Wow, where to begin… Apple dropped a SLEW of updates today, and they didn’t even do a ‘Event’! There is a new Airport/Time Capsule, new Mac Minis, new iMacs, new Mac Pros, and a quiet update to the MacBook Pro. Plus, a couple of video cards showed up, an ATI 4870 and an nVidia GT 120, for the Mac Pro…
There’s a LOT to digest here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Apple release so many products on one day, EVER.
First off, even though a lot of stuff is ‘new’, it isn’t really. The main thing that changed on all of the machines is that the base line video is now fairly decent. The worst video option available on any Mac is now an nVidia 9400M chipset. It’s a good graphics card that can do all of the fancy rendering, play DVDs well, and play a decent game. No, it’s not going to be a 3D shooter monster, but since developers have a very limited set of cards to write for, they can optimize for that card. (And they will, as most Macbooks, Macbook Pros, Minis, and some iMacs will contain this video card.) The processors got bumped a bit, but not much. Memory has gotten better, as all but the base Macs come with 4 gigs of memory, and have options for 8 gig upgrades. Hey, the Mini can even be upgraded to 4 gigs. Also, the hard drives increased up to a decent amount. Nothing earth shattering, but still respectable.
Now, the Mac Pro is VERY new… in fact, INTEL hasn’t even announced the chips that are being used in the Mac Pro. This has happened before, Apple gets chips that are unavailable to the rest of the world. The Mac Pro also got cheaper for a single processor box, and more expensive for a dual processor box. The video card options have increased, and they are finally getting the latest cards available from ATI and nVidia (well, at least today… ATI is supposed to be bringing out new cards in a couple of weeks).
Here’s the dilemma… All of these updates are VERY welcome. They bring the Mac hardware in line with the rest of the industry. The only problem is that they still are more expensive than a similar Dell system. A Quad Core Dell with 6 gigs of memory, a 640 gigabyte hard drive AND a 22” LCD monitor goes for around $950… It’s hard to convince someone to send $1500 for an iMac with less memory and two fewer cores, even though it might have a bigger monitor.
Personally, I think OS X is worth the extra money. The machines are exceptionally well designed, and they are a lot less hassle. I know that a Mac Pro is gonna be on my wish list for Santa!