Friday, August 13, 2004

Think Secret releases iMac G5 specifications

In my first Everything Apple article I wrote about the iMac G5, to be announced at the end of this month in Paris. In the article I predicted a top of the line machine with something like these specs:
G5 970FX 1.8 GHz, with 512 KB L2 cache
3:1 multiplier, for a 600 MHz bus
256 MB Single-channel DDR333 memory, with 2-3 memory slots
80 GB 7200 rpm hard drive, upgradable to 160 GB
8X SuperDrive (DVD-R/W, CD-R/W)
nVidia GeForce FX 5600 Ultra 64 MB DDR
Airport Extreme ready
Bluetooth ready
Firewire 400 and USB 2.0 ports
VGA/S-video/composite video output
Analogue audio input and output

Think Secret has now published an article detailing the specs of the new machines, and confirming the Paris announcement. The top end machine looks very similar to my top end prediction, although Think Secret's machine has a GeForce FX 5200 instead of the 5600 I predicted.

What's worrisome is the initial speculation about the price. The top end machine might be $2200 (or $2300 with the 160 GB option). If true, that would still be very expensive. I had expected a price drop, and hoped it would be in the range of about 15% or possibly more for some units. If there is no price drop, then Apple's iMac line will continue to sell poorly.

Also, there is mention of an "educational" iMac with a 1.6 GHz G5, 17" LCD, 40 GB hard drive, GeForce4 MX graphics, and no optical drive. These specs are quite mediocre, but are tolerable for institutions. At least, it would be tolerable if the price is not $1300 as initial speculation suggests. It seems to me a more appropriate price would be closer to the magical $999 price point. Some have wondered about the lack of an optical drive in this low end machine, but I believe this is a smart move, since institutions often prefer to have machines with such a configuration, for various reasons. (OS updates and software installation can simply be performed over the network.) The GeForce4 MX is also somewhat worrisome, since it cannot support Apple's new Core Video and Core Image technologies coming in OS X 10.4 Tiger next year. On the other hand, if these machines are to see very restricted usage in institutional environments, the lack of Core Image and Core Video support may not be very important.

However, as it stands now, all of this is still conjecture and rumour. We shall see the truth in just a few more weeks.

2 comments:

Scott said...

I really hope those aren't the specs as they're a little low. But even if they were much better they wouldn't sell well at $1299. Entry level needs to be $1100 tops, and a nicely configured 17 inch with superdrive (which should be standard) should run no more than $1550.

Scott said...
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