back to article What an eyeful: Apple's cut price 27in iMac with Retina Display

The last time Apple released a ‘more affordable’ iMac it turned out to be a damp squib of a thing that fully merited the oft-hurled criticism about Apple kit being over-priced and under-powered. I was, therefore, a bit worried when Apple announced a less expensive version of the 27-inch iMac With Retina 5K Display. Apple iMac …

Anonymous Coward

That's quite a machine......

...but can it run NetHack?

*Runs. Like. Hell*

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Re: That's quite a machine......

Who'd want to try with that keyboard layout?

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Trollface

Re: Runs. Like. Hell.

And if we catch you in the back seat trying to pick her locks

We're gonna send you back to mother in a cardboard box

You better run.....

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Good idea

Pretty good price and you get the great screen, then after a couple of years a RAM, CPU and graphics upgrade keeps the machine on top form.

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Stop

Re: Good idea

CPU and graphics upgrade on an iMac? Ahahahaha.

Count your blessings if you can mess about with the RAM and hard drive.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good idea

well, you can still use a piece of cloth to remove fingerprints from the screen, so it's not all bad, you know.

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Re: Good idea

I'm pretty sure that iFixit have demonstrated that it's all but impossible to upgrade anything on the current iMacs. They're nice and all, but the overpriced options you choose at purchase are what you're stuck with.

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Re: Good idea

Can't you even swap out the spinning disks for an SSD?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good idea

Can't you even swap out the spinning disks for an SSD?

That's a good question, but I vaguely recall there's a problem with non-Apple SSDs in that OSX doesn't support certain commands, I think it was TRIM. On Macbooks, the most cost effective disk is one to a SSH/spinning rust hybrid disk. It certainly would deal with that 32 seconds boot time, that is indeed rather on the slow side.

Personally, I prefer to buy a machine that has some headroom, so I'd want SSD storage and 16GB or RAM from the outset, also because an SSD machine makes absolutely *no* sound other than when you give it so much work that the fans have to spin up to cope with the heat, and I *definitely* would want a full size keyboard, which usually means getting a wired one (which is then also a good place to plug in the stubby for a Logitech wireless mouse - not a fan of Apple mice either).

So, in short, it's probably not the machine for me :)

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Re: Good idea

To be fair, in my time at a Mac consultancy in London, most clients used to use external RAIDed drives for Video editing anyway. I personally use thunderbolt attached SSDs using thunderbolt 1 and it's more than quick enough

If thunderbolt doesn't float your boat, USB3.0 and SSD is also quick

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Re: Good idea

Does anybody here upgrade their washing machines, toasters, ovens, HiFi amps, AV equipment, etc. ?

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Re: Good idea

Yes , I assume that you don't !

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Re: Good idea

"Can't you even swap out the spinning disks for an SSD?"

Yes, but you have to take the glass front cover and LCD out to do it. All the gubbins is behind the LCD, the only thing you can get at from the back is the RAM - https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+27-Inch+Retina+5K+Display+SSD+Replacement/30537.

It takes a special tool and a fair bit of force to unglue the glass, so it's probably best to get a specialist to do it for you. It may be cheaper to pay for Apple's SSD upgrade when you buy the machine.

There was a problem with TRIM being disabled by OSX on non-Apple SSDs. I think that's been sorted now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good idea

>> That's a good question, but I vaguely recall there's a problem with non-Apple SSDs in that OSX doesn't support certain commands, I think it was TRIM. On Macbooks, the most cost effective disk is one to a SSH/spinning rust hybrid disk. It certainly would deal with that 32 seconds boot time, that is indeed rather on the slow side <<

Trim issue was fixed a couple of years ago IIRC. The start time does indicate some performance issues but most iMac users don't turn off the machine anyway - it just goes in to sleep mode with immediate return - so start up time not particularly relevant in the real world.

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Re: Good idea

We really need some kind of subtle sarcasm icon please!

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Re: Good idea

"Does anybody here upgrade their washing machines, toasters, ovens, HiFi amps, AV equipment, etc. ?"

Sorry, crap analogy. I rather expect my washing machine or oven (both of which cost less than this 'affordable' iMac) to last for at least 10 years. Sensible people buy AV equipment in modules, i.e. buying a separate amp, tape/disk/holo-disk-from-the-future reader, radio etc. and swap the individual components out as they become obsolete/break. As for toasters, I wouldn't spend more than £25 on one but I'd still expect it to last a few years.

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RPF

Re: Good idea

You can spec. iMacs with SSD from the get-go and 16GB of RAM, plus wired keyboard.

That's exactly the spec. of my BTO iMac.

I even have a LogiTech mouse receiver in one of the keyboard USB slots......so it could easily be the machine for you.

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Re: Good idea

I doubt if you will find a washing machine that will last ten years - unless you spend a lot of money. Washing machines typically give 1 year per £100 spent. A 10-year Miele will cost £1000+

Also, if you are lucky enough to get five years out of a washing machine before it dies, you have to scrap it. An iMac has a decent residual value after five years.

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Silver badge

Re: Good idea

As long as the drum bearing is good the washing machine is good.

My old Hotpoint is 13 years old, I've changed the sprung carbon brushes three times (a consumable part).

Family of four, very regular use. I think it was £250ish.

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Re: Good idea

The iMac comes with two internal connectors: a SATA one for and HD (or a brave user-supplied SSD) and a sort-of proprietary one for PCIe flash memory (https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/PbQAPKwGOYbMTIqh) – using "SSD" to refer to only standard form factor devices. Apples uses both, of course, to implement its "Fusion" hybrid drive.

Unless the third-party SSD comes from Angelbird (an Austrian firm that appears to have filched Apple's secret TRIM sauce), enabling TRIM involves modifying a kext (driver) that gets replaced every OS upgrade — and interferes with upgrades.

For those (such as the gentle readers of this site) who are not frightened by a command line interface, booting into single-user (text interface) mode on a Mac with a third-party SSD will perform TRIM when you issue an "fsck -ffy" instruction. This is not such a great imposition, though, because most TRIM work occurs on SSDs when the system has been largely idle for a while.

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Silver badge

Re: Good idea

TRIM Enabler is the point-and-dribble way to sort out TRIM for 3rd party SSD.

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Silver badge

Re: Good idea

Fortunately, my washing machine has never refused to wash new clothes without an upgrade. There are definitely people who like tinkering with their appliances. If you're on a budget or like retro styling, and like to tinker, upgrading aging AV equipment is for you.

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Happy

Re: Good idea

Yes. My current project is going to solar+battery LED outdoor lamps on the perimeter and LED's for the overhead lamps. All the nightlights have been converted. New coffeepot next and a new (tougher) vegetable chopper. Always something!

Serious IT projects, but that's always a given.

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Re: Good idea

Our first Bosch washing machine cost us around £400 and lasted ten years (the last 3 with two small kids). Had to replace the brushes in the motor at one point but that was very painless to do thanks to an instructional video on YouTube.

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MCG

Re: Good idea

Does anybody here upgrade their washing machines, toasters, ovens, HiFi amps, AV equipment, etc. ?

Yes, it's a simple process involving getting rid of the old appliance and buying a new one. Perhaps if you ask a grown up they might help you?

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Mushroom

Re: Good idea

Yeah, screw computers...

El reg can we have a washing machine round-up please?

My Baumatic cost £210 and it's flippin' brilliant.

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Can it handle...

....editing 4K video streams?

One would think this might be why people would buy it?

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Re: Can it handle...

I take it that it can't.

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Re: Can it handle...

All reviews suggest that it can edit 4k video in native resolution, with clips queued up and the timeline visible. And that was last year's model.

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Anonymous Coward

5K?

When screen resolutions are usually quoted, be it 480, 576, 720 or 1080, doesn't that refer to the number of horizontal lines?

Which marketing dick decided that all of a sudden it was OK to use the number of vertical pixels to define this, started by the 4K misnomer?

Here, buy my new 6K screen, it's amazing (6000x480 pixels)

And yes, I know it wasn't an Apple idea.

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Re: 5K?

Umm the number of horizontal lines and the number of vertical pixels are the same thing? There are 1080 horizontal lines of pixels in a 1920x1080 display, ergo there are 1080 pixels in a single vertical plane of alignment with one another...

I presume you mean the number of HORIZONTAL pixels in each horizontal line?

The 4K misnomer was just some shitty rounding of 3840 to the nearest thousand which, yes, was horizontal pixel count bollocks.

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Re: 5K?

The television industry has traditionally quoted the number of lines (480p, 720p, 1080i) etc.

The film industry (or at least, the associated FX business) has traditionally quoted the number of columns, rounded to the nearest thousand (2k, 4k, etc).

For some reason the TV and computer industries have been switching to the convention of the film industry in recent times. Possibly because editing movies is one of the more important applications of screens like this, but mainly I suspect because the numbers are bigger this way and it sounds more impressive.

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Silver badge

Re: 5K?

I can't remember the source, but my recollection is that the difference is because in film production, the width of the shot image is constant, not the height. Width then depends on the film stock used in shooting (16, 35, or 70mm)

Originally, shooting on 70mm film was essential for widescreen firms, but as 35mm emulsions got better, and then were replaced by digital capture, it became possible to get to the image quality of the much more expensive 70mm shooting system using the cheaper 35 setups. (the cost in 70mm isn't the film stock, but the much better lenses needed), and masking the top and bottom of the frame to get to a 1.7:1 (16:9) or 2.35:1 ("scope") ratio.

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Re: 5K?

"For some reason the TV and computer industries have been switching to the convention of the film industry in recent times."

I'm pretty sure the reason is as explained in Dilbert some years ago. Bigger numbers *always* mean 'better' to the uneducated buyer. That makes it far easier to sell yet another expensive upgrade to consumers who really don't need it but like to have bigger model numbers and flashier kit than their neighbours.

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Re: 5K?

It's all about making it sound fancy. That's why people were all taken in by posh sounding names such as "FullHD" - usually not realising that such screens sometimes had *less* pixels than the 1920x1200 screens they were replacing. And don't get me started on standard "HD" screens. If ever there was a way of marketing 1366x768 as a good resolution...

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Re: 5K?

*fewer* pixels.

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*fewer* pixels

If only Robert Baker had made one fewer proscription, up with this shibboleth we would not have to put.

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Upgrade your RAM?

Had a look at Apple UK for upgrade prices.

Standard RAM

8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB

Upgrade options

16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x8GB [+ £160.00]

32GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x8GB [+ £480.00] (How do they calculate that price?)

Crucial offer

16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x8GB for £86.39 inc. VAT

So do a user memory upgrade to 32 GB for little more than Apple's 16GB and get to keep the original 8GB

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Re: Upgrade your RAM?

"How do they calculate that price?"

8GB = £160 (included)

16GB = £320 (so an extra £160)

32GB = £640 (so an extra £480)

So it's £20 per GB, for the same stuff that Crucial will sell you for £5.40 per GB.

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Why does everyone buy a Mac and then run Windows on it?

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Anonymous Coward

Because they're stoopid?

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Usually because they have some piece of software that only runs under Windows that they need for some task.

Often there are equivalents under OS X, but they might lack functionality, not fully support the file format of shared files or the corporate bosses won't certify the OS X version and you have to run the Windows version.

A lot of business software is Windows only, although much of it is slowly moving to being cloud based (and I'm talking about bespoke software, ERP software, CRM etc. not Office), although SAP have had an OS X GUI for a few years now...

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In which case just run it under a virtual instance of Windows .. easier and safer then running Windows all the time.

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In this case it was to run a fair, back-to-back benchmark against other machines they have tested.

Running a benchmark in an emulator would be a bit... Unfair.

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I'm surprised MS with its "Let's get our software on as many devices as possible" mantra hasn't planned to bring out a version of Windows 10 that will install straight on a Mac with no need for OSX to be installed.

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Boffin

> SAP have had an OS X GUI for a few years

As well as various other UNIX-like operating systems ... however, they are inferior to Windows SAPGui in a number of areas, process chains springs to mind ... mainly because SAP built some "very good" process chain editor tool that requires the highly acclaimed ActiveX technology into SAPGui, which is only available on Windows.

So yes, most things can be done on Linux, Mac, Solaris Java-based SAPGui ... however, some things cannot.

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Not likely

I don't.

In a small Mac shop (seven users), one person here uses Windows. That doesn't qualify as "everybody," and of course they do it because some corporate drones but "solutions" for timekeeping &c. that only run on Windows – despite corporate policy that all Web apps must run on Windows, Macs, and Linux.

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"I'm surprised MS with its "Let's get our software on as many devices as possible" mantra hasn't planned to bring out a version of Windows 10 that will install straight on a Mac with no need for OSX to be installed."

Eh wot?

You've been able to do that since... oh, I dunno, maybe 2007? Probably when Macs began to be based on Intel processors? I remember setting up a Mac Mini with WinXP at least 5 years ago, and it was an old Mac. It's not about Windows, but the computer's BIOS.

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Yes but can you slap a Windows 7/8/10 DVD in a current Macbook Pro and install it as the only OS on the machine?

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I'd prefer a Dell 5k screen with a MS Windows PC. Better performance for less outlay and lower lifetime cost. I'd expect screen to outlast the PC or at least for the latter to need upgrading fairly soon, especially given the embryonic state of graphic card support for 5k and the rapid fall in prices. E.g. NVIDIA Titan X was launched a few months ago. Last week the GTX 980 ti was announced with about the same performance for half the price. Thus, with the same £2k budget you can now blow away the performance of the top end iMac.

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