Hands on: One month with Apple’s 4K 21.5-inch iMac, ‘an amazing bargain’

“Like many Apple products, the 21.5-in. iMac was refreshed just ahead of the holiday season, gaining a welcome Retina 4K display at the top of the model line-up,” Michael deAgonia writes for Computerworld. “‘ve spent nearly a month with one of these iMacs and can tell you this is an amazing bargain if you’re looking for a desktop Mac while still keeping a close eye on your budget.”

“The most interesting model is the $1,499 iMac with an a 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and the Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 GPU now powering a sharp and vivid 4K Retina display,” deAgonia writes. “The 21.5-in. iMac, like its larger 27-in. sibling (the one that offers a 5K-resolution screen), is still constructed from aluminum, with the enclosure tapering to just 5mm thin across the edges.”

Apple's all-new 21.5-inch iMac and 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display
Apple’s all-new 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display and 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display

“Though you will probably spend more money up front compared to Windows-based all-in-one options, you’ll save that money over the long haul, both in maintenance and longevity,” deAgonia writes. “The only thing I would recommend is to forgo the standard 1TB hard drive and opt for at least a Fusion drive, or, preferably, an SSD drive. The stock hard drive is a 5,400-rpm model, which is slow and doesn’t deliver an ideal computing experience.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple should not be selling Mac with 5,400-rpm hard drives in 2015. Period.


  1. If someone had shown me that picture back in 1998 when I bought my first iMac I would have laughed my butt off at the absurdity of such a device.

    I wonder if I’ll have the same feeling fifteen to twenty years from now?

  2. MDN, I understand what you are thinking, but it is not the whole picture. In my experience with older iMacs, 7200 RPM HDDs run significantly hotter than slower drives. When I upgraded the size of my internal HDD (did it myself), I opted for a 5900 RPM 2TB “green” drive. I would rather have a slightly slower, but cooler and more reliable HDD. if I were getting a new iMac, I would like a fusion drive for the speed, but would still prefer the larger, somewhat slower HDD.

    If the new 7200 RPM HDDs are running cooler than in the past, then I would be glad to move up. Otherwise, I prefer the higher reliability that goes with lower operating temperatures.

    1. No, its a PREMIUM device.
      Speed, reliabiity and user experience come with SSD – like laptops Apple should have already made the switch to SSD.

      Given their purchase volumes the price would drop significantly; they can then differenciate models with capacities over 512GB or 1TB

    2. If your computer is running hot because of 7200 RPM drives, then your system isn’t being properly cooled, so I call baloney on Apple’s refusal to include 7200RPM drives. They just want to charge a premium for upgrades. SSDs run cooler than hard drives, anyway, so Apple should be switching to them.

  3. Baloney. With the speed of the external ports like USB-C it would be better to have a “fusion” type setup with a 256Gb SSD and an external hard drive of 1-2 Tb for storage. The 7200RPM drive would running faster and there would be no heat issues.

    1. Why stick an unreliable, heat producing HD in a product when there are far better an inexpensive alternatives – if not for any reason than to screw more money out of your user base ?

      The guts of an iMac have been shrunk to almost flat screen TV dimensions so why the need for a mechanical piece of junk embedded in it. Anyone needing rapid access to TB’s of data that can’t work with an external drive isn’t going to be wanting an iMac in the first place. For the 95% of all other iMac users the speed of access to the common programmes used on laptops and home PCs delivered by SSD is the most important benefit. If laptop users have that as standard then why not iMac owners ?

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