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Beauty And Power! MacSpeedZone's January 2002 iMac Information Page

1-24-02 Don Engstrom

On January 7th, a day before the expo floor opened, Steve Jobs took the wraps off the new 2002 iMac for an enthusiastic audience. The past generations of iMac had been largely evolutionary rather than revolutionary, adding a feature here, a speed bump there, and an ever shifting color schemes of course. The 2002 iMacs represent a complete redesign and have precious little to tie them to any of the previous computers that bore the iMac moniker.

The most immediately apparent change is the new form factor. The base of the unit is a soft white semi sphere. The new 15" TFT display is supported by an arm that allows you to adjust the display's height and angle as well as pivot it 180°. Just about the only thing you can't do is rotate the display orientation from landscape to portrait. It is also worth pointing out that 15" of TFT screen gives you a full 15" viewable area, unlike the previous 15" CRT monitors which only offered a 13.8" viewable area.

Although the iMac gives the appearance of being top heavy, this is not the case, the unit weighs in at 21.3 pounds, the bulk of which is in the base. The new iMacs have a very solid feel.

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Processor - In another first, the new iMacs now sport G4 processors. This, along with some of the features we will outline below, has blurred the distinction between Apple's "pro" and "consumer" lines. The two "low-end" models are powered by a G4/700 processor, the high-end iMac uses a G4/800 chip. Both the G4/700 and G4/800 have a 256K "on-chip" cache that runs at full processor speed. Apple's two high end "QuickSilver" towers, by way of contrast, have 256K on-chip cache at full speed and a whopping 2MB backside cache. The downside is that the 2MB cache is accessed at 1/4 the processor speed. Visit our QuickSilver Information Page for more reading.

Graphics - Like the QuickSilver Power Macs, the new iMacs have moved away from the ATI chip set, using NVIDIA's GeForce2 MX instead. The GeForce sports 32MB of dedicated Double Data Rate (DDR) video memory, double the 16MB of SDRAM found on the older ATI RAGE Ultra 128.

Optical Drive - The low end iMac comes with a very respectable 24x10x32 CD-RW drive, the mid range with a combination drive, and the high end with a "super drive" capable of writing to DVD-R, CD-R and CD-RW media. This, coupled with a $1,799 price tag, represents some serious competition for Apple's tower machines. The cheapest tower that comes with a super drive runs $2,499 excluding the cost of a monitor. All three drives are tray loading instead of the more esthetically pleasing slot loading design.

Ports - Although Apple claims the new iMacs have 5 USB ports, 2 of those are on the keyboard. The iMac base has 3 USB ports which are shared on two 12-Mbps controllers. Apple has not adopted USB 2 yet, sticking with the tried and true 1.1 instead. FireWire (2 ports), 10/100BASE-T Ethernet and 56K modem ports are all still standard as is the popular, but unfilled, AirPort slot. The latter is accessed from the bottom of the base as is RAM expansion. We haven't tested this yet, but Apple reps have told us that removing the base to install additional RAM or an AirPort card is a breeze.

Miscellaneous changes - There are several other changes that don't warrant their own category. The keyboard and mouse are now both white, as are the speakers that come with the combination drive and super drive iMacs. All iMacs have a built in speaker as well. The new compact form (as well as the warmer G4 processor no doubt) have necessitated the return of an internal fan. Thankfully, the fan is relatively quiet and only turns on when it is needed.

Although the fact is not heavily advertised, Apple is still producing and selling two CRT based iMacs, the G3/500 with a CD-ROM drive (MSRP: $799), and the G3/600 with a CD-RW drive (MSRP: $999), both slot loading. Below, we outline the major differences in the 2002 iMac lineup and compare it to the previous generation.



Current iMacs at a Glance

G4/700/700/256K

  • 128MB RAM (1 gig max)
  • 40GB Ultra ATA hard drive
  • Tray loading 24x10x32 CD-RW drive
  • MSRP: $1,2999 Available March

    Common Hardware Features

  • 2 FireWire ports
  • 3 USB 1.1 ports (shared on two 12-Mbps controllers) plus 2 on keyboard.
  • Internal 56K V.90 modem
  • 10/100BASE-T Ethernet
  • AirPort slot
  • NVIDIA GeForce2 MX graphics processor with AGP 2X support and 32MB of dedicated Double Data Rate (DDR) video memory.
  • Mini-VGA output port. Video mirroring only.
  • Common Software Bundle

    QuickTime, iMovie 2, iTunes 2, iDVD 2 (SuperDrive-equipped systems only), DVD Player, AppleWorks, Mail, Microsoft Internet Explorer, EarthLink, AOL, Quicken 2002 Deluxe, World Book Mac OS X Edition, Otto Matic, Mac OS X Chess, PCalc, Acrobat Reader, and FAXstf 10.0 Preview.

    G4/700/700/256K

  • 256MB RAM (1 gig max)
  • 40GB Ultra ATA hard drive
  • Tray loading "combination drive" DVD-ROM/CD-RW
  • Apple pro speakers
  • MSRP: $1,499 Available February

    G4/800/800/256K

  • 256MB RAM (1 gig max)
  • 60GB Ultra ATA hard drive
  • Tray loading "super drive" DVD-R/CD-RW
  • Apple pro speakers
  • MSRP: $1,799 Available January

    Current and Past iMacs Compared

    Model/MHz Bus Speed
    (MHz)
    RAM & Graphics Expansion
    Slots
    Drives  Networking
    Modem
     Additional
    Features
    Price Information

    iMac G4/800/800/256K

    "Super Drive"

    (January 2002)

    100

    256MB
    1GB Max


    NVIDIA GeForce2 MX with 32 MB of DDR RAM
    2x AGP

    AirPort Slot

    60GB Ultra ATA


    "Super Drive"
    (DVD-R/CD-RW)

    Writes DVD-R at 2x, reads DVDs at 6x, writes CD-R and CD-RW at 8x, reads CDs at 24x.

    10/100BASE-T

    56k V.90

    AirPort Ready

    3 USB 1.1 ports on base (shared on two 12-Mbps controllers)

    2 FireWire Ports

    Mini-VGA output port (requires VGA display adapter)

    MSRP: $1,799

    SmallDog
    DealZone

    Available January

    Reviews & Additional Info

    Model/MHz Bus Speed
    (MHz)
    RAM & Graphics Expansion
    Slots
    Drives  Networking
    Modem
     Additional
    Features
    Price Information

    iMac G4/700/700/256K

    "Combination Drive"

    (January 2002)

    100

    256MB
    1GB Max


    NVIDIA GeForce2 MX with 32 MB of DDR RAM
    2x AGP

    AirPort Slot

    40GB Ultra ATA


    "Combination Drive"

    Reads DVDs at 8x, writes CD-R discs at 12x, writes CD-RW at 8x, reads CDs at 32x

    10/100BASE-T

    56k V.90

    AirPort Ready

    3 USB 1.1 ports on base (shared on two 12-Mbps controllers)

    2 FireWire Ports

    Mini-VGA output port (requires VGA display adapter)

    MSRP: $1,499

    SmallDog
    DealZone

    Available February

    Reviews & Additional Info

    Model/MHz Bus Speed
    (MHz)
    RAM & Graphics Expansion
    Slots
    Drives  Networking
    Modem
     Additional
    Features
    Price Information

    iMac G4/700/700/256K

    CD-RW Drive

    (January 2002)

    100

    128MB
    1GB Max


    NVIDIA GeForce2 MX with 32 MB of DDR RAM
    2x AGP

    AirPort Slot

    40GB Ultra ATA


    CD-RW Drive

    Writes CD-R at 24x, writes CD-RW at 10x, reads CDs at 32x

    10/100BASE-T

    56k V.90

    AirPort Ready

    3 USB 1.1 ports on base (shared on two 12-Mbps controllers)

    2 FireWire Ports

    Mini-VGA output port (requires VGA display adapter)

    MSRP: $1,299

    SmallDog
    DealZone

    Available March

    Reviews & Additional Info

    Previous Generation iMacs
    Model/MHz Bus Speed
    (MHz)
    RAM & Graphics Expansion
    Slots
    Drives  Networking
    Modem
     Additional
    Features
    Price Information

    iMac G3/700/700/256

    Snow & Graphite

    (July 2001)

    100

    256MB
    1GB Max


    ATI RAGE 128 Ultra 2x AGP
    16MB SDRAM

    AirPort Slot

    60GB Ultra ATA


    8x4x24 CD-RW

    10/100BASE-T
    56k V.90
    AirPort Ready
    2 USB ports (12Mbps each)
    2 FireWire ports
    VGA output port (15-pin mini D-Sub connector)
    No fan
    SmallDog
    DealZone

    Reviews: | MacworldUK | Macworld |

    Additional Info: | MacSpeedZone | MacSpeedZone | iMac.com | TidBits | MacUserUK |

    Model/MHz Bus Speed
    (MHz)
    RAM & Graphics Expansion
    Slots
    Drives  Networking
    Modem
     Additional
    Features
    Price Information

    iMac G3/600/600/256K
    Snow & Graphite

    (July, 2001)

    100

    256MB
    1GB Max


    ATI RAGE 128 Ultra 2x AGP
    16MB SDRAM

    AirPort slot

    40GB Ultra ATA


    8x4x24 CD-RW

    10/100BASE-T
    56k V.90
    AirPort Ready
    2 USB ports (12Mbps each)
    2 FireWire ports
    VGA output port (15-pin mini D-Sub connector)
    No fan
    SmallDog
    DealZone

    Reviews: | MacworldUK | Macworld | WashingtonPost |

    Additional Info: | MacSpeedZone | iMac.com | TidBits | MacUserUK |

    Model/MHz Bus Speed
    (MHz)
    RAM & Graphics Expansion
    Slots
    Drives  Networking
    Modem
     Additional
    Features
    Price Information

    iMac G3/500/500/256K

    Snow & Indigo

    (July 2001)

    100

    128MB
    1GB Max


    ATI RAGE 128 Ultra 2x AGP
    16MB SDRAM

    AirPort Slot

    20GB Ultra ATA


    8x4x24 CD-RW

    10/100BASE-T
    56k V.90
    AirPort Ready
    2 USB ports (12Mbps each)
    2 FireWire ports
    VGA output port (15-pin mini D-Sub connector)
    No fan
    SmallDog
    DealZone

    Reviews: | MacworldUK |

    Additional Info: | MacSpeedZone | iMac.com | TidBits | MacUserUK |

    Model/MHz Bus Speed
    (MHz)
    RAM & Graphics Expansion
    Slots
    Drives  Networking
    Modem
     Additional
    Features
    Price Information

    iMac G3/500/500/256K
    Indigo

    (July 2001)

    100

    64 MB
    1GB Max


    ATI RAGE 128 Ultra 2x AGP
    16MB SDRAM

    AirPort Slot

    20GB Ultra ATA


    24x CD-ROM

    10/100BASE-T
    56k V.90
    AirPort Ready

    2 USB ports (12Mbps each)
    2 FireWire ports
    VGA output port (15-pin mini D-Sub connector)
    No fan

    SmallDog
    DealZone
    Reviews & Information

    Reviews: | MacworldUK |

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