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New iMacs likely will feature Quadcore update, AMD GCN Architecture and more…

Next iMacs and their details may be released tomorrow…


Apple may introduce new iMacs this week at its announced event on Wednesday. While the event is widely expected to center around the quantum announcement of the iPhone 5, the company is rumored to possibly be introducing the iPad mini and new Mac computers. On the last point, the iMac currently shipping is more than a year old and well due for a major update. The Mac Pros received a minor update earlier in the year and are not expected to get a major update until 2013.

Quadcore i7s, AMD with GCN Architecture and Retina Display Support

According to information out on the rumor mill, the new iMac (iMac 13,2) will likely run on a 3rd generation Intel Core i7-3770 quadcore processor. We should hope so. Rival PC makers like Dell are already shipping all-in-one PCs with the i7-3770…and up to 3.90 GHz speeds at that!

Anything less from Apple would be a disappointment. Such a system with this chip could ship with 8GB of dual channel DDR3 SDRAM as well, offering plenty of growing room.

The question of graphics updates is an open one. Currently Apple is shipping AMD Radeon 6970M GPUs at the high-end with 1 GB of standard GDDR5 memory and an option to build it with 2 GB–which is our recommend for DCC (digital content creation) and similar creative professionals who need a fast system at a good price.

If Apple sticks with AMD the likely choice for the high-end option for graphics on a new iMac would be the 7900M series with AMD’s new GCN (Graphics Core Next) Architecture. These GPUs would offer the iMacs 2 GB of GDDR5 video memory but faster clock and memory speeds, in addition to OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL improvements, such as Partially Resident Texture (PRT) support. This latter technology will enhance gamers more than users of professional apps because it focuses on streaming of texture data. However, real-time OpenGL, full screen renders of 3D data are still widely used in 3D CAD and DCC and could always benefit from any kind of speed-up.

Another rumored spec on the new iMacs is Apple’s Retina Display technology. However, we personally feel here at Architosh that the graphics horsepower needed to drive such a large resolution display would counter the performance benefit of applying new GPU architectures to current apps under current normative resolutions. This could actually hinder the use of iMacs in graphics departments, design studios and architecture firms. And we don’t want to see that happen, as top-end iMacs are affordable workstations for creatives. And in this economy, that matters.

Let’s Summarize

Here’s what we are looking for tomorrow. New iMac internals to ship with the fastest available 3rd-Gen i7-3770 quad-core processors at speeds up to 3.9 GHz, with new AMD Radeon HD 7900M series GPUs with up to 2 GB of graphics memory. We hope Retina Displays are only optional if available.

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