Apple refreshes iMac with Intel quad-core processors, next-gen AMD graphics, and Thunderbolt

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on May 5th, 2011

This week Apple temporarily shut down their online shop and when it came back it was freshly stocked with the brand new iMac. Just like the last product refresh, things look the same on the outside. On the inside, however, Apple has raised the bar for the all-in-one package. The new iMac features “Sandy Bridge” Intel quad-core processors across the line, next-gen AMD graphics, and it joins the MacBook Pro in sporting the speedy Thunderbolt port. Pricing starts at $1,199 for the base 21.5-incher and $1,699 for the 27-inch model.

Hop on after the break for the full rundown.

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Apple rewards MacBook Pro line a deserved refresh

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on February 28th, 2011

It has been close to a year since Apple rejuvenated its MacBook Pro line of laptops with fresh processors and graphics chips. This go around the engineering team decided not to change the lappy’s aesthetics but instead upgrade only the internals. Neatly hidden inside the aluminum unibody MBPs are Intel’s latest Core i5 and Core i7 “Sandy Bridge” dual/quad-core processors, Intel HD Graphics 3000, and AMD’s beefier Radeon HD graphics, depending on the screen size (13, 15, and 17 inches). Take note that Apple has ditched NVIDIA’s mobile graphics cards for AMD’s latest and greatest.

Another new addition to the MacBook Pro lineup is a port called Thunderbolt I/O. Apple teamed up with Intel to invent a rehashed version of the DisplayPort with dual copper wire-based Light Peak technology; it doubles as a video out port and a way to transfer data with speeds up to 10 gigabits per second. For comparison’s sake, Thunderbolt can move data to and from peripherals up to 20 times faster than with USB 2.0 (480 Mbps) and more than 12 times faster than with FireWire 800. It also happens to best Intel’s next-gen USB 3.0 which promises to reach speeds of up to 5 Gbps. With existing adapters Thunderbolt can support all kinds of throughput including DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, and VGA; Mini DisplayPort support is native. Thunderbolt can daisy-chain up to six peripherals; and speaking of which LaCie and Promise are currently developing Thunderbolt-ready RAID arrays and high capacity external hard drives. Though the MBPs are the first products to include the Thunderbolt port, Intel expects other manufacturers to build it into their computers by early 2012. It’ll be interesting to see if Apple can pioneer the adoption of yet another new display/transfer port. They did it with FireWire way back when, so we’ll see. With Intel on board, they’ve got a fighting chance.

New processors, graphics, Thunderbolt I/O, higher capacity hard drives, and an improved FaceTime 720p HD camera find their way into the refreshed MacBook Pros. Hop after the break to find a full rundown of the new 13, 15, and 17-inchers, including specifications and price. They are all available to customize and purchase today.

[Via Apple]

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AMD makes it official: the ATI brand is no more

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on August 30th, 2010

From the beginning of time the great battle between ATI and NVIDIA computer graphics cards maintained strength as both sides of the competition continually upped one another with new, advanced graphics technologies.  There certainly were times when one company would surpass the other for extended periods of time, but there’s no denying that the graphics arms race between ATI and NVIDIA still remains hotted debate to this day.  But on this day, things are about to change ever so slightly.  When computer processor manufacturer AMD bought ATI Technologies in 2006, AMD thought it was appropriate to keep the ATI brand alive alongside the AMD name, likely because so many consumers and business partners were so aware of that brand leading up to that point.  Today AMD decided to cut ties with the ATI brand, and starting “later this year” all new graphics chips will be branded with the letters AMD only.  AMD Radion and FirePro (see images above) will become the new logos plastered on new graphics chips.  Exisiting products will not see a name change (ie. “ATI Radeon” chips, such as the Radeon HD 5000 series, will not be renamed).  What led to this decision, you ask?  AMD market research findings has an answer for you:

1) AMD brand preference triples when the person surveyed is aware of the ATI-AMD merger.
2) The AMD brand is viewed as stronger than ATI when compared to graphics competitors.
3) The Radeon and Fire Pro brands themselves (without ATI being attached to them) are very high as is.

It has also been reported that the death of ATI branding comes at a time when AMD is readying their hybrid CPU and GPU chips, and Engadget logically points out that would be beneficial to have a “unified branding strategy” during this sensitive transition period from one technology to another.  Long live ATI!

[Via TechReport; Engadget; Gizmodo]