Apple Releases Sandy Bridge Powered iMacs

Benchmarks for Apple’s newest line of 27” iMac desktops hit the presses today, revealing a truly impressive system. Fueled by Intel’s newest Sandy Bridge processors and boasting the much-touted Thunderbolt data port, it no surprise that they’d be fantastic. PCWorld released benchmark results on the first of four pre-configured iMac models that became available in the Apple store yesterday morning.

The first machine tested was their high-end $1,999 system which runs on an Intel Core i5-2400 quad-core processor. Video comes from an AMD Radeon 6970M graphics card and a 7200RPM, 1TB hard drive provides the necessary storage space. PCWorld benchmarks run in Speedmark 6.5 software, showed results 16 percent faster than the older high-end line these new models replace. Other benchmark tests showed a 22 percent speed increase in video encoding and a 20 percent increase in graphics capacity.

What makes them Better?

The inclusion of Intel Sandy Bridge CPUs made this system a shoe-in for vastly improved speed. Released to the market last January, this new line of processors vastly outperforms all but the highest level of chips which were on the market before. One reason for this is Intel’s Turbo Boost technology, which allows the CPU to overclock smartly individual processing cores for a brief period of time. The i5-2400 in these machines, for example, typically runs at 3.1GHz. However, if one of its four cores becomes engaged in something a bit more complex than its brothers, it can ramp its performance as high as 3.4GHz in order to power quickly through its job.

The inclusion of a AMD Radeon 6970M graphics processor is another boon for the system, as this is one of the greatest chips on the market. Visually demanding tasks such as gaming, graphic design, and high-definition video playback are demanding on a system’s GPU (graphics processing unit). The old model of iMac, which was just replaced, only ran an ATI Radeon HD 5770, a chip with roughly half the juice of this newer model.

PCWorld promised further benchmarks and formal reviews of the new systems soon, but from initial testing and analysis, these new systems seem well worth the investment.

Article first published as Benchmark Results In for Apple’s Newest iMac Desktops on Technorati.

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