January 24, 2006 – Apple Computer’s newest low-end iMac desktop PC is its first system to incorporate an Intel processor, in a much-publicized shift from its longtime IBM/Freescale PowerPC platform. A recent teardown analysis from iSuppli Inc. examines Apple’s first efforts to bring dual-core capabilities previously available only in its high-end G5 computers into the rest of its desktop and notebook product lines.
The guts of the iMac are based on Intel’s Core Duo T2400 microprocessor, supported by the mobile 945 core-logic chipset — a setup designed for use in notebook PCs, not desktops. “Users want quiet and powerful machines,” noted Matthew Wilkins, iSuppli senior analyst for compute platforms research. “Intel is very focused on designing microprocessors that deliver the maximum performance without generating excessive heat or consuming huge amounts of power. For now, the Intel Core Duo fits that bill perfectly.” Other IC components include Intel’s Northbridge and Southbridge chipsets, an ATI graphics processor, and DDR SDRAM from Samsung.
iSuppli estimates the cost of the Intel microprocessor at $265, plus another $45 for the two-device chipset. The Intel microprocessor setup accounts for 35% of the estimated total bill of materials (BOM) of $873 for the new low-end iMac, which has a retail pricetag of $1299. That doesn’t include manufacturing and test costs or other necessities such as keyboard, mouse, or documentation.
Summary of major ICs in Apple’s low-end Intel-based iMac
IC Source Part Number Cost ($)
CPU Intel Core Duo T2400 265.00
Northbridge Intel 82945GM 31.00
Southbridge Intel NH82801GBMSL8YB 14.00
Northbridge/Graphics Processor ATI RADEON X1600 30.00
SDRAM – GDDR (256Mbit x 4) Samsung K4J55323QG-BC14 20.00
Monitor LG.Philips LCD 17-in. wide-format LCD panel