Organized next iMac speculation

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Commenter, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. Commenter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    #1
    I propose we whittle down a likely configuration and date for the next iMac in a constructive manner. I'm eyeing the base model, so my emphasis goes there.


    My cents:

    (speculation first, justification below)


    Basically same prices, and same everything except the following:
    Base processor: Core i3-550 3.2GHz
    Somewhat larger hard drives
    Bumped graphics, base model maybe a cheap discrete card, or Intel GMA HD
    Release: July



    Proc
    The Core i3-550 costs exactly the same as the Core 2 Duo it would replace:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_2_microprocessors#.22Wolfdale-3M.22_.2845_nm.29
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_i3_microprocessors#.22Clarkdale.22_.2832_nm.29

    As the many benchmarks in http://www.anandtech.com/show/2901/7 show, the i3-540, which is a lower-clock i3-550, handily beats the Core 2 Duo E8600 3.33GHz which is now the $200+ BTO processor in pretty much every test. That's pretty nice in my book (to get the proc one higher than the model that beats the current BTO model, which is a pretty nice proc itself).

    Also, the October 2009 refresh didn't much increase speeds ( http://www.macworld.com/article/143636/2009/11/imacs_late2009_benchmarks.html ), (and the current base E7600 is pretty old) so a year later is about time.

    Also, the next i3 (-560) comes is scheduled for Aug 29, so ramping up production enough for the base iMacs would be way too late.

    HD
    I haven't really been looking, but I presume hard drives have come down in price since Oct 2009, so it's an easy way to spec up the machine to compete with PCs and older iMacs.

    Graphics
    I know nothing about graphics, but I think the NVIDIA GeForce 320M isn't allowed on the i3s, and I don't see a real need to preserve power or space that much, and a cheap discrete card wouldn't be much cost and would be (even if marginally) better than integrated. Let's say the rest of the components if the iMac (everything except the accounted-for proc and HD) have come down in price since Oct 2009 enough to leave room for going from integrated to a cheap-but-decent discrete one.

    Or maybe just Intel graphics on the basest model, compensated by something else (or not compensated—it already seems like a good deal compared to the others, and Apple likes to upsell).

    Release
    I think Apple would want to release these as soon as they can reasonably be ready to seize the back-to-school season and the iPad and iPhone buzz. And since I don't see anything else of much interest for the machine coming soon, it would make sense to release soonish.

    Unlike last year, there probably won't be a major redesign with new displays of which to ramp up production, etc.

    They're probably pretty busy with the iPhone and even still the iPad and whathaveyou, so July-early August seems reasonable. This timeframe would also coincide with the recent LOOPRumors rumor ( http://www.macrumors.com/2010/06/22/apple-to-launch-ios-enabled-imac-with-touch-interface/ ). Not that one should give much credence to that site, but it's nice that it also fits.


    What do youse guyses think.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    I can see Apple sticking with C2D in low-end so they can use 320M thus no need for new hardware or drivers. If Apple uses i3, then it can pretty much be any GPU. It's not really the price, cheap dedicated costs like 20$.

    My guess:

    BTW, there are like 1000 threads about this already....
     
  3. Commenter thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 27, 2010
    #3
    The point is to consolidate and focus the verbose discussion elsewhere into this thread, to collectively converge to a reasonable configuration and date. Allow me to demonstrate:

    The past several refreshes of the iMac have been on average 9 months apart. This makes sense because it's more cost-efficient to change a mature line like the iMac as infrequently as the market will take. Also because that's how long it takes to hatch a baby. So let's say the next iMac will have to last until March-April 2010 (months which also saw iMac refreshes in 2008 and 2009). If your September release is right, all the more reason.

    Your proposed specs mean the base model wouldn't see a bump in anything (except the negligible-for-the-common-uses-of-that-model difference in graphics) in a year and a half, and that model really didn't get faster in the last iteration. So the base model wouldn't get faster than the model two years older in the latest refresh. All models you propose see very little improvement (which also goes completely against the last refreshes, which have been pretty significant).

    You have a point in that Apple might keep the C2D for the basest model, but then they would bump something else.

    I don't see why Apple would use the i3-530 2.93GHz in the next two models, when the i3-550 costs $133, is faster, and provides the nominal 3.06-to-3.2 jump in specs.

    Also, I don't see why Apple would wait until September—it's not like they would see considerably higher profits, but rather just look stale compared to the competition, which is the opposite of the aggressive strategy the company has been adopting (mostly).

    Would you agree on this collaboratively-developed convergent thing, then:

    Good
    21.5"
    Intel Core 2 Duo 3.06GHz or maybe Intel Core i3-550 3.2GHz
    NVidia 320M or maybe cheap-but-decent discrete graphics (care to suggest some?)
    4GB RAM
    1TB HD
    $1199 (maybe $1099 (maybe not affiliated with the above maybes))

    Better
    21.5"
    Intel Core i3-550 3.2GHz (option for 3.33GHz Intel Core i5-661)
    ATI 57xx with 256MB GDDR3
    4GB RAM
    1.5 or 2TB HD
    $1499

    Best
    27"
    Intel Core i3-550 3.2GHz (option for 3.33GHz Intel Core i5-661)
    ATI 57xx with 256MB GDDR3 (option for ATI 58xx with 512MB GDDR5)
    4GB RAM
    1.5 or 2TB HD
    $1699

    Bestestest
    27"
    Intel Core i5-760 2.8GHz quad (option for quad Intel Core i7-something)
    ATI 58xx with 512MB GDDR5
    1.5 or 2TB HD
    $1999

    Released in July
    (Quads coming a month later (Intel will release the i5-760 on 7/18/2010; the Oct 2009 quads also came a month later than the rest))
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    The last time the low-end got a significant CPU update was the transaction from PPC to Intel. It's been what, 5 years, not 1.5 years. Since that, Apple has used Core Duo or Core 2 Duo in all iMacs except in this gen's high-end. Last update bumped the CPU from 2.66GHz to 3.06GHz, that was the second biggest update since PPC to Intel. I just have an itch that Apple is sticking with C2D like in 13" MBP. Steve doesn't like Intel IGPs but seems to love NVidia IGPs. It also saves Apple from writing drivers to the low-end iMac if it uses 320M

    Last update was major so I can't see Apple doing much else than upgrading GPUs and CPUs in this update, it's rare to see to significant updates in a row. The next big update is in early 2011 when Sandy Bridge comes

    That's 20$ more to Apple. I said they might use different model of i3 but I'm guessing 530.

    Last updates have been like: 11 months, 8 months, 11 months, 7 months without an update, that's why I'm guessing Sep as it would be 11 months without an update

    I've made my own guess already, I'm not changing it. You can make your own if you want to, no need to use my guess as a base for it :cool:
     
  5. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

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    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago
    #5
    How about this for speculation: the next generation of iMacs won't have yellow screens and any of the other problems that [according to some accounts on this forum] plague the iMac line to this day.

    As far as specs, I think a Core i3 should be pretty standard by now, especially considering that Apple aims to be the "luxury" brand. It wouldn't make sense to buy a Lexus that has a crappier/weaker engine than a Honda Civic. On the other hand, many "All in Ones" from the PC camp are now just netbooks with larger screens (many sporting Atom processors) so that could give Apple the cover they need to save a few bucks by going with something a bit slower than they normally would have to.

    Other Predictions

    - All iMacs will have some sort of Quad Core processor. MAYBE the base 21.5 will get stuck with the Core 2 Duo, in which case it'd be the 3.33 Ghz version currently available as a BTO option.

    - All 21.5" Models should have 1TB HDs (this seems to be Apple's favorite thing to upgrade in each model), all 27" Models should have 2TB of storage.

    - All iMacs should have discrete GPU's, with 256MB of RAM being standard, and BTO to a 512MB video card as optional. Perhaps the 27" will already come with the better video card.

    - Perhaps Apple will increase the price as they did with the Mac Mini, back to the prices they used to charge a couple of years ago. The prices would then be $1299, $1599, $1799, and $2099. This is possible for a few reasons:

    1. Apple has noticed that even during a major recession and economic downturn people continued to buy their products in record numbers (meaning they are price inelastic for the economists out there - so why leave money on the table if people are willing to spend it anyway).

    2. Apple may need to distance the iMac more from the Mac Mini. At this point only $500 separates the Mini and the base iMac, yet with the iMac you get a faster processor, more RAM, bigger HD, a 21.5" IPS monitor (that alone is worth at least $400 even with 3rd party brands), good speakers, a wireless keyboard and a magic mouse. Not to mention less clutter since its all in one device. Hard to justify not getting an iMac unless you already have a keyboard, mouse, speakers and monitor that you are VERY happy with and don't plan to replace anytime soon (and don't mind the clutter).
     
  6. iMacdude313 macrumors regular

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    Apr 27, 2008
    #6
    That's the first time I've noticed that. Even though it's been said a thousand times an update won't happen until August - September, a little part inside me was hoping for an update next week. Either way, the above quote is pretty logical and it'll help me justify buying my iMac sooner rather than later.
     
  7. Commenter thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 27, 2010
    #7
    My intention is to debate and so agree on at least a range of specs. You've almost completely sold me on the C2D—I think it's most likely, but i3s all around is still reasonably likely.

    Anyway I basically just used your graphics choices and the format, so don't flatter yourself too much.

    You, sir, leave me no choice but to challenge you to a bet. The winnings? I-told-you-sos galore, and liberal use of sunglasses-smileys (up to 3 per post; other restrictions may apply).

    But that they've not upgraded the proc much doesn't mean they won't ever, right? This seems like a good time—several of the last refreshes have been quite significant on the whole: early 2009 doubling of memory and hard drives and and proc bumps, and bringing the larger display one model down, late 2009 new, greatly improved screens, hard drive and graphics and proc bumps, some price reductions, crazymouse™. So if it's otherwise just gonna be HD and graphics bumps, some proc love is in order. And two years of same speed is unprecedented and lame. Also I doubt Intel wants to keep producing the C2Ds in a large scale.

    I think going to the i3-530s (or anything less than the i3-550) is way too cheap and lame, and I see plenty of reasons to go with the 550s over the 530s and none (compelling) the other way around.

    I think my reasoning for the release trumps just following the pattern. We humans are wired to ascribe meaning to patterns, but just because there is a pattern doesn't necessarily mean something.


    So we're keeping my latter specs as consensus until someone disagrees (we're tied and I get tie-breaking privileges as Starter of the Thread—sorry, Hellhammah (if I may call you that)).
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #8
    I don't think this is a reason for a competition. I just have an itch that Apple will stick with C2D because of the GPU but that's just me, I of course hope that Apple moves away from them and sticks i3 in iMac. It took me some time to decide whether I jump for the C2D or i3 train. This is the first time Intel has came up with something suitable for low-end iMac so it indeed is a great time to get rid of C2D

    Of course it doesn't but I'm basing my guess on it. It's not that great proof but I still keep my guess on August-September (there has only once been an update in July)

    As I said, this is not a reason for competition. There are plenty of replies to my guess on this thread but it still doesn't mean that I'm right as obviously, we don't know before the next gen is out
     
  9. Commenter thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 27, 2010
    #9
    I'm just kidding, guy—it's all good.

    I think both C2D and Ci3 are sensible guesses.

    I also think early August is reasonable. July to early August seem right; delaying to September just because (no components to wait for, etc.—unless the graphics, which I don't know anything about) doesn't make sense to me.
     
  10. Commenter thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 27, 2010
    #10
    That'd be nice.

    I like your first hand better.

    The quads are more expensive to profit-hungry Apple, and they would negate the upselling to better models without really providing that much value to the bulk of iMac buyers (what with their web-browsing and such). The 3.33GHz Core 2 Duo costs twice the current choice, and its awwwwld (August 2008) and too much of a specialty production run for use in the base iMac.

    I agree with hard drives being Apple's favorite upgrade, but I think 1TB-2TB-2TB-2TB makes more sense, historically and for differentiation of each model step.

    Interesting.

    I think Apple would rather seize the momentum the growth that the Mac as a platform is having than make a little more short-term profit on the non-most-popular line of the Mac, which is itself decreasingly important to Apple's bottom line (meaning network effect in economist-speak). The mini price hike makes sense, since it's the lowliest Mac and was getting kinda cheapo for, as you well say, "luxury" Apple, but everywhere else the trend has been to price aggressively (iPad, iPhone, iPods) and to lower prices (MacBooks, iMacs).

    I think Apple would love it for people considering the mini to go for the iMac instead (considerably more profit, and a better experience). I think the competition for the iMac is not the mini but PCs.
     
  11. Piggie macrumors 604

    Piggie

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    Feb 23, 2010
    #11
    Make case a little thicker (separate internal compartment)to at last accommodate large custom made heatsink and cooling fan/vents for medium/high end graphics card to be fitted in iMacs from now on.

    Draw a line under the thing that had dogged the Mac for so many years now & take this change to finally bury the skeleton, never to be seen again.
     
  12. Bkxmnr macrumors regular

    Bkxmnr

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    #12
    Perhaps this is not the right thread for this opinion, but there needs to be a high end 21.5" iMac. The 27" is simply too big for my needs.
     
  13. dwarnecke11 macrumors 6502

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    Nov 29, 2009
    #13
    I would like to see a 2 TB drive on the stock top end, simply because the 1 TB Seagate in my i5 iMac was so loud! Returned it for that, the flicker and the yellow. Patiently waiting for the refresh.

    P.S. I haven't heard many comments in the past months about HD noise on these iMacs. Has anything been done to correct this problem already?
     
  14. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604

    Michaelgtrusa

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  15. Commenter thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 27, 2010
    #15
    You mean quality control? Yeah, the latest round of iMacs sound surprisingly faulty. Maybe the delay in bringing them out (if the specs are what we're speculating) is because they're making some structural changes to fix the problems.
     
  16. Commenter thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 27, 2010
    #16
    Pretty interesting article on upcoming Intel processors and pricing from DigiTimes: http://www.digitimes.com/print/a20100701PD209.html

    Prices and dates seem to fit perfectly with my speculation above, with the base proc being the 3.2GHz i3-550, the base high-end model getting the 2.8GHz i5-760, and the BTO for it being the 3.067GHz i7-950.

    Seems to me very likely that they'll come in July as I described (August for the quads also fits perfectly).

    Thoughts?
     
  17. vixducis macrumors regular

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    Belgium
    #17
    Aren't those new prices even higher than the ones in the current imacs? Guess we'll see a price raise than.
     
  18. Commenter thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 27, 2010
    #18
    The price for the i3-550 is exactly the same than the price of the base processor now (Core 2 Duo E7600 - $133), and from October on will actually be $16 cheaper.

    The price for the i5-760 will supposedly be $9 higher than the current i5s.

    The price for the i7-950 will be $10 higher than the current i7s.

    Those differences are either zero or really small, and all the other components on the iMacs have probably come down in price, likely much more than ten bucks in total.
     
  19. peakchua macrumors regular

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    Apr 12, 2010
    #19
    I would think that the new imac would be

    21.5 inch

    dual core 3.2 ghz i5
    nvidia 320m graphics
    4gb ram
    500gb hd (could go to 750 gb but i dont know)

    21.5 inch
    dual core 3.2 ghz i5
    ati radeon hd 5750 graphics card 256 or 512 mb gddr5 memory or ... ati radeon hd 5650 graphics with 512 mb
    4g ram
    1.5 tb hd?

    27 inch
    dual core 3.2 ghz i5
    ati radeon hd 5750 graphics 512mb gddr5
    1.5 tb hdd?
    4gb ram

    27 inch ultimate
    ati radeon hd 5850 1gb (possible) gddr5
    4 gb ram
    intel core i7 860
    1.5 tb hd


    *all ati graphics are mobility
    ^ i dont know about the dual core i5s, intel is all lameo with their chipsets which no one likes... like what happened with the macbook pro :( i hope apple will rearrnge the components so that there will be better flow of air, space for intel hd graphics + radeon graphics (also 320m) faster fan speeds, and most of all.. a graphics switch ( i wouldnt mind the restart thingy.. no one is going to intel on a 21.5-27 inch imac... who would...)
     
  20. peakchua macrumors regular

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    Apr 12, 2010
    #20
    just as apple is deciding to transition from the core 2 duoals :p to nehalem.. sandy bridge is coming... sad. imacs have had a taste of nehalem.. mac pros have outdate nehalems.. macbook pros have nehalems... mac mini still stuck with high clocks, xserve has outdated nehalems, macbook still has core.. THE NET REFRESH REALLY MUST INCLUDE NEHALEM ARCHITECTURE
     
  21. Commenter thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 27, 2010
    #21
    I think you're right about 1.5TB and 750GB hard drives; I'm revising my specu specs to those. I don't think the 3.2GHz Core i5-650 makes sense for the base proc, since it's more expensive than the i3-550, the difference is not very significant, and it would make it (slightly) harder to upsell to higher models/BTOs.

    I don't think 320M graphics can be used with the i3 or i5; I'm suggesting the G210 as a possibility. Or possibly just Intel GMA HD. Or the ATI Radeon HD 4350. Or maybe the 4670, for which they already have drivers. They will have to deal with Intel's prohibition of NVIDIA integrated graphics sometime, even if for the MacBooks, but Hellhammah has a point that they may stick with the C2Ds for now—Steve Jobs said they prefer faster graphics and lower power than 10-20% faster CPUs: http://www.9to5mac.com/steve-jobs-email-core-i7-duo-340973462, http://www.macrumors.com/2010/04/13...book-pros-use-of-intel-core-2-duo-processors/

    Revised:


    21.5-inch: 3.06GHz (or 3.2GHz)
    3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or 3.2GHz Intel Core i3-550
    4GB memory
    750GB hard drive
    NVIDIA 320M or Intel GMA HD or NVIDIA GeForce G210 or 310 or ATI Radeon HD 4350 or 4670
    $1199

    21.5-inch: 3.2GHz
    Intel Core i3-550 3.2GHz
    4GB memory
    1.5TB hard drive
    ATI 57xx
    $1499

    27-inch: 3.2GHz
    Intel Core i3-550 3.2GHz
    4GB memory
    1.5TB hard drive
    ATI 57xx
    $1699

    QUAD-CORE
    27-inch: 2.8GHz
    4GB memory
    2.8GHz Intel Core i5-760 (Configure-to-order option for Intel Core i7-something or i5-680 3.6GHz)
    1.5TB hard drive
    ATI 58xx
    $1999

    Released in July or early August
    (Quads coming in August or September (Intel will release the i5-760 on 7/18/2010; the Oct 2009 quads also came a month later than the rest))


    Gimme yer thoughts
     
  22. iMacdude313 macrumors regular

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    Apr 27, 2008
    #22
    Anything supporting your July guess?
    Any particular dates you have in mind?
     
  23. Commenter thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 27, 2010
    #23
    The reasoning's in the first post, and to a lesser extent in other posts in the thread. Basically, the expected components are ready and it doesn't make sense to wait just because and miss out on the back-to-school season, the iPhone/iPad buzz, and most of the financial quarter.

    I don't have any particular dates in mind, but with the reasons I gave and now at least three reports of suddenly delayed shipping times in this forum in the last few days, it wouldn't surprise me too much to see them on Tuesday (say, 20%* probability).



    * Obviously that number was pulled straight out of my large intestine
     
  24. JustSomeDude macrumors regular

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    Apr 10, 2010
    #24
    Case redesign that allows for easy hd upgrade and possibly better cooling - also accompanied by a completely new look and a price increase of $100.
     
  25. iMacmatician macrumors 601

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    Jul 20, 2008
    #25
    Like you, I don't think there will be significant CPU updates (especially the high-end). I don't think (early) 2011 will see a large CPU bump, unless they go AMD, and in that case it depends on clock speeds of quad-core Llano.
     

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