PCs

New iMacs will pack a punch

Erik Eckel breaks down the benefits of the new sleekly designed and powerful iMacs for businesses who are in the market.

iMacs aren't typically compared to champion fighters. New iMacs, due from Apple in December, will earn a reputation for packing a wallop, however. While, the machines trace their heritage to an original desktop known largely for its translucent plastic case, the new models will boast considerable capacity.

New design

Apple's iMacs-from early translucent G3 models to "snowball" G4s to the all-in-one G5s-have always boasted a penchant for intriguing design. New models, thanks to re-engineering, new manufacturing techniques, and omission of the optical drive, are incredibly thin and just 5mm thick at the edges. Overall, the systems consume 40 percent less space. That's compelling, and again positions Apple's iMacs as a design marvel. But the new iMacs are more than just a pretty face.

Refined displays

The desktop's new integrated monitor is repositioned closer to the cover glass. The LED backlit display is more vivid as a result. One long-running complaint is the reflection associated with many previous iMac displays. Apple claims the new models reduce reflection by 75 percent. That means many office workers will find them easier to use in a wider variety of environments.

Other display innovations are present, too. Apple's adoption of in-plane switching (IPS) provides exceptional color viewable from a wider range of angles. LG is largely credited with introducing the improved LCD technology, which enables reorienting liquid crystals in the same plane, in 2009.

Graphics boost

Recognizing video's popularity, and acknowledging the demands photography and high-resolution displays place on workstations, Apple has specified Nvidia's Kepler GeForce GPUs inside the new iMacs. Apple states the GPUs are up to 60 percent more powerful than previous models and produce more frames per second, resulting in smoother animation and improved video responsiveness.

Thunderbolt included

It's clear Apple's betting on Thunderbolt and the technology's blazing throughput capacities. The new iMacs will include not one but two Thunderbolt ports. Considering each port supports up to six daisy-chained devices, it's easy to see how the all-in-one desktops can support a multitude of peripherals without suffering performance trouble; each Thunderbolt port features two 10Gbps data channels. Whether needing to leverage multiple Thunderbolt displays, connect RAID storage units or perform other demanding tasks, the systems boast the necessary throughput.

Faster CPUs

As is typical with any desktop upgrade, faster processors are included in the newer models. The 21.5" models will ship with 2.7GHz or 2.9GHz Intel Core i5 quad-core or even 3.1GHz quad-core i7 processors. 27" models will be powered by 2.9GHz or 3.2GH Intel Core i5 CPUs or a 3.4GHz quad-core Intel i7. With such potent CPUs, these systems should prove capable of fulfilling most enterprise organizations' common desktop demands.

Introducing Fusion Drive

Fusion Drive is a particularly arresting new feature that scores a technical knockout versus older technologies. Fusion Drives marry the storage capacity of traditional hard disks with the speed of flash memory. By joining flash media and traditional disk storage, Apple makes it possible for more commonly used files to be stored on the faster flash media while parking files accessed less often on the traditionally larger and less expensive hard disk. Best of all, Apple's Fusion Drive performs all the calculations and automatically determines which files are used less often and makes adjustments on the fly, thereby automatically tuning the Fusion Drive for optimal performance.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

7 comments
Gisabun
Gisabun

..... Probably so does the price!

davidh
davidh

Apple's new fusion drive might not deliver the punch we might expect. Work provides me with a one year old MacBook Pro with an i7 cpu. It should be a capable machine, but I found it to be slow and incapable of running many apps / having many files open without becoming unstable (memory management problems, pinwheel of death, the OS getting confused about which app is in the foreground, video display not being updated). So IT replaced the hard drive with a solid state drive and upgraded to the latest OS. Yes, it boots faster, but all of the other slowness etc is still there. In my case a super fast drive did not improve performance, so I would wonder about how fast the new iMac will be, given that an almost new MacBook Pro is not a whole lot faster than a low end, 10 year old Dell box running Win7.

Slayer_
Slayer_

It sounds like it. Cause if so, then its not new, its already outdated. It sounds like a bad idea, all the frailty of a spinning disc, and the relatively short life span of a flash drive.

NickP2012
NickP2012

i got a MacBook Pro 13.3 inch. i like it alot so easy to use.

gariloki
gariloki

I've been looking for a new desktop for a while and thought I knew what I was going to get, until I started working with a NE Builder who wants to down tools and make video training courses for other builders. As I'd helped him set up his existing network and systems, he asked me to help him set up a green screen recording studio, which I did. He already had some pretty powerful Dell Precision PCs but the Adobe Premier video editing suite he'd invested in had him climbing the walls! He'd heard that Final Cut was much easier to use and so invested in an intel based 26" iMac. did I mention he's a very rich builder? I had mixed feelings as I'd never really had much experience with Macs, although using an iPhone for a year had eased me in a little and within a couple of days I'd set the Mac up in his PC environment and all seemed well, apart from a few printer/NAS drivers that didn't like Lion. Anyhoo, when I wasnt working for him, I began missing the iMac and realised I'd been hooked! I started having internal debates, pros and cons etc and had to slap myself out of these Apple daydreams. I'd been a Windows user since 1985, having only had a brief affair with a university UNIX system in the naughties. As a dyed in the wool Microsoft user, all my skills were through those 4 coloured windows. However, the iMac was turning my head. It got to be too much when my builder needed one of his old PC packages to be easily accessible and didnt want two computers in his office, so we invested in a wonderful programme called Parallels! THIS was the deciding factor why I'll be buying an iMac for my next desktop. You can run Windows, inside a window, inside the Mac. What's more, since the iMac had 32gb memory and we allocated 8 of it to the instance of Windows 7, it was running faster than on the Dells! It's a fabulous bit of software and means you can really have the best of both worlds. Going full screen on parallels means that Windows 7, and/or any other Windows OS is just a swipe away and you can even share your desktop et al between the operating systems. This is a fantastic way to ease the transition and get to master the iMac while still keeping the stabilisers on with Windows, all in a beautiful iMac package. As a non-techie I dont get too exited about hardware, but the iMac plus parallels has me. Hook, line and sinker.

Ajarjay
Ajarjay

Having been offended recently Apple Customer Service, I contemplating taking the iMac money I have been saving and buying a Windows All-in-One. Every brand I checked, including Dell, HP, Lenovo, and several less known internet direct brands, couldn't compete with the iMac in either specs, price, or both. You can get a cheaper machine, or a box with a bunch of cables, but there is no denying that the iMac respresents a fair value, for what it is. Nice things cost nice money. Also, the base model represents a pretty serious rig, having the same GPU as the $2,000+ Dell AIO, and after the education discount and no tax from my local university, it costs $1,249 out the door, with a fantastic screen. Not too shabby. NOT CHEAP! But good value for money. I guess I just want people to stop complaining that a Lexus costs more than a Toyota. It's not rediculous to buy nice things, if you save, can afford it, and find value in what you are buying.

Gisabun
Gisabun

Apple will claim they invented the technology....

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