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Can a 21.5-inch iMac beat the latest-and-greatest M1 model in performance? Kinda • The Register

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The benchmarks don’t lie. Apple Silicon is fast. The M1 processor outperforms Intel’s competing i5 and i7 chips in virtually every metric you would care to mention, from CPU performance to graphics rendering. With that in mind, one may ask why anyone would want to buy an x86 Mac.

But as YouTuber Luke Miani recently showed, if you value your time cheaply, it’s possible to make an old 21.5 inch iMac competitive with the latest-and-greatest wafer-thin M1 goodness. If you are a bit selective with the benchmarks, that is.

Youtube Video

The hero of this tale is Apple’s previous entry-level iMac. Released in 2019, this came (specs here) with a glacier-slow quad-core i3-8100 chip, paired with just 8GB of DDR4 RAM. It was not fast, but given its positioning as a tool for less-demanding home and education users, that wasn’t much of a problem. Miani said he acquired this for $750 — or two-thirds of the cost of a new M1 powered machine.

It was unambiguously outclassed by the M1 iMac, except for one thing: upgradability. Touting a socketed CPU, Miani was able to remove the sluggish i3-8100, replacing it with an octa-core Core i9-9900. This added $350 to the original purchase price.

Apple never actually offered the 21.5-inch iMac with an i9 chip. Those were saved for the larger 27-inch variant, as well as the ill-fated iMac Pro. According to EveryMac, a reliable compendium of Apple’s computing wares, the entry-level machine topped out with an i7-8700.

Rounding it off, Miani boosted the RAM from 8GB to 32GB, adding a further $150 to the cost. In total, the project cost $1,200 — just $50 short from the base M1 iMac with a seven-core GPU, 8GB RAM, and 256GB of internal storage.

Installing these upgrades proved to be a bit of a chore. As is the case with all iMacs released after 2006, the main avenue of ingress is through the display. Disassembly was further complicated by some awkwardly-located cables, which proved challenging to remove. This was necessary to replace the CPU, and, unlike previous models, switch out the RAM, which was contained within a metal cage affixed to the logic board.

So, was it worth it?

That largely depends on your perspective.

Are you particularly fussed about graphics performance? In that case, no. The stock M1 iMac utterly crushed the ageing AMD Radeon Pro 555X GPU found in 2019’s 21.5-inch variant. It simply wasn’t a fair fight.

When using the Geekbench 5 Compute benchmark, which tests how the internal GPU copes with running games, image processing, and video editing, the 21.5-inch model scored 15,789 against the M1’s nearly 20,000.

But it shone when running CPU-driven tasks. When pitched against the CPU-heavy Cinebench R15 test, the custom 21-inch iMac beat the M1 by almost a third. Rendering a project in open source 3D creation suite Blender took half the time (although this likely wasn’t a fair test, given the absence of a native Apple Silicon build.) The M1 won on multi-core performance, but only just, with 100 points separating the two.

For the vast majority of users, the M1 iMac should be enough. And, of course, there is no guarantee that you will end up spending less. Apple, for instance, sells the same machine used in this video for a cool £1,059.99 refurbished. You can probably spend less on eBay, but that entails a level of risk that some might not be comfortable with.

Additionally, the long-term health of the Intel Mac is still very much uncertain. After it switched to x86, Apple only bothered to release one more system update for the PowerPC platform (namely: Mac OS X Snow Leopard). Developer support swiftly tapered off, particularly when it came to things like web browsers.

Still, if you already own one of these machines, Miani’s experiment shows it’s possible to squeeze extra performance beyond its original configuration. The 21.5-inch iMac also comes with a decent selection of ports, including USB-A and ethernet, making it slightly more practical.

This isn’t Miani’s first foray into iMac modification. As noted by this publication, he previously created one of the world’s first custom M1 iMacs by shoving the innards of a Mac Mini into a broken 2011 27-inch iMac. ®

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NUIG to spend €5m on research to help address global issues

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Several key research areas have been identified by NUI Galway to work towards for 2026.

NUI Galway’s recently launched research and innovation strategy includes a €5m investment on support for its multi-disciplinary research teams as they grapple with several global issues.

The strategy, which lays out plans for the university’s next five years of research, focuses on six areas: antimicrobial resistance, decarbonisation, democracy and its future, food security, human-centred data and ocean and coastal health.

“As a public university, we have a special responsibility to direct our research toward the most pressing questions and the most difficult issues,” said to Prof Jim Livesey, VP for research and innovation at NUI Galway.

“As we look into the future, we face uncertainty about the number and nature of challenges we will face, but we know that we will rely on our research capacity as we work together to overcome them,” Livesey added.

The plan focuses on creating the conditions to intensify the quality, scale and scope of research in the university into the future. This includes identifying areas with genuine potential to achieve international recognition for NUI Galway. It also aims to continue to cultivate a supportive and diverse environment within its research community.

NUI Galway has research collaborations with 3,267 international institutions in 114 different countries. The university also has five research institutes on its Galway city campus, including the Data Science Institute, the Whitaker Institute for social change and innovation and the Ryan Institute for marine research.

Its research centres in the medtech area include Science Foundation Ireland’s Cúram and the Corrib Research Centre for Advanced Imaging and Core Lab.

The university will also continue to involve the public with its research and innovation plans through various education and outreach initiatives. It is leading the Public Patient Involvement Ignite network, which it claims, will “bring the public into the heart of research initiatives”.

Another key area identified in the strategy report is the development of partnerships with industry stakeholders. NUI Galway has spun out many successful companies in recent years, including medtechs such as AuriGen Medical, Atrian, Vetex Medical and Neurent.

According to MedTech Europe, Ireland has the highest number of medtech employees per capita in Europe along with Switzerland.

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France hails victory as Facebook agrees to pay newspapers for content | France

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France has hailed a victory in its long-running quest for fairer action from tech companies after Facebook reached an agreement with a group of national and regional newspapers to pay for content shared by its users.

Facebook on Thursday announced a licensing agreement with the APIG alliance of French national and regional newspapers, which includes Le Parisien and Ouest-France as well as smaller titles. It said this meant “people on Facebook will be able to continue uploading and sharing news stories freely amongst their communities, whilst also ensuring that the copyright of our publishing partners is protected”.

France had been battling for two years to protect the publishing rights and revenue of its press and news agencies against what it termed the domination of powerful tech companies that share news content or show news stories in web searches.

In 2019 France became the first EU country to enact a directive on the publishing rights of media companies and news agencies, called “neighbouring rights”, which required large tech platforms to open talks with publishers seeking remuneration for use of news content. But it has taken long negotiations to reach agreements on paying publishers for content.

No detail was given of the exact amount agreed by Facebook and the APIG.

Pierre Louette, the head of the media group Les Echos-Le Parisien, led the alliance of newspapers who negotiated as a group with Facebook. He said the agreement was “the result of an outspoken and fruitful dialogue between publishers and a leading digital platform”. He said the terms agreed would allow Facebook to implement French law “while generating significant funding” for news publishers, notably the smallest ones.

Other newspapers, such as the national daily Le Monde, have negotiated their own deals in recent months. News agencies have also negotiated separately.

After the 2019 French directive to protect publishers’ rights, a copyright spat raged for more than a year in which French media groups sought to find common ground with international tech firms. Google initially refused to comply, saying media groups already benefited by receiving millions of visits to their websites. News outlets struggling with dwindling print subscriptions complained about not receiving a cut of the millions made from ads displayed alongside news stories, particularly on Google.

But this year Google announced it had reached a draft agreement with the APIG to pay publishers for a selection of content shown in its searches.

Facebook said that besides paying for French content, it would also launch a French news service, Facebook News, in January – a follow-up to similar services in the US and UK – to “give people a dedicated space to access content from trusted and reputable news sources”.

Facebook reached deals with most of Australia’s largest media companies earlier this year. Nine Entertainment, which includes the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, said in its annual report that it was expecting “strong growth in the short-term” from its deals with Facebook and Google.

British newspapers including the Guardian signed up last year to a programme in which Facebook pays to license articles that appear on a dedicated news section on the social media site. Separately, in July Guardian Australia struck a deal with Facebook to license news content.

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Flight Simulator says Windows 11 has been downloaded on Xbox • The Register

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Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule, designed to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, will not fly until the first half of next year at the earliest, as the manufacturing giant continues to tackle an issue with the spacecraft’s valves.

Things have not gone smoothly for Boeing. Its Starliner program has suffered numerous setbacks and delays. Just in August, a second unmanned test flight was scrapped after 13 of 24 valves in the spacecraft’s propulsion system jammed. In a briefing this week, Michelle Parker, chief engineer of space and launch at Boeing, shed more light on the errant components.

Boeing believes the valves malfunctioned due to weather issues, we were told. Florida, home to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center where the Starliner is being assembled and tested, is known for hot, humid summers. Parker explained that the chemicals from the spacecraft’s oxidizer reacted with water condensation inside the valves to form nitric acid. The acidity corroded the valves, causing them to stick.

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