The 45nm, 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo processor inside Apple's newly updated $2,199 iMac may very well not show up in other systems. Electronista says Intel has confirmed that, once again, it has produced a custom CPU for Apple's latest creation.
The iMac line normally uses regular mobile Core 2 Duos, but the 3.06GHz chip in the latest 24" system is a special, otherwise-unannounced model with a 55W thermal envelope. Today's fastest official mobile Core 2—the Core 2 Extreme X9000—runs at 2.8GHz and has a 44W thermal envelope. Intel allegedly plans a 3.06GHz mobile Core 2 Extreme X9100 for its Centrino 2 platform, but that chip will also have a 44W envelope, and it presumably won't come out until June. Electronista says the new iMacs' motherboards are still based on current Santa Rosa technology.
This isn't the first time Intel has given Apple special treatment. As Electronista points out, the Mac Pro was the first workstation to play host to a 3GHz quad-core Xeon last year, and the MacBook Air includes a special Core 2 Duo chip that uses the same, smaller package as future Centrino 2 chips, but with 65nm silicon.