Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Thunderbolt strikes Apple's iMacs

As I forecast last year (albeit a month or so later than forecast), Apple has launched its line of Sandy Bridge-based iMacs. The four models range in base price from $1,199 to $1,999. Two displays are available: 21.5" and 27", and the models are further differentiated by their base amount of RAM, hard disk space (with or without SSDs) and graphics cards. As with the current MacBook Pros, Apple has gone "all in" with AMD and only offers Radeon 67XXM (Mobile) GPUs. The base processor for all the iMacs is Intel's Core i5 with quad cores (no more dual-core models), and the top-of-the-line model in either 21.5" or 27" can be equipped with a Core i7 quad-core CPU for an extra $200.

The 21.5" models come with a single Thunderbolt/Mini Displayport connection, while the 27" models come with dual Thunderbolt/Mini Displayport connections. The 21.5" models support 8GB of RAM, and the 27" models support 16GB. Studio Daily "tricked out" the top-of-the-line 27" model with an i7 processor, 16GB of RAM (keep in mind that third-party RAM is much less expensive than Apple's), 2TB of hard drive and a 256GB SSD, and came up with a price of $3.818.00. It's not as much of a bargain as is $1,995, but it's still a nice savings over a comparably-equipped Mac Pro.

The full power of the new iMacs will be released over the next few months, when peripheral manufacturers start delivering Thunderbolt-compatible devices, and when Apple ships Final Cut Pro X. AJA Video and Blackmagic Design displayed Thunderbolt-compatible video capture devices at NAB, while Promise Technology displayed Thunderbolt-compatible RAID arrays and La Cie showed individual Thunderbolt hard drives and SSDs. You might want to wait until some real-world benchmarks and reviews are published before buying a new iMac, to see if Thunderbolt's throughput and flexibility are really sufficient for high-end video editing.
Enhanced by Zemanta
Post a Comment