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A first look at Apple's Intel Mac (with photos)

By Ryan Katz, Senior Editor

June 22, 2005 - Apple's Intel-based Mac development kits have started trickling into developer's hands, Think Secret has learned.

The Apple Development Platform ADP2,1, as the systems are officially designated, features 3.6GHz Pentium 4 processors with 2MB of L2 cache operating on an 800MHz bus with 1GB of RAM.

The Intel systems run Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger identically on the surface as ordinary Macs, with the exception of a modified Processor System Preference (from Apple's CHUD tools) that allows the user to toggle Hyper-Threading on or off. Apple System Profiler includes a new line under Hardware listing CPU Features; for the 3.6GHz Pentium 4 this comprises a rather lengthy list of technical acronyms: FPU, VME, DE, PSE, TSC, MSR, PAE, MCE, CX8, APIC, SEP, MTRR, PGE, MCA, CMOV, PAT, PSE36, CLFSH, DS, SCPI, MMX, FXSR, SSE, SEE2, SS, HTT, TM, SSE3, MON, DSCPL, EST, TM2, CX16, and TPR.

Apple's System Profiler reports the graphics card as an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 800. Inside the Intel Mac, DVI support for the video card is provided by a Silicon Image Orion ADD2-N Dual Pad x16.

The motherboard on the system is unmarked except for the word Barracuda. The system's internals are housed inside a case similar to Apple's Power Mac G5 systems but with a different configuration of fans.

Running Windows; Mac OS X on other PCs

Along with running Mac OS X, Windows XP installs without hitch on the Intel-based Mac, just as it would on any other PC, and booted without issue when installed on an NTFS-formatted partition. The only misbehavior sources encountered involved the video card. Initially, Windows refused to budge from an 800x600 setting on a 23-inch Cinema Display. Some prodding managed to get the screen to 1600x1200, but sources were unable to get Windows to take advantage of the entire screen.

Apple alluded to developers at its recent Worldwide Developer Conference that Windows should be able to run on Apple's Intel Macs.

As for installing Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware, attempts to boot from the included Mac OS X for Intel disc resulted in an error message on both a Dell and off-brand PC. The message states that the hardware configuration is not supported by Darwin x86.

Sources have indicated that Apple will employ an EDID chip on the motherboard of Intel-based Macs that Mac OS X will look for and must handshake with first in order to boot. Such an approach, similar to hardware dongles, could theoretically be defeated, although it's unknown what level of sophistication Apple will employ.

Also uncertain is whether the Intel-based development kits seeded to developers already feature the EDID chip or whether the installation disc contains a less sophisticated installation check that simply seeks out one particular hardware configuration--the one given to developers--and will not install on other configurations.


Intel Mac Motherboard

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Running Windows XP

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