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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > The future of the iMac

The future of the iMac
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Veltliner
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Jun 21, 2010, 03:59 AM
 
I was just wondering if the iMac will continue to become more of a desktop.

Will processors from the Mac Pro line find their way into a high end iMac?

Will there be screen options, e.g. Wide Gamut displays or matte displays?

What do you guys think?
     
AKcrab
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Jun 21, 2010, 04:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by Veltliner View Post
Will processors from the Mac Pro line find their way into a high end iMac?
I think it's going to be pretty tough to fit these into an iMac:
     
P
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Jun 21, 2010, 04:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by Veltliner View Post
I was just wondering if the iMac will continue to become more of a desktop.

Will processors from the Mac Pro line find their way into a high end iMac?
Unlikely, although not impossible. The MP is a hot three chip setup, with CPU, Northbridge and Southbridge, that has only two advantages over iMac CPU: More PCIe lanes, and higher memory bandwidth. Neither of those is particularly useful for the iMac, and the extra chips and the extra heat are a definite problem in those cramped quarters. Gulftown brings 2 extra cores and that never hurt anyone, but at least my quad iMac very rarely uses more than 2 cores to any real extent.

If we look a little further down the line at Sandy Bridge, we should see an update of the desktop level CPUs by the beginning of next year (actually pencilled in for end of this year, but I doubt that we'll see them in iMacs before January at the earliest) while the MP CPUs are not due until next fall. That only reinforces that the current CPU level is the best choice for the iMac: 2-chip solution, lower cache latency, higher turbo and much lower idle power as a result.

Originally Posted by Veltliner View Post
Will there be screen options, e.g. Wide Gamut displays or matte displays?
That is more interesting. Matte displays are unlikely with the current design, but wide gamut might happen.
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.
     
boy8cookie
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Jun 21, 2010, 08:34 PM
 

w/ iOS
     
Kerrigan
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Jun 22, 2010, 06:23 PM
 
What he said ^

I've been wanting something like that ever since the iPad came out.
     
Veltliner  (op)
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Jun 22, 2010, 10:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Unlikely, although not impossible. The MP is a hot three chip setup, with CPU, Northbridge and Southbridge, that has only two advantages over iMac CPU: More PCIe lanes, and higher memory bandwidth. Neither of those is particularly useful for the iMac, and the extra chips and the extra heat are a definite problem in those cramped quarters. Gulftown brings 2 extra cores and that never hurt anyone, but at least my quad iMac very rarely uses more than 2 cores to any real extent.

If we look a little further down the line at Sandy Bridge, we should see an update of the desktop level CPUs by the beginning of next year (actually pencilled in for end of this year, but I doubt that we'll see them in iMacs before January at the earliest) while the MP CPUs are not due until next fall. That only reinforces that the current CPU level is the best choice for the iMac: 2-chip solution, lower cache latency, higher turbo and much lower idle power as a result.



That is more interesting. Matte displays are unlikely with the current design, but wide gamut might happen.
Yes, the temperature will be a big problem.

Why do you think there will be no matte displays on the iMac?

Doesn't look cool enough?
     
P
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Jun 23, 2010, 03:20 AM
 
The current design has a big plastic sheet in front of the display and the entire front. That sheet itself is glossy. On the white iMacs, you could touch the screen itself - the front plastic did not extend over the display, and the display was recessed slightly. I think that Apple would have to go back to something like that if they are going to offer a matte option, and that sort of defeats the entire design concept.
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.
     
Veltliner  (op)
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Jun 23, 2010, 03:49 AM
 
Yes, the trouble is in the design.

Form follows function?

In this case: you wish.

Form limits function.
     
P
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Jun 23, 2010, 06:20 AM
 
Sort of. If providing a matte display was a high priority, I'm sure if could be handled - there are matte options on the MBP, after all. Just removing the plastic cover now would look odd because of the chin. Say that a matte display was critical - you could redesign the chin a bit to make the transition smoother on the small number of iMacs without a plastic cover and still keep the appearance on the large volume of iMacs. Apple just didn't do it that way, and they just had the opportunity of a major redesign. This is why I consider it unlikely.
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.
     
Tuoder
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Jun 24, 2010, 12:14 AM
 
I'm thinking matte screens just weren't that popular, and those who prefer it that badly are willing to pony up for a Mac with one.

I wish matte were still the default type of screen. I prefer it quite a bit.
     
Big Mac
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Jun 24, 2010, 01:02 AM
 
I don't think matte screens are unpopular. It's just that glossy screens are more popular and have become the standard for consumer displays. I prefer matte as well, but that's not the direction of the market. At least there's still some choice of screen types in the MBP line, right?

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
Veltliner  (op)
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Jun 24, 2010, 03:33 AM
 
Glossy is a design option.

I'm sure you can do great designs with all in matte (case included).

That's how any kind of fashion works, industrial design included. After so many years of one kind of style people need change.

So, after glossy could come matte.
     
P
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Jun 24, 2010, 07:15 AM
 
Maybe, but it is also a trend to move away from point light sources towards more, hidden points of indirect light. Brighter screens also mean that reflections matter less. Matte screens are inherently a compromise - perhaps we don't need that compromise any more?

It used to be common with caps over big CRT displays to cut down on glare. Could something like that work here as well?

(Please note that I'm playing devil's advocate in a sense. I don't have a strong opinion either way, but given the option I would probably pick matte).
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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Jun 24, 2010, 08:35 AM
 
The panel in front of the screen is glass, not plastic. Both on the Books and the iMacs.
     
SierraDragon
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Jun 24, 2010, 12:28 PM
 
It really gets to how Apple chooses to differentiate the MP, iMac and Mini lines. Right now the lowest end MP remains ridiculously overpriced, forcing users of heavy graphics either into long MP life cycles or trying to make do with the $2k iMac, external FW drives and the glossy display. The glossy display is really undesirable to most graphics pros, so that means long MP life cycles - which is not selling Mac Pros.

If I was Apple Marketing I would add a matte display option and SATA-out to the top iMac and/or drop the price on the low end MP to keep interest and turnover going in that area of desktop sales.

Note that matte as an option means that any loss of alleged overall design coolness (IMO slight) becomes unimportant, because it is a buyer's choice. Now that the iMac highest end is powerful enough to do "pro" work it is logical that Apple would add matte to meet users' needs like they did with the MBP. My personal wish however is for lower price on an upgradable tower at the low end of the Mac Pros.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Jun 24, 2010 at 12:39 PM. )
     
Veltliner  (op)
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Jun 26, 2010, 09:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Maybe, but it is also a trend to move away from point light sources towards more, hidden points of indirect light. Brighter screens also mean that reflections matter less. Matte screens are inherently a compromise - perhaps we don't need that compromise any more?

It used to be common with caps over big CRT displays to cut down on glare. Could something like that work here as well?

(Please note that I'm playing devil's advocate in a sense. I don't have a strong opinion either way, but given the option I would probably pick matte).
There is a limit on how bright a screen can be.

I have the impression a screen that imitates the appearance of print of paper might be better to look at.
     
Veltliner  (op)
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Jun 26, 2010, 09:29 PM
 
I doubt Apple will ever make the iMac a true professional machine.

They want you to buy a $5000 Mac Pro, not a $2000 iMac.

At the current situation, Apple can't really lose. If you don't want the lame-duck Quad, you have to shell out $3500 for the real entry level Mac Pro ($3500 after the most basic additions, not even counting extended warranty).
     
Todd Madson
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Jun 27, 2010, 12:26 AM
 
You seriously think the corei7 iMac is a "lame duck" machine? Really?
Some are finding these bench faster than the low end Mac Pro.

Maybe compared to a 8-core Mac Pro but it's pretty competitive in terms of price and performance.

I think the whinging about the glossy screen is just that - some just won't ever like it - I personally have no issue since in
my audio editing studio it's sufficiently dark I don't have massive beams of sunlight blaring over the screen causing glare.
     
Veltliner  (op)
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Jul 1, 2010, 05:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by Todd Madson View Post
You seriously think the corei7 iMac is a "lame duck" machine? Really?
Some are finding these bench faster than the low end Mac Pro.

Maybe compared to a 8-core Mac Pro but it's pretty competitive in terms of price and performance.

I think the whinging about the glossy screen is just that - some just won't ever like it - I personally have no issue since in
my audio editing studio it's sufficiently dark I don't have massive beams of sunlight blaring over the screen causing glare.
You misunderstood.

I was talking about the Mac Pro Quad aka "Lame Duck". Any of the 4-core iMacs is much faster than this. The iMacs can pack the same amount of RAM.

The Mac Pro Quad was probably the worst computer Apple has been selling for years: a workstation, that is slow and has a low RAM ceiling.

Regarding the glare: it really depends on your preferences.

If you edit audio, you might not miss any nuances or get a wrong impression of contrast through visual glare.

If you edit photos, you will.
( Last edited by Veltliner; Jul 1, 2010 at 05:30 AM. )
     
   
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