HotHardware reviews Apple’s new 27-inch iMac: An easy recommendation

“It’s hard to believe there’s a full fledged system packed inside Apple’s slim and sexy iMac chassis,” Paul Lilly writes for HotHardware. “It was roughly a year ago when Apple revamped its all-in-one line, tasking the company’s engineers to flatten the design as much as possible without sacrificing performance. What emerged was a sleek display measuring just 5mm at its edge with up to 40 percent less volume than the previous generation. It was such a radical design change that Apple had to abandon traditional welding methods in favor of a process called friction-stir welding, which combines friction-generated heat and pressure to force molecules from two separate aluminum surfaces to mingle with one another. It’s a process commonly found on mission critical applications, such as the construction of rocket booster tanks.”

“The late 2013 edition iMac line leverages the performance punch of Haswell and follows it up with NVIDIA GeForce 700 Series graphics,” Lilly writes. “As configured, the 27-inch iMac reviewed here bolted through our benchmarks with ease and posted especially impressive figures in our gaming tests, including a 3DMark 11 score of 3,068 in Windows 7 (via Boot Camp). Running Cinebench 11.5 in Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks also helped showcase the CPU and GPU combination.”

“Apple’s attention to detail when it comes to designing products is arguably second-to-none, and certainly we feel the modern generation iMac is the best looking all-in-one system on the market,” Lilly writes. “The late 2013 edition iMac is an easy recommendation provided you’re willing to spend a premium for a machine that looks as well as it performs, and are interested in OS X.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple updates iMac with Haswell processors, new graphics, next-gen Wi-Fi, and faster PCIe flash storage – September 24, 2013

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9 Comments

  1. The main bottleneck is the 5400 RPM drive. Not sure why Apple regressed from a 7200 RPM drive to a 5400 RPM drive but it really makes everything run slower. It’s compensated somewhat by OS X Mavericks running faster than Mountain Lion, but you’re still effectively constrained by the drive speed.

    They probably went with the 5400 RPM drive for thermal mitigation reasons, but that’s a corollary of going so slim. At times Ive can go for too much of form over function. It is lighter and more elegant to look at though, so I’ll give him that.

    Anyhow, the long and the short of it is get an iMac with a Fusion Drive if you can possibly afford it ($200 more). You’ll thank your lucky stars for it. The 5400 RPM laptop drive is a drag on performance.

    1. Just to be clear:

      The 21.5″ iMac uses a 5400 RPM 2.5″ drive
      The 27″ iMac still uses a 7200 RPM 3.5″ drive

      I agree, it would be nice if both used 7200 RPM. Fusion is the way to go if you want speed at which point it makes less difference if the secondary drive is 5400 vs 7200 RPM.

    2. If your up to it, OWC sells a kit to install an SSD into the 27″ iMac along with its HDD. As long as you’re running Mountain Lion or newer, you can set the two drives up as a fusion drive. I’ve done this for several clients and you get quite a boost in performance. The fusion array primarily uses the SSD, which gives you maximum performance most of the time. Boot time goes from 40 seconds, down to about 9 for example.

  2. I’ve set up several of these for clients. You really can’t beat the value of the 27″ iMac. Performance is remarkable, and the 27″ monitor is beautiful. My only issue with the iMac is, if one component fails, you lose the whole system. I’d rather have my clients go with either a mini or the Pro with Apple’s 27″ monitor. That’s what I have. If my new mini fails, I can easily swap my old one in while that one goes out for repair. Same with my monitor. I have a high quality Lacie monitor, should that fail, I can swap out my monitor I use to set up client machines.

    1. Agreed. That is the weak point of all-in-one systems. I have an old iMac that has strange issue with the built-in display. It is white most of the time, but every once in a while it works normally, one time for a whole week straight. The Apple Genius Bar offered no help, so I tested the external Mini DisplayPort output and it worked fine. I bought an external monitor and stuck the iMac below the desk. It works, but it is a bit awkward if you want to use the SuperDrive or access ports, etc. I will seriously consider a mini the next time. After all, I already have a monitor for it!

    2. You also have to take into account the cost/performance ratio and reliability. So, for me, the iMac’s all-in-one-failure rate didn’t outweigh the system’s cost/performance given the overall solidity of Apple’s hardware. But I do agree with those comments above: the Fusion drive is more than worth the extra cost.

  3. Is that a decent benchmark for win 7? I ask because Macs often score high in windows benchmarks. Fun to tell my IT guys that macs make better PCs than PCs with similar specs..assuming this is do to better drivers in boot camp than generic windows drivers.

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