Apple have announced updates to the iMac range. There are a variety of changes, including a faster processor for the top 24" model, but the most interesting change from a gamer's point of view is the option of an NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS graphics processor with 512MB of GDDR3 memory to improve the graphics performance over the standard ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory. The GeForce 8800 GS is only available in the 24" models, and no benchmarks are yet available, but it's likely that this will be a significant and welcome improvement over the Radeon HD 2600 PRO for gaming!
The top end processor in the new 24" iMac is now a 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, but according to Electronista this is not a new CPU, but an overclocked version of an existing CPU, so there is likely to be a further revision sometime in the future once Intel release their Centrino 2 technology later in the year.
I have to say that despite the disappointing performance of the Radeon 2600 Pro in the original aluminium iMac (which for gamers was effectively a downgrading from the previous white iMacs with the GeForce 7600 GT 256MB), I'm a little surprised that Apple have moved back to a GeForce option less than 9 months after the release of the aluminium iMac in August 2007 - I didn't expect this for maybe a year or more. Not only surprised, but encouraged that Apple may actually be listening to gamers. Well maybe that's a little too optimistic, but this is still a welcome upgrade, whatever Apple's motivation... Now I only need to win the lottery ;-)