The grapevine has been set on fire this weekend by a breaking rumor, strongly suggesting from multiple quarters/sources that the much awaited “Nehalem” Core i7 iMac, and perhaps also a revamped Mac Mini, will be announced at an Apple Event on the 24th of this month.
Although there is less certainty about whether or not the Mini, despite being quite long in the tooth, will be updated at the event….a consensus is rapidly forming across the entire Grapevine to the effect that this event is confirmed (though not yet officially announced; that will most likely take place later this week or early in the next) and that the new iMacs as we have envisioned them here on Rumors will indeed be introduced there.
As we have previously reported, these new iMacs will sport Intel’s next-generation “Nehalem” dual- and quad-core Core i7 desktop processors in a leap forward which will be nothing short of massive for the iMac which has predominantly used stripped-down, “mobile” versions of the Core 1 and Core 2 architectures since it was the first Apple computer to switch to Intel at the beginning of 2006.
“Nehalem” achieves this leap forward by integrating components (such as the memory controller and new “QuickPath” interconnects) onto the CPU chip and by employing numerous technologies — notably advanced power management and HyperThreading, which allows two threads to run on a single core for greater efficiency — which have been under intense development at Intel’s facilities in Israel since the first days of the “Core” architectural overhaul project at the company saved it from the inferior Pentium 4 “NetBurst” design that the PowerPC G4 and G5 had been crushing for years.
Core i7 is what the Intel Mac architecture was always meant to be….in fact, anticipation of its tremendous superiority was no small factor in the original decision by Apple to switch to Intel. Core 1 and Core 2 were evolutionary, though they contained much needed corrections to the disastrous “NetBurst” way of doing things.
Core i7 is, quite simply, the revolution upon which the entire “MacIntel” transition was based — and it is the fulfillment of the original vision for what the platform can become.
Along with many other benefits on the CPU itself, i7 also moves the iMac from two DDR2-800 SDRAM channels to *three* DDR3-1066 channels. This more than doubles memory bandwidth, which is the #1 bottleneck on modern systems other than storage (HDDs, Optical Drives, Flash Memory) which is in & of itself nothing short of a
If a quad-core Nehalem iMac with considerably more than three times the processing power and twice the memory throughput of the current high-end model (followed by several dual-core versions that can all easily dust that current high-end model at considerably lower price!) isn’t hot enough for you, then consider the graphics that we have recently confirmed are specified in the Nehalem iMac support code in Mac OS X 10.5.7 developer seed build 9J2x series: at least one model will have a GPU in AMD’s ATi X4000 family which is nothing to scoff at.
At this time, excepting any source information/interviews still under embargo, Rumors has had the chance to examine Nehalem iMac prototypes on several occasions which had varying GPUs or other changes, were built into enclosures of varying depths, and in at least one case included an outrageously over the top 30+ inch version with components that we’re far from certain would ever end up in a production iMac of any lesser dimension.
What we can discern from this access and from at least some of the information that is still under embargo to talk about directly or in specific, is that almost everything that we’ve been able to report so far is basically accurate.
The date could easily change, even if Apple has already internally decided upon it; until the moment they start printing the flyers and start sending out the e-mails to their handpicked members of the press, over 15 years in the rumor-mongering business tell us we can expect even the best “insider” information to be wide of what is actually presented on announcement and/or release day.
In particular, the further in advance a prototype, developmental build, or piece of “insider information” is of that release, that’s obviously time for Apple to change its mind or for third parties like hardware component/chipset providers to experience the all-too-common phenomena of reality setting in.
During the PowerPC era, which dominated about 80% of those 15 years of our history in publishing (our actual time rumor-mongering goes back quite a bit further than that, thanks to our founders growing up with friends that went on to work for Apple during the “dark days” of the mid-90’s), suppliers as critical as IBM and Motorola themselves frequently let Apple down…sometimes at the last minute, unless Apple remained extremely flexible up until that last minute to adapt to those let-downs which stretched the original roadmaps and hopes based on one-off prototypes (easily produced, even in most supply shortages) beyond all belief.
So, despite our due skepticism about some of the particulars…we are very optimistic that before this month is out, we will see at least one of the key Core i7 Macs — to many customers, the most important of them all even though it will be dwarfed by the stunning power of the new 16-core/32-thread Mac Pro which will soon follow it onto the store shelves — and that it will be quite a close match for the specifications we’ve outlined in the past.
We’ll revisit those specs, and hopefully bring some more details, benchmarks and so forth out from under embargo very soon; the official confirmation of the March 24th Event date would most likely cause the expiration of more than a few of those. Stay tuned — and as always don’t forget to sound off: firstname.lastname@example.org // Follow @MacOSRumors on Twitter // Or submit a Comment below!