Computer Electronics

Apple iMac 17 Inch 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo Teardown

30 November 2012
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Benchmarking.

Main Features

17-inch widescreen LCD with 1440x900 resolution, 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo with 2MB shared L2 cache, 512MB (single SO-DIMM) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM, 160GB Serial ATA hard drive, Slot-load 8x double-layer SuperDrive, ATI Radeon X1600 graphics with 128MB GDDR3 memory, and built-in AirPort Extreme (802.11 a/b/g) and Bluetooth 2.0.

Apple iMac 17 Inch 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo - iMac 17" Intel Core Duo - FrontApple iMac 17 Inch 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo - iMac 17" Intel Core Duo - Front

The iMac Intel Core Duo is the first Mac with an Intel chipset. The iMac 17" we tore down is essentially the same as the G5 model that is no longer being sold in parallel to this model (20" is the only choice in the G5 versions now). According to Apple claims, the main benefit of purchasing this version of the iMac is the overall faster performance, while maintaining all of the classic Mac benefits (stability of operating system, focus on media apps, aesthetic, etc.) and compatibility. According to other sources in the press - it would seem that true performance testing seems to indicate that overall performance shows the new Intel version to be roughly more like on par with the recent G5 permutation of the iMac. Given Apple's apparent pulling of the 17" version of the G5 model, it seems that they are making a concerted effort to force the hand of consumers and help promote the switch to Intel chipsets at Apple.

Pricing / Availability

The 17" model we purchased for analysis sells for $1299 currently. The 20" version with other feature upgrades sells for $1699 (the 2-" G5 sells for $1499). The product is available worldwide.


We purchased this unit within 24 hours of release (Jan 11, 2006).

Market Shares / Sector Performance

Apple remains a niche player, and in the overall market share in the PC space, weighed in at under 2% in 2004 (3.6M units shipped in 2004, vs an overall market shipment figure of 191M units in 2004), and has likely changed little over the course of 2005. Furthermore, we estimate that PC shipments in 2005 grew to ~217M units, and expect that figure to grow to ~240M units in 2006. Assuming Apple's market share at about 2% of unit shipments for the total PC market - we would expect overall volumes for PC shipments at Apple to be on the order of 4.8M units in 2006.

It is possible that some users may migrate to the new Apple platform based on the perceived benefits of the new chipset and alliance.

Volume Estimations

Based on the above ideas of Apple's order of magnitude for PC shipments, and given the number of different models in their portfolio we have broadly estimated unit shipments for the 17" Intel Core Duo at approximately 1000K units (over a two year lifespan).

As a reminder, volume production assumptions primarily affect our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). In fact, production volumes for those components where this data is used, may actually be higher, since the shell (housing) and many other elements may be produced for several models (G5/Intel or even 17 and 20" model common parts), and may vary from component to component.

Function / Performance

Performance testing was not performed on the Apple iMac

Cost Notes

Main Cost Drivers (Representing approximately 84% of total materials costs - computer only)

$494 Motherboard

$265 - Intel - CPU - Intel Core Duo Processor 1.83GHz

$42 - Hynix - SODIMM DDR - 512MB, 32Mx16, 667MHz

$36 - ATI - Mobility Radeon X1600 - Graphic Controller

$31 - Intel - Northbridge - Memory Controller and Graphics Hub

$20 - Samsung -K4J55323QG-BC14 - SDRAM - GDDR, 256Mbit (x4)

$14 - Intel - Southbridge - ICH7 I/O Controller Hub

$185 Display - 17-inch widescreen LCD with 1440x900 resolution - LG/Philips

$61 Matsushita - Optical Drive - Super Multi-Drive, Slimline

$58Maxtor - HDD - 160GB, SATA/150, 7200rpm, 3.5", 8MB Buffer

~$798 Subtotal of Main Cost Drivers

~$928 Total Materials Costs

~$949 Materials and Manufacturing*

* - The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect only the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), manufacturing and test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the manufacture of the core device itself - cost of shipping, logistics, marketing and other channel costs including not only the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device itself and does not, in this case, include any periperpherals, accessories, nor packaging & literature, etc. bundled with the computer.

Manufacturing Notes

Country of Origin / EMS provider

This unit was manufactured in China, per the label on it. Furthermore, generally speaking, when we see a device that has final assembly in China, unless otherwise noted we generally assume that PCBA manufacturing and the sourcing of custom mechanicals (plastics and metals) are done with local sources due to the disproportionate transport costs with such items. So for the iMac 17" Intel Core Duo, it is assumed that all of these steps take place domestically in China at stated loaded labor rates in the overview section.

We understand that Quanta are building the 17" iMac for Apple, and they also build the PowerBook. Apple also has close EMS relationships for their other PCs with Foxconn and Asustek.

Design for Manufacturing / Complexity

The iMac is dense and complex. There are a lot of components in this box, and the mechanical components are far more elaborate and costly than we had initially estimated.

Overall - coming in at a component count of 2352, the iMac is one of the higher component counts we have seen in a desktop or laptop computer. The mechanical count (212) is typically a good relative gage of complexity and directly correlates to the cost of hand assembly and has a direct bearing on our calculation of manufacturing cost, where the electronic component count drives the manufacturing costs for "auto" assembly (automated pick and place lines).

Furthermore, in the case of the iMac hand assembly is made more complex by the dense, tight-fitting nature of the design which can increase manufacturing cycle times.

Design Notes

Our first experience tearing down an Apple computer was with the Mac Mini. What was remarkable about that computer was that it was essentially a desktop built with largely laptop components, and this iMac is the same. In fact the core chipset (the Intel Core Duo) is designed again for portable applications, as is ATI's Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics chip. The same can be said for the display panel, the memory expansion format (SO-DIMM), the Mini-PCI format of the WLAN card, and the slimline ODD. The hard drive seems to be the only major component using a standard PC 3.5" format.

Overall the design rule of all Apple devices we have seen is compact and dense. In order to achieve the eye-pleasing simple aesthetic, a lot has to be packed into little space in Apple designs, and again the iMac is no exception. The iMac uses the space inside the housing very efficiently and what little space is "open" is used very strategically for cooling and ductwork (three large custom fans with special ducts are strategically placed inside the housing.

Main Components


  • Intel chipset solution:
  • Processor - Intel - Intel® Core Duo Processor 1.83GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 667MHz, 65nm Process
  • Northbridge - Memory Controller and Graphics Hub - Intel - QG82945GMSL8Z2
  • Southbridge - ICH7 I/O Controller Hub - Intel - NH82801GBMSL8YB
  • Graphic Controller - ATI - Mobility Radeon X1600


  • Microcontroller for Computing Security - Trusted Platform Module (TPM) - Infineon - SLB9635TT1.2
  • Codecs - 8-Channel, High Definition Audio - Sigmatel - STAC9220


  • SDRAM - GDDR, 256Mbit, 2M x 32Bit x 4 Banks, 700MHz, 1.8V 4 Samsung - K4J55323QG-BC14 (x4)
  • Flash - SPI, Serial, 16Mb, 50MHz - SST - SST25VF016B-50-4C-S2AF

Other Subsystems

  • 17" 'Wide" Display - 1440 x 900 pixel - LG Philips - LM171W02
  • 802.11 a/b/g (Airport Extreme) Board - PCI-e Mini Apple Module - Broadcom Chipset
  • Bluetooth Board - Apple Module - CSR Bluetooth Chip Core
  • SO-DIMM 512MB 32mx16 667MHz DDR - Hynix - HYMP564S64B(P)6-Y5
  • Optical Drive (8X Super Drive - Slimline) Matsushita / Panasonic UJ-846-C
  • HDD - 160GB SATA 7200rpm 3.5" - Maxtor - DiamondMax 10 / 6L160M0
  • Power Supply - 12.1V / 15.4A 185W - AC Bel Polytech - API4ST03
  • Power Supply - POL Module
  • Camera Module & Processor - VGA/CCD Fixed Lens

Apple iMac 17 Inch 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo - iMac 17" Intel Core Duo - FrontApple iMac 17 Inch 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo - iMac 17" Intel Core Duo - Front

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