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back to article Apple iMac 27in

For those of you who revel in Mac versus Windows shouting matches, click the Comments link now. You’ve already made up your minds, so feel free to dive into the debate without reading the review. That’s what you normally do, anyway. Apple iMac 27in Widescreen viewing: Apple's iMac 27in If you’re still with me, let me confirm …

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Trollface

Shortened review....

It's pretty, it's expensive, fanbois will love it.

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FAIL

So will a lot of others...

Drug dealers love BMWs.

They're not the only ones who buy/drive them though.

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Facepalm

"although the company still insists on including a Firewire 800 port. What is it for?"

for FW800 devices, as simple as that. there are plenty of external harddrives with FW800 interface, yes it's much faster than usb

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Audio interfaces

I have an Echo Audiofire 12 and theres no way I would buy another Mac without firewire. Okay I'm sure there is a thunderbolt version in the works but not yet available.

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Well, quite

I have a couple I use all the time.

Useful for some video cameras too.

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Audio and Video Interfaces

And also for multi-channel audio and video interfaces. Audio and video are core markets for Macs.

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Anonymous Coward

firewire

And video cameras.

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Go

Oh Silly Me

I thought big screens were passe' and everybody who was anybody reveled in the "squint-to-see-or-put-on-your-reading-glasses" smart phone screens. And, of course, the pad things which are also small compared to this behemoth. Think as a definite throwback I'll just stick with my 22in models.

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Meh

Nope...

They're definitely NOT passé!

I'd love a quality 27" IPS screen for when I'm working at home.

My budget wouldn't allow it - so I got an NEC EA232WMI 23" IPS. Can't fault it for the price, but I'd still love an equivalent quality 27".

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Well done...

Seems like a faultless review to me.

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Thumbs up

If you were being sarcastic.

A performance graph with no comparison system, no investigation of the bundled software, drivel about hard disk replacement (as I understand it at least it is the system *fans* that will spin at full speed not the *disk*) - this review is next to useless.

I can't see anyone who already has an iMac getting much from this and as someone who hasn't I'm still no nearer knowing if I want one - apart from reassuring the people who have already ordered one of these without bothering to find out the first thing about it that despite doing something silly they won't be unhappy as a result I don't see who amongst the Reg readership gains.

Maybe I've been spoiled in the past but I honestly would have expected a lot more from one of the superior Paris Hilton websites.

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Happy

You mean you read it!

He obviously couldn't see teh point, he obvious thought no one was going to read it judging from his opening paragraph so couldn;t be bothered. Personally I gave up at that point and skipped to the comments to see if he was right.

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ssd

just ordered it 3 weeks ago... with ssd. i'm so happy to see i'm right about this. i'll be using it mostly for ipad development and for work in windows 7, but my wife will be using it for pictures processing *aperture that should be good apparently... the pictures are on a gigabit network location hopefully that will be fast enough for her.

just 3-4 more weeks to wait *long waiting queue at the mo.

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pics on network

i'm not sure about the speed - if she keeps aperture library on ssd it's gonna be fast but over gb network it might be slow - depends on the filesize of raw images.

when i used aperture i kept my files on external usb drive, slow

moved them to internal drive, was much better

now i've got ssd and use lightroom and all originals are on fw800 disk and the 'processed' ones or the ones i decided to import are on ssd but i still keep originals on external fw disk (you never know, maybe photos you didn't import week ago aren't that bad after all and you might need them in the future)

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Anonymous Coward

why lightroom?

hi hexx,

has to be on network, cause i want to have everything backed up. our file server *drobo is safer ok maybe not necessary for ssd *they revert to read only when broken i heard. but why lightroom instead of aperture is it really better? aperture is very nice...

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Apple OSX and network storage

To get the best performance with OSX and networked storage use AFP when possible. There is FOSS program called NetAtalk which works really well on Linux and FreeBSD. I can get 102MB/s transfers using jumbo frames.

NFS works OK, but your filesystem gets littered with .(dot) files, and when using coverflow or thumbnails finder does wonky things over NFS.

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Expensive?

My first PC (386 @ 25MHz with a (then) staggering 4MB of RAM, 1MB of video RAM, 88MB SCSI hard disk cost something like 5000 euros in todays money.

Will still be going for a PC upgrade rather than a Mac now. For that price I can get a compute beast with latest NVidia board and HUGE memory and a pretty serious 27" monitor. Not for gaming, but GPU accelerated volume rendering and analysis. We are getting more and more macs in our institute though. A lot of people like them.

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Not expensive

Out of curiosity I threw the major items (CPU, RAM, GPU, DVD, screen) into a Scan shopping basket and managed to spend £1225 in the process. For what you get, £1600 is not outrageous (the screen was almost £700)

And I don't even like Apple! If I could choose Windows 7 as an option, i might consider it.

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that screen

btw, as i understand it, is the same panel as used in the Dell U2711. So make sure it's *that* price you're adding, not some nasty TN-based piece of ... ;-)

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I (grudgingly) agree

I hate Apple with a passion but their screens (gloss aside) are top notch. I only found 1-2 equivalents and they're both professional kit with some exotic colour calibration functions and they cost a bomb.

I really regret the dearth of choice in this area, because those screens are really miles apart from the competition.

I'd still never surrender the modularity that comes with my tower but damn those screens look the business.

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Win 7 runs natively

Just add a license, Win 7 runs native on iMac hardware just fine. No driver issues, full performance.

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Don't forget the case + a transformer

Together you'll be above £1300 for an ugly thing that eats up more deskspace and more electricity, and is harder to clean.

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Re: Not expensive.

Oh it is. It most certainly is. Allowing for the different form factor (i.e. a mini-tower case + monitor vs. the Apple all-in-one), I could make an equivalently specced machine for under £900. Better in fact seeing as my version had a Blu-Ray drive and the 27" screen I used was 2560x1440 instead of this thing's 1920x1080.

I specced it up on overclockers as follows:

Hazro HZ27WC 8-Bit 27" LED Widescreen Professional Monitor - Black £379.99

Intel Core i5-2400 3.10GHz £145.99

LG BH10LS30 10x BluRay-RW / 16 x DVD±RW Drive - Black (Retail) £81.98

Gigabyte Z68A-D3 Intel Z68 (Socket 1155) DDR3 Motherboard £79.99

OCZ Gold 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-10666C9 1333MHz Low-Voltage Dual Channel Kit (OCZ3G1333LV4GK) £49.99

Akasa Raptor Gaming Case - Black £46.99

Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB SATA-II 32MB Cache - OEM (HD103SJ) £43.99

OcUK Crusade 450W Dual-Rail High Efficiency Power Supply £41.99

Total incl. VAT: £887.42

Now I'm going to pre-emptively point out that this was a two minute job of just grabbing the equivalent parts. If I were seriously going to spend this sort of money I'd pick things out more carefully (and probably get a nice Hex-core Phenom II and more RAM), but there's no point in quibbling over thirty quid here or there on the above when the difference between it and the Apple is around £700.

If you want Windows 7 too, that's an extra £70-80 quid for Home Edition, so Apple are flogging one hideously expensive OS, imo.

For a machine in the £1600 price range, I would expect it to have an SSD for the OS partition as standard, I would expect it to have USB3 capability, I would expect it to be able to support Blu-Ray (how can they have missed that?). And ideally, if I'm going to have a 27" display I would like i to be 2560x1440 so that I can make use of it. 27" displays are getting into TV territory which are designed for sitting across the room from. If you are sitting up close to the monitor, then extra size only gains you something significant if the resolution scales up with it.

I'm sure the above gets a "wow" from anyone walking in the room because it's huge and it's bright, but it's a disaster from a value for money point of view.

Good review though - seemed up front about the pros and cons.

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@ H4rm0ny

Wow indeed!! Amazing how cheap these things are once you leave out the minor items, such as the graphic card, keyboard, mouse and wifi card

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I'm interested to know

What do you actually use the modularity of your tower for these days? In my view it used to be an advantage 10-15 years ago, but is it really now (genuine question) ? I used to add in USB cards (yep USB was once non standard), modems, games controllers and in later years wi-Fi and 3D graphics cards. But non of those things are really needed now. Granted non Apple HDD upgrade is a no no with the iMac. Also i guess games officionados might like the option to upgrade the graphics card (personally i'm no longer in that set, though I still do have a go with the console every now and then) though grahics card upgrades have always been a bit of a chimera; when that spiffy new card is released it invariably needs the spiffy new bus to run without constraint. And I guess CPU upgrades are easier in a more accessible system. But, especially with the new Thundebolt port, general ad-hoc expansivity is covered pretty well I would think for 90% or more of use cases.

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modularity? Computer says no

I sold a bunch of computers a few years ago and didn't see people upgrade their machines much. There is a group of hardcore gamers who upgrade theirs, the rest usually don't try to upgrade until there are no parts available for that mobo anymore (changes in sockets, gpu slots etc.). By that time they usually need a new mobo, CPU, GPU, RAM... Sure, some then upgrade their towers but most people simply buy a new one. They can, however, use their old monitor. Usually a crap 17" with glacial response times and all that, but that does save money.

I'm aiming for an iMac myself.

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FAIL

Screen res

re: h4rm0ny: I own one of these and I can tell you the resolution is in fact 2560x1440 not 1080p as you claim.

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Pint

They're just the same as the high end Dells...

This is pretty well known. Even Apple people who didn't want to take it in the ass would go to Dell and get the appropriately sized Ultrasharp series display...

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@Turtle_Fan

"...I hate Apple with a passion..."

How pointless. How stupid.

You don't use their products but "hate them with a passion"?

Whoa - an anti-fanboi here - just another side of the same coin?

I use a Mac not a PC.

I don't hate HP/Dell/Acer/Anyone else "with a passion"

I use OSX in preference to Windows

I don't hate Microsoft "with a passion"

Reasoned discourse has more value than blind bigotry, but I guess it's less dull. Must be another effect of the tabloid culture pervading society...

Beer? - Have one, bro - and chill.

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Good question

Well, seeing as two people asked here's my user case.

I started off with a 1366 mobo. At the start I went with the cheapest cpu to fit in it. As prices dropped and my finances didn't I swapped it out for the next gen's "second best" (I never go for the absolute top as it's ridiculously priced).

Back in 2008, SSD's were flaky and infantile so I went with a velociraptor. In the last 3 years, I added 2x1.5 TB HDD's for storage, started with a small patriot SSD (utter crap btw) and upgraded to a PCI-based Z-Drive that goes like mad.

Similarly my ram went from 4 to 6 and now to 16GB's (10GB RAMDisk).

As for GPU's I was never a fanboy so only one iteration from a 260 to a 480.

So, 3 years down the line, I've got a 3.4GHz i7 with 16GB DDR3, a bad-ass SSD and a mediocre GPU. I can safely predict this to see me through to the first price drop of the LGA 2011-platform whenever that happens in 2013.

If I were locked in to the 2008 original spec, I'd be itching for an upgrade as soon as the SB enthusiast platform hits the shelves.

During those 3 years, I had an HDD, RAM sticks and a GPU die on me. Each time, I used the warranty rebate coupon and added a pittance to actually upgrade. Not once did I have to give my PC up for any period of time. The PC on the whole remained operational and functional (albeit limited somewhat).

On a related note, I'd rather the HW choices were my own and not some 3rd party's; for good (Z-Drive) or bad (patriot).

And to those who think, I've got money to burn, there's the salvaging.

Even if I change PC entirely, I'll still carry much of the guts of my current rig over to the next. Optical Drives, the Z-Drive and most of the RAM being prime candidates for salvaging/cannibalising.

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Thumb Up

Thumbs UP

I will upvote for beer...

Joke aside, the reason i hate apple and oracle is jobs and ellison.

As for the hate, I DO use their products, que 2 160GB iPods (but i use them sans itunes), good honest players with plenty of storage.

Nothing else from their range fulfills my needs better than alternatives.

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Anonymous Coward

How do you clean an iMac????

Unless you using this in an air-conditioned office, it will get fouled up with dust (especially in a city) and will begin to run hot (and slow) as a result. Dust also gets trapped in the LED screen. Cleaning an iMac's internals is not really a DIY task. But other than that, it's a lovely machine.

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Devil

Commentards ho!

As we speak, Fanbois are in a frenzy of ipad tippy-tapestry, the outer feathered fringes of their 20-haircuts-on-one head quaking with scientologist level anger at this outrage of vigesimal score omission. All across the metropolis, metrosexuals forehead albedos are rising to match the perfect gleam of their aluminium obelisks as they frantically scrabble to comment quibble.

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Trollface

Put down the crackpipe

Unless you're Frank Chu's psuedonym, in which case, fair play and welcome to the Reg.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Chu

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FAIL

As we speak?

Oh fuck off.

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Meh

Title

Spending that much on a computer these days I would expect a SSD, or at least a fast enough HDD to keep up with the other components...

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Not with that screen

That screen alone is $800. Take that price out of the deal and settle for a generic 27" non-IPS panel with 1080 instead of 1440v resolution, and the remainder of the components are priced in line with competing SB based towers.

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Meh

title

$800? So thats about £600...

So you're still paying a grand for a computer with a non-replaceable (at least not without hacking the thing) under powered HDD?

Great value..! Think I'll keep to building my own thanks..

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So which is it?

"Top quality input devices" or a wobbly keyboard and a mouse that the review suggests I might hate (but gives no indication as to why beyond its sensitivity which surely is adjustable - or isn't it? I'll refer to a review to find out perhaps).

Never mind the suggestion that commentards should skip the review as they've already made up their minds this whole thing seems to have skipped any actual analysis and gone straight to the lack of conclusion assuming we'll either already be buying one or we won't.

There's nothing in there to help me make a decision - skipping the OS and all included software leaves me with a review of a case, which looks nice.

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FAIL

Umm...

....apart from the clear conclusion that nicely sums up who should and should not get one you mean?

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Trollface

"a case, which looks nice"

Which is why people buy Macs, isn't it?

Need a computer - buy a PC.

Need something to match the curtains - buy a Mac.

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@Rich81

What the 'reassuringly expensive' style "it's too good for you" line at the end?

I'm a creative (ish) professional (ish) and the review's not good enough for me to decide. I can afford one but I don't already know that I want one or want to be seen to have one.

The vital stats insert was more informative than the review text - at least from there we find out what the video card is, that there's an sdxc slot and a webcam, what the screen resolution is, that there's no Blu-Ray player (would be helpful to know if this is an option) - and I would get all that from the manufacturer's product spec.

The reviewer says the screen is like a mirror but there's no indication as to whether this means it is annoyingly reflective to the point of having to be used in a darkened room, there's nothing on how fast it boots, how much power it draws, how much (or how little) nopise it makes, what user expansion is possible (beyond the muddled, don't-do-the-hard-drive part).

In particular I'd like some comparison details with other machines Apple and otherwise.

I've used Apples on and (mostly) off since the Apple IIe I used to play breakout on - I'm not a die-hard Jobsophobe but nor am I one of the congregation so I'd like a proper, in-depth review and am slightly surprised the Register hasn't done as well as other sites which are in other respects generally inferior.

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Curtains?

Need to do music, architecture, astronomy, design, movies, photography - buy a Mac; it's the industry standard

Need do do accounts - buy a PC; it runs Sage.

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defective

He stated his had a manufacturing issue, but he used others on the same desk without issue. As with MANY keyboards, short of the feet at the back there are no adjustments, and if your desk is not perfectly flat or itself imperfect, MOST keyboard will have a rocking issue, easily solved by adding a few mm thick foam pad under the keyboard, or a few cheap foam rubber stick-on feet.

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Unhappy

Need something to match the curtains - buy a Mac

Unfortunately my curtains are made of beige plastic.

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I'm a fanboi

and I'm someone with a clue.

If you know where to look you can get a top of the line 4GHz multicore i7 for less money which will rip the drivers off this crayola-comp and beat the nearest fanboi to death with them.

iMacs are great for reception. Park one in front of the pretty intern, take all the plaster off the wall to reveal the bare brick, paint all the pipework in glossy primary colours, and everyone will be impressed by how creative you are.

But if you need to do any real work in the back room, you'll be using a top spec PC.

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Happy

Keyboard, urgh.

Don't like those "stubby" keyboards, prefer the longer USB wired ones. I can't handle the magic slate pad thingy, although I bought for my old man and he loves it!

Happy with my 3 year old 24, not great but it does the job for 95% of what I want so why give money to the church until it's necessary.

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Unhappy

Still the same keyboard

Still no Home/End/PgUp/PgDn/Del keys on the keyboard. That makes it terrible for ordinary office apps (Word / Excel / equivalents), and terrible for coders too. Most laptop manufacturers manage to squeeze these keys in, even on small keyboards - so why can't Apple?

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Coat

RE: Same keyboard...

They couldn't squeeze a second button on their mice for eons too...

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Keyboard

The wired keyboard is still an option, and it has those keys. It's a shame that Apple still make you choose between a full-sized keyboard and a wireless one.

If you use the smaller keyboard for long enough, though, it doesn't take long to get used to just holding the Cmd key and using the arrow buttons though.

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