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back to article Review: Apple iMac 21.5in late 2012

I'm a sitting behind a 2010 iMac. You know, it's one with the dodgy Seagate hard drives that Apple is replacing en masse. I must get this sorted soon, but it hasn't died ye—. Apple iMac 21.5in late 2012 Long time no see: Apple's late 2012 21.5in iMac Now I'm sitting behind a very late 2012 iMac. It's the super slim one that's …

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"Fitted as standard on all new iMacs is 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM - up to 32GB is supported, but it's not an 'end-user serviceable' upgrade"

I read that as like their laptops solderer on the board. Reason apple does all this gluing is to make you come to them hopefully outta warranty so they can charge ya 2x cost what anyone else would normally charge, case in point iPhone battery replacement being 80$ where most other phones are 30$ or so and can be done by you in 10sec. Apple made this just like everything else they make to be replaced in 2 years.

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o another i question is about is heat that thing generates. how hot does the cpu run to?

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Anonymous Coward

but it's not an 'end-user serviceable' upgrade"

they should know, they probably spent hours designing brand new security screws. Meh I bet you can already buy the drivers from China

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Re: but it's not an 'end-user serviceable' upgrade"

Ifixit did a complete tear down of it like they do for mostly everything, its a desktop built using laptop hard drive and laptop ram. And need to break out the heat gun.

http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2544+Teardown/11936/1

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FAIL

As soon as I saw I couldn't upgrade the memory I lost any interest I had. I've upgraded the memory in every machine I've owned because it's normally simple, relatively cheap and gives you a decent boost in performance a year or two down the road. To be fair, I've never sat in front of my computer and thought, "if only someone would make this even thinner".

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I like iMacs and have owned 2 so far. My current one is a 2008 dual core, maxed out at 4GB of memory. I want to update to a newer model, but if the memory's not upgradable, then I'm not buying. I'll probably get the Mac Mini instead and put up with the Intel integrated GPU (which shouldn't be an issue as I don't game on Macs).

I just wish that one of the second-tier PC manufacturers would catch on and produce a PC that's 100% hardware compatible with a Mac (which, after all, is just a normal PC), and is very easily hackable to run OS X. I'm sure that such a machine would appeal to the hobbyist market who like OS X and don't mind running a Hackintosh. How about it, Acer, Asus etc?

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Anonymous Coward

They tried that

Apple sued them into oblivion

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Anonymous Coward

Perhaps they use better batteries as my iPhone 3GS is 4 years old - is recharged every 1-2 days and still holds a charge pretty much like new. A friend just got Apple to replace the battery in a 5+ year old Macbook that was charged / discharged fully (sometimes more than once) almost every day - the battery was not dead but probably only had about 2/3rds of it's original capacity.

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Anonymous Coward

The aluminium case is like a giant heatsink.

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Anonymous Coward

It is not soldered.

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Not very "Green"

Isn't there some kind of obligation to make things "Green Friendly" ? Most of the dull drab PC boxes can at updated or least be ripped apart quite easily at the end of their lifes.

Why does Apple feel that this is not a requirement ?

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Re: Not very "Green"

Because Apple wants you to throw away your computer / tablet / phone every few years and therefore they make it extremely expensive to service.

I'm more surprised that various regions such as the EU put up with this.

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Re: Not very "Green"

I'm more surprised at EPEAT allowing the new blatantly non-green ideas to get a gold rating (if a failed DIMM can cause the entire motherboard to be scrapped because it's soldered on, that's pretty fragging ungreen. And frankly I wouldn't trust a repair job that involves desoldering a DIMM, then resoldering a new one in its place - chances of knackering the board there are pretty substantial...).

On the other hand, I bet that the logic was something along the lines of "US government should not be prevented from buying computers from the most profitable US tech company", with EPEAT being suitably leaned on as a result.

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Devil

Re: Not very "Green"

"I'm more surprised that various regions such as the EU put up with this."

Yea, just like they don't put up with the new motor vehicles that cannot be fully serviced by the owners on their driveways without the need for any special tools or diagnostic equipment....

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Re: Not very "Green"

Green? Using glue instead of screws actually makes products easier to reduce to their components parts come the end of their life- rather than have a man spend 30 seconds unscrewing each machine, you can put a batch in an oven, and then toss aluminium in one bin, glass in another etc.

I don't know about the i5 chip in this machine, but my Core2 Duo CPU is rated to 109ºC, and starts throttling itself at around 100ºC. I'm pretty sure that it can be subjected to higher temperatures when turned off without damage. You should be able to use a heat gun (its a heat gun, designed to bring areas to vaguely uniform temperature, not a blow-torch!) to loosen the glue without overheating any components inside the iMac, especially as the aluminium case will do a good job of distributing the heat to the desired areas.

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Coat

Re: Not very "Green"

You mean you don't enjoy the challenge of spending two and a half hours taking your car to bits to change a lightbulb. I don't know - people today .... ;)

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Re: Not very "Green"

> Because Apple wants you to throw away your computer / tablet / phone every few years and therefore they make it extremely expensive to service.

Its a bit schizophrenic. ip*d/iphone users replace kit frequently, but Macs tend to have a longer than average lifespan.

It would have been so easy to add a little door to replace the RAM and disk without altering the shape. Thinness is only at the edges.

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FAIL

Re: Not Soldered

Perhaps a quick fact check is in order?

Not user servicable =/= soldered!

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Meh

Re: Not Soldered

The ram on this unit is NOT soldered, but the case IS glued together. So its replaceable if you can actually OPEN it first.

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looks lovely. but keyboard is a no no

Looks beautiful. can't beat Apple design here. but not being able to open up my own property to upgrade/ repair/ nose is a deal breaker. That's why i'm always interested in Apple but never enough to buy.

plus, keyboard without number pad would seriously piss me off.

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Re: looks lovely. but keyboard is a no no

It's virtually never mentioned by anyone, but if you go to Apple's website and spec up an iMac, there is an option to choose a full size keyboard (with numpad) instead of the dinky Bluetooth one, albeit for the same price. It's USB, and has two additional USB ports built into it.

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Re: looks lovely. but keyboard is a no no

Yeah, I bought an iMac in 2009 from the Apple Store and they gave me a wired full-size keyboard with USB hub for free as well as the Bluetooth one. The main thing I didn't like was the "Magic" mouse. It didn't move around on my desk smoothly and the touch surface was unreliable. I also don't think having to charge your mouse every so often is progress, really. Ended up replacing it with a cheap, generic USB mouse.

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Re: looks lovely. but keyboard is a no no

so you cant get a full sized bluetooth keyboard then?

I imagine if you're enough of a style slave to buy this then you wouldn't want a cable ruining the sleek look on your desk.

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Re: looks lovely. but keyboard is a no no

@BigAndos - I got a magic mouse to go with our new Mac Mini and TBH it's fine, but I agree it's metal construction adds heft and it seems to have more contact with the desk/mousepad than any other mouse I've used, making it literally a drag to move around. The touch surface is fine... but can't replicate 'middle click' without a third party plugin, meaning I've resorted to a cheap Tesco mouse for Sketchup and Blender... progress, eh?

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What is it with number pads?

I haven't used it in over 30 years.

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Re: What is it with number pads?

er... maybe some people have different requirements to you?

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Re: What is it with number pads?

@Volker

Should we presume that you neither use Spreadsheets, do any kind of programming, never enter network addresses, are never required to input numerical data of any kind or that you only type with 1 finger......

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Re: What is it with number pads?

The wired model is about £40, the wireless one is about £55. I have a mate with sausage fingers, and he swears by Apple keyboards on his Win PC, though I think I may have been successful in weaning him onto a wireless 'Chiclet-style' Logitech model that cost £12.

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Re: What is it with number pads?

I rarely use spreadsheets, haven't programmed in hex codes in decades (and never with a decimal keyboard) and can do the rest with the number keys on the keyboard.

OTOH I learned touch typing in the late 70s and rarely type with 1 finger only.

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Re: What is it with number pads?

"er... maybe some people have different requirements to you?"

Probably, but why should I use a keyboard with keypads when I don't need it just because others have different requirements?

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Re: looks lovely. but keyboard is a no no

I'd like a "delete" key too please. Sure, you can press Fn+Backspace, but it's one of my most commonly-used keys so it should be a single keypress. There's even room for PgUp/PgDn or Home/End keys just above the left/right arrows, as seen on many laptops. I make heavy use of such keys when writing code or working with spreadsheets.

It's not a major issue for the desktop iMac since you can just plug in a different keyboard, but it's a real obstacle to buying a MacBook where you wouldn't want a second (wired) keyboard.

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Re: looks lovely. but keyboard is a no no

Another weird one.

Wired keyboard, but only usb 1.1 I think. Ok for a mouse, no good for a USB stick. Its hard to get to.

Worse, because the keyboard is a USB hub, you can't chain it onto another hub, such as you might find on a non-mac screen.

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Re: looks lovely. but keyboard is a no no

"so you cant get a full sized bluetooth keyboard then?"

Not from Apple.

But obviously any old keyboard works. I'm writing this on my Mac Mini using a £25 Logitech PC keyboard.

You have to remember that Ctrl, Alt and Windows really mean Cmd, Alt and Apple. (Or something like that.)

But it's not rocket surgery in practice.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: looks lovely. but keyboard is a no no

Number pad - get the USB version instead or there are 3rd party keyboards.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: looks lovely. but keyboard is a no no

Magic mouse charging every day - must have been faulty - mine runs off 2 AA rechargeable batteries and goes at least a month and that's using it all day - 5 days a week at work.

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Re: looks lovely. but keyboard is a no no

You realize that the 27" models have easy, user replaceable RAM and can get a wired kb with number pad as a no cost option right?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is it with number pads?

You make out like you can't use a numeric keypad with an Apple - clearly untrue - use a 3rd party one, the full size (USB) Apple keyboard or many 3rd party bluetooth keyboards. At this time Apple do not appear to make a wireless keyboard with numeric keypad but it's not to say there are not simple solutions.

I've had plenty of Windows machines where I did not like the standard keyboard / mouse as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is it with number pads?

I've been a professional programmer for 13 years, use spreadsheets regularly, and enter network addresses all the time. I never use the number pad for any of them. I think its down to how people learn to use keyboards to start with. I started with a BBC Micro at school, which had no numberpad, so using one isn't natural to me.

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FAIL

THE POWER CABLE WILL COME OUT REGULARLY

I have the thick chunky model and i promise you the power cable will not stay seated in the back of this thing. When you tilt it up and down it works its way out. I use a regular IEC plug from a UPS so not the crappy plug Apple sent me which I cant use. I crash my system once a month simply by tilting the screen. The thin one will be worse, I promise you.

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Re: THE POWER CABLE WILL COME OUT REGULARLY

you wonder why every single flat screen monitor in the world has the IEC connector parallel with the unit. Not Apple in their infinite wisdom.

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Re: THE POWER CABLE WILL COME OUT REGULARLY

i hope whoever thumbed me down buys this and loses all their files when the power cable comes out. I don't make this shit up for my health.

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Silver badge

Re: THE POWER CABLE WILL COME OUT REGULARLY

Just push the connector in firmly, then run some hot-melt glue around the edges. It's the Apple way. :)

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Re: THE POWER CABLE WILL COME OUT REGULARLY

Looks like I'll have to get the glue gun out.

And The USB connectors suffer from the same problem. They are mounted vertically so the connectors just slide about when you tilt the screen. My 2.5" backup drive that I rubber banded to the back of the unit, also disconnects on a regular basis. It really is crappily designed in a lot of ways.

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Re: THE POWER CABLE WILL COME OUT REGULARLY

Not sure about this apple, but I've got 2 Dell screens that have USB connectors at the bottom, and nothing has ever fallen out of them. If I connect a USB drive to those sockets, I use an extension core (or a USB drive with a long enough cable :) ) so that the disk can lie flat on the desk, with enough manouvring spce so that I can move the monitor without the cables getting unstuck.

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Promise me as much as you like...

...after 18 months use my power cable still remains firmly in place.

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Re: Promise me as much as you like...

you are using the crap non standard apple connector that looks like a shoe string compared to the genuine article. I'm sorry, but re-read my post where I said I use a UPS. You are wrong.

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Re: THE POWER CABLE WILL COME OUT REGULARLY

Nonsense. When we got out first iMac - a 2005 G5 - my wife had the thing set up and running before I got home from work. It was two years later I discovered the lead was simply an IEC plug with a flange and not 'tethered' to the unit. The thought that it was removable hadn't even occurred to me. It even stayed in during a house move.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: THE POWER CABLE WILL COME OUT REGULARLY

NO IT WON'T

If you plug it in properly.

I've dealty with hundred of imacs with the same plug and they do not fall out unless they are not plugged in fully.

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Re: It was two years later I discovered the lead was simply an IEC plug with a flange

Well there you go you see, the flange confused you for two full years. No other computer has a power flange.

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

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