Home Icon
iMac-2011-27-inch-header

Apple iMac 27-inch (2011)

By Leigh D. Stark | 2:11 pm 06/07/2011

Apple’s latest refresh of the iMac range has brought with it some welcome changes, including Intel’s Sandy Bridge processor technology and the new Thunderbolt port. These additions are provided for a few hundred less than the previous iMac generation, so with a good price and some new internals, is this the best desktop around?

Features

Apple’s update to last year’s 27 inch iMac doesn’t present a lot of changes that are immediately obvious. As before, the widescreen display is housed in an aluminium body, which also contains all the internals. The video camera remains at the top of the screen, and Apple has updated this to a FaceTime HD camera capable of recording in 720p.

The addition of two Thunderbolt ports is new to the 2011 iMac.

On the rear of the iMac, you’ve still got plenty of ports, including a headphone port, audio line-in, four USB 2.0 ports, Firewire 800, Gigabit Ethernet, and two Mini DisplayPorts which are now called “Thunderbolt” ports. These can send data to and from other devices, such as Thunderbolt-equipped sound cards and hard drives.

Under the hood, the processor and video capabilities have received the most upgrades, with new technology from Intel and AMD increasing the speed substantially. The new CPU choices on the 27 inch iMac include either a 2.7GHz Intel Core i5 or a 3.1GHz Intel Core i5, both of which take advantage of the Sandy Bridge technology unveiled at the beginning of 2011. Graphics has been pushed to a new AMD (ATI) Radeon HD6970M with 1GB of memory, an upgrade on the 512MB 4850 that appeared on the previous model.

There’s still plenty of storage and headroom, with 4GB of RAM for the 21.5 and 27 inch models – and a 1TB (1024GB) hard drive built into the new desktop. For more storage and speed, there’s the option of a 256GB solid state drive. The DVD burner is unchanged – still no Blu-ray – and the SD card slot on the side of the iMac is now SDXC memory card compatible, with capacities greater than 64GB supported.

You also get to choose which mouse you get with your new iMac: a wireless Magic Mouse or the thin Magic Trackpad.

Performance

While our review sample wasn’t the top spec on offer, it did feature an Intel Core i5 clocked at 3.1GHz, with all of the other fix-ins mentioned above. We tested it using iMovie and games known to push the performance of the new parts. We also trialled it for general all-round office activities and web surfing.

On the gaming side, we ran two games known to tax computer systems: Valve’s “Portal 2″ and Blizzard’s “StarCraft II”.

Whether you're gaming, editing photos, or tackling a music or video project, you should find enough power in the new 27-inch iMac.

In “Portal 2”, the iMac 2 shined, never skipping a beat and offering excellent visuals on the high-resolution 2560 x 1440 screen. “StarCraft II” also ran beautifully, even when we pushed the graphics to the highest settings.

It’s a seriously top-notch experience playing games on the new 27 inch iMac. With performance like this, you can expect this computer to move with the times as new games are released over the next year or two.

Using the machine for general productivity duties, we were treated to solid performance on everything we attempted. There was virtually no lag as we switched between applications, surfed websites, and watched videos. The speed increase provided by the new processor was evident with iMovie, which took a little under three seconds to load. This is seriously impressive.

In truth, this iMac is impressive all-round. We’re not even inclined to complain about the glossy screen which, like past iMacs, can gather a lot of reflections from its surroundings. Of course, we would like to see a Blu-ray drive, USB 3.0, or eSATA port, but as these technologies aren’t in Apple’s playbook, we just have to suck it up. Still, it’s a drag that, without any Thunderbolt-equipped hard drives, the only hard drive connections available for the iMac right now are the relatively old USB 2.0 and Firewire ports.

The Apple iMac is available in two sizes: small (21.5 inches) and large (27 inches).

Conclusion

Apple’s operating system shines on this new 27 inch hardware and, as far as computers go, we reckon the new iMac is brilliant. This latest update provides enough technology to make the iMac a stable workhorse for at least two years, and in a world where a computer replacement comes every 18 months, that’s an excellent feat.

So, we love this computer, and we hazard to say that even PC users will be tempted by it. But is it the best desktop currently available?

That answer is a big shiny ‘yes’.

 

Comments are closed.

Price (RRP)

$1949

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

Very fast; Beautiful screen; Better built-in webcam than past models

Product Cons

Still no options for Blu-ray, USB 3.0, or eSATA

Ratings

Overall

Features

Value for money

Performance

Design

Latest reviews

  • Samsung’s PowerBot robotic vacuum reviewed

    The home of the future will come with robot butlers and maids and chefs and cleaners, but until that happens, you’ll have to settle for a robot vacuum. Is…
  • Oppo’s $529 mid-range metal smartphone reviewed

    With phones hitting well and truly past the thousand dollar mark, the mid-range is now the attractive area to price a device, and with a tag of $529 outright…
  • Review: Sony NW-A25 Walkman

    Not everyone wants to use a phone for media playback, and so the Apple iPod still gets buyers, but what if you’re after high-res audio?
  • Review: Apple MacBook Air 11 inch (2015)

    One of the few Macs we haven’t reviewed in a while, it’s time to check out Apple’s baby of the bunch before what we expect will be a 2016…
  • AppMonday: Playground

    Making music can be an awesomely fun exercise, but it's not something we all have the mindset for. If you're into playful electronica, however, Playground makes it possible to…
  • Review: HTC Desire 520

    Whenever we hear the word “cheap” associated with a phone, we hit the deck, preparing ourselves for the onslaught of something awful. Can HTC’s Desire 520 shake us from…
  • Review: Toshiba Satellite Click 10

    When you can’t decide between a laptop and a tablet, the hybrid might be the answer, and if you’re on a budget, Toshiba’s Click 10 offers up something that…
  • Review: HP Spectre x2

    Not quite a Surface, but still something close, HP's Spectre x2 is one interesting machine, and worth checking out if you're keen to see a tablet with all the…
  • Review: Sol Republic Shadow wireless earphones

    There’s nothing quite like being liberated from the cables that wired earphones rely on, but often the prices of wireless earphones don’t match up to the performance. Fortunately, Sol’s…
  • Review: Acer Predator 17

    Not every PC should be treated the same, and Acer's Predator 17 looks to prove it, skipping past the slim and minimalistic design most laptops features these days, opting…

“How do you stop yourself from being caught out by these scam artists?”

Read More

Tell us…

Will you be installing an ad blocker on your smartphone?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

“There’s certainly no doubt that you can find a bargain, but like always, you get what you pay for.”

Read More