iMac 27in Review

One Mac for all

iMac 27in

The eye-poppingly designed aluminium iMacis one of the most radical desktop omputers you’ll see, yet it ontinues a lear evolutionary path from 2004’s iMac G5, the ‘rst Apple omputer built into an LCD display. It’s a tried and tested format, but this revision leverages new manufacturing techniques to tessellate high-end omponents into a dramatically slimmed hassis so neatly that, when you look inside, it doesn’t seem a squeeze. Not that you will ever look inside, because the friction stir welded ase isn’t made for tinkering; the only way in is by removing the screen, a process exceeded in its frustrating omplexity only by the job of geDing it back on again. But the point is that you’ll never need to hange what’s inside now that Thunderbolt, the ultra-fast new external interface, enables you to add whatever you need, including the most advanced storage and expansion products, on the outside. The iMac’s body tapers o& to a 5mm edge on all sides, and with the larger 27in model in particular, it’s striking to see a machine with such a large surface area and such a blade-thin pro’le. Inevitably, it’s a trick: a fully featured omputer wouldn’t really ‘t in a 5mm ase. So the iMac urves away into a bulge around the back, as becomes obvious when you look at it in pro’le (see next page). But from most angles, this is leverly made invisible. While reducing the iMac’s volume, the redesign also shaves 4.26kg o& its weight. That’s a reduction of more than 30%, and at 9.54kg the new 27in model is barely heavier than the old 21.5in. The hange is welcome when you pull it out of the box, as is Apple’s redesigned packaging, which folds outwards, making setup a more omfortable job. Beyond the aesthetics, the 27in hassis allows features you don’t get in the 21.5in. The hard drive has a faster rotational speed of 7200rpm, and although we weren’t able to dismantle the test system for the reasons already mentioned, our speed tests suggest this is because it’s a full-size 3.5in unit, rather than the 2.5in notebook type found in the 21.5in iMac. This is on’rmed by the availability of a 3TB drive option, which isn’t available from hard disk manufacturers in the smaller form factor. On the back panel is a urved rectangular utout in the aluminium surface. Press a small buDon and its over an be removed to reveal the memory sockets, One Mac for all → The 27in iMac combines a highly capable computer with a beautiful display big enough for all purposes.
allowing you to upgrade from the standard 8GB of RAM to a comfortable 16GB or even 32GB, another option unavailable on the 21.5in iMac. It feels odd to (nd an opening in the aluminium unibody, something Apple has studiously avoided on recent MacBooks, which use similar materials and manufacturing processes. But it’s in a very good cause, and almost makes us wish a similar arrangement had een contemplated for swapping the hard drive. Although you can opt for whatever memory con(guration you prefer at the time of ordering your Mac, you may (nd you need more later, and in any case Apple unfortunately has a well-earned reputation for pricing its RAM at two to four times what others would charge you. So it’s oth more *exible and more cost-e’ective to e able to add chips yourself. There are two empty sockets y default, so you can keep the two 4GB modules supplied unless you need to replace them with larger ones to maximise the total. Filling the spare slots with two 4GB modules from a memory dealer is the cheapest upgrade option, ut it would e more cost-e’ective and still very a’ordable to uy two 8GB modules, taking you to 24GB. Replace the two pre-(Bed modules with 8GB packages as well, and the total cost for 32GB is still well under a third of what Apple would charge you to specify this at the time of ordering. Just Google ‘iMac memory’ for suppliers, or try crucial.com. Previously, the memory slots were accessed under the ‘chin’ of the iMac. The edges are too thin to allow this now, so instead the access hatch is on the ack, concealed ehind the stand. Access is trivially easy, and replacing RAM is a simple task even for the completely non-technical user; just remember to earth yourself (rst y touching a cold water pipe or radiator.

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