First Intel-based Macs unveiled

First Intel-based Macs unveiled

Apple has introduced its first computers that run on Intel’s latest processor, six months ahead of the schedule it outlined last year.

The company’s chief executive officer (CEO) Steve Jobs unveiled a long awaited new notebook line and two new iMac desktops at the Macworld Conference in San Francisco this week.

Intel's Core Duo processor will be used inside a 15.4-inch MacBook Pro notebook as well as in a 17-inch and a 20-inch iMac computer. An iMac computer uses an all-in-one design where the computer's motherboard sits behind the display.

The new systems are up to five times more powerful than comparable notebooks using the G4 processor, says Jobs.

"It’s not a secret we've been trying to shoehorn a G5 [processor] into a notebook, and have been unable to do so because of its power consumption," Jobs says. The G5, or PowerPC 970FX processor, is used in Power Mac desktops and iMacs but Apple never released a version of its notebook lineup with the chip. The Core Duo processor provides roughly five times as much performance per watt of power consumption as the G4 or G5 chips, Jobs says.

The 2.52 kilogram notebook comes with an Apple-developed technology called MagSafe, which is designed to prevent a user's notebook from flying off the table when someone trips over the power cord. MacBook Pros will use a power cord that is magnetically attached to the notebook, so if the cord gets yanked it merely detaches from the notebook rather than taking the notebook with it to the floor, Jobs says.

Two new versions will be available from February for US$1,999 and $2,499, respectively.

For $1,999, the MacBook Pro comes with a 1.67GHz Core Duo processor, 512M bytes of DDR2 (double data rate 2) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM), an 80 GB hard drive, Apple's DVD/CD burner SuperDrive, a Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics chip from ATI Technologies with 128 Mb of video memory and integrated wifi support. The $2,499 version features a 1.83GHz Core Duo processor, 1G byte of DDR2 SDRAM, a 100 GB hard drive, the SuperDrive, the X1600 graphics chip with 256M bytes of video memory and integrated wifi support. Both systems ship with Apple's Front Row media software and an infrared remote control.

The new iMacs are shipping now and will be the same price as previous systems.

Intel's Core Duo processor is built from two Pentium M processor cores and was introduced last week at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

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