512MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 in new iMacs: Apple finally ready to get its game on?

apple_imac_morepower_20080428.jpg

Apple’s new iMacs have expected under-the-hood improvements: the basic $1,200 20-incher starts with the 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1 GB of RAM, Radeon HD 2400XT video card and a 250GB hard drive, while the $1,800 24″ model has a 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB of RAM, 320GB hard drive and a Radeon HD 2600 Pro video card.

Sauciest of all, you can now drop in an optional Nvidia GeForce 8800 GS video card, with 512MB of video memory. The 8800s tore through gaming PCs last year, at least in their capable GTS, GTX and Ultra forms. However, one problem with buying video cards is that they are deceptively marketed using automobile-like alphanumeric designations designed to baffle unsophisticated consumers like me. In other words, the GS edition is a low-end cut that won’t impress hardcore gamers, even if it represents strong forward movement for video performance on “consumer” Macs.

A nudge in the right direction, then, but not a wink. Quo vadis, Apple gamers?

Product Page [Apple Store]
Apple Updates iMac [Apple PR]

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com
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7 Responses to 512MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 in new iMacs: Apple finally ready to get its game on?

  1. haaz says:

    The high-end new iMac ($2200) has the 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS video card. But, you can’t “drop it in” to a lower-end machine. The two in the “middle” ($1500 and $1800) have a 256MB ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO, while the lowest model has a 128MB ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT (lowest, $1200). How much slower or “worse” is the middle model versus the higher one? Or the lowest versus the middle?

    Apple offers an unhelpful chart which says the high-end GeForce 8800 GS is 2.2 times “faster” than the Radeon HD 2600. But that leaves out the lowest ATI Radeon. And how useful is Quake 4 as the basis for graphics performance for someone who hasn’t played a FPS in years and spends most of his or her time in TextEdit and Firefox? Just curious. :)

  2. Rob Beschizza says:

    Haaz, you can configure the 8800 into any 24″ config; I expect it’s a chassis size issue.

  3. dculberson says:

    A faster video card, to a point, makes your entire machine more pleasant to use. I dropped a somewhat-decent PCI Express card into my machine at work, which doesn’t have any games on it (other than probably Solitaire hidden in the maze of menus) and found my work life smoothed and accelerated just a bit. Enough to make it less mind numbing.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It has been confirmed that the new 20″ machines use the same screens as the 24″ machines eliminating the problems of luketheobscure above – both are now equally viewable.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The words “last year” are the key ones here – already the 8800 series has been all but replaced with a newer, faster and (in some cases) less power hungry family.

    Is Apple getting it’s game on? Or is it just picking up some cheap end of season silicon?

  6. Anonymous says:

    These specs are all good for today’s machines. But I expect to own mine for a couple years, so I’m holding out for (Intel’s mobile) quad-core.

  7. luketheobscure says:

    I got pretty burned on the last 20″ iMac model. The screen is awful. Avoid like the plague! The viewing angle is so narrow that colors on the top of the screen look completely different than colors at the bottom!

    Slashdot had a write up a while back: http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/01/1710221

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