Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini get hardware upgrades

Without much fanfare or grandiose keynotes, Apple has refreshed its entire desktop lineup—from the Mac mini to the Mac Pro—with new, faster hardware. Pricing hasn’t really changed, though, which makes the upgrades a little puzzling in light of current economic conditions and the push toward cheap nettops.

Starting from the top, the new Mac Pros have finally started toting Intel’s Nehalem processors. Instead of the Core i7, Apple went with more workstation-friendly Nehalem-based Xeons, allowing it to offer two quad-core (and eight-thread) CPUs in its $3,299 configuration. The single-CPU Mac Pro still starts at $2,499, this time with a 2.66GHz Nehalem Xeon, 3GB of RAM, a 640GB hard drive, GeForce GT 120 graphics, an 18X DVD burner, dual Gigabit Ethernet, and… a mouse and keyboard. It’s worth pointing out that the system also has a mini-DisplayPort connector, so you can actually use Apple’s 24" LED Cinema display with it.  This announcement makes Apple first to the party with Nehalem Xeons, ahead of their official launch by Intel.

The iMac and Mac mini upgrades are a little less exciting. Both systems now include Nvidia’s GeForce 9400M integrated graphics, of course, but starting price points are the same as before. On the iMac front, Apple has given the $1,199 20" model a slight CPU upgrade and 2GB of memory, and it’s moved the 24" option from $1,799 to $1,499. The 24" model and its higher-priced siblings all have 4GB of RAM by default, too.

As for the Mac mini, Apple’s smallest and most affordable Mac still starts at $599, albeit now with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo, 1GB of RAM, GeForce 9400M integrated graphics, a 120GB hard drive, and a dual-layer DVD burner. For $200 more, you can get another gig of memory and a 320GB hard drive. What a bargain!

Oh, and AppleInsider points out that Apple has also updated its AirPort Extreme router and Time Capsule network storage device with dual-band wireless networking and a new "Guest Network" feature. That feature reportedly lets you "set up a secondary network for friends and visitors with Internet-only access so you don’t have to hand out your WiFi password."

Comments closed
    • Jeff Grant
    • 11 years ago

    Does an DVI>HDMI adapter work on the mini?

      • demani
      • 11 years ago

      It did on the old ones- don’t see why it would stop working.

    • StuG
    • 11 years ago

    Wow awesome, they finally upgraded from their C2D line-up that costs stupid amounts of money. They fixed the old hardware, now they just need to fix the stupid amounts of money part.

    • blacksteel
    • 11 years ago

    Mac Mini – weak sauce

    iMac – Epic Win

    Mac Pro – wasn’t even needed as an upgrade.

    Not that care much about the mac mini, it’s a pathetic upgrade they did to it. I thought they would totally change the design of the model, have easy access to the RAM and hard drive. No, they would rather encapsulate it and make you spend $200 for a $100 upgrade.

    • Farting Bob
    • 11 years ago

    $200 for an extra gig of RAM ($10?) and a 320GB HDD (probbaly about $20 extra compared to the standard 160GB), and they charge $200 for it?
    i guess apple hasnt changed. High intial prices, rediculous markups for any aditional hardware.

      • StashTheVampede
      • 11 years ago

      Please list where you can buy a dual Xeon (Nehalem based) workstation from anyone else.

      Also, I don’t know of a single person that buy’s Apple’s upgrades for ram or larger HDs.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    Awwww no Mac /[

    • absinthexl
    • 11 years ago

    Meanwhile, the Apple minitower – the only one I can ever imagine buying – remains /[

    • DaveJB
    • 11 years ago

    Are the any figures on the performance of the GeForce 9400M used by the new iMacs versus the Radeon 2600 Pros they were previously using? At first glance it looks as if Apple have DOWNGRADED the graphics capabilities of the new iMac, but the 2600 was never a particularly great performer from what I remember.

      • Bombadil
      • 11 years ago

      The Radeon HD 2600 Pro (24×5 shaders) definitely outperforms the Geforce 9400M (16 shaders). If you don’t need 3D though the 9400M should use less power and less space. The Geforce GT 120 is another wimpy 9500GT/8600GT and arguably poorer than the 2600 Pro too–at least if shader power is the primary factor.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 years ago

      Hard to tell since the 2600 in the iMac was a mobile part. This is surely a graphics boost on the low end over the mobile 2400, though.

    • adisor19
    • 11 years ago

    All in all not bad as a refresh for the new mini. As usual, Apple charges an arm and a leg for RAM, CPU and HD upgrades which is why i will wait until ifixit will dissect the new Mini to see what can be upgraded and then just purchase the cheapest thing out there and buy parts on the cheap from Newegg/NCIX/ETC.

    Holding on to see if CPU is socketed on the new Mini and then i’ll make up my mind.

    Adi

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 years ago

      My money is on it being socketed just because it doesn’t take a whole new model to upgrade the CPU to a 2.26GHz one – look at non-socketed machines for inspiration. Macbooks? No CPU upgrades. Macbook Pros? No CPU upgrades. iMacs? CPU upgrades available, socketed systems.

        • adisor19
        • 11 years ago

        I hope you’re right about that 🙂

        Adi

    • HurgyMcGurgyGurg
    • 11 years ago

    “This announcement makes Apple first to the party with Nehalem Xeons, ahead of their official launch by Intel.”

    Reminds me of Jen Huang’s comment:

    “Apple gets what Apple wants”.

    • Chillectric
    • 11 years ago

    That Mac Pro actually looks really nice in terms of design. Pullout CPU/RAM tray and hard drive bays are built for easy upgrades.

    It seems Apple is somewhat embracing AMD for graphics at least because there is a HD 4870 as an upgrade option.

    AMD needs really good integrated graphics if they want to sway Apple. I don’t think AMD will every sway Apple on the CPU side though.

      • Staypuft
      • 11 years ago

      AMD does have really good integrated graphics, just look at the 780g. If I remember correctly ATI lost their chipset license for Intel around the same time AMD bought them, so AMD can’t make an integrated solution for Macs.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 years ago

      if anything they’re moving away from AMD for graphics. Previous iMacs had Raden 2400/2600 graphics on all but the highest-end, and the Mac Pros came with 2600XTs. The only AMD graphics now are high-end parts.

        • crazybus
        • 11 years ago

        I wouldn’t qualify that as “moving away”. Apple has typically flipped-flopped between AMD and nVidia’s product lines. I’m sure it’s in their best interests to maintain good working relationships with both companies, at least at the present time.

        • Bombadil
        • 11 years ago

        Apple uses whatever junk the PC market doesn’t want. AMD has the best low end parts (4670) nVidia the best high end (GTX 280).

          • derFunkenstein
          • 11 years ago

          actually, no, in iMacs they consistently use mobile parts. I’m betting it’s a mobility 4850 in the iMac and the GT 120 and 130 are mobile parts that are renamed 9x series parts that just haven’t been officially renamed by nVidia yet.

          The best high end single-GPU is the 4870. So that’s what the Mac Pro got.

      • StashTheVampede
      • 11 years ago

      Mac Pros are GREAT machines if you want a high quality case, easy to upgrade the ram/hdd and pci-e cards. It isn’t meant to swap other than ram/hdd/pci-e, but for what it can swap, it’s pretty great!

      PC makes have taken some clues for easier swap items, but it’s not the same as what Apple did with it (memory riser cards, rubber feet on hdds, bay trays for hdds).

      Newer Nehalem’s are a massive deal for me … 8x 2.8ghz Xeons are more than enough for my current needs.

      • A_Pickle
      • 11 years ago

      You mean, like the integrated graphics that AMD offers that hasn’t had a ridiculous and bad reputation of lead packaging, etc? The HD 3200 rocks. I’d take that any day.

    • ish718
    • 11 years ago

    Interesting… too bad its Apple, so I look away.

    • Forge
    • 11 years ago

    I’m a little surprised that the Mac Pros didn’t get the GTS250 or a 9800GTX+, but it’s no surprise that there’s no GT200 options, since OSX 10.6 will have to ship first.

      • CampinCarl
      • 11 years ago

      So am I. These aren’t expensive cards, seems like Apple could have plopped them in and still maintained a 70% profit margin.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 11 years ago

        Apple always aims for pretty weak graphics except for the top opinion. No change here. “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

        • StashTheVampede
        • 11 years ago

        It’s not that the cards are expensive, it’s the board makers don’t put BIOS’ on these cards with enough ram to take EFI. Today, if a GPU is “Apple certified”, it merely means the GPU enough ram to function with EFI and without (aka Windows/linux).

      • twizttid13
      • 11 years ago

      Pretty sure they are using crap graphics card to meet the ENERGY STAR 5.0 requirement.

    • no51
    • 11 years ago

    What? No BluRay?

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 11 years ago

      Jobs doesn’t like Blu-Ray

        • Xenolith
        • 11 years ago

        Can’t say that I blame him. I would hate to be a MPAA bitch as well.

        • Sargent Duck
        • 11 years ago

        Jobs did support blu-ray in the HD war against HD-DVD though.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 11 years ago

        uhm…Apple is on the Blu-Ray consortium. He doesn’t like the licensing process and cost, though, and said so back in October.

      • Zymergy
      • 11 years ago

      Well, Jobs recently was quoted calling Blue-Ray a “Bag of Hurt”….

    • Lord.Blue
    • 11 years ago

    What is a GeForce GT-120?

    • jstern
    • 11 years ago

    These Mac Minis are too expensive. I really wish it had an hdmi cable, so that I could get an HDMI monitor, and not have to deal with a separate audio cable. I hate clutter.

    • FireGryphon
    • 11 years ago

    Apple never really was about low prices. Unless they come out with a “Mactop” line of products.

    • tay
    • 11 years ago

    The mac mini is a really great machine. Excluding trying to upgrade ram or disk through apple…

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 years ago

      If you’ll never use more than 120GB (or want to use a USB drive for data) it’s not all THAT bad to pay $50 on the base model to upgrade to 2GB. Taking those things apart can be kinda scary. Compared to the Dell Studio Hybrid (especially if you customize it to include a real Core 2 Duo and Vista Home Premium), it’s not a bad deal at all – it’s still $70 more, but it incldues wifi, bluetooth, FW800, better graphics that can play HD video, more USB ports, and dual-display capability but a little less HDD space. I’d say it’s worth it.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 11 years ago

    So I assume that the Xeon Nehalem’s have Hyper Threading as well?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 years ago

      According to the Mac Pro specs page, it’s a Xeon 3500 series, which has HyperThreading support.

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