Apple updates iMac with Thunderbolt I/O, quad-core processors, FaceTime camera

Apple has implemented a major refresh for its iMac all-in-one-desktop series with several advanced technologies, including the addition of "groundbreaking" Thunderbolt I/O technology.

Apple has implemented a major refresh for its iMac all-in-one-desktop series with several advanced technologies, including the addition of "groundbreaking" Thunderbolt I/O technology.

Apple asserts that these latest iMac computers are "up to 70 percent faster" and the new graphics cards "deliver up to three times the performance of the previous generation."

The big add-ons are Intel Core i5 quad-core processors (and even the option to upgrade to Core i7 chips), new AMD Radeon HD graphics processors, and an HD camera for FaceTime. Most notably, Apple has installed a single Thunderbolt I/O port on the 21.5-inch iMac while the 27-inch model gets treated to two of these ports, which promise transfer speeds up to 10Gbps.

The revamped iMac is available now either directly from the Apple Store or one of Apple's authorized resellers.

There are a several buying options. First, the 21.5-inch iMac is available in two configurations: one with an Intel Core i5 2.5GHz quad-core CPU, AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics and a 500GB hard drive for $1,199 (that's on par with the current 13-inch MacBook Pro). The second option for that display size is a slightly faster Intel Core i5 2.7GHz quad-core processor, AMD Radeon HD 6770M graphics and a 1TB hard drive for $1,499.

For those who need larger screens (i.e. designers, video editors, etc.), the 27-inch iMac also comes with two configuration options: the first with an Intel Core i5 2.7GHz quad-core processor, an AMD Radeon HD 6770M GPU and a 1TB hard drive for $1,699; or the higher-end model with an Intel Core i5 3.1GHz quad-core CPU, an AMD Radeon HD 6970M card and a 1TB hard drive for $1,999.

Apple is still offering some extra customizing options, but pricing depends on what you pick. Those optional specs consists of Intel Core i7 processors up to 3.4GHz, additional hard drive space up to 2TB, a 256GB solid state drive, additional DDR3 memory and, as true of every Apple product, the AppleCare Protection Plan.

Related coverage on ZDNet: