Details of Apple - Intel developer kits

Written by Wil Harris

June 23, 2005 // 10:08 a.m.

Tags: #apple-intel #apple-x86 #mactel #osx #osx-x86 #tiger #x86

Companies: #intel

Apple's Intel development kits have been laid bare over at Think Secret today.

The hardware specs of the kit, which is housed in a G5 case, is confirmed as:

  • Intel 660 processor (3.6GHz, single core, 64-bit)
  • 'Barracuda' motherboard (800MHz bus)
  • 1GB DDR2 533MHz RAM
  • Intel GMA 900 graphics
  • SATA 2 hard drive

Running core Apple apps, along with some benchmark programmes, appears to show that this configuration is as fast, and sometimes faster, than a dual G5 2.7GHz rig.

Outstanding. That's more performance than the current, outrageously expensive top-of-the-range kit just by this switch over. And that's without dual-core.

It's possible, right now, to run Windows on the hardware, since it's all standard kit. Apple have hinted in the past that this feature wouldn't be disabled if people wanted to set it up - which could make Apple hardware a killer dual-booting rig.

The graphics are provided by the GMA900 chip from Intel, which pretty much sucks compared to anything Nvidia or ATI have. It's possible to pop any PC card in there - so theoretically we could have a 7800GTX Mac - but drivers are needed for OSX x86, so we're going to be waiting for the graphics partners to produce those. However, the GMA900 does support all the funky Quartz Extreme graphical features of Tiger.

Apparently, according to a separate posting at Spymac, Apple did evaluate AMD processors. However, whilst they thought the technology was great and the roadmap for future chips was fine, they believed that AMD's production capacity was not great enough, something that AMD have struggled with for a while now.

When these machines actually ship, expect them to be sporting dual-core processors, and expect Apple to be beavering away on making Tiger's 64-bit extensions work with the chips.
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