New Apple iMacs Feature Thunderbolt I/O, FaceTime HD, Quad-Core Intel Core i5 Processors

Apple iMac Thunderbolt HD video

Apple today updated its iMac line with new quad-core processors, Thunderbolt I/O and a new FaceTime HD camera. Starting at $1,199, the new iMac is, according to Apple, up to 70 percent faster and delivers graphics performance up to three times the previous generation.

While the update is an incremental one, the new iMacs do offer some significant improvements for musicians and some pretty serious power for an all-in-one computer. 

Key Features:

  • Quad-core Intel Core i5 processors with an option for customers to choose Core i7 processors up to 3.4 GHz. These next generation processors feature an integrated memory controller and a new media engine for high-performance video encoding and decoding.
  • iMac is the first desktop computer on the market to include Thunderbolt I/O technology. The 21.5-inch iMac has a single Thunderbolt port while the 27-inch model features two ports. Featuring two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds up to 10Gbps each, Thunderbolt delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance peripherals such as RAID arrays, and can support FireWire and USB consumer devices, and Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters. Thunderbolt also supports DisplayPort for high resolution displays and works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays. Freely available for implementation on systems, cables and devices, Thunderbolt technology is expected to be widely adopted as a new standard for high performance I/O.
  • iMac includes a built-in FaceTime HD camera for crisp, widescreen video calling. The new camera supports high definition video calls between all FaceTime HD-enabled Macs and standard resolution calls with iPad 2, iPhone 4, the current generation iPod touch and other Intel-based Macs.

Pricing & Availability

The 21.5-inch iMac is available in two configurations:

  • one with a 2.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6750M and 500GB hard drive for a suggested retail price of $1,199 (US); and
  • one with a 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6770M and 1TB hard drive for a suggested retail price of $1,499 (US).

The new 27-inch iMac is available in two models:

  • one with a 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6770M and 1TB hard drive for a suggested retail price of $1,699 (US); and
  • one with a 3.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6970M and 1TB hard drive for a suggested retail price of $1,999 (US).

Configure-to-order options include faster Intel Core i7 processors up to 3.4 GHz, additional hard drive capacity up to 2TB, a 256GB solid state drive, additional DDR3 memory and AppleCare Protection Plan.

61 thoughts on “New Apple iMacs Feature Thunderbolt I/O, FaceTime HD, Quad-Core Intel Core i5 Processors

  1. Do you record your synths on a tape recorder? Or have you joined the 21st century….a lot of music is recorded on computers. Faster computers are better at this. This computer is very fast. This is how it relates to synthesizers and music in general.

  2. So there should be news about new desktop computers from Dell/HP/whatever, they have Ableton Live, FL Studio, Reason and others plus millions of VST plugins.

    I'm a Mac user, I use Logic Express 9 but I find this post completely useless. Probably not only me.

  3. I think what people are objecting to is the obvious bias. If this post was followed by, oh, I don't know, the latest LG laptop w/ the thinnest bezel around, thus allowing for an i7 14" laptop to fit into the form factor of a 13", then it might not be so annoying.

    Only thing that saves this post is the availability of Thunderbolt.

  4. Quad processors for $1200 seems like a steal.

    Has anyone seen performance comparisons on these yet? Shouldn't they be close to double the overall speed of last year's models?

  5. Steal from whom?

    I got an i5 2.5K with 3GB ram and 1TB Sata HD for $400 last month.
    Then a screen is < $200 and gfx card $100-200.
    In all, these totems are about $800 over parts prices.

    You have to really really love the OS to pay the markup.

  6. If you want to do a fair comparison, you would want to look for a decent brand name like HP or Compact and for computer with a similar processor and ram:
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&am

    That'd run you about $850.

    Do the same thing and search for a decent monitor with comparable specs::
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&am

    About $250 more.

    The iMac is $100 more than a roughly comparable PC, but has twice the hard drive size and much faster peripheral connectivity. It also gets you an excellent array of media software and free tech support for life.

    Apple also tends to use better materials (aluminum bodies vs plastic) and components, which results in lighter and more reliable computers.

    I don't think Apple has ever tried to compete to make the cheapest computer, but they make good ones at a very fair price and that's why they are the choice of so many musicians.

  7. If you want to do a fair comparison, you would want to look for a decent brand name like HP or Compact and for computer with a similar processor and ram:
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&am

    That'd run you about $850.

    Do the same thing and search for a decent monitor with comparable specs::
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&am

    About $250 more.

    The iMac is $100 more than a roughly comparable PC, but has twice the hard drive size and much faster peripheral connectivity. It also gets you an excellent array of media software and free tech support for life.

    Apple also tends to use better materials (aluminum bodies vs plastic) and components, which results in lighter and more reliable computers.

    I don't think Apple has ever tried to compete to make the cheapest computer, but they make good ones at a very fair price and that's why they are the choice of so many musicians.

  8. If you want to do a fair comparison, you would want to look for a decent brand name like HP or Compact and for computer with a similar processor and ram:
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&am

    That'd run you about $850.

    Do the same thing and search for a decent monitor with comparable specs::
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&am

    About $250 more.

    The iMac is $100 more than a roughly comparable PC, but has twice the hard drive size and much faster peripheral connectivity. It also gets you an excellent array of media software and free tech support for life.

    Apple also tends to use better materials (aluminum bodies vs plastic) and components, which results in lighter and more reliable computers.

    I don't think Apple has ever tried to compete to make the cheapest computer, but they make good ones at a very fair price and that's why they are the choice of so many musicians.

  9. If you want to do a fair comparison, you would want to look for a decent brand name like HP or Compact and for computer with a similar processor and ram:
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&am

    That'd run you about $850.

    Do the same thing and search for a decent monitor with comparable specs::
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&am

    About $250 more.

    The iMac is $100 more than a roughly comparable PC, but has twice the hard drive size and much faster peripheral connectivity. It also gets you an excellent array of media software and free tech support for life.

    Apple also tends to use better materials (aluminum bodies vs plastic) and components, which results in lighter and more reliable computers.

    I don't think Apple has ever tried to compete to make the cheapest computer, but they make good ones at a very fair price and that's why they are the choice of so many musicians.

  10. If you want to do a fair comparison, you would want to look for a decent brand name like HP or Compact and for computer with a similar processor and ram:
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&am

    That'd run you about $850.

    Do the same thing and search for a decent monitor with comparable specs::
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&am

    About $250 more.

    The iMac is $100 more than a roughly comparable PC, but has twice the hard drive size and much faster peripheral connectivity. It also gets you an excellent array of media software and free tech support for life.

    Apple also tends to use better materials (aluminum bodies vs plastic) and components, which results in lighter and more reliable computers.

    I don't think Apple has ever tried to compete to make the cheapest computer, but they make good ones at a very fair price and that's why they are the choice of so many musicians.

  11. If you want to do a fair comparison, you would want to look for a decent brand name like HP or Compact and for computer with a similar processor and ram:
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&am

    That'd run you about $850.

    Do the same thing and search for a decent monitor with comparable specs::
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&am

    About $250 more.

    The iMac is $100 more than a roughly comparable PC, but has twice the hard drive size and much faster peripheral connectivity. It also gets you an excellent array of media software and free tech support for life.

    Apple also tends to use better materials (aluminum bodies vs plastic) and components, which results in lighter and more reliable computers.

    I don't think Apple has ever tried to compete to make the cheapest computer, but they make good ones at a very fair price and that's why they are the choice of so many musicians.

  12. First of all youre is invalid as soon as you said "you would want to look for a decent brand name like HP or Compact…" If you know anything about computers in the PC world the names compact and HP are NOT decent brand names. Unless you found a deal, prebuilt desktop computers are more expensive than individual parts.

    Also your comment about "time is worthless" means what? Order all the stuff on Newegg and it comes within a day or two. Put the computer together takes 10min. Install windows takes 30min-1hr…. OMG just over an hour saved me a few hundred bucks? Ill take that any day. Mac products will always be more expensive than PC hardware versions equivalent due to the OS constraint.

    This is a computer tech related post, so dont make sure you know what youre talking about.

  13. As soon as you said <$200 screen, you failed.

    A 27" IPS screen is $1K+.

    Hell, I'm typing this on a Win 7 box, but I'm using a 27" Apple Cinema Display because it is an amazing monitor.

  14. despite all the religiuos tech-hooligan nerd talk here (please people get a life!). I'm actually quite curious about this whole Thunderbolt thing… but it will probably takes some time for it to become mainstream, if it ever will. Most hardware producers will probably go for USB 3.0 and it remains to be seen how useful the increased bandwith really is, since Firewire/USB2.0 already covers the user needs quite well in many cases.

  15. Touché.
    Getting the SATA to work with the damn XP install was a walk in the park only if your park was recently nuked and full of zombies.

  16. Well, they sell those macs with 21" screens too. My 23" was $150.
    Given that the markup for 27" is only $500 over the 21" ones, they may be a better deal then.

    I forget what this had to do with music…

  17. You can count on mainstream adoption – Apple is a steamroller, right now.

    The support for multiple monitors and high-speed data transfer will probably be the biggest plusses for musicians.

  18. You can count on mainstream adoption – Apple is a steamroller & Intel will push it, too.

    The support for multiple monitors and high-speed data transfer will probably be the biggest plusses for musicians.

  19. well as I see it, despite the fact that most users like me won't use the full bandwith for audio, right now we are in the situation where firewire has a bit of an uncertain future (the pc market has abandoned it a long time ago and Apple will sure drop it in favor of Thunderbolt) and USB 2.0 kind of sucks. What has still to be seen is how manufacturers other than Apple will adopt the Thunderbolt standard, since USB 3.0 looks like a more compelling solution for the broad market.
    I mean… everything depends on Apple staying in its current position as main source for audio computers or not. there's many reasons why you would choose Apple as there are reasons against it… and what happens in the event of the Steve Job's getting out of Apple could radically change the game.
    Well whatever, I won't buy a new computer right now, the best thing you can do is to squeeze the current setup until the very last!

Leave a Reply