The brominated flame retardant-free iMacs are here!

This past Tuesday morning—or this morning if you’re stuck in your own, less-entertaining version of "Groundhog Day"—Apple released updated iMac all-in-one-except-for-external-RAIDs-second-monitors-routers-and-all-in-one-printers models. And like Gollum trapped inside a Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Five Dollar Footlongs store, I wants one.

Specifically, I want the 27-inch model upgraded to the 3.4GHz quad-core Core i7 with 8GB of haphazard access memory and Radeon HD 6970M graphics with 2GB VRAM. I also want a pony. Because nothing goes better with a new computer than a celebratory pony barbecue. It’s tasty times two. And speaking of two, the 27-inch models sport two Thundercat, sorry, Thunderbolt interfaces. Which means you can power two additional displays, probably external ones, and recreate the triple-screened version of TX-1 from 1983. Heck yeah.

I have yet to find test results for the 3.4GHz Core i7. Probably because it’s a build-to-order option. Which, to be honest, seems a very silly, silly, quasi-French thing to do. The Sandy Bridge Core i7 is the top-of-the-line chip. Shouldn’t it be standard in at least one iteration of the top-of-the-line machine? Oh, I hear your snickering. Some of you assert that Apple doesn’t want to upstage the Mac Pro since that line hasn’t been updated with Sandy Bridge chips yet. Others speculate that Apple just wants to tap the power hungry for an extra 200 bucks because that’s what Apple does. Still others think it’s both a floor polish and a whipped topping.

Those first two groups are probably right.

And I still don’t like it. Going build-to-order (hereafter BTO) with the Core i7 basically forces you to take care of business direct from Apple, which is never my preferred method of buying Mac products. Especially expensive ones. Little things like sales tax tend to add up. And considering places like MacMall and Amazon routinely have rebates on their Macs, you miss out on those, too. So that $200 i7 could end up costing you an additional $350 in tax and lost rebates. Grr. Arrg. You can avoid the tax issue by ordering from one of the few places that will stock a BTO Mac, like Small Dog, but you’re still hosed on the rebates.

Regardless, the i7 promises to be ridiculously fast according to Intel press materials. Also, the chip isn’t exactly unknown in the world of PCs, and plenty of reviews have proven its speediness while running all manner of obligatory-if-somewhat-dubious-in-the-real-world test suites. Except for Scott’s, of course. It’s full of legit numbers. Also, as MacWorld points out in an easyish-to-read chart, the 3.1GHz i5 iMac bests the latest 2.2GHz Sandy Bridge i7 MacBook Pro in Speedmark 6.5 testing. Yes, not by much and it’s obviously a function of clock speed. But a 3.4GHz i7 versus a 2.2GHz should be muy caliente.

The new iMacs also offer SSDs as BTO options, either as HDD replacements or as additional drives. And the nifty thing is that these new machines are using Intel’s yet-to-be-officially-released Z68 chipset that supports SSD caching (as revealed in this iFixit teardown). There’s no evidence that the new iMacs are actually utilizing this feature at the moment, but it’s there for the taking.

Finally, these new machines crush my poor Hackintosh. Geekbench scores for the i7 have started being posted, ranging from the high 11,000s to the high 12,000s. A good 35% geekier than my Hackintosh with none of the wonky compatibility issues. Of course, that nice i7 will cost about double what I spent on the Hack, so I can console myself with that. Assuming I hadn’t spent that savings on baby wipes and minivan windshield repairs. Which I did. Hmm.

Regardless of my personal financial concerns, it is indeed a good time to be in the market for an iMac. The new ones scream, and the previous two generations—no Tippy the Turtles in their own rights—just got even cheaper on the used market. And if you’re not in the market for an iMac, well, umm, yeah.

And if you’re still wondering about the title, here’s a hint.

Later,

Fox

Comments closed
    • indeego
    • 8 years ago

    [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTfy96gb2KI[/url<] (NSFW language)

    • KoolAidMan
    • 8 years ago

    My only beef with the new iMacs is that the Target Display Mode requirements (fancy way of saying that the iMac can be used as a monitor for an external source equipped with DisplayPort) have changed since the video port is now Thunderbolt instead of mini-DisplayPort.

    I don’t know how many people this will effect, but from my standpoint it really sucks. I use my iMac as the primary display for my DIY gaming PC as well as for Mac usage. It is a gorgeous display and games look awesome on it.

    New problem: The only devices that can do Target Display Mode with Thunderbolt equipped iMacs are other devices that have a Thunderbolt port, meaning 2011 Macbook Pros and that’s it.

    I am sure that active adapters will soon come out, just as when dual-link DVI to DisplayPort adapters came out for a similar reason two years ago. Either way, it sucks at the moment given that no PCs and very few Macs have Thunderbolt connectors.

    I dunno, maybe it doesn’t suck because not that many people use iMacs as external monitors. To me that is a great feature and a huge benefit to people who use both Macs and PCs. With an iMac you’d basically get a $1000 monitor that can be used with other sources. Soon I’m putting together a gaming rig for a friend with a 2010 27″ iMac that he’ll use as its display. Can’t do that with these new Thunderbolt models. Crossing fingers for adapters soon.

    • calvindog717
    • 8 years ago

    “haphazard access memory”? really?

      • UberGerbil
      • 8 years ago

      Really. Thesaurus.com says so.

    • burntham77
    • 8 years ago

    I hate to break it to Apple, but a bunch of 27″ iMacs did just recently replace all of the Mac Pros at my job. We love them very much. Thank you.

      • KoolAidMan
      • 8 years ago

      I started using iMac for Final Cut back in 2007. No more Powermacs or Mac Pros for me, I’m happy with the performance and using FW800 hard drives instead of internal SATA for my backups.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 8 years ago

    Why is Apple advertising the display as a LED LCD when it’s a CCFL LCD in the 21.5″ model?

      • StashTheVampede
      • 8 years ago

      I know the older units were CCFL in 21.5, but are the new models non-LED in 21.5:
      [url<]http://www.apple.com/imac/specs.html[/url<]

        • d0g_p00p
        • 8 years ago

        Looking at the iFix teardown and googling the model of the panel they use show it to be a non LED display, that is why I am asking.

    • crsh1976
    • 8 years ago

    I’m starting to feel like I’m a character in a sitcom; I want to buy a Mac, but I can’t find one that suits my needs and requirements.

    Basic requirements:
    – Desktop computer
    – Quad-core processor
    – Can handle up to 8 GB of RAM
    – Decent video card
    – No built-in display/AIO form factor
    – $1.5 to $2k

    The only model that fits those basic requirements is the Mac Pro starting at $2.5k. That’s nothing short of ridiculous; I don’t need a workstation, I just want a decent desktop home computer.

    On the PC side, those basic requirements are widely available from a great number of manufacturers, at prices going from $200 to $3000 depending on parts and overall quality.

    Where is the mythical xMac? A headless desktop computer that somehow fits in between the lowly Mini and the Pro towers?

      • grantmeaname
      • 8 years ago

      Apple only builds products with server and mobile parts. They cost more.

        • StashTheVampede
        • 8 years ago

        That’s not exactly true. Recent iMacs have been using desktop-class processors (with mobile GPUs). Mac Pros and iMacs use “desktop” class HDDs (3.5″).

      • esterhasz
      • 8 years ago

      It’s really quite a shame. Apple’s lineup has some really big holes. Plugging a MBP to an external monitor is probably the closest you can get to your requirement – an that’s not very close, is it?

      • grantmeaname
      • 8 years ago

      Seems easy to do with a hackintosh, and you can save $1000 of that budget.

      • UberGerbil
      • 8 years ago

      Clearly, your’e not yet ready to buy a Mac. When you happily adjust your requirements to conform to Apple’s product matrix, and not expect the opposite, then it will be time for you to buy, grasshopper. That’s the Different you must Think.

        • crsh1976
        • 8 years ago

        I’ve owned several Macs before, I also have a 2010 Mini working as a HTPC – which I tried to use as a desktop computer initially, but it just wasn’t providing the oomph I was looking for.

        Anyway, you’re correct in saying I should just not have different expectations from Apple if I were truly ready to buy a new Mac; part of me is probably daydreaming because OSX is an operating system I truly enjoy using.

          • End User
          • 8 years ago

          I also lust after the mythical xMac. I also have a 2010 Mac mini running as a HTPC. 🙂

          When I retired my dual 2.7 G5 its replacement was my former Q6600 based gaming rig (now running Ubuntu). I will probably replace the Q6600 rig with a 2012 Thunderbolt equipped Mac mini.

      • KoolAidMan
      • 8 years ago

      Take into account the $1000+ monitor you’re getting with it.

      But I agree, a Mac tower with PCI-E expansion and non-server grade CPU and RAM would be excellent. As it stands, I plug my DIY gaming PC into my iMac and use the 27″ display as a monitor (something you apparently can’t do without an adapter now that they switched from mini-DP ports to Thunderbolt) and I use the iMac itself as a work machine.

        • esterhasz
        • 8 years ago

        yeah, I work on my MBP and share screen with a PC for crunching and the occasional game. Turning a Mac into a gaming machine is just too expensive and hackintosh will not get you the “no frills” OS X experience…

        • grantmeaname
        • 8 years ago

        The $*00 monitor if you get the expensive imac, otherwise it’s a $400 monitor.

          • KoolAidMan
          • 8 years ago

          The same 2560×1440 IPS monitor is $1000 from Apple, $1100 from Dell, and $1400 from NEC. So no, the iMac is actually a really good deal when you take the display into account.

            • crsh1976
            • 8 years ago

            Honest question here, there’s no mention of IPS for the new iMacs (as far as Apple’s site goes); is it still an IPS display, or a “normal” LED panel?

            • KoolAidMan
            • 8 years ago

            All of these iMacs use IPS displays.

            The iMac that I know didn’t use IPS panels was the 2007 aluminum 20″ iMac, that used TN+ panels. This is likely because the production of IPS panels in that size stopped completely. Dell and NEC discontinued selling their own 20″ IPS monitors at around the same time.

            I was really worried about the future of IPS panels back in 2007. Fortunately they have pushed *VA panels out of the middle price range and are much more affordable and easier to find than they used to be. 🙂

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 8 years ago

      [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=621NMj9_SR4&t=00m13s[/url<] [quote="Laruen"<]I would have to double my budget, which isn't feasible. [i<]{sigh}[/i<] I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person.[/quote<]

    • Meadows
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]Of course, that nice i7 will cost about double what I spent on the Hack, so I can console myself with that. Assuming I hadn't spent that savings on baby wipes and minivan windshield repairs. Which I did. Hmm.[/quote<] You pretend like the two situations are equal, but had you picked the brand new system just now, you would be driving a van that smells of poo and have bugs in your teeth.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 8 years ago

    Do these come with the fancy [s<]defective[/s<] yellow-tinted screens? I guess we'll know when Apple denies there is any problem, goes gestapo on customer posts reporting any problem on their forums, and makes people who get replacements sign something saying they won't tell anyone (including themself, through way of superiority complex-induced self-delusion.)

      • KoolAidMan
      • 8 years ago

      Wow, you might as well make BSOD jokes while you’re at it. Here’s a funny website I just found: [url<]http://www.istanbul.tc/mahir/mahir/[/url<]

        • MadManOriginal
        • 8 years ago

        If I made a BSOD joke that would be bashing Windows wouldn’t it? I do not understand how your post works as a reply to mine, perhaps the link you provided is to your own website, the quality of the English on it goes along with your suggestion I should have made a BSOD joke.

          • KoolAidMan
          • 8 years ago

          Saying that iMac displays ship with a yellow tint is as relevant as saying that Windows still BSODs all the time: it isn’t.

          Your joke is old news, just like the link I posted, which I’m frankly surprised you didn’t get. It is one of the oldest popular internet memes around, and just like your post, old news: [url<]http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/i-kiss-you[/url<] On topic, my 27" iMac came from the first generation with display issues. It didn't have yellowed areas but it did have the flickering issue. They swapped it out no questions asked and I didn't have to sign any non-disclosure forms (where did you hear this piece of FUD from?). The replacement came fast and it was perfect; I have it calibrated with my 24" NEC 2490WUXi and it also functions as a monitor for my gaming PC. Either way, come up with something funnier next time.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    what’s amusing is that the Google search results list this blog post as the first result. Self referential!

    • UberGerbil
    • 8 years ago

    “Flame,” “retard,” and “Mac” — one of the internet’s most enduring triads.

      • Meadows
      • 8 years ago

      That’s cheap, even for me.

      • Chrispy_
      • 8 years ago

      I’ve lost patience with the new wave of iPad2 flaming Mac retarded-ness.

      “Just because it’s pretty and expensive doesn’t mean it’s better, and no – I won’t help get your data onto it if you’re going to snub my decision to stick with Android.”

      There’s something extremely satisfying about directly accessing network shares on Honeycomb whilst watching dumbPad users flail around with iTunes.

      “Struggling with Wi-Fi? Here, copy your pictures across using this USB stick. Oh wait, you need to pony up $30 for an adapter because there’s still no @!%#ing usb port for that. Maybe try this SD card? Awww crap.

      Nevermind. At least it looks pretty nice compared to my plastic Galaxy Tab when it’s switched off !

    • eitje
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]Going build-to-order (hereafter BTO) with the Core i7 basically forces you to take care of business direct from Apple, which is never my preferred method of buying Mac products.[/quote<] Weird. Apple is trying to lock you into purchasing direct? That doesn't make sense.

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    Jason, I make a habit of posting on things i have no idea about, but based on your own personal usage, would you agree that OSX is “faster”, or “snappier”, maybe easier on system resources, than windows? I know apple claims to have the worlds most advanced OS, and I was wondering if you think you’d get more out of a 3.4ghz i7 on OSX, versus Windows 7?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      With something that fast I don’t think you’d notice a difference. Even on a 2Ghz Core 2 Duo, I can’t tell the difference unless I’m doing something Apple is specifically known to suck at, like playing games. Maybe that was because of the GMA950 in the Macbook I had.

        • internetsandman
        • 8 years ago

        I think you’d notice the difference between an Intel GMA and the 2 gig 6970M in this iMac in games. I’m actually going to buy a fully loaded 27 inch iMac partly because of the improvement in games I’d have over my current computer. It’s finally a highly competent graphics chipset in a relatively affordable Mac without going for a Mac Pro.

        To reply to the original post, the improvements between OSX and Windows will be there but overall, especially if you have a PC with the same specs as this iMac, the improvements will be too small to really matter. OSX is designed to integrate the hardware and software very closely and there will be improvements over that, particularly over how it uses system resources, so you’ll notice minor improvements there. But unless you’re doing something OSX is primarily designed for, particularly with any sort of intensive media work, like video editing or encoding or photo manipulation, the differences in performance won’t really matter that much, so the choice is down to whichever OS you prefer

          • mcnabney
          • 8 years ago

          Do you think comparing a ~$500 PC (integrated graphics) with a custom built Mac that costs probably 4-5x as much is just a little bit disingenuous.?

          • derFunkenstein
          • 8 years ago

          I’m talking about general usage.

          Also: You fool! Nobody plays games on a Mac.

        • Chun¢
        • 8 years ago

        This just kinda occurred to me. Xbox 360 and PS3 are basically old computers, that run really highly optimized code, right? Apple has pretty tight control on their own hardware ecosystem, so is it just the fact that they don’t put money into gaming that makes them worse?

      • Meadows
      • 8 years ago

      Apple “claims” to have the world’s most advanced everything.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        I know that. I’ve used OSX, but I’ve never found it to be better than 7, hence the question.

          • Veerappan
          • 8 years ago

          Built-in bash/tcsh terminal, X Client/Server, gcc, and Python/Perl.

          Those alone make it useful for me. Cygwin’s ok in Windows, but I usually need a Linux virtual machine to get all of the functionality that I need when running Win7. Mac OS gives me a BSD system with a stable/nice GUI. Definitely appreciated.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            You’re so out of the mainstream, you’re not even a mainstream Mac user. Those features are used by a small percentage of the already minority percentage of total computer users.

        • Corrado
        • 8 years ago

        Show me a company that claims their stuff isn’t the best out there.

          • Meadows
          • 8 years ago

          They’re usually prevented from doing so, because “best” is subjective and can be legally attacked, so most advertisements use “one of the best” instead.

      • KoolAidMan
      • 8 years ago

      I dual-boot on a MBP and OS X definately has faster boot-up, shut-down, and wake from sleep time. General usage is also “snappier” or whatever you want to call it. That said, I’m not going to bash on Windows 7 either, it is by far the best OS Microsoft has put out. I’m happy with both.

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