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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > New iMac is here!

New iMac is here! (Page 4)
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tooki
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Mar 14, 2009, 03:54 AM
 
Two comments about this thread:

1. There are no "LED displays" available on any computer. The things you guys are talking about are LED-backlit LCDs, which are still LCDs. LED backlighting comes in two kinds -- white LED, and RGB LED -- only the latter of which has any impact on picture quality compared to a standard CCFL (fluorescent) backlit LCD. The quality improvements people see in white-LED-backlit LCDs like the LED Cinema Display aren't because of the new backlight, but because of advancements in the LCD panels themselves. The only advantage of a white LED backlight to CCFL is that LEDs reach full brightness instantly, whereas CCFLs can take up to 1/2 hour to reach their maximum brightness. (What that maximum brightness is depends on the design of the display, as anyone with one of the retina-scorching, CCFL-backlit Dell 2405FPW displays can attest.) Only very, very expensive LCDs used for very high end graphics or luxury TVs have RGB LED backlights that actually extend the color gamut beyond that of a CCFL or white LED backlit LCD. These are LCDs that cost 4-6 times what a regular display of the same size costs, not just a few bucks extra.

2. All this talk of "Apple needs to do this, Apple needs to do that" is silly. Apple isn't run by stupid people. What makes you guys think that Apple hasn't thought about these things before? What makes you think Apple doesn't think about these things all the time. As it has shown time and time again, Apple is overall very good at "reading" the market and coming out with products that position Apple optimally. How come Apple can continue to outsell every other MP3 player by a wide margin, while at the same time charging a lot more? If Apple has decided to not sell a midrange tower, then so be it. They undoubtably have good reasons for having made that decision, even if they decided not to tell you what they are.

And as for any claims that an iMac is no good for professional use: consider that the iMac is the standard-issue computer at Apple, including for developers. So the OS you're running on your computer, the browser you're reading this in, and the phone that's next to your keyboard, were all mostly designed on iMacs. Not professional, indeed.

Computers have gotten so powerful that even an entry level machine exceeds most users' needs. It probably exceeds yours. I own a Mac Pro and a basic MacBook, and I run gazillions of things at once, including Aperture, which is no slouch. And you know what? There's only one task where the Mac Pro is truly noticeably superior: h.264 encoding. For everything else, the little $899 MacBook holds its own.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Mar 14, 2009, 05:47 AM
 
^ word.
     
P
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Mar 14, 2009, 08:47 AM
 
1. White LED backlights actually have worse color gamut than CCFL backlights in some cases. There are other advantages that mean that it is the way to go forward, but color reproduction ain't it.

2. While Apple is generally keen at judging the market, it has in several instances overpriced the boxes. The Cube is the most obvious example, but the old G4 iMac was also a pretty major dud, leading to the eMac launch. It's worth noting that the last recession was such a moment, when Apple missed sales predictions by a mile because of its overpriced Macs and its stock was hammered as a result. I still believe that Apple will drop the price of the low-end MP in a few months, like they did with the G5, but I think that this cashing-in moment has come at the wrong time. It will hurt their sales, negating any advantage they might have gained from getting the CPUs from Intel early.

I actually think that the iMac is a pretty decent machine. I have some concerns about the RAM ceiling still, but that is hardly Apple's fault, and I'd be crazy to buy on the eve of Nehalem. What I think is bad is the extreme premium you have to pay at the upper part of the range, and the modest clockspeed increases and pathetic GPUs you get for your money. The GT120 really annoys me - it's a step down in GPU price from what Apple used to give us, and you have to get to the second-highest machine to get even that.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Mar 14, 2009, 12:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
I actually think that the iMac is a pretty decent machine. I have some concerns about the RAM ceiling still
8GB max is a problem???

I'd be *thrilled* to have 8GB in my machine.
     
P
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Mar 14, 2009, 02:41 PM
 
It is not an issue today, but if you keep machines for several years - like I always do - it is likely to become a problem. Every Mac I've owned had a max RAM of at least 8 times the default and every one has been up to the maximum before I replaced it. It's a cheap way of making them last.

It's worth noting that 2 gigs is quite sufficient for Leopard, while 256 megs was borderline for Panther, so part of the difference is that Apple isn't being quite as cheap with the RAM these days. 8 is also a much better number than 4, which really would have been constricting. I'd still prefer if the ceiling was 16 gigs, though, but I guess I can always hope for either 2 slots per channel in the next upgrade (unlikely) or unofficial support for 8 gig DIMMs.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Simon  (op)
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Mar 15, 2009, 04:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
2. While Apple is generally keen at judging the market, it has in several instances overpriced the boxes. The Cube is the most obvious example, but the old G4 iMac was also a pretty major dud, leading to the eMac launch. It's worth noting that the last recession was such a moment, when Apple missed sales predictions by a mile because of its overpriced Macs and its stock was hammered as a result. I still believe that Apple will drop the price of the low-end MP in a few months, like they did with the G5, but I think that this cashing-in moment has come at the wrong time. It will hurt their sales, negating any advantage they might have gained from getting the CPUs from Intel early.
I can agree with this. But I simply do not believe Apple will drop the price of the quads. Even less so between MP refreshes. Keeping in mind how far MP refreshes are apart, we could be looking at the current specs/pricing for over a year. An entire year with no serious headless desktop below $2500. With the current state of the economy that is IMHO far too long.

I'll be more than happy too see that I guessed wrong. But I doubt it.

I actually think that the iMac is a pretty decent machine. I have some concerns about the RAM ceiling still, but that is hardly Apple's fault, and I'd be crazy to buy on the eve of Nehalem.
8 GB on the iMac as a consumer Mac is OK IMHO. But if the iMac also has to be a semi-pro Mac (which it must if the only other option starts at $2500) 8 GB is not sufficient. Of course this issue is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the $2500 "workstation" doesn't support any more either. That's what's really bugs me.

The iMac isn't a bad Mac. But it just tries to be too many things at once and that's something it will never succeed at. You can't be an inexpensive consumer Mac, elegant AIO design masterpiece, and powerful semi-pro Mac all at the same time. At least not well.

What I think is bad is the extreme premium you have to pay at the upper part of the range, and the modest clockspeed increases and pathetic GPUs you get for your money. The GT120 really annoys me - it's a step down in GPU price from what Apple used to give us, and you have to get to the second-highest machine to get even that.
I think this is very much in line with Apple's 'we don't care about gamers' attitude. The 9400M is for most everyday tasks good enough (which couldn't be said of the GMAs for example). So there is a 24" iMac for $1499. And that's fine.

Problems start when people want to do something like Aperture or Motion on an iMac. They will probably want the 4850 and that means you are looking at no less than $1999. And that's simply too expensive. Now sure somebody could argue that if you want to use Aperture/Motion or play games you shouldn't be looking at a computer made with mobile parts. But what else can Mac people do? Even more so now that the MPs have been priced entirely out of reach.

I think at the very least the should be CTO options for better GUIs on the $1499 model. If not move the 9400M exclusively to the budget 20" model and use dedicated graphics on all other models.
     
driven
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Mar 15, 2009, 09:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
I can agree with this. But I simply do not believe Apple will drop the price of the quads. Even less so between MP refreshes. Keeping in mind how far MP refreshes are apart, we could be looking at the current specs/pricing for over a year. An entire year with no serious headless desktop below $2500. With the current state of the economy that is IMHO far too long.
Technically the Mac Mini is a "headless desktop" below $2500. (But I know what you mean.)
- MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.3Ghz / 256SSD (Work laptop)
- iMac 3.2Ghz 1TB
     
Simon  (op)
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Mar 15, 2009, 10:49 AM
 
That's exactly why I included the word 'serious'.

Originally Posted by Simon
An entire year with no serious headless desktop below $2500.
     
driven
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Mar 15, 2009, 11:48 AM
 
I guess "serious" depends on what you are doing. For what I do (software development, document authoring, photo management and video editing) I could probably do all of that on a Mac Mini with the notable exception of video editing. Then again, I did that for years on my G5 PM tower so I could probably even make do with that on the mini.

I'd like more horsepower sure. I'm not so sure I'd dismiss the Mac-mini or the iMac as a "not serious" machine though.
- MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.3Ghz / 256SSD (Work laptop)
- iMac 3.2Ghz 1TB
     
Simon  (op)
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Mar 15, 2009, 04:28 PM
 
FTR, I never said the iMac wasn't serious. I was talking about the mini.

The Mac mini is not serious for prosumer and pro work. It's got a 4GB RAM ceiling, there is no dedicated GPU option, and it uses a comparably slow processor. It's fine for budget computing and low-end consumer stuff (I use one myself to drive the projector in my den), but for semi-pro or real pro work it's just not suitable. And of course, it's nowhere close to expandable.
     
Simon  (op)
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Mar 25, 2009, 04:01 AM
 
Has anybody actually seen the MCP79 in the Mac mini?

I'm asking because the other day I saw the new low-power chipset NVIDA is releasing. It struck me that this MCP89E offers two digital video outputs, whereas the MCP79 chipset only offers one (plus LVDS which is what Apple uses for the portable's internal screen). But since the Mac mini has no internal screen and two digital outputs it got me wondering if the Mac mini maybe already had the new low-power chipset before NVIDIA officially released it.

The MCP89E is very similar to the MCP79. It removes DDR2 and PCI support, has 4 vs. 6 SATA ports, 8 vs. 20 PCIe lanes (IOW no second GPU feasible), but adds a second digital video output. And it uses significantly less power than the MCP79. It sounds almost like it was made for the mini.
     
 
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