With its second generation iMac G5, Apple has upgraded its cool all-in-one desktop to better serve the business user. While the increase in processor speed to 1.8GHz and 2.0GHz is welcome, and certainly it’s nice to have an ATI Radeon 9600 graphics chip with 128MB, the real improvement is the addition of Gigabit Ethernet. That’s absolutely essential for today ‘s business environment, and it shows that Apple intends the iMac to serve not only its traditional consumer market, but function as an entry-level professional desktop. Prices are the same, ranging from $1,299 for the basic 17-inch version, with a 1.8GHz G5 to the 20-inch model, with a 2.0GHz processor, at $1,799. Memory across the board is 512MB, considered the absolute minimum for decent performance under Mac OS X. The new line is preloaded with Tiger and also includes AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth as part of the package. The eMac’ improvements are less significant, with processor speed now boosted to 1.42GHz, same as the top-of-the-line Mac mini. Hard drive capacity is doubled, at 80MB for the $799 model, and 160MB, for the $999 model, which also sports a SuperDrive. The built-in ATI Radeon 9600 graphics card with 64MB memory should be adequate but, according to Apple’s specs, it doesn’t offer full support for the Core Image feature of Mac OS 10.4. But the same can be said about the graphics chip in the speedbumped iMac. Yes, the eMac now includes Tiger as standard issue. The other neat development is that Apple is beginning to behave a little more rationally with memory pricing. It now costs just $50 to upgrade the basic eMac to 512MB, but it is still too bad that’s not standard issue.
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