Apple updates iMac line with quicker processors, graphics and Thunderbolt I/O


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Apple updated its iMac all-in-one computer line on Tuesday, adding faster quad-core processors, its FaceTime HD video chat, faster graphics cards and Intel’s new Thunderbolt high-speed connector technology.

The starting price to an iMac is staying the same -- $1,199.

Apple says that with the new Intel processors, the refreshed iMacs are up to 70% faster than the previous generation lineup and perform up to three times faster in graphics ability, due to new, speedier AMD Radeon HD graphics processors.


The iMac update brings quad-core Intel processors across the lineup -- previously a dual-core chip was an option.

Thunderbolt, a connector technology developed by Intel with some help from Apple, is capable of transferring data at a rate of 10 gigabits per second -- much faster than USB 2.0 transfers of about 480 megabits per second.

Thunderbolt can also be used to connect computers to external monitors and transfer data at the same time, all with a single cable, as well as ‘daisy chain’ by connecting to multiple devices at once, through one port.

As it did with the MacBook Pro when the laptop line gained the new faster connector ports, Thunderbolt will replace Apple’s mini-display port on the back of the new iMacs.

Available screen sizes for the iMac are also staying the same, with the computer being offered in a 21.5-inch screen size (which gets one Thunderbolt port) or a larger 27-inch display (which will be equipped with two Thunderbolt ports).

Apple is also adding a high-definition video camera to its iMacs, sitting just above the screen, which can be used with the company’s FaceTime video chat software, which runs on the iPad 2, iPhone 4, iPod Touch and camera-equipped and Intel-based Mac computers.



Want FaceTime video chat on an older Mac? It’ll cost 99 cents

Apple MacBook Pro line gets faster processors, FaceTime HD, Intel Thunderbolt I/O

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles