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iMacs Get Updated: New Processors, Faster Graphics and More

2011 iMac 27-inchAs was widely speculated this past week, Apple has indeed updated the iMac line today, and while they contain the same external looks, there is a whole lot of new stuff going on inside of them.

The biggest news is that while Apple never specifically says, the 2011 iMac update is running Sandy Bridge Intel processors, the latest update to the company’s popular line of “i” CPUs.  As opposed to the July 2010 update that saw a quad-core chip set being standard only on the highest end model, the new lineup has quad-core as the base setup across the entire line.  Ranging from a 2.5 GHz i5 on the $1199 21.5 inch model up to 3.1 GHz i5 on the $1999 27-inch model.  There are options to go to i7 chips on the higher priced models of both sizes.

While rumored last week, but never confirmed, was that Apple would upgrade the graphics cards to the 6000-series AMD Radeon HD series, and they did.  All of the systems come with a base of 512MBs of graphics memory except for the $1999 model which clocks in at 1GB of graphics memory as standard.

The iSight camera has gotten a nice update to an HD camera now with support for up to a 30-inch external display (2560 by 1600 pixels).

While it was almost a given that Apple would include the Light Peak/Thunderbolt ports, it’s worth noting that they did indeed make the cut for this update.  The 21.5-inch models feature one of these ports, and the 27-inch models get two of them.

iMac 2011 ports

Considering the number of internal enhancements on this update, and the fact that the prices didn’t go up any for the base models, it looks like a fairly worthy update.  While some are certain to be disappointed that no other screen sizes were introduced, or that there appears to be no tweaking externally beyond the ports, if you’be been holding out for a new iMac, it looks like now would be the time to pick one up.

Be sure to check out our 2011 iMac infographic.

Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...