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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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Elon Musk sells Tesla shares worth $6.9bn as Twitter trial looms | Elon Musk

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Elon Musk has sold $6.9bn (£5.7bn) worth of shares in Tesla after admitting that he could need the funds if he loses a legal battle with Twitter and is forced to buy the social media platform.

The Tesla CEO walked away from a $44bn deal to buy Twitter in July but the company has launched a lawsuit demanding that he complete the deal. A trial will take place in Delaware in October.

“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close *and* some equity partners don’t come through, it is important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock,” Musk said in a tweet late on Tuesday.

In other comments on Twitter on Tuesday, Musk said “yes” when asked if he was finished selling Tesla stock. He also said he would buy Tesla stock again if the Twitter deal does not close.

Musk has committed more than $30bn of his own money to the financing of the deal, with more than $7bn of that total provided by a coterie of associates including tech tycoon Larry Ellison, the Qatar state investment fund and the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.

Musk, the world’s richest person, sold $8.5bn worth of Tesla shares in April and had said at the time there were no further sales planned. But since then, legal experts had suggested that if Musk is forced to complete the acquisition or settle the dispute with a stiff penalty, he was likely to sell more Tesla shares.

Last week Musk launched a countersuit against Twitter, accusing the platform of deliberately miscounting the number of spam accounts on the platform. Twitter has consistently stated that the number of spam accounts on its service is less than 5% of its user base, which currently stands at just under 238 million. Legal experts have said that Musk will find it hard to convince a judge that Twitter’s spam issue represents a “company material adverse effect” that substantially alters the company’s value – and therefore voids the deal.

Musk sold about 7.92m Tesla shares between 5 August and 9 August, according to multiple filings. He now owns 155m Tesla shares or just under 15% of the electric carmaker.

The latest sales bring total Tesla stock sales by Musk to about $32bn in less than one year. However, Musk remains comfortably ahead of Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest man with an estimated $250bn fortune, according to the Bloomberg billionaires index.

Tesla shares have risen nearly 15% since the automaker reported better-than-expected earnings on 20 July, also helped by the Biden administration’s climate bill that, if passed, would lift the cap on tax credits for electric vehicles.

Musk also teased on Tuesday that he could start his own social media platform. When asked by a Twitter user if he had thought about creating his own platform if the deal didn’t close, he replied: “X.com”.

With Reuters



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Iran reveals use of cryptocurrency to pay for imports • The Register

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Iran has announced it used cryptocurrency to pay for imports, raising the prospect that the nation is using digital assets to evade sanctions.

Trade minister Alireza Peyman Pak revealed the transaction with the tweet below, which translates as “This week, the first official import order was successfully placed with cryptocurrency worth ten million dollars. By the end of September, the use of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts will be widespread in foreign trade with target countries.”

It is unclear what Peman Pak referred to with his mention of widespread use of crypto for foreign trade, and the identity of the foreign countries he mentioned is also obscure.

But the intent of the announcement appears clear: Iran will use cryptocurrency to settle cross-border trades.

That’s very significant because Iran is subject to extensive sanctions aimed at preventing its ability to acquire nuclear weapons and reduce its ability to sponsor terrorism. Sanctions prevent the sale of many commodities and technologies to Iran, and financial institutions aren’t allowed to deal with their Iranian counterparts, who are mostly shunned around the world.

As explained in this advisory [PDF] issued by the US Treasury, Iran has developed numerous practices to evade sanctions, including payment offsetting schemes that let it sell oil in contravention of sanctions. Proceeds of such sales are alleged to have been funnelled to terrorist groups.

While cryptocurrency’s anonymity has been largely disproved, trades in digital assets aren’t regulated so sanctions enforcement will be more complex if Iran and its trading partners use crypto instead of fiat currencies.

Which perhaps adds more weight to the argument that cryptocurrency has few proven uses beyond speculative trading, making the ransomware industry possible, and helping authoritarian states like Iran and North Korea to acquire materiel for weapons.

Peyman Pak’s mention of “widespread” cross-border crypto deals, facilitated by automated smart contracts, therefore represents a challenge to those who monitor and enforce sanctions – and something new to worry about for the rest of us. ®



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Edwards Lifesciences is hiring at its ‘key’ Shannon and Limerick facilities

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The medtech company is hiring for a variety of roles at both its Limerick and Shannon sites, the latter of which is being transformed into a specialised manufacturing facility.

Medical devices giant Edwards Lifesciences began renovations to convert its existing Shannon facility into a specialised manufacturing centre at the end of July.

The expansion will allow the company to produce components that are an integral part of its transcatheter heart valves. The conversion is part of Edwards Lifesciences’ expansion plan that will see it hire for hundreds of new roles in the coming years.

“The expanded capability at our Shannon facility demonstrates that our operations in Ireland are a key enabler for Edwards to continue helping patients across the globe,” said Andrew Walls, general manager for the company’s manufacturing facilities in Ireland.

According to Walls, hiring is currently underway at the company’s Shannon and Limerick facilities for a variety of functions such as assembly and inspection roles, manufacturing and quality engineering, supply chain, warehouse operations and project management.

Why Ireland?

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Edwards Lifesciences established its operations in Shannon in 2018 and announced 600 new jobs for the mid-west region. This number was then doubled a year later when it revealed increased investment in Limerick.

When the Limerick plant was officially opened in October 2021, the medtech company added another 250 roles onto the previously announced 600, promising 850 new jobs by 2025.

“As the company grows and serves even more patients around the world, Edwards conducted a thorough review of its global valve manufacturing network to ensure we have the right facilities and talent to address our future needs,” Walls told SiliconRepublic.com

“We consider multiple factors when determining where we decide to manufacture – for example, a location that will allow us to produce close to where products are utilised, a location that offers advantages for our supply chain, excellent local talent pool for an engaged workforce, an interest in education and good academic infrastructure, and other characteristics that will be good for business and, ultimately, good for patients.

“Both our Shannon and Limerick sites are key enablers for Edwards Lifesciences to continue helping patients across the globe.”

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