intel iMac hands on

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iantm's picture
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This weekend, I was able to borrow one of the new iMacs from work. It's a brand new 20" model. 2.0 ghz, 512mb of ram. Out of the box, it's the standard experience we've all come to know and love from Apple. It runs rings around my 15" 1.5 ghz PowerBook G4. Handbrake runs insanely fast. Quicktime playback of movies is good, smooth playback with minimal issues (isn't as meaningul as it once was)

First impressions
- Faster within OS X than any of the g4's or g5's I've encountered (have worked with everything from beige g3 to the quad g5)
- iLife Apps run with amazing quickness (Unfortunately, this has ruined using my 1.5 ghz PBG4)
- Handbrake encodes within 60-90 minutes for a 2 hour movie. On my PowerBook G4, it takes 4-5 hours, and 3-4 hours on the 1.8 ghz iMac G5's at the office (bear in mind that the pbg4 and the iMac G5 had 1gb of ram, while this unit only has 512mb)
- Front Row is a lot cooler when you're sitting in your recliner controlling your computer than when the computer is on a display stand at the store.

Things I haven't played with yet, powerpc native apps (downloaded the x86 beta build of handbrake). I haven't encountered Rosetta yet, but so far, I'm very optimistic about the x86 macs. In fact, I will be buying one of these after I'm done with my wedding.

For fritterers in the Pittsburgh area

I will be working the MacOutfitters demo at the Dave Pogue event at the Carnegie Science Center on Saturday 4 February 2006 from 6pm-9pm. I'm Ian, and if you're there, feel free to say Hi!

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- iantm
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D2X
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Joined: Aug 29 2005
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Good reviews

Hey, thanks for that, I was wanting to get meself an intel iMac, but couldn't find any excuses to get me one Wink...Is it really that fast when running HandBrake? I would be interested in the results from PPC native software(using rosetta), and how fast/slow it is compared to the iMac G5 when running PPC apps. So give us some more info please!!!

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"It's better to be a Pirate than to join the Navy"- Steve Jobs

Intel iMac (2GHz Core Duo)
Powerbook G4 (12" 1.5GHz SuperDrive)
300MHz Clamshell iBook (rebuilt) 544MB/40GB/10.3/AirPort

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I have to say, my experience

I have to say, my experience with one was very similiar. They can almost hold up to the higher end G5 towers. If you weren't told that it was an intel mac, you wouldn't notice any difference other than speed. I have to say, apple did a really good job with this transition, although apps running in rosetta aren't always up to what someone with a new computer would expect.

iantm's picture
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Update

After doing some further testing with the intel iMac, photosshop, illustrator, and Office 04, rosetta shows its weaknesses. Office is about the same as it is on my PowerBook, Photoshop is about the same as it is on my fiancee's iBook G4 )1.0 ghz. Once those apps go universal, the intel macs are bound to be screamers in every way, but for now, as has been said by others, Apple's universal apps are the only ones that can exploit these machines to their potential.

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Here's a question: What will

Here's a question: What will run PowerPC code faster?

-a 1.83Ghz Core Duo
OR
-a 667mhz PowerPC G4?

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You can have my 12" PBG4 when you pry it form my cold, dead hands...or when Apple releases another subnotebook...or when I can figure out how to put Mac OS X on a PC subnotebook...

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Joined: Sep 23 2005
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re question

well, in the above stated question... re which is faster with native apps a 1.83ghz Core Duo or a 667mhz G4... it really is almost dead even....

as i have been playing with this for a while... as i have had a sucessful install of one of the questionable dev. builds of osx86 for a while. (no, i will NOT speak of it any further... and for some reason i no longer have any knowledge of where all that software came from...)

Rosetta has been tweaked up a bit more for the offical release, but its target has always been to transcode on the fly and achieve the speed of a 700Mhz G4, which i would have to say it is about right on target with.

the below was taken from:
http://developer.apple.com/documentation/MacOSX/Conceptual/universal_binary/universal_binary_exec_a/chapter_7_section_2.html

What Can Be Translated?

Rosetta is designed to translate currently shipping applications that run on a PowerPC with a G3 or G4 processor and that are built for Mac OS X. That includes CFM as well as Mach-O PowerPC applications.

Rosetta does not run the following:

Applications built for any version of the Mac OS earlier than Mac OS X —that means Mac OS 9, Mac OS 8, Mac OS 7, and so forth
The Classic environment
Screensavers written for the PowerPC architecture
Code that inserts preferences in the System Preferences pane
Applications that require a G5 processor
Applications that depend on one or more PowerPC-only kernel extensions
Kernel extensions
Java applications with JNI libraries
Java applets in applications that Rosetta can translate; that means a web browser that Rosetta can run translated will not be able to load Java applets.
Rosetta does not support precise exceptions. Any application that relies on register states being accurate in exception handlers or signal handlers will not function properly running with Rosetta.

For more information on the limitations of Java applications using Rosetta, see "Java Applications" and Technical Q &A QA1295, Java on Intel-based Macintosh Computers, which is in the ADC Reference Library.

Bill