I don't want an iMac that cries "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!"
April 20, 2010 5:52 PM   Subscribe

How long does it take for the Peter and Bobby of iMacs, to get Greg iMac's processor?

So, when the newest iMacs came out in late-2009, the top-of-the-line one (the 27") included a Quad-Core Intel Core i5 processor (and the option to upgrade to an even-faster i7). Currently, this is the only iMac that allows for this. All of the "lesser" (cheaper) iMacs have Intel Core 2 Duo processors—the same basic processor that my three-year-old MacBook has.
(although the iMac would be 3.06Ghz compared to my MacBook's 2.0Ghz)

Since my MacBook is starting to feel a bit long in the tooth (plus the fact that the AppleCare on it has just expired), I would like to get an iMac to replace it as my home machine. My concern is that I don't want to replace it with an iMac that has the same basic processor—especially if the next iMac will get a new type of (heaps faster) processor.

Looking at Mac Buyer's Guide I see that, based the average number of days between releases, the iMacs could be due for an update in about 45-ish days. But this might just see a speed bump on the "lower" iMacs (ex: 3.06Ghz to 3.08Ghz), not an actual processor change...

tl;dr version:

Does anyone know or recall how long iMacs usually go with this "only the top-of-the-line gets the new chip" before they just put the new chip in the whole line?

How about the i5's (and i7's)... are they getting cheap enough for a move like this are are they still too costly to spread the love?

Is there a law out there that says "never buy a new computer that has the same processor as the one you bought 3 years ago"?
posted by blueberry to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Apple is generally pretty secrative about exactly this sort of thing: hence the buyers guide you linked to - I've generally found that part of the site to be pretty decent and level headed (as far as mac sites go).

Talk around the water cooler is the possibility of the Imac going with an AMD chip which might change the release schedule of the next set of Imacs.
posted by zenon at 6:22 PM on April 20, 2010

if I had a nickle for every question I've read on the net asking for projections on updates to macs/apple computers, I would be a rich man (or at least able to buy coffee at Starbucks). The definitive answer is always, if you need a need computer, buy a new computer... trying to figure out what apple is going to release is an exercise in frustration!

I buy new computers when the new one has the ability to do something I need that the old one can't... note the word is NEED!!!!!
posted by HuronBob at 6:48 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My department is waiting for the Core iX processors to roll down into the 21.5" models right now, so I feel your pain. Consensus among those who really, really do know about these sorts of things things is that they're long overdue (they were expected in March, and still haven't appeared) and we should see them soon-ish (next few months, corresponding to the aforementioned 45-days). They will not keep Core 2 Duos in the refreshed iMacs, so wait until the refresh to buy, period; you'll kick yourself if you don't.
posted by The Michael The at 6:49 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: "Talk around the water cooler is the possibility of the Imac going with an AMD chip which might change the release schedule of the next set of Imacs."


"...trying to figure out what apple is going to release is an exercise in frustration!"

Yeah, I know that no one—even the vast majority of Apple's own employees—don't know what's going to happen until it does. That said, really what I was asking (and perhaps it got bogged down in Brady references) was:

if there were any MeFites out there that had taken notice in the processor "hand-me-down" delays in past iMac lines
—like maybe someone went out and bought a brand new iMac on the day it was released...
...only to notice X months later that, had they waited, they could've snagged that low-cost version but with the new hand-me-down'ed faster kind of processor.

(I'm guessing this would've been during the time of G3→G4 or Core Duo→Core2Duo, since I bet when they went to intel, they just refreshed everything at once)

And again, what I am interested in is big (new faster type) processor changes, not little incremental Ghz bumps to the same processor.

"...long overdue... they were expected in March... They will not keep Core 2 Duos in the refreshed iMacs..."
The Michael The

Good to hear I'm not alone in the waiting.
Yeah, when I was looking at the specs for the iMacs, I was frankly shocked that, more than three years later the only difference between my MacBook's processor and the new one was a bit of a speed bump.
posted by blueberry at 7:11 PM on April 20, 2010

The answer to your question is "maybe next week". And next week, that will be your answer as well. And it will be your answer every week until the new computers ship.

If you go look at the forum archives over at MacRumors you will see people doing this exact same thing for the new i5/i7 processors for the Mac Book Pros. I only starting paying attention in January, but people were saying "it's next week I tells ya!" from then all the way up to last week when Apple announced them.

No one knows. Past performance is not an indication of future results. What happened in the past (days between upgrades or whatever) is pretty much useless. If you need a computer, buy one. If not, wait.
posted by sideshow at 7:26 PM on April 20, 2010

Response by poster: sideshow, I know "no one knows the future" when it comes to Apple.

Again, what I am asking is:

"Are there any MeFites out there who have personal experience with buying a newly released iMac in the past and happen to recall the time it took before all of the iMacs had the most powerful chip?"
posted by blueberry at 7:50 PM on April 20, 2010

Best answer: The whole iMac line went from G3 to G4, and then from G4 to G5. Likewise for Core Duo to Core 2 Duo. This hybrid Core 2 Duo/Core i5/7 thing is new for the iMacs, so we're in uncharted territory here. For corroboration, look at this timeline.
posted by zsazsa at 11:33 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

While not a direct answer, MacRumors publishes a buying guide with historical data on product cycles and an average day count between updates.

The iMac was last updated Oct 2009, and it looks like there's roughly two months left in the usual cycle.
posted by CharlesV42 at 5:08 AM on April 21, 2010

Best answer: The following resources should allow you to piece together a timeline of what processors were available in which iMac models at which times. Keep in mind some high end processors never made it down to the lower end models (eg, the 2.8GHz Core 2 Extreme was only ever available in the 24"). So it's possible something like the Core i7 may never be an option in the 21.5" model.

Low End Mac's iMac page
Wiki's iMac pages: G3, G4, G5, Intel (plastic), and Intel (aluminum).
posted by 6550 at 5:39 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

« Older Headphone mania   |   Help me plan my summer. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.