The New Apple iMac Review

Apple has released the latest iMac. And I looked at the model and read specifications. It is awesome to the extreme. The iMac comes in two main flavors—21 inch and 27 inch, and with processor and memory tweaks, you can get a brilliant desktop computer with extreme configuration. Let’s look at the pros and cons of this iMac here.

Technical Specifications

Firstly, the Tech Specs of iMac. Here it is …

Property

21-inch model

27-inch model

Display

diagonal 21.5 inches; 1920x1080 resolution

diagonally 27 inches; 2560x1440 resolution

RAM

8 GB DDR3 1600 MHz (2 slots of 4 GB each) or expandable to 16 GB (2 slots of 8 GB each)

8 GB (2 4 GB) DDR3 1600 MHz (expandable to 16 or 32 GB)

Hard disk

1 TB (5400 rpm); upgradable to 1TB Fusion drive

1TB 7200 rpm; upgradable to up to 3 TB of normal hard drive or Fusion drive or 768 GB flash drive

Processor choices

Quad-core Intel Core i5 (2.7 GHz-3.2GHz (with TurboBoost); 6 MB L3 Cache

Core i5-2.9GHz quad-core (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz); 6MB L3 cache (upgradable to 3.1-3.9 GHz Core i7)

Intel Core i5 quad-core 2.9 GHz to 3.6 GHz; 6 MB L3 Cache

Intel Core i5 3.2 GHz, 3.2 GHz to 3.6 GHz; 6 MB L3 Cache (upgradable to Core i7 3.4-3.9 GHz)

Graphics card

GeForce GT 640M (512 MB GDDR5)

GeForce 650M (512 MB GDDR5)

GeForce 660M (512 MB GDDR5)

GeForce 675MX (1GB GDDR5); upgradable to GTX 680MX with 2 GB of memory

Ports available

Headphone jack, SDXC card slot, USB 3 (4 slots), Thunderbolt (2 slots), Gigabit Ethernet, DisplayPort

Wireless

Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 inbuilt

Operating System

OS X Mountain Lion

Other software

Safari, Mail, iLife, iMovie, GarageBand, iTunes, etc.

Accessories

Input: Apple keyboard, Magic Trackpad and Magic mouse

 

The Design

iMac is the thinnest ever among Apple iMacs, although the frontal view of iMac deceptively masks the bulk behind. Look at the image of iMac generations given by Apple:

The different generations of iMac

From the front, it looks like it is as thin as a smartphone, probably the iPhone. The edge of the new iMac is only 5 millimeters thick, making it the thinnest of all high end desktop computers.

The Display

The LED IPS backlight display of iMac produces 75 per cent less reflection according to Apple. This, however, needs to be seen. The reduction in reflection, which used to be one of Apple’s weak points, is a welcome change. Apple has reengineered the display panel to reduce the distance between the antireflective coating and the LCD panel in order to improve the display. This gives the display a printed-on appeal.

The display technology used here is the same as in iPhone 5, and it gives more accurate color reproduction than other technologies like AMOLED.

The Memory

RAM comes at 8 GB standard and you can order up to 32 GB in the 27 inch model and up to 16 GB in the other model. In fact, since this Apple iMac is for the most part of foreseeable future, I recommend purchasing the highest amount of RAM possible.

Another reason is the teardown given by iFixit recently that suggests the memory module is difficult to upgrade.

 

The Storage

Almost all the storage you need is there in this iMac. 1 TB is the minimum storage available. However, one disappointing aspect of the 21 inch model’s hard disk has the rpm rate of 5400. I recommend any upgrade option to Fusion drive to eliminate issues. The Fusion drive technology is a perfect mix of regular hard drive technology (inexpensive) and Flash drive technology (highly expensive). This makes Fusion drive moderately expensive and better performing than the regular hard disk.

Alternatively, in 27 inch model, you have the option to go for a 768 GB flash storage. It will definitely make your iMac much faster. However, the price will be much higher too. It is an unnecessary option in fact.

The Graphics

NVidia GeForce graphics cards with appropriate amount of memory means you won’t have to worry about gaming and HD video performance. However, I could really use a minimum of 1 GB graphics RAM in all models. It would have been future-proof. In the 27 inch model, you could really go with the 680MX with 2GB option if you are an avid gamer. For regular uses, the other card is more than perfect.

Performance

There are no issues there. In all performance tests done by CNET, iMac performs better than the competition. The third generation Core i5 and Core i7 processors of Intel give you the TurboBoost technology. Have you noticed I have given two speed ratings of processors above? The base speed is the original speed of the processor, and when there is high load, the processor automatically overclocks to give the higher speed given in the table. This is the effect of Intel TurboBoost technology.

Ports and Connectors

Apple’s weak point is the ports and connectors available in the iDevices. iMac has four USB 3 ports, 2 Thunderbolt ports, SDXC card slot, and a GbE port. One thing to be noted in this iMac is the introduction of Thunderbolt. Two slots Thunderbolt, which supposedly can transfer files at speeds of

Also, this means, you have to separately purchase any adaptor you need for HDMI or DVI or any other such devices.

up to 10 Gbps. If the Apple claim is true, Thunderbolt could prove to be an extremely powerful connector. It can support all kinds of devices—USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA, etc. Probably, this is the reason why Apple doesn’t include HDMI, DVI, or such other ports.

The Gigabit Ethernet port is provided in iMac (based on IEEE 802.3-2008 standard which defines faster Ethernet connections) that will provide better connections via Ethernet cord. This is also a future-proof system.

Another important aspect to be noted is the absence of a DVD drive in iMac. It probably came to Apple’s attention that DVDs and even Blu-ray discs are not the technology of the future. Also, if you need to add one, simply use the Thunderbolt or USB 3 connectors.

In terms of ports and connectors, I don’t see any issues other than the need for adaptors, which basically any iDevice needs, I guess.

The Software

iMac comes with all the basic apps preloaded. And it runs Mountain Lion. This means, you don’t have to worry about purchasing or installing new apps for any basic PC functions. On the other hand, in order to do specific jobs, gaming, blogging, design, etc., you have to purchase apps needed through the Mac App Store itself. There is an app that points to the store in the new iMac.

In Conclusion

For gamers and high end workers, fetch the iMac with the best configuration there is—27 inch, with 3.4 GHz processor, 16 or 32 GB RAM (highly future-proof), 3TB storage (do away with the flash drive option), and 680MX graphics processor. For regular users, the low end model is perfect. If you are going to use the iMac for a long time, a RAM upgrade is highly recommended. Overall, there is no competition to the current iMac in performance and aesthetics. Apple has done an amazing job with it.

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