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Buyers Outlook for 2008-2009. Penryn iMacs Soon, Nehalem in 2009

MacRumors

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Apr 12, 2001
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The Buyer's Guide has a been an important part of MacRumors for many years now.

The basic reason why the Buyer's Guide exists is to prevent someone from buying at the wrong time of the upgrade cycle. Apple updates their products in a very consistent manner. A Mac comes out at a certain price with certain features. The price and features of that particular Mac stay exactly the same throughout the lifespan of the product. So, if a customer buys on Day #1, they are getting the fastest/newest technology for the dollar. The problem, however, is that 8 months later, on the day prior to its refresh, that Mac costs the exact same money, but contains 8 month old technology.

Before the move to Intel this trend could be even more striking, as the PowerPC updates were especially secretive and we had no roadmap for future PowerPC processors. Instead, one day Apple would announce "new Macs," and anyone who just bought a Mac would curse their luck. Of course, the Buyer's Guide combined with the most recent rumors helped prevent that.

Since the move to Intel, however, the dynamics have changed a bit. First, we know what's coming 1-2 years in advance. Intel is very open about their plans, and we know that Apple will use their newest processors within a reasonable timeframe. Second, we've even heard rumors that Apple has even been forced to update their Macs ahead of what might be considered the "natural" refresh cycle in order to keep up with Intel's aggressive pace. These changes have caused some interesting side effects.



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celavato

macrumors regular
Oct 6, 2005
211
0
Interesting article that doesn't actually say anyhing. How about some dates on Intel's roadmap?
 
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arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
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Interesting article that doesn't actually say anyhing. How about some dates on Intel's roadmap?

Montevina, Penryn speedbump: Mid year (June-ish)
Nehalem (for desktop and laptop): early 2009.

arn
 
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inkswamp

macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2003
2,769
856
The problem, however, is that 8 months later, on the day prior to its refresh, that Mac costs the exact same money,

I really miss Apple's older approach. I've complained about this a few times here on this very site that Apple appears to be shifting into an update cycle for its consumer machines that is closer to 1 year. IMO, that seriously sucks. They used to do updates, price drops, or spec bumps every 4-5 months (and sometimes sooner than that) which was great. I don't understand why they now carry the same iMac, with the same specs, for almost a full year without lowering the price. There really is no excuse for that and it's a disappointing practice, especially considering how rapidly things change. If Apple is going to stretch their updates out longer, they really need to adjust the prices along the way as the components inside become not only less expensive, but less powerful relative to whatever has come along since.
 
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bdkennedy1

Suspended
Oct 24, 2002
1,275
528
I thought the Penryn processors had the new SSE4 instruction set which Apple was rumored to take advantage of in a Leopard update that was supposed to substantially boost the speed of the OS?
 
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arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
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I thought the Penryn processors had the new SSE4 instruction set which Apple was rumored to take advantage of in a Leopard update that was supposed to substantially boost the speed of the OS?

It has SSE4, but there's no reason to think that Apple will be able to use it to boost the OS.

arn
 
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Darkroom

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Dec 15, 2006
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Montréal, Canada
Montevina, Penryn speedbump: Mid year (June-ish)
Nehalem (for desktop and laptop): early 2009.

arn

so is MacRumors stating that the iMac will not see penryn updates until June? if so, why would Apple wait so long after the MacBooks to update to the same chip?
 
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g00k

macrumors regular
Apr 1, 2008
153
0
yes kinda dissapointing that the prices never change...
even if u buy it one day before the update it.

are there any other companies out there which handle it the same way?
i guess no or not much
 
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Unless Apple adds other compelling features to the next iMac revision, readers may want to pause a moment before reflexively ordering the newest Mac.

That's a good point actually. At least with the latest MBP's we got the Multi-Touch trackpad and slightly better battery life but what else could we expect from the forthcoming iMac Penryn revisions? It seems too early for either a new design or new feautures along the lines of an "iMac Touch". New graphics card would be nice though ... :D

Nehalem, however, won't be ready for use in a Mac until early 2009.

I can imagine this being a real dilemma for some people contemplating a MBP. I'm sure for most people, a soon to come redesign of the MBP's is all they're waiting for to make their purchase. But the more hardcore "technology victims" may be prepared to hold on for longer if a much faster model is coming only 6 months after the Summer. (Although by then rumors of yet another amazing new model may have surfaced and they'll just keep waiting and waiting ...)

If Apple is going to stretch their updates out longer, they really need to adjust the prices along the way as the components inside become not only less expensive, but less powerful relative to whatever has come along since.

I can understand that point but you have to remember that, compared to PC's, Macs don't fall as much or as rapidly in price. So if you time it right you can sell before an update and not lose as much as you may think. It's not perfect I know but better than having a PC which can become worthless very, very quickly (cue jokes from unscrupulous members about PC's being useless as soon as you buy them ... ;)).
 
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Sbrocket

macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2007
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So many decisions. Go with a Montevina MBP in June or wait for the overhaul with Nehalem in a year. Waiting just means actually extending my AppleCare (which isn't so cheap but definitely necessary) and losing more resale value on my 2.4GHz MBP. Plus, if Nehalem is going to be big (and the question is...is it?) and introduce many new changes are we sure its such a good idea to try and get in on the first revision?

:confused:
 
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kinless

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2003
154
208
Tustin, California
I've been grateful for the MR Buyer's Guide for several years. It's what helped me strategically plan for the jump from my old 1998 Beige G3 to my new 2008 Mac Pro (8-core). I figured I was caught up in the "keep waiting" routine long enough.

I know better technology is coming out next year, but I can't keep putting off my immediate plans for something continuously down the line. Besides, I do plan on replacing my 12" Powerbook G4 in 2010, hoping the Nehalem chips will make its way into MacBook Pros by then.

As for the iMacs, if you're at consumer level then any speed gains for the next generation of chips could be negligible for what applications you plan on using. If you fall into this category, then just get the next rev of the iMac. Day 1, of course.
 
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sebastianlewis

macrumors regular
Jan 2, 2007
177
0
San Francisco
That's a good point actually. At least with the latest MBP's we got the Multi-Touch trackpad and slightly better battery life but what else could we expect from the forthcoming iMac Penryn revisions? It seems too early for either a new design or new feautures along the lines of an "iMac Touch". New graphics card would be nice though ... :D

Doesn't even have to be super new, as long as it's an NVIDIA of the same class... although I haven't read the details on ATI's and NVIDIA's latest cards yet... hmmm, well I'll get back to this later.

I can imagine this being a real dilemma for some people contemplating a MBP. I'm sure for most people, a soon to come redesign of the MBP's is all they're waiting for to make their purchase. But the more hardcore "technology victims" may be prepared to hold on for longer if a much faster model is coming only 6 months after the Summer. (Although by then rumors of yet another amazing new model may have surfaced and they'll just keep waiting and waiting ...)

Nehalem will make Penryn look like a flea, Penryn introduced SSE4 and transitioned to a High-K gate metal, both are great improvements but are in the end just a minor performance update, but that same tech will still be there in Nehalem, and of course Nehalem is introducing the QuickPath Interconnect, something to improve bandwidth between memory and CPU, one of the biggest bottlenecks in a computer. I'm really bad at explaining these things second-hand though so I'm just going to point you to my original source rather than confuse you: What you need to know about Intel's Nehalem CPU [arstechnica.com]

Anyway I was planning on upgrading to a Macbook Pro in November regardless of the CPU at the time, but considering almost all my frustrations with my Macbook come with that memory bottleneck (and of course the lack of RAM, still only a Gig and I don't really want to upgrade it), QPI is definitely worth delaying that until the Nehalem Macbook Pro.

So many decisions. Go with a Montevina MBP in June or wait for the overhaul with Nehalem in a year. Waiting just means actually extending my AppleCare (which isn't so cheap but definitely necessary) and losing more resale value on my 2.4GHz MBP. Plus, if Nehalem is going to be big (and the question is...is it?) and introduce many new changes are we sure its such a good idea to try and get in on the first revision?

:confused:

You can read the details of Nehalem yourself in the article I linked to above, but if you're the late adopter type and in the market for a new Macbook Pro, go ahead and get a Montevina Macbook Pro, all of Nehalem's advancements will still be there in a couple of years and any kinks should be worked out, but if you're using a Macbook Pro that's less than a year old (and it sounds like you are) and it's still working for you, why dump it for a new one? Wait a while, extend AppleCare and get the most out of what you have now, and whatever you do don't ever downgrade to a Macbook the next time you go computer shopping.

Sebastian
 
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harveypooka

macrumors 65816
Feb 24, 2004
1,291
0
So many decisions. Go with a Montevina MBP in June or wait for the overhaul with Nehalem in a year. Waiting just means actually extending my AppleCare...

It's the usual response for this one: buy if you must but keep an eye on the future!
 
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arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,647
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so is MacRumors stating that the iMac will not see penryn updates until June? if so, why would Apple wait so long after the MacBooks to update to the same chip?

no, iMacs are coming soon, according to rumors.

arn
 
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illitrate23

macrumors 6502a
Jun 11, 2004
572
130
uk
thanks for the article
very interesting
to be honest, i'm the kind of person who would have probably impulse grabbed a new MBP if they have a design change this summer to replace my MB
so this is most useful - i shall carry on saving the pennies until the newer ones in 2009 and get one of those
although, of course, if there are design changes in the summer - do those count as RevA models? and then if there's a major processor change Q1 next year, that's also a RevA right? So lots to be worried about going wrong :)
 
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Marx55

macrumors 68000
Jan 1, 2005
1,772
599
This information is great. Congratulations for the work. Nevertheless, technology goes so fast today that the final impact on buying now or then is not as high as previpusly was. That said, kudos for the Buyer's Guide.
 
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Johnny ireland

macrumors newbie
Apr 11, 2008
2
0
New Apple cinema displays

I am about to buy 2 x 23 inch cinema displays - any news out there on updates?
 
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RedTomato

macrumors 601
Mar 4, 2005
4,055
339
.. London ..
Anyway I was planning on upgrading to a Macbook Pro in November regardless of the CPU at the time, but considering almost all my frustrations with my Macbook come with that memory bottleneck (and of course the lack of RAM, still only a Gig and I don't really want to upgrade it), QPI is definitely worth delaying that until the Nehalem Macbook Pro.

If you need something faster, but only have a gig RAM in your MB, then upgrade that ram ASAP. 1 GB is not enough for heavy users of Leopard. I put 4GB in my MB, and the difference is like night and day.

I was shocked at how slow my brand new MB was, but with 4GB, it absolutely flies. It's like getting a whole new machine all over again. Now I'm happy with it and have no intention of upgrading for a long time (apart from needing a bigger HD).

4GB is only about $70 or so. If you have an early MB that can't take 4GB, even 2GB will make a huge difference, and is even cheaper.
 
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kerpow

macrumors 6502
Jan 16, 2004
331
0
London
Apple may make regular updates to the CPU but their graphics cards are always outdated.

I think you'd struggle to find another computer on the market that ships with the 128mb ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT which is still in the iMac. The "upgrade" is a 256mb when most other computers come with 512mb, some with 768mb.
 
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If Apple is going to stretch their updates out longer, they really need to adjust the prices along the way as the components inside become not only less expensive, but less powerful relative to whatever has come along since.

That would create even more problems.

Imagine if Apple discounted the iMac a dollar a day (or $10 a week, or whatever currency in your country) due to the aging technology inside, and when the iMac is updated the price goes back to full retail.

When would everyone buy an iMac? It would be a crazy game of trying to buy an iMac right before the update to get the best discount. So if the iMac is updated once a year, then Apple is going to permanently lower the price point of the iMac buy $360 or so. That is a losing situation for Apple as it would be giving away the margin gravy that they currently make.

This probably would not be the case for upgrades like the current Core to Nehalem upgrade, but these kinds of updates don't happen near as frequently as minor updates and speed bumps.
 
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dambro1978

macrumors regular
May 20, 2005
119
0
who really needs the newest processor?

I bet that 99% of the mac users will not notice a change in the cpu.
Big changes are given by RAM, GPU, and hard disk speed.
Even Bus speed has minor impact.

I obviously assume that a normal user plays with office, ilife and iwork.
If your life is ripping and encoding DVDs 24/7 then don't buy a mac.
Average people will enjoy their user experience even with the crippled down hardware of the MBA.

PS:
I really hope that the next MB and MBP will match the MBA form factor.

Andrea
 
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mogzieee

macrumors 6502a
Feb 8, 2008
665
1
London, UK
Thats a really good article, Thanks to whoever wrote it.

I'm aiming for my first MacBook in mid-July, preferably with the rumoured "major design changes". If that doesn't happen at WWDC then I will just buy my MacBook anyhow... i'm not fussed too much with speed and all that, just design - something that looks really good.
 
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