Yesterday Apple introduced its first Sandy Bridge based iMacs. Thanks to @siromega I was pointed at iFixit's teardown of the new 21.5-inch iMac, which pointed out that the new system is actually first to use Intel's Z68 chipset - ahead of Intel's official launch of the chipset.


mage courtesy iFixit

It's a unique choice for Apple given that Z68 incorporates features that Apple doesn't seem to use in the new iMac (SSD caching, overclocking). But perhaps we will eventually see Apple embrace SSD caching in future models?

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  • tipoo - Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - link

    An SSD is an option. There is no mention of it being used as a cache drive.
  • michael2k - Thursday, May 5, 2011 - link

    You're correct.

    On the flip side, much the same effect could be had by installing the OS on the SSD (for fast boot, application launch, and library access) while placing the user folder, or more specifically, the music, movie, and picture folder, on the HDD.

    At this point we're still a month away from knowing what Apple is doing with the SSD.
  • Foggg - Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - link

    <blockquote>Z68 incorporates features that Apple doesn't seem to use in the new iMac (SSD caching, overclocking)</blockquote>
    Unlike the earlier chipsets, Z68 also features QuickSync encoding via the SB integrated GPU in systems that have a discrete GPU like the iMac. Apple should support that.
  • LtGoonRush - Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - link

    The Z68 also adds PCI-Express port bifurcation support over H67 I believe, could this be how Apple provided adequate bandwidth to the Thunderbolt controller?
  • Penti - Thursday, May 5, 2011 - link

    x4 PCI-Express 2.0 lanes should be plenty enough in of itself. There's no pci-express switch so. That's 2000 MB/s or 16 Gigabit/s for the Thunderbolt IC. Which can't establish more then 4 PCI-Expresslanes any way. That the data transport is 10 Gigabit/s doesn't matter here, so is PCI-Express x2 thanks to it's 8b/10b encoding. Most simple devices maybe won't be using two lanes any way. The only other (other then graphics which sits on the cpu's pci-express lanes) PCI-Express hardware appears to be the wireless and LAN/NIC. So they should even have two lanes left over. x8 PCI-Express 2.0 is more then enough for a computer like this.
  • gilesrulz - Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - link

    It wouldn't be the first time Apple bought into a chipset that had features which never made it to the Macs that contained them.
  • um8ra - Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - link

    Does anyone know were I to add 2x4GB of ram to the 2x2GB would this slow down ram performance? Essentially my question is whether or not this chipset is dual, triple or quad(?) channel in terms of memory?

  • HilbertSpace - Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - link

    LGA 1155 (iMac) is Dual channel - but I wouldn't worry about it slowing things down - only if you're doing HPC or something would it be very noticeable.
  • Kristian Vättö - Thursday, May 5, 2011 - link

    The IMC supports only dual-channeling and it has two channels so adding 2x4GB should not slow down the RAM bandwidth. At any case, you wouldn't notice the difference between RAM bandwidth.
  • chenheihei - Thursday, May 5, 2011 - link


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