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The Apple Buyer's Guide (Part 2) - iMac, Mac Pro

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12/6/2012 3:17:35 PM

With the computer built into the screen, finished entirely in glass and aluminium, it’s surely the sleekest desktop PC ever.

Configurations

iMac21.5-inch2.5G Hz

·         Price: $1,498.5

·         CPU: 2.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5

·         Display: 1920 × 1080 16:9

·         RAM: 4GB (2 × 2GB modules)

·         Hard disk: 500GB

·         Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 512MB video ram

Description: iMac21.5-inch2.5G Hz

iMac21.5-inch2.5G Hz

iMac 21.5-inch 2.7GHz

·         Price: $1,873.5

·         CPU: 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5

·         Display: 1920 × 1080 16:9

·         RAM: 4GB (2 × 2GB modules)

·         Hard disk: 1TB (1000GB)

·         Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 512MB video ram

iMac 27-inch 2.7GHz

·         Price: $2,098.5

·         CPU: 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5

·         Display: 2560 × 1440 16:9

·         RAM: 4GB (2 × 2GB modules)

·         Hard disk: 1TB (1000GB)

·         Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 512MB video ram

Best Deal

iMac 27-inch 3.1GHz

·         Price: $2,473.5

·         CPU: 3.1GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5 (3.4GHz i7 +$240)

·         Display: 2560 × 1440 16:9

·         RAM: 4GB (2 × 2GB modules)

·         Hard disk: 1TB (1000GB)

·         Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 512MB video ram

The entry level ($1,498.5) iMac takes a maximum of 8GB ram (other iMac models allow 16GB). However, some users have installed more without problems. There’s no hard drive option bigger than 500GB on this model

Description: Graphics AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 512MB video RAM

Graphics AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 512MB video RAM

Webcam

The FaceTime HD camera at the top centre of the bezel can be used with Apple’s own and third-party video chat apps. There’s also a built in mic

Hard disk

Upgradable when ordering, on all models except the $1,498.5 21.5in, up to 2TB ($180) worth it, because upgrading later is very tricky. An internal SSD (flash memory drive) is also an option, but very expensive

SuperDrive

8x read, 4x write DVD±R DL/ DVD±RW/CD-RW drive. Slot loading: just push the disk in; press and hold the Eject key on the keyboard to pop it out. There’s no Blu-ray option, since Apple thinks physical media are on the way out

SD Card slot

Stick your camera card straight in

Screen

The 16:9 widescreen panel is similar to the Apple Display. Both sizes support full 1080p HD. In-plane switching (IPS) gives a wide colour gamut and good fidelity. With a 178° horizontal viewing angle, the screen is visible even from side on ideal when discussing work with colleagues or watching a movie with friends. LED backlighting gives uniform illumination as soon as the power is on. High maximum brightness, 1000:1 contrast ratio

Graphics and Display

All iMacs have dedicated Graphics cards and are ready for games, 3D, video editing and HD movies as well as a full range of productivity and creative tasks. Graphics improve through the range but can’t be upgraded in the lower models. An external Display can be driven via the Thunderbolt connector (which has replaced the Mini DisplayPort) at up to 2560 × 1600 pixels at the same time as the built-in screen, either mirroring it or extending the desktop across both. Any iMac can also be used as a Display for a second Mac, as long as that Mac is equipped with Thunderbolt (ie 2011 models only)

Description: All iMacs have dedicated Graphics cards and are ready for games

All iMacs have dedicated Graphics cards and are ready for games

Connections

All models have four USB 2 ports and one FireWire 800. The 21.5in has a single Thunderbolt connector (as with FireWire, extra devices can be daisychained); the 27in has two. There are also audio in/out jacks, each doubling for analogue and digital (S/PDIF, compatible with 5.1 surround sound)

Description: All models have four USB 2 ports and one FireWire 800

All models have four USB 2 ports and one FireWire 800

Memory expansion

As the featureless case implies, the iMac isn’t designed for user upgrading; getting inside is an engineer’s job. But adding RAM is very simple through a hatch on the underside. Remove two crosshead screws, and it’s a two-minute job to pull out the modules and insert bigger ones. Third-party chips are much cheaper than Apple’s built to order options. To buy, use the memory finder at crucial. com/uk or kingston.com/ukroot

Mac Pro

Fully expandable for high-end users.

Configurations

Mac Pro Quad-core

·         Price: $3,073.5

·         CPU: 3.2GHz Quad-core Intel Xeon W3565

·         RAM: 6GB (3 × 2GB modules)

·         Hard disk: 1TB

·         Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB video RAM

Mac Pro 12-Core

·         Price: $4,648.5

·         CPU: 2 × 2.4GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5654

·         RAM 12GB (6 × 2GB modules)

·         Hard disk: 1TB

·         Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB video RAM

Mac Pro Server

·         Price: $3,673.5

·         CPU: 3.2GHz Quad-core Intel Xeon

·         RAM: 8GB (4 × 2GB modules)

·         Hard disk: 2 × 1TB

·         Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB video RAM

·         Supplied with OS X Server licensed for unlimited clients

Optical drive bays

One 18x DVD±R DL/ DVD±RW/CD-RW SuperDrive is standard, with a second bay free for another if you choose to add it.

Description: Optical drive bays

Optical drive bays

Ports

This is the only Apple machine with ports on the front, and they’re still rather sparse. In total you get four FireWire 800, five USB 2 (plus two on the wired keyboard) and two gigabit Ethernet, plus analogue and TOSLIN K audio in/out, as well as 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

Accessibility

The Mac Pro is all about making it easy to add as many components as you need with minimum hassle. One side panel gives instant access to everything Memory slots

Processor and RAM slide out on a tray for unobstructed access. Single processor models can take up to 32GB of RAM, while the dual processor design takes 64GB. Don’t buy your extra RAM from Apple the prices are crazy

Expansion slots

All four high speed PCI Express 2.0 slots inside the chassis are retained by a simple bar. The Graphics card slot is double-wide, so a large card won’t obscure the next slot

Internal drive bays

No tangle of ribbon cables here. These four 3Gbit/sec SATA 3.5in bays slide in and out without wires, and can each take a conventional drive of up to 2TB or a 512GB SSD

Description: These four 3Gbit/sec SATA 3.5in bays slide in and out without wires, and can each take a conventional drive of up to 2TB or a 512GB SSD

These four 3Gbit/sec SATA 3.5in bays slide in and out without wires, and can each take a conventional drive of up to 2TB or a 512GB SSD

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