“Normally, a speedier computer that appears to be carbon copy of the one it replaced isn’t worthy of much attention. Not so, with the new iMac from Apple Computer Inc., the first with silicon brains from Intel Corp.The new iMacs remain visually stunning, with the entire computer squeezed into the frame of a 17-inch or 20-inch flat-panel display. They still have built-in video cameras. They run most of the same software titles. And they cost the same ($1,299 or $1,699) as the last generation of iMacs, which ran IBM’s PowerPC chips,” Matthew Fordahl writes for The Associated Press. “Given all that could have gone wrong in the historic chip switch, all this similitude is significant.”
“On the new Mac, the operating system was snappy. Programs like iPhoto, iTunes, Pages and Keynote were similarly responsive and felt like they benefited from the boost in computing horsepower. The Web browser Safari also seemed zippier than usual, though that has more to do with the speed of my Internet connection than the processor,” Fordahl writes. “The new programs also ran well on my older, PowerPC-based system. In another test, I dug up copies of old programs and installed them on the new iMac. In this case, a technology called Rosetta takes over behind the scenes and translates the old code into something the Intel chip can understand. As might be expected, there was a performance hit.”
“Most consumers who use their machines to surf the Web, write e-mails and edit documents probably won’t be bothered by the Rosetta slowdown. Advanced users and gamers will want to try out their favorite programs before buying one of the new Macs,” Fordahl writes. “Apple has commitments from major developers to switch their programs over to Universal applications. The process will take some time, but it promises to keep owners of old and new Macs happy… The new Mac also sports other internal improvements. Its graphics card has been souped up and, on the 20-inch iMac, is memory upgradeable. The video subsystem also now supports extending the monitor to a second display. Previous iMacs only allowed mirroring. All in all, the first Intel-based Macs are a promising start to Apple’s faster-than-expected transition that put Intel chips in all its computer lines by the end of the year… Once again, the iMac is leading the way and, for now at least, in the right direction.”
Full article here.
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