Macsimum review: 27-inch, quad-core iMac is the best one yet
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Macsimum review: 27-inch, quad-core iMac is the best one yet

I've had the chance to test drive one of the 2.8GHz, i7 quad-core processor versions, and let me tell you, this baby screams. The i7 boasts Turbo Boost technology; if an app isn't using every available core, the cores that are just sitting around shut off, and the active cores speed up. Performance is also enhanced by the powerful ATI Radeon HD 4850 discrete graphics in the 27-inch model. The new iMac line now also features 4GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 memory and capacity up to 16GB across four SO-DIMM slots.

You can have multiple apps open (as I do) and all of them perform with no lag time involved. You can check out the Speedmark and Cinebench tests at the Macworld and Bare Feats web sites. But to sum it up: this iMac is 1.5% faster overall than the 2.26GHz 8-core Mac Pro and only slightly slower than the 2.93GHz quad-core Mac Pro. Forget the consumer designation; the high-end iMac is a pro machine for professionals who don't need expansion capabilities.

Despite all this power, the iMac is practically noiseless. It operates at just 18 decibels when idle. The larger chassis (more on that in a moment) has allowed Apple to add more space between heat-intensive components for improved cooling.

The new iMac features LED-backlit displays with a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is great for watching high definition movies and TV shows -- or editing and watching your own videos or photos using iLife or iMovie. The 27-inch iMac sports a 2560-by-1440 pixel display that offers 60% more pixels than the previous 24-inch model. It also has amazingly consistent color across a 178 degree viewing angle. What's more, the screens feature LED backlighting, which lets them instantly achieve full brightness.

The screens on the new iMac also use in-plane switching (IPS). The technology, developed by Hitachi, reduces the amount of light scattering in the screen matrix, which gives IPS its characteristic wide viewing angles and good color reproduction.

However, it's in regards to the screen that the iMac should have had some extra build-to-order options. First, users should be able to order a matte alternative to the default glossy screen, but Apple doesn't make this available.

imageAdmittedly, the glossy screen is great for watching videos. In fact, Apple correctly says the display offers "better than high def." Unfortunately, Apple doesn't offer a Blu-ray option. But I'll come back to that.

Even the speakers in the new iMac are better. There are two built-in stereo speakers with internal 17-watt, high efficiency amplifiers. They're don't equal speakers with a separate subwoofer, but they do offer richer, clean sound with better bass response and less distortion. (BTW, I plan on connecting one of the new BassJump portable subwoofers from TwelveSouth to the iMac to see how that affects the speaker output.)

One of the most interesting features of the 27-inch iMacs is that the you can use the Mini DisplayPort to connect an external display, including the Apple LED Cinema Display, to your iMac for even more screen real estate (but you'd better have a really big desk). The same port offers input, too. So you can connect any external source that has DisplayPort output -- including a MacBook or MacBook Pro -- and use your iMac as a display. It's anticipated that we'll soon see display adapters for the iMac to allow input from more than just your MacBook or MacBook Pro. Will you be able to connect a video game console or Blu-ray player? We'll see.

The 27-inch iMac is a great computer that can double as a great entertainment system. I often watch TV and videos on mine, which has EyeTV software installed for TV viewing and Bose speakers for better sound. But I can't watch my Blu-ray discs, and that peeves me. After all, Apple has made the iMac a computer that fits in your living room as well as your office; the 27-inch models are compatible with VESA-compliant wall mounts commonly used for flat-screen TVs.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: if Apple doesn't want to offer a Blu-ray playback option in hardware, it should put the necessary hooks into Mac OS X so that third parties can offer a drive that both records and plays Blu-ray discs (you can get burn-only devices now). I'll bet OWC would be up to the job.

Obviously, Apple wants you to buy your flicks from the iTunes Store. The store does offer 720p downloads, but that’s still not the 1080p quality you get with Blu-ray. And some of us still like a physical copy of our music and movies. So, c'mon, Apple.

image

Anyway, every new iMac ships with a wireless keyboard and the all new wireless Magic Mouse. The latter is the world’s first mouse with Multi-Touch technology pioneered by Apple on the iPhone, iPod touch and Mac notebook trackpad.

imageInstead of needing mechanical buttons, scroll wheels or scroll balls, the entire top of the Magic Mouse is a Multi-Touch surface. Using gestures, a user can scroll through long documents, pan across large images or swipe to move forward or backward through a collection of web pages or photos. The Magic Mouse can be configured as either a single button or two button mouse, according to your needs and wishes. The wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse work with the iMac’s built-in Bluetooth capabilities.

Both the mouse, and the teeny keyboard (which is akin to the keyboard on Apple's laptops) take a bit of getting used to. However, once you acclimate yourself to them, I think you'll love 'em. I do.

There are also some cosmetic changes. The 27-inch iMac -- which measures 20.4 x 25.6 x 8.15 inches -- has a smaller "chin" than the previous iMac. The previous chin didn't bother me, but some folks found it too big in comparison with the rest of the computer frame. Also, the new iMac is "unibody." In other words, it's no longer plastic on the back. The back is the same metal frame as used on the front. What's more, the black glass extends right to the very edge like a high-end HDTV. These aren't earthshaking changes, but they're aesthetically pleasing ones.

image

Naturally, every iMac features a built-in iSight video camera, mic and stereo speakers integrated into the thin aluminum and glass design. iMac includes built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi networking, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, Gigabit Ethernet, a total of four USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port and a new built-in SD card slot. (FireWire 400 has disappeared and will push those with legacy devices to get an adapter.)

Overall, the 27-inch, i7 iMac is a gorgeous, powerful machine. It's certainly boosting Apple desktop sales and shows that, when it comes to bang for the buck, desktops still trounce laptops. Heck, if it weren't for the lack of non-glossy screen and Blu-ray playback options, I'd say this was the perfect desktop.

Macismum rating: 9 out of 10

image

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

SpamSieve 2.9.38 - Robust spam filter fo...
SpamSieve is a robust spam filter for major email clients that uses powerful Bayesian spam filtering. SpamSieve understands what your spam looks like in order to block it all, but also learns what... Read more
TeamViewer 15.0.8397 - Establish remote...
TeamViewer gives you remote control of any computer or Mac over the Internet within seconds or can be used for online meetings. Find out why more than 200 million users trust TeamViewer! Free for non... Read more
SteerMouse 5.4.3 - Powerful third-party...
SteerMouse is an advanced driver for USB and Bluetooth mice. SteerMouse can assign various functions to buttons that Apple's software does not allow, including double-clicks, modifier clicks,... Read more
Toast Titanium 18.2.1 - The ultimate med...
Roxio Toast Titanium, the leading DVD burner for Mac, makes burning even better, adding Roxio Secure Burn to protect your files on disc and USB in Mac- or Windows-compatible formats. Get more style... Read more
HoudahSpot 5.0.11 - Advanced file-search...
HoudahSpot is a versatile desktop search tool. Use HoudahSpot to locate hard-to-find files and keep frequently used files within reach. HoudahSpot will immediately feel familiar. It works just the... Read more
ClipGrab 3.8.6 - Download videos from Yo...
ClipGrab is a free downloader and converter for YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and many other online video sites. It converts downloaded videos to MPEG4, MP3 or other formats in just one easy step Version... Read more
ExpanDrive 7.4.0 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
Adobe Dreamweaver CC 2020 20.0 - Build w...
Dreamweaver CC 2020 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $20.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous Dreamweaver customer). Adobe Dreamweaver CC 2020 allows you to... Read more
Eye Candy 7.2.3.85 - 30 professional Pho...
Eye Candy renders realistic effects that are difficult or impossible to achieve in Photoshop alone, such as Fire, Chrome, and the new Lightning. Effects like Animal Fur, Smoke, and Reptile Skin are... Read more
Sparkle Pro 2.8.5 - Visual website creat...
Sparkle Pro will change your mind if you thought building websites wasn't for you. Sparkle is the intuitive site builder that lets you create sites for your online portfolio, team or band pages, or... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Pre-register for Hello Kitty AR: Kawaii...
Hello Kitty — the cute cat that launched a multi-billion-pound franchise — has been brought to life… sort of. Sanrio has teamed up with the Bublar Group to create a new mobile game that uses AR tech to turn the real world into Hello Kitty’s... | Read more »
Gorgeous and tranquil puzzler Spring Fal...
One-man indie studio SPARSE//GameDev has now launched its tranquil puzzler, Spring Falls. It's described as "a peaceful puzzle game about water, erosion, and watching things grow". [Read more] | Read more »
Black Desert Mobile gets an official rel...
Pearl Abyss has just announced that its highly-anticipated MMO, Black Desert Mobile, will launch globally for iOS and Android on December 11th. [Read more] | Read more »
Another Eden receives new a episode, cha...
Another Eden, WFS' popular RPG, has received another update that brings new story content to the game alongside a few new heroes to discover. [Read more] | Read more »
Overdox guide - Tips and tricks for begi...
Overdox is a clever battle royale that changes things up by adding MOBA mechanics and melee combat to the mix. This new hybrid game can be quite a bit to take in at first, so we’ve put together a list of tips to help you get a leg up on the... | Read more »
Roterra Extreme - Great Escape is a pers...
Roterra Extreme – Great Escape has been described by developers Dig-It Games as a mini-sequel to their acclaimed title Roterra: Flip the Fairytale. It continues that game's tradition of messing with which way is up, tasking you with solving... | Read more »
Hearthstone: Battlegrounds open beta lau...
Remember earlier this year when auto battlers were the latest hotness? We had Auto Chess, DOTA Underlords, Chess Rush, and more all gunning for our attention. They all had their own reasons to play, but, at least from where I'm standing, most... | Read more »
The House of Da Vinci 2 gets a new gamep...
The House of Da Vinci launched all the way back in 2017. Now, developer Blue Brain Games is gearing up to deliver a second dose of The Room-inspired puzzling. Some fresh details have now emerged, alongside the game's first official trailer. [Read... | Read more »
Shoot 'em up action awaits in Battl...
BattleBrew Productions has just introduced another entry into its award winning, barrelpunk inspired, BattleSky Brigade series. Whilst its previous title BattleSky Brigade TapTap provided fans with idle town building gameplay, this time the... | Read more »
Arcade classic R-Type Dimensions EX blas...
If you're a long time fan of shmups and have been looking for something to play lately, Tozai Games may have just released an ideal game for you on iOS. R-Type Dimensions EX brings the first R-Type and its sequel to iOS devices. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13″ 2.4GHz MacBook Pros available for up to $...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2019 13″ 2.4GHz 4-Core Touch Bar MacBook Pros available starting at $1529 and up to $300 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, shipping is... Read more
New at T-Mobile: Switch to T-Mobile, and get...
T-Mobile is offering a free 64GB iPhone 8 for new customers who switch to T-Mobile and open a new line of service. Eligible trade-in required, and discount applied over a 24 month period. The fine... Read more
Xfinity Mobile’s Black Friday Apple savings:...
Take $250 off the purchase of any iPhone at Xfinity Mobile with a new line activation, and transfer of phone number to Xfinity Mobile, through December 8, 2019. This includes Apple’s new iPhone 11... Read more
2019 13″ 1.4GHz MacBook Pros available starti...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2019 13″ 1.4GHz 4-Core Touch Bar MacBook Pros available starting at $1099 and up to $230 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, shipping is... Read more
Save up to $350 on a 21″ or 27″ iMac with the...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2019 21″ & 27″ iMacs available starting at $929 and up to $350 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, shipping is free, and each iMac... Read more
Early Holiday 2019 Sale: B&H again offers...
B&H Photo has 10.2″ iPads on sale again for $30 off Apple’s MSRP, starting at $299, as part of their early Holiday 2019 sale. Overnight shipping is free to many addresses in the US: – 10.2″ 32GB... Read more
Apple iMacs on sale today at B&H Photo fo...
B&H Photo has new 2019 21″ and 27″ 5K iMacs on stock today and on sale for up to $150 off Apple’s MSRP. Overnight shipping is free to many locations in the US. These are the same iMacs sold by... Read more
2018 4 and 6-Core Mac minis on sale today for...
Apple resellers are offering new 2018 4-Core and 6-Core Mac minis for $80-$100 off MSRP for a limited time. B&H Photo has the new 2018 4-Core and 6-Core Mac minis on sale for up to $100 off Apple... Read more
Early Holiday 2019 sale at B&H Photo: 12....
B&H Photo has new 12.9″ iPad Pros on sale for up to $120 off Apple’s MSRP as part of their early Holiday 2019 sale. Overnight shipping is free to many addresses in the US: – 12.9″ 64GB WiFi iPad... Read more
8-Core iMac Pro on sale today for $4499 at B...
B&H Photo has the base 8-Core 3.2GHz 32GB/1TB iMac Pro on sale today for $4499 — $500 off Apple’s MSRP. Shipping is free. Their price is the lowest available for a new iMac Pro from any Apple... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Health Benefit Specialist - Call Cen...
Description ** Apple Health Benefit Specialist - Call Center (MAS 3/MACSC)** **Olympia, WA Multiple Positions** *The ideal candidate for this position will have Read more
Hair Stylist - *Apple* Blossom Mall - JCPen...
Hair Stylist - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States- Apple Blossom Mall 1850 Apple Blossom Dr Job ID:1065040Salon Professionals Job Read more
*Apple* Mobility Pro - Best Buy (United Stat...
**747088BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobility Pro **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store NUmber or Department:** 000297-Reston-Store **Job Description:** At Best Read more
Nurse Practitioner - Field Based (San Bernard...
Nurse Practitioner - Field Based (San Bernardino, CA, Apple Valley, Hesperia) **Location:** **United States** **Requisition #:** PS30312 **Post Date:** Nov 11, 2019 Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**747061BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store NUmber or Department:** 000647-Kildeer-Store **Job Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.