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Practically perfect: Apple’s 27 inch iMac reviewed

By Leigh D. Stark | 10:39 am 24/01/2014

A new year, a new iMac, and in the latest model, Apple has taken Intel’s latest processors and thrown them in their impressive aluminium-clad all-in-one machine. Could this be desktop perfection?

Features

In the latest generation of Apple iMac desktop all-in-one machines, Apple has taken the previous generation and given it a minor update, replacing the third-generation Intel Core processors with the newest chips from the line codenamed “Haswell,” while sprucing up some other sections.

As such, the processors used in the 27 inch iMac now start with the Intel Core i5 3.2GHz, but can be upgraded to the Core i5 3.4GHz, as well as similar Core i7 processors from the Intel fourth-generation Core family.

Memory starts at 8GB in the new iMacs, though can be upgraded to 16 or 32GB, while storage starts at 1TB wand can be configured to run either a 3TB drive, 1TB or 3TB combined SSD and HDD Fusion drive, or only solid-state storage running either 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB in this specific style of medium.

A dedicated graphics card is included too, with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 755M graphics, running either 1GB or 2GB of RAM. Depending on what you need, this is upgradeable to a GeForce GTX 780M chipset with as much as 4GB of RAM.

Most of the specs outside of these haven’t changed, though, and include the 27 inch 2560×1440 display running on In-Plane Switching technology, with connectivity working from Bluetooth 4.0 and an update to 802.11ac WiFi, which of course supports the older standards too, including 802.11a/b/g/n.

Just like it has been for years, the Apple iMac is built from an aluminium chassis with a big piece of glass protecting the screen, with the back featuring all of the main ports, including the four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, single Gigabit Ethernet port, headphone port, and SDXC card slot.

A power button also sits on the back.

Our review computer was an Intel Core i5 set to 3.4GHz, with 8GB RAM, the 2GB GeForce GTX 755M graphics chipset, and a 1TB Fusion drive.

Performance

With every new generation of Intel chips, Apple sees fit to update its computers that have them, the hardware refresh seeing some new tech that makes the machines even better than before.

The most recent update is, for the most part, a minor one, with Intel’s Haswell, a new graphics chip, and faster wireless being the crux of the refresh, with the technology still existing in the same style of ultra-thin chassis we saw in last year’s iMac (though we only reviewed the 21.5 inch last year, so it was noticeably smaller).

As per the last change, gone is the optical drive, which is a shame since the world still relies quite heavily on Blu-ray and DVD media, not to mention CD playback, but that’s an argument for another day. As Apple moves to a more downloadable approach to everything it does, we’re not surprised to see the drive gone, though it will dismay some, we’re sure.

Then again, you get a massive computer screen with all of the innards hidden behind that humongous display, both of which are held in a solid piece of aluminium which looks elegant on any desk, even ones which are messy.

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Price (RRP)

$2199 (starting price); Review model was $2449;

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

Built insanely well; Very, very fast; Still one of the prettiest computers you’ll ever see; Excellent screen; Includes 802.11ac WiFi;

Product Cons

SD card slot is still in an awkward position; No optical drive may still be a hurdle for some;

Ratings

Overall

Features

Value for money

Performance

Ease of Use

Design

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