Thursday, April 14, 2005

New Power Mac, iMac, and eMac specs from Think Secret

Think Secret today published pre-release specifications for new Power Macs, iMacs, and eMacs. The machines are to be released soon, with Tiger and iLife '05.

The rumoured Power Mac speeds are dual 2.0, 2.3, and 2.7 GHz. Although TS mentions the possibility of dual-core 970MP chips, the 512 KB L2 cache spec would suggest that these machines in fact utilize the single-core 970FX chips. The top of the line speed boost is not a terribly impressive, at only 0.2 GHz, but is more impressive if the new machines no longer use liquid cooling like the current dual 2.5 GHz. It's nice to see the line more balanced now though. 2.0, 2.3, and 2.7 makes more sense for a desktop line than 1.8, 2.0, and 2.5, since the latter line's chip speeds are not evenly spread out.

No quad Power Mac is mentioned, which is not unexpected if the chips used are still the 970FX. PCIe is also a no show. One might expect the next revision of the Power Mac to include both PCIe and 970MP support, with one quad (dual dual-core) G5 model. A new Power Mac line might also support DDR2. However, with an April/May release of this new Power Mac line, we shouldn't expect a new PCIe-endowed 970MP Power Mac revision until fall at the earliest.

The stock Power Mac, iMac and eMac GPUs are all listed to be from the ATI Radeon 9600 series, with the high end Power Mac using the 9650. I suspect the 9600 listed may be the slower non-Pro 9600 GPU, but the version is not specified in the article. The 9650 appears to be ATI's RV351, which is a 110 nm die shrunk 9600 Pro class GPU. These chips will likely be fanless, and probably relatively inexpensive for Apple as well. The adoption of the 9600 series GPUs across these desktop lines is especially important for the eMac, since Core Image requires Shader 2.0 compliance for full GPU acceleration, and the previous Radeon 9200 did not support this feature. One may guess that the Mac mini will also get this GPU (or something comparable) at the next revision, possibly in the fall. The 9600 series GPUs also support Quartz 2D Extreme hardware acceleration, although this feature does not (yet) appear to be enabled in Tiger.

Overall, if the TS pre-release specs are accurate, this is a relatively solid update to Apple's desktop lines, although the Power Mac line is still in definite need of a further boost this year.

No comments: