Apple launches new iMac with next-generation Sandy Bridge chips

Apple revamped its iMac desktop line today with the launch of computers with Intel’s Sandy Bridge microprocessor-graphics combo chips.

The new machines have quad-core processors, cool graphics and high-speed Thunderbolt input-output technology. They also incorporate a new high-definition camera that uses Apple’s FaceTime web video phone capability.

With the introduction, Apple is finally taking advantage of the new Core i5 and Core i7 processors that Intel began releasing in January for PC makers.

With the usual hyperbole, Apple senior vice president of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller says, “We’ve made the world’s best desktop even better.”

While the machines use the Intel Sandy Bridge processor, which has a microprocessor and graphics on a single chip, Apple still sees the point of adding its own dedicated graphics chip in the form of an AMD Radeon graphics. Overall, the graphics is three times faster than previous iMac versions.

The new Thunderbolt I/O technology can transfer data in two directions at 10 gigabits per second each way. It is compatible with existing FireWire and universal serial bus (USB) devices that transfer data at slower speeds. The new machines come with Apple’s new Mac app store built in and have wireless peripherals.

The prices for the new all-in-one desktop machines are as follows:

A 21.5-inch screen with a 2.5 gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics and 500 gigabyte hard drive sells for $1,199.

A 21.5-inch screen with a 2.7 gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6770M and 1 terabyte hard drive sells for $1,499.

A 27-inch screen with 2.7 gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6770M and a 1 terabyte hard drive sells for $1,699.

A 27-inch screen with 3.1 gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6970M and a 1 terabyte hard drive sells for $1,999.

Users can order faster 3.4-gigahertz Intel Core i7 processors, larger 2 terabyte hard drives, a 256 gigabyte solid state drive, additional memory and other features for more money.

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