New iMacs Sport Thunderbolt, Quad-Core Processors

| Product News

True to the rumors, Apple released new iMac models on Tuesday that include faster quad-core Intel processors, Thunderbolt, and faster graphics, and FaceTime HD. Like previous models, the new iMac is available in 21.5-inch and 27-inch versions.

iMac with ThunderboltApple’s updated iMac lineup

The new iMac ships with a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 16:9 LED backlit display, 4GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD graphics, four USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 800, two Thunderbolt ports, Gigabit Ethernet, SuerDrive, SDXC card slot, audio in and out ports, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, built-in microphone and stereo speakers, and the same FaceTime HD camera that was introduced with the MacBook Pro earlier this year.

Apple ships its new iMacs with a Bluetooth wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse. Users can, however, choose to swap out the Magic Mouse for a Magic Trackpad at no additional cost when they purchase a new iMac through Apple’s online store.

Thunderbolt uses the same connector as Apple’s Mini Display Port video adapter and can currently support up to six devices in a chain. The port offers dual-channel 10 gb/s data throughput, and supports hard drives and other peripherals as well as displays.

The 21.5-inch display model ships with a 2.5GHz Core i5 processor, 1920 x 1080 resolution, 500GB hard drive, and AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics processor with 512MB RAM. The 2.7GHz Core i5 processor version includes a 1TB hard drive and an AMD Radeon HD 6770M graphics card with 512MB RAM.

The 27-inch model includes a 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 2560 x 1440 resolution, 1TB hard drive, and AMD Radeon HD 6770M graphics with 512MB RAM. The 3.1GHz model includes a 1TB hard drive and AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics with 1GB RAM.

Build-to-order options are available through Apple’s online store for Core i7 processors running at up to 3.4GHz, up to 2TB hard drives, and a 256GB solid state drive.

The 21.5-inch iMac is priced at US$1,199 for the 2.5GHz Core i5 model, and $1,499 fort the 2.7GHz Core i5 model. The 27-inch iMac costs $1,699 for the 2.7GHz model, and $1,999 for the 3.1GHz model.



No matte antiglare screens on the new iMacs. If you need matte screens, there’s something you can do - add your voice to 1,300+ petitions at Unlike personal emails to Apple - which Apple just ignore, asserting everyone loves glossy screens - make it count by adding to the online petition where your voice will remain visible on the net until Apple listens. Remember, adding your comment to transient news articles on the net is fine, but those articles go out of date in a few weeks, and also there is no long-term accumulation and consolidation of numbers, like there is at a petition site.

John Molloy

@mm. Yawn. Buy a mac mini and get your own choice of screen.


You can plug in up to 4 other displays and two fibre channel arrays - Who cares!
2GB 6970, 2TB HDD + SSD, 6 and 3.4GHz Quad Core Sandy Bridge.

Mac Pro is history.


I think it’s more likely that Steve Jobs will read and reply to an e-mail regarding glossy screens than that Apple will ever pay attention to a petition site.

It’s just how they are.

Decent spec bumps. My old machines all still work fine (newest one is 2009, oldest 2004 and still going strong), so I don’t have to pay a lot of attention to the new ones.


For years it was anti-glare for me…then I got a 27 inch iMac and I love the screen. The glare hasn’t been an issue. *shrug*

John Molloy

He’s been first posting all sites with the new iMac news this morning. Sad.

Lee Dronick

For years it was anti-glare for me?then I got a 27 inch iMac and I love the screen. The glare hasn?t been an issue.

Same here, but a lot depends on the room arrangement and lighting. I keep window and direct lighting from hitting the screen.


You can plug in up to 4 other displays and two fibre channel arrays - Who cares!
2GB 6970, 2TB HDD + SSD, 6 and 3.4GHz Quad Core Sandy Bridge.

Mac Pro is history.

For those creative professionals who have applications that can use them, being limited to a single quad-core processor, even with Thunderbolt, will be a step backwards. Mac Pros come standard with two quad-core workstation grade CPUs. Yes, these CPUs are now dated but I’m sure we’ll see speed tests coming real soon.

This said, for the vast majority of us, I agree with Susan that the new iMacs, especially the fully loaded 27” model, are fantastic and could easily be used by consumers and professionals alike. The low-end version knocks the socks off my early 2009, 2.93GHz Core 2 Duo iMac, which isn’t a slouch.


To what MM said…

Simple solution for those who want a matte screen:

I’m sure there are others like that. No, this is not spam. I have no connection to radtech. That’s just the first relevant result I got from Googling ‘anti-glare for iMac’.

Another point… If SO many people insist that Apple must make iMacs with matte screens, then they should vote with their wallets. If enough people stop buying iMacs because they only come with glossy screens, then Apple will probably add a matte screen option. Actually, one likely reason that they got rid of the matte screen option is that very few people, buying their Macs online, were actually choosing that option. If any significant portion of buyers were choosing the matte screen option, I doubt Apple would have gotten rid of it.

Ross Edwards

Not too happy about the 2TB internal HDD limit (concededly, you can sell your firstborn to tack on an SSD to that).  This limitation is like selling a Ferrari and limiting it to 14” tires.  HDD space is dirt cheap, and though I expect Thunderbolt drives will eventually suffice for most of the “archiving” and backup needs of users, those who need more space under the hood to work on HD video and other such things are going to be disappointed.  Upgrading the HDD in an iMac is non-trivial (and the limit of 2TB is probably in hardware here anyway).  I suppose there is still the Mac Pro for such users… unless, as speculated, that market segment gets squeezed out by ever-improving iMacs?

Just kind of a bummer when they did just about everything else I could have asked to improve the machine otherwise.  I mean, USB3 would have been nice, but we already knew Apple was “skipping” USB3 to go straight to Thunderbolt.

And the wireless non-keypadded keyboard is a poor default choice, but it appears you can just swap in the wired keypad keyboard at no extra charge.


Upgrading the HDD in an iMac is non-trivial (and the limit of 2TB is probably in hardware here anyway).

Actually, I thought that replacing a HDD in an iMac would be difficult, too, but I had to do so on my wife’s 2008 20” iMac, and while a tad time consuming, it wasn’t tough. All you need it a couple of suction cups (to get the glass out - really easy), a small torx screwdriver, some patience and the ability to unplug maybe five smallish cables. Also, there is no hardware limit on the HDD size. In this case, I upgraded the iMac from a 350GB drive to a 3TB drive, with no problems.

Ross Edwards

I upgraded the iMac from a 350GB drive to a 3TB drive, with no problems.

Were you able to format it all as your main drive, single partition?  I am intrigued!  I have been wanting to do something about the 640MB drive in my 2009 iMac for months, but I figured I would wait for the refresh and just buy in new with a big internal tank… but it’s not being offered.  If I could pop a 3TB drive in there and have hardware support, I’d try it.

(Sorry for hijacking the topic thread)


@Ross Edwards: Yep. It’s one big-honkin’ partition with Snow Leopard installed. Disk Utility didn’t miss a beat when partitioning it and I have not seen any problems with the drive in the several weeks since I installed it.

I must add one little note about swapping the drives: Having an extra pair of hands did make it a lot easier than it would have been by myself.


3.4GHz Quad Core Sandy Bridge

@Susan So these are Sandy Bridge processors? It strikes me as odd that none of the announcements I’ve read on these new iMacs used that term, yet all we’ve heard for weeks/months is that the next iMac bump would include “Sandy Bridge” processors. I presume from the terms “32-nanometer” and “Turbo Boost 2.0” in Apple’s own description that these are in fact Sandy Bridge processors.


I presume from the terms ?32-nanometer? and ?Turbo Boost 2.0? in Apple?s own description that these are in fact Sandy Bridge processors.

Yep. “Sandy Bridge” is the trade name/code name, and Apple likely figures that this term is confusing to the average customer; folks who don’t actually hang on the rumor boards. wink

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