∞ Hands On: Apple's 27-inch iMac

I’ve been using an iMac in my house for years. It’s become one of my favorite computers and the new model only strengthens the reasons why I’ve come to depend on it. iMacI’m using the 27-inch model with a 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB Ram and a 3MB L2 Cache. That all adds up to power and speed, which is important whether you’re a home user, small business user or even something like a professional musician.

Targeting a computer to the home market these days does not mean it doesn’t have to be powerful. The home users are becoming the new power users and the computers have to live up to those expectations.

With iLife included free on every computer, applications like iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, iWeb, GarageBand and iDVD are being used everyday to create multimedia that’s being shared among friends and family around the world.

Years ago, when iLife was first introduced and Steve Jobs talked about the digital shoebox, users may have had a few hundred pictures and songs on their computers. However, these days the numbers are in the thousands or even tens of thousands.

My new iMac is running an iTunes library with 3097 songs, an iPhoto library with 13,922 photos and movies, and a movie folder with countless iMovie film clips dating back to 2003.

iTunes opens instantly and is ready to play. iPhoto takes about five seconds and iMovie about 10 seconds. That’s pretty good for a consumer machine. My iMac can be upgraded with an additional 12GB of Ram, so there is still some room to improve performance once the apps are up and running.

It’s hard to knock the design of the iMac. I’m not one of those that thinks Apple needs to come out with a new design every year. The current design is beautiful sitting on the desk, fits in with almost any decor, and is very functional. Why change?

With its new wireless Magic Mouse (see separate review) and keyboard, the ports are available for other accessories. The iMac comes with one FireWire 800, four USB 2.0 and an SD card slot.

The SD card slot is right under the optical drive on the side of the iMac. It’s a convenient spot that doesn’t take away from the aesthetics of the computer.

The keyboard is one of the smaller models that doesn’t have the number pad on the right hand side. Personally, I like to have the number pad, but I use it mostly for Logic and Pro Tools — the rest of my family likes the smaller model. I guess it depends on your use.

Of course, the iMac is also decked out with networking options. It has built-in 802.11n wireless networking, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR and Ethernet, so you are pretty much covered with whatever you want to do.

Apple’s improvements of the iMac continue to make this one of the most desirable computers on the market. Whether you’re at home, work or using it for a creative profession, the iMac will not let you down.



  • “My iMac can be upgraded with an additional 4GB of Ram”

    Wrong.

    My iMac can be upgraded with an additional 12GB of RAM.

    • Jim Dalrymple

      LOL — yes you’re right. I was looking at the old iMac that has an extra 4GB and was thinking about taking it 🙂

  • Mark P

    Err, where’s the rest of the review. you were just getting warmed up and then boom it’s over. So tell us about the screen…is it nice?

    • Jim Dalrymple

      What could you possibly say bad about the screen? It’s amazing! Lots of room for things like music production, even with the media library open. Multiple docs side-by-side, photos are brilliant. It’s great.

  • Peter

    The real news is the resolution & density of the screen. I had been using a 24″ iMac previously to this new 27″ and the increased screen realestate is huge. The fact that this has all the horizontal pixels of the 30″CD on a 27″ is crazy. I did have to resized the default point size of type in my applications for reading though.

  • Patiently awaiting the “I can build a hackintosh mini-tower for less and with higher end parts for cheaper so there’s no reason anyone should buy an iMac because we all need to boycott them until they give us a Mini Mac Pro because the Mac Pro is too expensive but I need all that power to play my Windows games at full resolution and full detail or I’m going to cry.” comments.

  • Peter

    I can build a hackintosh mini-tower for less and with higher end parts for cheaper so there’s no reason anyone should buy an iMac because we all need to boycott them until they give us a Mini Mac Pro because the Mac Pro is too expensive but I need all that power to play my Windows games at full resolution and full detail or I’m going to cry.

    • AdamC

      It is not a Mac but cheap plastic housing and wouldn’t blend in with the decor provided you have something which you are not proud to show around.

      it also tells volume of your income and where you are coming from.

      Get a Mac, pay more but you get back the value thru usage and resale and no virus.

  • Happily, not too many of those people have discovered “Loopinsight.com” yet.

    I love the 24″ iMac I bought a year and a half ago. Beautiful machine. Trouble-free.

    I’m a bit hindered by only 4GB RAM, but it was a good step up and into the Intel generation from my G5. Luxology Modo runs pretty well on it, but you can never have too much computing power with 3D.

    Modo is multi-threaded and displays “buckets” (square arrays of pixels it’s working on during rendering), one per processor. So I’m stuck watching two buckets at a time. The 4-core iMac may even show 8 buckets if it’s a Nehalem processor and can execute two processes per core.

    But I’m gonna hold out for the next Mac Pro which may have 12 cores (24 buckets!).

  • Kai M Zeise

    No words on the quality of the display? Also I would like to see some info on its power consumption in actual use. Those 350W peak are scaring me, that would amount to 1000 kW/h with 8 hours per day use 🙁

    • Hairy Goomer

      @Kai M Zeise,

      By my calculations, even if the iMac is running full-bore, eight hours/day using 2,800 Watt-hours of electricity, it is only going to cost me about 30¢ a day or roughly $9/month. Seems reasonable to me.

    • Jim Dalrymple

      And Apple posted full environmental specs on the new iMac as well. http://www.apple.com/imac/environment.html

    • Peter Cohen

      “Those 350W peak are scaring me”

      Build a wind turbine, hippy. 😉

  • Pingback: Schiller: Apple’s holiday line-up is set | The Loop()

  • Rick

    My brother says: “I can build a hackintosh mini-tower for less and with higher end parts for cheaper so there’s no reason anyone should buy an iMac”. I’ve been thinking that maybe we all need to boycott them until they give us a Mini Mac Pro because the Mac Pro is too expensive but I need all that power to play my Windows games at full resolution.

    • but my borther’s iMac gets him chicks

  • Pingback: Hands on: 2.26GHz Mac mini | The Loop()