The New 27in iMac (Part 1)

2/2/2013 3:08:22 PM

Hold on tight

The case is thinner but the iMac is faster by more than a narrow margin

There’s a clear evolutionary path from 2004’s iMac G5, the first to be built into an LCD screen, to the latest aluminum 27in model, which has the same design as the 21.5m we reviewed last issue. That lengthy heritage doesn’t detract from what Apple has achieved in this revision, which leverages new manufacturing techniques to tessellate components into a dramatically slimmed chassis so neatly that it doesn’t seem a squeeze.

Description: New 27in iMac

New 27in iMac

The iMac’s body tapers off to a 5mm edge on all sides. Inevitably, this thickens gradually to a bulge around the back, accommodating the machine’s internal organs, which is only really obvious in profile. Otherwise, the smooth curve of the aluminum unibody cleverly renders that protrusion all but invisible.

While reducing the iMac’s volume, the redesign also shaves 4.26kg off its weight. That’s a reduction of more than 30%, and at 9.54kg the new 27in is just 240g heavier than the old 21.5m. The change is welcome when you pull it out of the box, as is Apple’s redesigned packaging, which folds outwards, making setup a more comfortable job.

Beyond the aesthetics, the 27in chassis allows features you don’t get in the 21.5m. The hard drive has a faster rotational speed of 7200rpm, and although we weren’t able to dismantle the test system (removing and replacing the screen, the only way to access the interior, now means laboriously melting and re-applying adhesive), our speed tests suggest this is because it’s a 3.5in unit, rather than the 2.5in notebook type found in the 21.5m iMac. This is confirmed by the availability of a 3TB drive option, which isn’t available in the smaller form factor.

Description: New 27in iMac

On the back panel is a curved rectangular cutout in the aluminum surface. Press a small button and its cover can be removed to reveal the memory sockets, allowing you to upgrade from the standard 8GB of RAM to as much as 32GB. It feels odd to find an opening in the unibody, something Apple has studiously avoided on recent MacBooks, but it’s in a very good cause, and almost makes us wish a similar arrangement had been contemplated for swapping the hard drive.

The default RAM is fine for everyday stuff, games, and even most creative tasks. But a major advantage over the new 21.5m model is that you can easily increase it at any time to cope with more demanding video and graphics work, or simply to run a lot of heavyweight apps simultaneously without any delay in switching. There are two empty sockets by default, so you can keep the two 4GB modules supplied unless you need to replace them with larger ones to maximize the total. Filling the spare slots with two 4GB modules from a memory dealer will cost about $52, but it would be more cost effective to buy two 8GB modules, taking you to 24GB, for $84.5. Replace the two pre-fitted modules with 8GB packages as well, and the total cost of around $169 for 32GB is still far less than Apple’s frankly insulting charge of $208 for 16GB or $624 for 32GB.

Previously, the memory slots were accessed under the ‘chin’ of the iMac. The edges are too thin to allow this now, so instead there’s a removable panel on the back, concealed behind the stand. Access is trivially easy, and replacing RAM is a simple task even for the completely non-technical user; just remember to earth yourself first by touching a cold water pipe or radiator.

Elsewhere on the back panel, Apple has trimmed the number of ports. As with the smaller iMac, there’s no longer a 3.5mm audio input for connecting an analogue mic or digital optical feed. You can connect an iPhone-compatible headset with a mic built into its cord to the three-pin headphone port, but if you want higher input quality than the iMac’s built-in dual mics can offer, you’ll need to invest in a USB mic or audio interface.

Description: New 27in iMac

FireWire is also absent, so you’ll need to fork out $32.5 for Apple’s FireWire to Thunderbolt adaptor if you have FireWire storage or an older video camera to connect. On the upside, the USB ports are now all of the faster USB 3 variety, and (as with the 21.5m) there are two Thunderbolt ports.

On the front side, there’s no longer an infrared receiver hidden behind the Apple logo, so you can’t use an Apple Remote to control media playback. The iOS Remote app is a more capable replacement for controlling ¡Tunes, assuming you have an iOS device, but you’d need to find additional apps to control other media players and DVD Player.

If you’ve used a Mac or iOS device with a Retina display, the iMac’s certainly looks softer. Nonetheless, other changes to the display enhance the picture. Changes to manufacturing techniques have closed up the distance between the screen and its glass cover. More pleasing is Apple’s claim of a 75% reduction in reflections. It isn’t quite as good as a matte screen, and reflections are still noticeable when working with low-luminance images, yet colors are rendered vividly. The 2560 x 1400-pixel resolution remains a big practical benefit. It provides enough space to comfortably work on page layouts, photos and video without having to wrestle with managing your workspace.

Apple supplied two configurations for testing. One was a standard specification that’s available from the Apple Store without delay, with a2.9GHz Core i5processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX660M graphics processor with 512MB of dedicated memory. The other was a custom build, with the processor upgraded toa3.4GHzCore i7 processor with four cores and the top of the line GTX680MX graphics processor with 2GB of dedicated memory. It also featured a 1TB Fusion Drive, which actually provides 1.1TB of usable space because it consolidates the capacity of a 1TB hard drive with 128GB of flash storage. As we found with the 21.5m, this gives faster effective access speeds than a hard disk alone, but with a capacity greater than would be affordable with a flash-based SSD alone.

Both models were supplied with the standard 8GB of RAM running at 1600MHz, up from 1333MHz in 2011 iMacs. In the £1,499 model, this led to a 22% improvement over the memory performance of a 2011 top of the line iMac (with a3.4GHz Core i7 CPU). The customized model delivered an even better improvement of 28% over the same 2011 model.

As we’d hoped, the new 27in iMac doesn’t use the relatively slow 5400rpm drives found in the smaller model. Instead, Apple has opted for 7200rpm units, and there’s a huge difference in transfer rates. Where the 21.5m iMac’s hard drive averaged 102.7MB/sec in our tests, the one in our 2,380$ 27in managed an average of 186.3MB/sec.

Specs and prices

·         iMac 27in (Late 2012)

·         With 2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 $1,799

·         With 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 $1,999

·         8GB 1600MHz DDR3 RAM (user-upgradable to 32GB)

·         1TB 5400rpm hard drive

·         NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M (in 2.9GHz) or GeForce GTX 675MX (in 3.2GHz) graphics processor with 512MB or 1GB GDDR5 memory Two Thunderbolt ports (with Mini DisplayPort output and optional DVI and VGA adaptors)

·         Four USB 3 ports

·         Gigabit Ethernet

·         SDXC card slot

·         Headphone port/optical audio out

·         Built-in stereo speakers

·         Built-in dual microphones

·         Bluetooth 4.0

·         802.11 n WIFI

·         Apple Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad

·         Apple wireless keyboard OS X10.8 Mountain Lion

·         No-cost alternative of Magic Trackpad and Apple wired keyboard with numeric keypad;

·         Additional Magic Trackpad $76; external 8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) $84.5; 16GB RAM $208, 32GB $642; 3.4GHz quad-core i7 $208 (3.2GHz); 3TB HD $156; 1TB Fusion Drive $320; 3TB $416; 768GB SSD $1352


Video tutorials
- How To Install Windows 8

- How To Install Windows Server 2012

- How To Install Windows Server 2012 On VirtualBox

- How To Disable Windows 8 Metro UI

- How To Install Windows Store Apps From Windows 8 Classic Desktop

- How To Disable Windows Update in Windows 8

- How To Disable Windows 8 Metro UI

- How To Add Widgets To Windows 8 Lock Screen

- How to create your first Swimlane Diagram or Cross-Functional Flowchart Diagram by using Microsoft Visio 2010
programming4us programming4us
Top 10
Free Mobile And Desktop Apps For Accessing Restricted Websites
TOYOTA CAMRY 2; 2.5 : Camry now more comely
KIA SORENTO 2.2CRDi : Fuel-sipping slugger
How To Setup, Password Protect & Encrypt Wireless Internet Connection
Emulate And Run iPad Apps On Windows, Mac OS X & Linux With iPadian
Backup & Restore Game Progress From Any Game With SaveGameProgress
Generate A Facebook Timeline Cover Using A Free App
New App for Women ‘Remix’ Offers Fashion Advice & Style Tips
SG50 Ferrari F12berlinetta : Prancing Horse for Lion City's 50th
Popular Tags
Video Tutorail Microsoft Access Microsoft Excel Microsoft OneNote Microsoft PowerPoint Microsoft Project Microsoft Visio Microsoft Word Active Directory Exchange Server Sharepoint Sql Server Windows Server 2008 Windows Server 2012 Windows 7 Windows 8 Adobe Flash Professional Dreamweaver Adobe Illustrator Adobe Photoshop CorelDRAW X5 CorelDraw 10 windows Phone 7 windows Phone 8 Iphone