD graphics solutions are also on board.

According to tests Apple conducted – here, have a small pinch of salt – the new iMac is up to 70% faster (technically 1% would be up to 70%, but we’re sure that isn’t the case). The new graphics deliver triple the horsepower of the previous iMac, the company claims.

Thunderbolt first struck the MacBook Pro range in February and is now on board the iMac, with the 21.5 inch iMac having a single Thunderbolt port and the 27 inch version two. The ports provide two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps, and deliver PCI Express directly to external peripherals (for example RAID arrays).

A new FaceTime HD camera is integrated, so now you can partake of High Definition tech which shows up every single wrinkle in those early morning video calls.

All in all, it’s an impressive refresh, but how much is the damage on the new all-in-one computer? Prices start at £999 for the basic 21.5 inch model with a Core i5 2.5GHz processor, a 500GB hard drive and a Radeon HD 6750M graphics solution.

That rises to £1249 when you bump up to a 2.7GHz processor, 1TB hard disk and the Radeon HD 6770M. The basic 27 inch iMac costs £1399 and comes with the same spec, just a much bigger 2560 x 1440 resolution display (and twin Thunderbolt ports).


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