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Apple Speeds Up iMac CPUs, Graphics

Apple has revamped its line of iMac all-in-one desktop computers, offering improved CPU speeds and graphics processing power. At the same time, the company has also expanded the high end of the iMac’s build-to-order options to including a Core 2 Duo processor running at 3.06 GHz on the 24-inch iMac, along with Nvidia GeForce 8800 GS graphics with 512 MB of discrete video memory.

"The iMac’s gorgeous aluminum and glass all-in-one design has been an incredible hit with our customers and is just one of the reasons Mac sales are growing three and a half times faster than PC sales," said Apple senior VP of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller, in a statement. "With the latest Intel processors, a faster new graphics option, and more memory, customers now have even more reasons to love the iMac."

The iMac comes in three flavors: two models with a built-in 20-inch LCD display and a high-end model with an integrated 24-inch display. The low-end 20-incher now comes with a 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo SPU, 1 GB of RAM, a 250 GB hard drive, and ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT graphics with 128 MB of video memory. Moving up, the speedier 20-incher packs a 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB of RAM, a 320 GB hard drive, and AT Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics with 256 MB of video memory. Finally, at the high-end the stock 24-inch model packs a 2.8 GHz Core 2, 2 GB of RAM, a 320 GB hard drive, and the AT Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics controller with 256 MB of video memory—however, the 24-incher can also be tricked out with that 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo chip, Nvidia GeForce 8800 GS graphics with 512 MB video memory, and up to 1 TB of hard drive storage…for an extra fee of course.

All the iMac models feature an 8× dual-layer slot-loading DVD burner, a 1066 MHz frontside bus, an integrated iSight video camera, 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR wireless networking, mini-DVI video output (which can be converted to DVI, VGA, or composite/S-Video with separate adapters). The systems ship with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and Apple’s iLife ’08 applications suite.

Prices start at $1,199 for the entry-level 20-incher, $1,499 for the mid-range 20-inch model, and $1,799 for the 24-inch model. With a 500 GB hard drive, adding the 3 GHz CPU and Nvidia graphics cranks the 24-incher’s price to $2,199.

[Update: The 3.06 GHz, Nvidia 8800 GS-graphics equipped 24-inch models is available in stores and from Apple directly as a discrete product, rather than as a build-to-order item.]

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