updated 12:25 pm EDT, Wed May 4, 2011
Apple planning to support Smart Response?
The 2011 iMac is already making use of Intel's BD82Z68 platform controller hub, various investigations show, including one by TonyMacx86. The Z68 platform is not officially scheduled to debut until May 11th, meaning that Intel has once again given Apple early access to new technology. Apple is for example the only computer maker with access to Thunderbolt, a 10Gbps port standard.
Z68 may have more significance in relation to a rumored Intel feature for SSDs, known as Smart Response Technology. Mentioned in documentation for a leaked "Larsen Creek" series of SSDs, Smart Response would allow an SSD to serve as a cache for a regular hard drive. Up to 20GB could potentially be cached, dramatically boosting access speeds in some cases.
Apple is reportedly pushing out delivery of combo SSD/HDD iMacs to between 2 and 3 weeks for 21.5-inch models, and 4 to 6 weeks for 27-inch systems. It's speculated that Apple could therefore be waiting for the arrival of Larsen Creek drives. It may also have to produce an update for Snow Leopard, and/or implement support in Lion.