Unsurprisingly, the processor speed in your iMac will depend
on which model you decide to go for. In the 21.5in range, the £999 base model
sports a quad-core Core i5 2.5GHz and AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics. Our £1,249
review sample ups this to a 2.7GHz Core i5 and Radeon HD 6770M. Though Apple
doesn’t give out the specific CPU model names, we assume it’s the i5-2500S,
which has a Turbo Frequency (the maximum clock speed it can run at when not all
of its cores are in use) of 3.7GHz. The system achieved an Xbench score of 271,
which is not too shabby.
Quite frankly, any Intel Sandy
Bridge quad core CPU
should be perfectly adequate for even demanding users, especially as Mac OS
tends to be a little more efficient than Windows 7. However, if you do regularly run
CPU-intensive software such as video encoding solutions, there’s the option to upgrade to
a 2.8GHz Core i7 with up to eight virtual cores for an extra £160.
The graphics hardware is essentially mobile chip, as suggested by the ‘M’ behind the 6770 model number. It
features 512MB of memory and is non-upgradeable – if you want better graphics,
you’ll have to plumb for the top-end, £1,650 27in iMac, which gets you a 6970M.
Getting back to the 6770M in our review model, it should be just about adequate
to play many of the games available for Mac at decent detail settings on the screen’s
native 1080p resolution. We tried a game of First Person Shooter CounterStrike:
Source on maximum detail and got a silky 65 frames per second average, though
newer and more demanding titles won’t run as smoothly.
All iMac models come with 4GB of DDR3 RAM as standard, which
should again be plenty for most consumers, though you can upgrade to 8GB or
even a whopping 16GB for a frankly ridiculous £480. If you need lots of memory
on a budget, Macs are not the way to go, as for that upgrade price alone you can
buy an entire working PC with an equal amount of memory!
Permanent storage is more reasonable. On our high-end 21.5in
iMac you get 1TB (1,000GB) as standard, with the option to upgrade to 2TB for
£120 (only twice the ‘regular’ price), a 256GB SSD for a mere £400, or a
combination of both for the bargain price of £600. To be fair though, 1TB
should last most people quite a while.
Things are rounded off by a 720p webcam – or in Apple
parlance, FaceTime HD Camera – to accompany the discreetly integrated