The Register reviews Apple’s 27-inch iMac: ‘Serious computing beast; GD gorgeous’

“Apple’s iMac range continues to be the most preposterously expensive series of home computers known to man. Towards the top-end, the 3.1GHz quad-core i5 edition with 27in display is one of the most pernicious offenders, setting you back in excess of £1,600 for the shallow glam of brushed aluminium, unnecessary space-age design and the kind of performance that’s wasted on its target domestic buyer,” Alistair Dabbs reports for The Register. “In other words, it’s god-damned gorgeous.”

“Now, before I go any further, there is a 3.4GHz quad core-i7 build-to-order model available, which, if you went with all the possible hardware extras (16GB RAM, SSD etc), would set you back in excess of £3k,” Dabbs reports.

MacDailyNews Note: Our SSD-equipped 3.4GHz i7 27-inch iMacs arrived on Tuesday. Over two weeks early. Leave it to Apple to under-promise and wildly over-deliver! We got our 16GB RAM from a third-party vendor, so we saved big there. Friends don’t let friends buy RAM from Apple!

Besides soft and, hence, easily-strippable, phillips head screws on the RAM cover plate that we’ll have to replace, these machines are perfect and, more importantly, obscenely fast. Thanks to the SSD, they start up in around ten seconds. Apps are running before you finish clicking them in the Dock. Even Photoshop launches quickly! Our Docks have never experienced such a dearth of icon bouncing. The 2GB AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics chipsets don’t hurt either.

Our Geekbench results:
• 32-bit
• 64-bit

We now restart our Macs for the fun of it.

As usual, we expect to have these machines for years along with their companion 11-inch MacBook Air units, just like the 2.16GHz Core Duo do-everything MacBook Pro 1,2 units (which we got in spring 2006) that they replaced. Divide the purchase price by 5 – or even 3 – years and the price is more than right. The MBPs never failed us and no additional costs were ever incurred. They just worked – every damn day for half a decade. Macintosh. You get what you pay for.

Dabbs continues, “Register Hardware’s current testing methodology for Mac computers is to instal 64-bit Microsoft Windows 7 natively (remember, you can dual-boot a Mac) and run our standard PC tests. When I last did this on one of Apple’s previous range of 27in quad-core iMacs, it turned out to be the fastest PC I had ever tested.”

Advertisement: Students, parents and Faculty save up to $200 on a new Mac.

“Factor in the beautiful screen, superb performance, top-quality input devices and (let’s face it) minimal support downtime, this 27in 3.1GHz iMac is the ideal affordable workstation for the creative professional,” Dabbs reports. “Frankly, if you’re in the market for a home computer, forget it – it’s too good for you.”

Much more in the full review here.

36 Comments

  1. MDN, congrats on your new purchase! Could you answer a question about the SSD/Hard Drive combination in the new iMacs?

    Does the OS automatically handle saving documents to the hard drive and installing new applications to the SSD? Or does the user have to do something to make that happen?

    I ask because I recall reading somewhere else that the user had to set up “symbolic links” to make the OS accomplish that.

    1. Hi Islandgirl. I’m by no means a Mac expert but I’ll try to give some answers to your questions.

      If you’re asking about the factory optioned iMac, there’s no way for a HDD to coexist with a SSD. It’s an either or situation: either SSD or HDD. So your example of saving apps in one drive and documents in another drive will not arise. If, however, your Mac-Fu extends to installing a HDD in the DVD slot then you will need to decide where to install the apps. It’s generally a good idea to install the OS and apps in the SSD and documents in the HDD.

      How you do this would simply be to create a folder nestled in the main documents folder that points to a space that resides in the HDD. Then default save it to this folder in Pages or other file creation apps, e.g. Photoshop or iMovie.

      Hope this helps.

      1. Actually, the new iMacs offer a built-to-order option of an SSD + regular hard drive, as seen below, in language I copied from Apple’s Store…

        “Configure your iMac with a large 7200-rpm Serial ATA hard drive. Or choose a solid-state drive, which has no moving parts and provides greater responsiveness and durability. Or select both a hard drive and a solid-state drive……

        iMac also offers an optional 256GB solid-state drive (SSD), which has no moving parts and delivers increased drive performance for many operations. The 256GB SSD can be purchased in place of the standard hard drive or in addition to it.

        If you configure your iMac with both the solid-state drive and a Serial ATA hard drive, it will come preformatted with Mac OS X and all your applications on the solid-state drive. Then you can use the hard drive for videos, photos, and other files.

        Hard Drive
        * 1TB Serial ATA Drive
        * 2TB Serial ATA Drive [Add $150.00]
        * 256GB Solid State Drive [Add $500.00]
        * 1TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive [Add $600.00]
        * 2TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive [Add $750.00]”

        So my question was, does the OS automatically know to save new, pictures, documents and such on the hard drive, and automatically install new apps on the SSD?

          1. The short answer is yes. Once you’ve selected which drive to install the OS, apps installation should automatically go to this drive. You wouldn’t have to think about this.

            In terms of saving the work you’ve created on the iMac using the various apps, there is normally a default folder to save your creation, be they media files or ordinary documents. This default folder is selectable from the save function in the individual app.

            What you need to do is navigate to the drive you want to save the document to and click save. This will deposit your file in the HD rather than the SSD.

    1. I want a cube..
      Just cause they are cool.
      I still haven’t sold my PowerMac g4 MDD just cause I love the case design, heavy as hell though…
      (off to check craigslist again)

      1. I just saw one on amazon for $180…
        Tempting.

        (MDN, please update your app to enable logins again.. This is annoying to trick the app every few days)

  2. Got mine two weeks ago with the upgraded video card, then max’d it out in ram from Crucial.com. Just didn’t have the large amounts of ad revenue to afford the ssd HD like MDN ;-p

    The thing simply screams through video editing and rendering. It easily competes with my son’s 1.5 year old Mac pro workstation.

    And it is, in fact, g.o.r.g.e.o.u.s!!!

    1. Nah, that’s pretty much everyone that says that.
      I bought 16gb for my iMac, same stats as MDN’s except the SSD, $160. Which is a ton cheaper than apple.
      Mine is crucial, I can’t remember the two brands apple uses but they are not crucial that’s for sure. (samsung I think is one…)

      1. I went with the baseline 27″ (recommended by the mac business team at the apple store, who bluntly stated that I don’t need the $1999 version or the BTO stuff) and added an additional 4 gig myself.

        My original point was that MDN is usually so hardcore pro-apple on that I was surprised it was actually critical about anything Cupertino does.

  3. Hallo ich bin der Neue,
    habe das Forum ueber Google gefunden, und sieht ganz gut aus.
    Hab jetzt ne Menge zu lesen, und werde danach hoffentlich auch was zu diesem und jenem sagen koennen .
    Gruss an Alle

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