Print 41 comment(s) - last by retrospooty.. on Jun 20 at 8:19 AM

Apple cuts processor speed in half, drops two cores, and cuts the price by $200

It has been rumored for the past few weeks that Apple would launch lower cost iMacs to make its desktop range more appealing to customers. Early reports pegged the launch for WWDC, but that obviously didn’t happen. However, Apple today made its move, announcing a new budget-minded 21.5” iMac with a 1080p display.
Given its bottom-rung placement in the iMac family, this machine is in no way a speed demon. In fact, it comes with a lowly dual-core Intel Core i5 processor running at a mere 1.4GHz (Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz) and an Intel HD Graphics 5000 integrated GPU. For comparison, the previous entry-level iMac comes with a 2.7GHz Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz) and Intel Iris Pro Graphics.

Other features include 8GB of RAM, a 500GB HDD (5400 RPM), 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.
The new entry-level iMac starts at $1,099, which represents a $200 reduction compared to the previous entry-level model.

Source: Apple

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By Yaldabaoth on 6/18/2014 10:59:43 AM , Rating: 1
I think people are misconstruing what's going on here.

Based on the Turbo clock & graphics, I'm gonna make an assumption that the CPU is a Core i5-4260U. That means that it has hyperthreading and dual channel memory, according to ARK. It also has HD 5000, which is no slouch _in terms of integrated graphics_. Tray price is $315. The next model up of iMac uses a Core i5-4570R, which has a tray price of $255. These aren't the prices that Apple pays, but note the relative difference. Apple is using a more expensive part in the "lesser" model. They don't use the same motherboard, so there is no production efficiency there. Why would they bother to do this?

Apple loves to be minimalistic; they love to use the least hardware "oomph" as possible to drive their software, and no more. The same goes with their supply chain. _This_ CPU part, with _this_ motherboard, with _this_ RAM, with _this_ resolution, etc., gives the result that fits their design of how they want their machines to function, with no more and no less. But, again, why?

I think it's because Apple has figured out that a Core i5-4260U works just fine with OS X and an FHD screen, and uses less power, which is important in mobility. The lowest model of MacBook Pro currently uses a Core i5-4258U, which also has a (current) tray price of $315, but has about 87% more TDP than the 4260U due to the higher clocks, Iris Pro, etc. These parts use the same motherboard, so Apple will have a bunch of infrastructure to put these new "guts" in computers. However, current MacBook Pro models use, at a minimum, 2560x1600 screens. I anticipate that we will instead see ~1080p (Maybe WUXGA instead?) non-Retina MacBooks at a slightly lower price-point than the MacBook Pros. Then again, perhaps the 4260U is fine with 2560x1600. [Shrug]

TL;DR: I think Apple isn't getting new parts to make a cheaper iMac. Apple is going to make a cheaper MacBook, and that allows them to make a (slightly) cheaper iMac, too.

By Yaldabaoth on 6/18/2014 11:35:43 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I'm an idiot. This is the same part on the MacBook Air. Hurp de durp.

By aliasfox on 6/18/2014 4:55:12 PM , Rating: 2
I think this might also indicate something else - Apple might have ordered tons of these chips and MacBook Air motherboards, and wants to be sure it can sell through them, because otherwise this doesn't make sense. The ultra low power i5 can't be cheap, and is likely much more expensive than any other logical option - dual core i3, standard 35-45w laptop i5, or even just a slower i5 than what's used in the next level up.

On the bright side, given that it's a 17w chip in a computer designed for 45-65w chips, it should be able to turbo like crazy?

By retrospooty on 6/18/2014 5:26:25 PM , Rating: 2
You are probably right... This is a chip surplus.

By TakinYourPoints on 6/18/2014 7:21:39 PM , Rating: 2
This makes the most sense, especially since this particular 1.4ghz i5 is not cheap. The only good thing in this package is the IPS display, but at this price it makes way more sense to get a Macbook Air instead. Its an excellent ultrabook with the same CPU plus SSD storage.

This baseline iMac an insanely bad deal given that $200 more gets you an iMac with a 2.7ghz i5, Iris Pro graphics, and double the storage. I think you nailed the reason why they're doing this with the specific part its using.

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