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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Apple iMac 27in. (3.1GHz, spring 2011) Reviews

Apple's new 27in. iMac has plenty to offer media professionals and enthusiasts in terms of presentation and peripheral device flexibility. For serious media editors, or those looking for a vanity desktop, the Apple iMac remains one of the best ever and most attractive systems available. When Apple refreshed the iMac lineup last year we sampled the 21.5-inch model, svelte and sweet and a good quality choice for your average household. This time we moved up to the full 27-inch size, sporting a Core i5 processor that hums along at 3.1GHz.

The new iMac's design hasn't changed on the outside, but its internal components have been completely revamped from those of the previous model. As it upgraded its MacBook Pro notebooks earlier this year, Apple has introduced Intel's second-generation Core CPU family to the iMac. It has also added AMD's latest-generation graphics processor, the Radeon HD 6000-series. IPhone users will appreciate that Apple has brought FaceTime support to the new iMac, which allows for cross-device video chatting over the internet.

Windows all-in-one makers like Dell, HP and Sony have improved their designs over the last year or two, but none of them approaches the iMac for sheer visual appeal. This is the processor you get if you opt for the pricier configuration of the bigger model and resist the urge to make any other customizations -- but cycle-hungry users can spend an extra $200 to step into a 3.4GHz Core i7.

Either way you get four cores, ours came paired with 4GB of 1333MHz, DDR3 RAM, installed as two 2GB DIMMs, and a 1TB 7,200RPM, SATA drive. Pushing pixels to that 27-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 resolution IPS panel is an AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory. Apple has also incorporated the new Thunderbolt data throughput standard into the iMac, two Thunderbolt ports on the back of the 27in. model replacing the single Mini-DisplayPort input found on older iMacs. Developed in conjunction with Intel, Thunderbolt is designed to replace USB and FireWire inputs by offering immediate 10Gbps throughput in and out of the system via the similar port.

That capability is certainly welcome, and it makes extend the iMac's display easy, but multimonitor hold up in general isn't unique to the iMac. Among other multidisplay technologies, AMD showed us its Eyefinity graphics card series last year for Windows desktops that can support six LCDs.
The customary supports both data and video connections, and is on track to both simplify the experience of connecting peripheral devices, and also allow for a wider and more authoritative variety of external components.
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