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White Intel iMac Q&A - Revised September 2, 2007

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What are the differences between the White iMac "Core 2 Duo" models?

Please note that the "White" iMac Core 2 Duo models have been discontinued. These systems were replaced by the "Aluminum" iMac Core 2 Duo line.

The "White" 17-Inch and 20-Inch iMac "Core 2 Duo" models use enclosures that effectively are identical to the iMac "Core Duo" systems before them, and likewise have the entire computer tucked discreetly behind the flat-panel display. The 24-Inch iMac "Core 2 Duo" model, to accommodate the larger display, uses a new housing that shares the same design aesthetic.

Photo Credit: Apple Computer

All the iMac "Core 2 Duo" models -- the iMac "Core 2 Duo" 1.83 17-Inch (IG), iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.0 GHz 17-Inch, iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.16 20-Inch, and iMac "Core 2 Duo" 2.16 24-Inch -- have Intel "Core 2 Duo" processors -- with two independent processor "cores" on a single silicon chip and a shared level 2 cache (2 MB on the entry-level 1.83 GHz model, and 4 MB on the others). The "Core 2 Duo" processors are pin-compatible with the previously released "Core Duo" processors, and consequently, the iMac "Core 2 Duo" models also feature a 667 MHz system bus and 667 MHz PC2-5300 DDR SDRAM.

With the exception of a single Firewire "800" port on the 24-Inch model (in lieu of a second Firewire "400" port), connectivity is the same as the "Core Duo" models -- three USB 2.0 ports, two Firewire "400" ports, built-in AirPort Extreme, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (except the entry-level model), and Gigabit Ethernet, as well as mini-DVI. Each system also includes an integrated iSight video camera, built-in stereo speakers, and a 7200 RPM hard drive.

The entry-level iMac "Core 2 Duo" 1.83 17-Inch model is quite a bit different than the higher-end models, as it uses cheaper and slower Intel GMA 950 "integrated graphics". It also has a DVD-ROM/CD-RW "Combo" drive instead of the DVD+R DL capable "SuperDrive", 512 MB of RAM instead of 1 GB, and a 160 GB hard drive. It lacks Bluetooth and the Apple Remote that shipped standard with the other models.

If you read "integrated graphics" and thought that the entry-level configuration seems similar to the education-only iMac "Core Duo" 1.83 17-Inch (IG) model, you would be correct. The only substantial differences between the iMac "Core 2 Duo" 1.83 17-Inch and the previously released model for education are that the "Core 2 Duo" system has a "Core 2 Duo" processor and a 160 GB hard drive instead of an 80 GB drive.

All differences between the standard configurations of the systems are summarized in this handy chart:

iMac "Core 2 Duo" 1.83 17" 2.0 17" 2.16 20" 2.16 24"
Intel Processor: T5600 T7200† T7400† T7400†
Processor Speed: 1.83 GHz 2.0 GHz† 2.16 GHz† 2.16 GHz†
L2 Cache: 2 MB 4 MB 4 MB 4 MB
Hard Drive Size: 160 GB 160 GB 250 GB 250 GB
Standard RAM: 512 MB 1 GB 1 GB 1 GB
Maximum RAM: 2 GB 3 GB 3 GB 3 GB
Video System: GMA 950 Radeon X1600 Radeon X1600 GeForce 7300GT†
Video Type: DDR2 GDDR3 GDDR3 GDDR3
Video Memory: 64 MB 128 MB 128 MB† 128 MB†
Optical Drive: DVD/CD-RW DVD+R DL DVD+R DL DVD+R DL
Display Size: 17-Inch 17-Inch 20-Inch 24-Inch
Native Resolution: 1440x900 1440x900 1680x1050 1920x1200
Bluetooth: None 2.0+EDR 2.0+EDR 2.0+EDR
Apple Remote: None Incl. Incl. Incl.
Firewire 800: None None None One Port
Apple Model No: MA710LL MA590LL MA589LL MA456LL
Original Price: US$999 US$1199 US$1499 US$1999

†Additionally the 2.0 17" model could be upgraded to a 2.16 GHz (T7400) processor for US$100, and the 2.16 20" and 2.16 24" could be upgraded to a 2.33 GHz (T7600) processor for US$250. The graphics in the 2.16 20" model could be upgraded to 256 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM for US$75, and the graphics in the 2.16 24" model could be upgraded with a NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT with 256 MB of GDDR3 memory for US$125.

Site sponsor PowerMax has new and used Intel-based iMac models available free of sales tax.

Please refer to the Ultimate Mac Comparison feature to dynamically compare any Intel iMac model to any other G3 or later Mac.



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