It’s fair to say that the design of Apple’s all-in-one desktop iMac has stood the test of time, maintaining the same general form since 2012, which is a long time in consumer technology. But the hardware it has inside has also had slow changes, and since 2015 I have not analyzed a significant iMac hardware update.
That’s why many potential iMac buyers were happy to see a strong set of enhancements announced this week during Apple’s WWDC 2017 developer conference. Somehow, this is practically a new iMac, but in other ways, it is very, very familiar.
From the outside, this computer looks just like the latest generations of iMacs. It’s not going to be very exciting if you’re looking for a bold new design, but being the most beautiful all-in-one desktop computer on the market, there’s no real impetus to give it a new look, either. The sides of the massive 27-inch screen taper almost to nothing at the edges, then extend outward into an elegant, convex curve at the back (that’s where all the components of the computer are kept). A sturdy aluminum arm holds everything aloft; Is the total minimalism interrupted just by a single power cable.
The new updates are under the hood. However, there is a lot that has been increased, especially the move to Intel’s Kaby Lake CPUs, which is the code name of Intel’s seventh-generation Core-i chips. For storage, Fusion drives, which combine solid state and swivel hard disk storage, are now standard on 27-inch iMacs (larger SSDs are also an option), while the 21.5-inch models get a Combination of Fusion drives or standard HDDs. With most solid-state notebooks for storage, desktops are almost the ultimate haven for traditional hard disk drives.
This 27-inch iMac still has a 5K display (the smallest 21.5-inch model has a more common 4K display), but Apple says it’s 43 percent brighter now and reaches 500 nits (a measure of luminance used for Describe how bright a screen is). Due to something called 10-bit dithering (which allows for a greater number of tones of each primary color), the display can now display a billion colors – though not all at once, since the 5.120×2.880 ” Only “has 14.7 million individual pixels.
That’s the kind of increase in the spec that thrills creators of high-end content, just like the jump to a maximum of 64GB of RAM. The 21.5-inch iMacs get a similar impact, up to 32GB of total RAM, and also get the same brightest display on the 4K models.
In my first direct contact with this system, the screen certainly looked sharp and bright, but we will have to run some of our 4K test videos in the CNET Lab to get a better idea of its performance. To the iMac 5K screen above, after running it through various test patterns, 4K video clips and a light meter, we declared it excellent, and a clear improvement over the pre-5K iMac of 2.560×1.440 Of 27 inches.
One of the other big improvements promoted by Apple is a new set of graphics options. Like other GPU-compatible Macs, these are from the AMD Radeon line, rather than the Nvidia GPUs found on most PCs with discrete graphics. The new AMD Radeon graphics on the 4K and 5K systems are the Radeon Pro 570, 575 and 580 cards, while there is still a standard 21.5-inch 1.920×1080 model that only has the standard Intel embedded graphics hardware.
Macs are not yet game machines, so GPUs are more likely to be used for video editing and 3D modeling than for gaming. Although the upcoming upgrade to MacOS High Sierra promises support for VR hardware, it is aimed at professionals who develop VR applications, not just for gamers to entertain them.
Progress in ports
USB-C continues its march through the universe of computers, and the new iMac adds two of those ports to the back, along with the help of Thunderbolt 3. That makes the iMac a little unique in the alignment of Apple. Other Macs with USB-C – the MacBook Pro line and 12-inch MacBook – only have USB-C ports and nothing else, both for power and connectivity. The iMac adds USB-C, but retains a collection of standard USB-A 3.0 ports, Mini DisplayPort and a standard power cable.
And if you’re looking for even more update, check out the accessory options, where an extra $30 gets you the new Magic Keyboard with a separate keypad. You can also get the old keyboard. It is wider than the standard keyboard, but also connects wirelessly and is charged via a Lightning connection.
The 27-inch 5K iMac has a starting price of $ 1,799, while the 21.5-inch iMac 4K gets a price cut and now starts at $ 1,299. The 21.5-inch iMac with HD (high definition) screen still costs $ 1,099.
We are currently comparing the 5K touchscreen iMac with 27 inch screen and will report the performance scores and more visualization tests in a more complete analysis.