In a similar vein, the graphics options of the iMac have received a boost. The entry-level system’s 256MB ATI Radeon HD 4670 isn’t going to be running StarCraft II at its highest quality, but it’ll happily play run any Steam game available for the Mac, World of Warcraft, Eve-Online and just about any other Mac-compatible title you care to name.
The step-up 512MB 5670 is a better option if you want your options open a year down the line, but the system it’s in pushes dangerously close to 27in iMac territory at £1249. It’s not like the 200MHz CPU speed bump and additional 500MB of hard drive capacity are compelling reasons to spend another £250 on a 21.5in iMac, either. The entry-level system even comes with 4GB of RAM so it’s literally just the GPU that’s worth improving - hopefully Apple will make this an option in the near future.
On the subject of upgrades, we have to once again point out that you’d be a fool to opt for any from Apple’s own configuration menu at purchase. Aside from mandating that you pick the more expensive iMac before allowing you to boost the provided RAM or hard drive, Apple still has the audacity to charge full price for upgrading components.
It’s likely that Apple is primarily trying to discourage people from deviating from the standard set-up so someone doesn't have to unpack, change the components of, and repackage a system before shipping. A logical endeavour but a tactic hardly likely to make your customers happy.
Fortunately when it comes to non-gaming performance, the base iMac configurations don’t particularly need messing with. The £999 model, especially, is plenty fast for anything you’re likely to throw at it day to day and has enough processing power to chew through a more intensive task if you throw one at it.
The iMac isn’t a cheap system, but you certainly get what you pay for. The updates the latest refresh has added aren’t groundbreaking and the continued lack of Blu-ray is something of an annoyance but we can forgive the latter and on most other fronts the iMac was already the best all-in-one system you could buy. Now it still is; but it’s a little bit better than before.