Intel iMac arrived from China today - first impressions

brettbolt

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 16, 2006
53
0
Rocklin, California
My 20" Intel iMac arrived today. I'm a software developer, so I ordered it online when they were first available last week so I could port my code to intel. (I am the developer of Natural Scene Designer).

I thought I would share my first impressions here. Overall I like it but there are a couple of glitches.

1) When I powered the system on for the first time, it took about 10 minues before it finally recognized my wireless keyboard and mouse (even though they were only a few inches from the base). Finally I brought them to within 1/2 inch and they were recognized. I regret paying $60 extra for the wireless keyboard/mouse option, since I am used to a 2 button mouse and the "Mighty Mouse" has only one. So I'll just swap it with a plain old USB 2 button wired mouse.

2) The display is very nice, bright, with excellent text clarity. The only minor thing is that the edges (especially the bottom) of the display seem slightly darker than the rest of the screen.

3) It is the quietest computer I have ever owned. I can't hear it at all if I back off a few feet. However, the optical drive is quite audible. It makes about the same amount of noise as any other drive, except it sounds unusual when its reading a disc. It reminds me of an old fashioned mechanical adding machine - the kind with a crank and gears.

4) Something is wrong with the built-in wireless internet. It is about 1/8th the speed of my laptop. For example, the laptop downloads at 1750 Kbps, while the iMac only acheives 267 Kbps. I tried them both from the same distance from the router (15 feet) on the same test site (DSL Reports). The iMac reported a signal level of 15 (maximum possible), so I know the iMac was close enough. I use a LinkSys WRT54G router with WAP security. The wireless speed is not usable (like having a dialup modem), so I will have to get this resolved.

5) My kids had a blast with the Photo Booth and the built-in camera.

6) If I want to add a second monitor, I'll need to buy a special adapter cable from Apple :( to convert from the miniature video connector to either standard VGA or DVI.

I'll post more observations after I''ve installed the rest of my software.

Brett
 

jhero

macrumors 6502
Jan 10, 2005
352
8
Not near an Apple Store
Oh, that vid adapter didn't come with the computer?? It came with my ibook though :/

Hey, you have a video camera? Could you take vids of it's snappyness if you don't mind? :()
 

Peace

Cancelled
Apr 1, 2005
19,546
4,551
Space The Only Frontier
jhero said:
Oh, that vid adapter didn't come with the computer?? It came with my ibook though :/

Hey, you have a video camera? Could you take vids of it's snappyness if you don't mind? :()
Why didnt you have a developer transition kit ?
 

Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
18,803
1,257
New Zealand
brettbolt said:
I am used to a 2 button mouse and the "Mighty Mouse" has only one.
The Mighty Mouse *looks* like it has one, but it actually has two (or maybe three - you can apparently squeeze the sides).
 

jimsowden

macrumors 68000
Sep 6, 2003
1,766
16
NY
Nermal said:
The Mighty Mouse *looks* like it has one, but it actually has two (or maybe three - you can apparently squeeze the sides).
He's wrong. If he got the wireless option, it only has one button, there is no wireless mighty mouse.
 

AvSRoCkCO1067

macrumors 65816
Sep 6, 2005
1,401
0
CO
jhero said:
He could have; remember the article on Apple Insider which stated that Apple allows developers to turn in the 999 dollar developer kits for an iMac for FREE! Plus, developers get to keep the iMac, which is totally sweet - even after they've finished converting over.
 

brettbolt

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 16, 2006
53
0
Rocklin, California
Peace said:
Why didnt you have a developer transition kit ?
Because I would have had to "lease" the development system and return to Apple in 2006. I did not know then that they were going to let developers trade the transition kit for a new iMac (to keep). If I had known that ahead of time, I would have done it.

Also, I've been a Mac Developer since 1992 and was there for the 68000 to PPC transition, the OS 9 to OS X transition, and now the Intel switch. I wanted to make sure that everything was stable before I spent the time and money porting to Intel.

I expect it will only take a week or two to get Natural Scene Designer fully optimized for Intel.

Brett
 

Peace

Cancelled
Apr 1, 2005
19,546
4,551
Space The Only Frontier
AvSRoCkCO1067 said:
He could have; remember the article on Apple Insider which stated that Apple allows developers to turn in the 999 dollar developer kits for an iMac for FREE! Plus, developers get to keep the iMac, which is totally sweet - even after they've finished converting over.

exactly!!

I'm waiting on my new free iMac..
Although it's really not free since I paid $999 6 months ago.
I was just wondering.since he does development why he didnt have a DTK..

brettbolt said:
Because I would have had to "lease" the development system and return to Apple in 2006. I did not know then that they were going to let developers trade the transition kit for a new iMac (to keep). If I had known that ahead of time, I would have done it.

Also, I've been a Mac Developer since 1992 and was there for the 68000 to PPC transition, the OS 9 to OS X transition, and now the Intel switch. I wanted to make sure that everything was stable before I spent the time and money porting to Intel.

I expect it will only take a week or two to get Natural Scene Designer fully optimized for Intel.

Brett
Cool..

In re : wireless mouse and keyboard..The setup manual tells you to place them close to the mac on first set-up..
Re: WiFi..
Don't know why you're having that problem.My DTK works great over airport and since the WiFi onboard the Intels are Intel it should be smooth..
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,776
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
brettbolt said:
4) Something is wrong with the built-in wireless internet. It is about 1/8th the speed of my laptop. For example, the laptop downloads at 1750 Kbps, while the iMac only acheives 267 Kbps. I tried them both from the same distance from the router (15 feet) on the same test site (DSL Reports). The iMac reported a signal level of 15 (maximum possible), so I know the iMac was close enough. I use a LinkSys WRT54G router with WAP security. The wireless speed is not usable (like having a dialup modem), so I will have to get this resolved.
Hi Brett,

Well, if you're getting 267 kbps, it isn't "like having a dialup modem" ... since it's more than five times the theoretical maximum speed of a telephone modem. ;)

Couple of suggestions...

1) Is there any chance that your iMac is acquiring an 802.11b connection instead of an 802.11g connection?

2) Try to transfer a file from computer to computer across the network. This will tell you some more about the issue (i.e. you want to see whether you get a fast intranet transfer, even though you get a slow internet transfer).

Some more diagnostic ideas:

3) Open System Preferences -> Networking -> Assist Me... (at the bottom) and run the diagnostic, to see if it spots anything strange about the network.

4) Try temporarily disabling security. Actually, what is "WAP" security? The only "WAP" that I'm familiar with has nothing to do with this kind of wireless networking (it's a cell phone thing). Do you mean WPA? In any event, try turning it off and seeing if it has an impact on speed. You don't have to do it permanently. Just as a test / diagnostic.

I hope you're able to get through these issues quickly, so you can get back to enjoying this thing! :)
 

brettbolt

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 16, 2006
53
0
Rocklin, California
Peace said:
Cool..

In re : wireless mouse and keyboard..The setup manual tells you to place them close to the mac on first set-up...
I thought 8 inches was close enough. It finally worked at about 1" range.
Peace said:
Don't know why you're having that problem.My DTK works great over airport and since the WiFi onboard the Intels are Intel it should be smooth.
Maybe its because I'm using WPA security or some obscure setting. Or maybe the Chineese assembler forgot to connect the internal antenna?
 

brettbolt

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 16, 2006
53
0
Rocklin, California
Peace said:
exactly!!

I'm waiting on my new free iMac..
Although it's really not free since I paid $999 6 months ago.
I was just wondering.since he does development why he didnt have a DTK..
One advantage of not getting the DTK is that I ended up with a 20" iMac now. Apple's exchange offer is for an 18" iMac. I love the extra screen real estate.

I don't expect it will take very long to port Natural Scene Designer to Intel, especially since I already have a shipping Windows version with all the differences in byte ordering (little endian vs. big endian) resolved. So I really saw little advantage to getting the DTK.

Also, I just tried the shipping version of Natural Scene Designer Pro (without any changes) and it runs very well in emulation mode. It even makes use of both processors during rendering like the Mac version.
 

mrichmon

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2003
873
3
brettbolt said:
Maybe its because I'm using WPA security or some obscure setting. Or maybe the Chineese assembler forgot to connect the internal antenna?
Or maybe you have picked up a someone else's wireless network? Are you certain you are connected to your own wireless network?
 

brettbolt

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 16, 2006
53
0
Rocklin, California
mrichmon said:
Or maybe you have picked up a someone else's wireless network? Are you certain you are connected to your own wireless network?
Yes, my IP address (as reported by the dslreports web site) matches my address on a hard-wired system. Plus my wireless router activity light blinks in sync with my usage.

I will try WEP (instead of WPA). If that doesn't work I'll disable security.
 

p0intblank

macrumors 68030
Sep 20, 2005
2,548
2
New Jersey
Congrats on your new iMac! Now we just need pictures. :)

Do you work in Photoshop at all? If so, I would love to see some time trials done.
 

brettbolt

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 16, 2006
53
0
Rocklin, California
Thanks for the suggestions for fixing the wireless speed problem.

Through trial and error, I have discovered on my new iMac that wireless with either WEP, WPA2, or no encryption works at full speed. However, in my initial post I was using plain WPA and got 1/8 speed.

After success with WPA2, I went back to WPA as a test and the speed dropped back down to 1/8. So it appears that either my Linksys WRT54G or the Intel iMac has a problem which degrades WPA speed.

I hope this info helps anyone with the same problem.
 

brettbolt

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 16, 2006
53
0
Rocklin, California
p0intblank said:
Congrats on your new iMac! Now we just need pictures. :)

Do you work in Photoshop at all? If so, I would love to see some time trials done.
Thanks, its been an exciting day.

1) What part of the iMac would you like to see photographed?

2) I dont use PhotoShop very much (I'm a software developer). Still, I could compare the emulated iMac speed to a 2.8 GHz dual-core Windows system or a single core 3.0 GHz system. What PhotoShop function(s) are you interested in time testing?
 

brettbolt

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 16, 2006
53
0
Rocklin, California
Now that I've found a work-around for the wireless speed problem (use WPA2), I HIGHLY recommend getting one of these new systems! (But get the multi-button mighty mouse, not the one-button wireless).

My wife, who is not easily impressed with electronic devices, says the new iMac is "Gorgeous". The 20" screen is the brightest and clearest that we have seen.

Also, its extremely quiet. Kudos to Apple for a great system. I look forward to developing software on it.
 

BakedBeans

macrumors 68040
May 6, 2004
3,054
0
What's Your Favorite Posish
kainjow said:
Now you just need to see if WinXP boots :D
It would be VERY interesting to see this - lots of people want to know

brettbolt said:
(But get the multi-button mighty mouse, not the one-button wireless).
Congrats on your new iMac (I'm waiting for mine to be delivered!).

The one button shouldnt cause any problems - its just getting used to it, i much prefer the one button over a multi button - i find myself my more productive that way,

0have a great time with your new imac
 

NewbieNerd

macrumors 6502a
Sep 22, 2005
512
0
Chicago, IL
BakedBeans said:
It would be VERY interesting to see this - lots of people want to know
Interesting to see how you commented first on the prospect of testing to see if XP will run on the mac and THEN on the guy actually getting the mac. We certainly see where your interests lie... :) (just giving you a hard time)
 

brettbolt

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 16, 2006
53
0
Rocklin, California
More observations:

1) Tried to boot XP twice with the "C" key down -- as others have reported, it doesn't work for me either. Given the intense interest in doing this, I think its only a short amount of time before someone finds a way.

2) Tried to boot Fedora linux -- also didn't work.

3) I like the keyboard more than my old G4 keyboard. The keys have a better feel (I type a lot). There is only 1/16 inch of clear plastic around the entire outer edge of the keyboard. You can see the keys, your table top, and there's nothing else to get in your way. Also saves a little desk space.

4) Startup time is 25 seconds (from pressing the power button to till its ready to use). Shut down time is 7 seconds.

5) CodeWarrior 8 (a PPC development tool) compiles code faster than on my 866 MHz dual G4. (Will be porting my program using Apple's XCode, currently the only tool available to make a universal binary).

6) The screen has a cool "translucent" look. The very slight darkness around the edges changes as you move your head, enhancing this effect.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) I'll begin the job of making Natural Scene Designer into a universal binary app.
 

robbiehughes

macrumors newbie
Jan 17, 2006
1
0
Wireless Interference

To get your wifi up to speed, try turning off bluetooth.
I have had a number of problems with my wifi dying because i was sending data to my phone.
The symptoms are massive packet loss which results in slow transmission speed.

you can ping -f your basestation with it on and with it off. each dot you see represents a ping 'lost'. there shouldn't be more than a couple.

sudo ping -f basestation

worth a shot.


----
edit
----
ahh, just saw you fixed it. would be interesting to know if this also does it too -
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.