back to article Apple iMac 21.5in 2010

While rather overshadowed by the mighty iPhone and iPad in recent months, Apple’s iMac desktop machines are still selling well and the company has just refreshed the entire product line ahead of the Christmas spending spree. Apple iMac Internal affairs: Apple's iMac range features Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 CPU options The …


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  1. Mick F
    Thumb Down

    Repair Costs

    My problem with Mac's is the repair cost outside of warranty, may as well just throw it away.

    My MBP has a dodgy "superdrive", Apple wanted over £250 to repair it. The drive (which they won't sell separate) can be purchased for around £50.

    Won't get fooled again.

    1. AJ MacLeod

      Repair Costs

      It's not so much the cost of repairs that annoy me, but the way they won't supply parts. They repeatedly claim not to have a price list! My guess that they pluck a large figure out of thin air and add £100 didn't go down too well...

      All the Apple gear I've dealt with is overpriced and poorly engineered tat, despite what the fanatics believe.

    2. Monty Cantsin


      Then buy the drive for £50 and fit it yourself for free.You can get spare parts easy - Apple don't actually make the superdrive. Or bring it to an independent Apple service centre and get them to do it. They'll charge less than Apple. I don't see how this is any different to getting an out of warranty repair for a Sony or Dell or anyone else.

      1. AJ MacLeod

        Not quite the same...

        Actually, in many cases you CAN'T get the parts easily (sometimes you can get them elsewhere, but at truly ridiculous prices) - as one of the 3rd parties referred to above that sorts out Mac problems, I can say from plenty of experience that repairs are not a doddle compared to most of the PCs out there; they're more often than not more time consuming and fiddly. Not impossible of course, but generally made more difficult than necessary by the obstructive and controlling ways of the company.

        Sony is perhaps a bad example, but most Dells are stuffed with parts that are easy to source; even in the case of laptops or the more unusual form factor machines you're usually pretty sure of getting the bits you need. Not to mention the freely available service documentation (useful in the case of some laptops)...

    3. Daniel 1

      So buy the damn drive

      If you can get the drive for fifty quid, buy it for fifty quid and get it fitted: it's only a bloody computer. What's the worst that can happen? Your warranty has already expired, anyway.

      Have you seen what Michael Dell will charge you, for 'Genuine Dell Components'?

    4. Geoff Campbell

      I have no idea what a superdrive might be.

      However, isn't there a standard PC component that will fit? Apple stuff is mostly straight off the shelf these days, isn't it?


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What is a SuperDrive?

        PC people know this as a CD-RW/DVD-RW drive. Apple calls it a SuperDrive because it's better than a CD-ROM drive... or something like that.

    5. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      @ Mick F

      I agree, parts supply and restrictive practices is an issue I have with them as well. I believe such restrictive practices should be illegal - as they have been for a few years with the car industry. My last attempt to get the OFT to look into it was met with a "your arguments have merit but we're too busy" response.

      But if your MBP is out of warranty, don't take it to a rip-off Apple place for repair. As long as it's a standard part (and the optical drives are off-the-shelf parts) then any half competent tech should be able to change it for you. If you are reasonably skilled, it's a DIY proposition, though it's not the easiest of machines to work in.

      The last parts I needed came from The Bookyard That's apparently a play on words, as in a scrapyard has scrap, and a bookyard has (mac)books.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's called iFixit...

      Go to - Has repair guides, spares, the lot... why fuss when you can do it yourself?

      Or... stump up for Apple Care.

      And no, I'm not an Apple Fanboi, before you try that insult on me.

    7. adrianrf

      why would you go to the manufacturer for OoW repair?

      you surely wouldn't be silly enough to do that with a Dell or HP box, would you?

      the economics of the entire personal computer biz have long militated against that idea, for individuals.

      all dis-/re-assembly procedures are well-documented on the the web: e.g. see we're talking step-by-step, screw by screw, copiously photographed; complete with effective tips & tricks and warnings wherever needed about the odd lurking mechanical pitfall.

      all recent (i.e. this millennium) Macs use commodity parts, just like PCs.

      so buy a replacement/upgrade component, and put it in there yourself. it's not exactly hard.

    8. Ted
      Thumb Up

      then repair it for £50

      Nobody is forcing you to go through Apple for repairs. Most repairs like that are easy, so just go to and do it yourself, or just have any computer place repair it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good review

    "while the lack of a more affordable machine in the £700-£800 range seems to suggest that Apple is simply turning its nose up at anyone that can’t afford its designer label pricing"

    The verdict sums up my feelings about them too. I liked trying them out but the price point for what you get doesn't seem justified.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Not actually what the review says

      "The weakness in the iMac range really lies in the models that aren’t available" would seem more to mean that the models that are available are competitive against other machines at the same price points but that not all price points are available, matching the sentiments of the rest of the review. It doesn't anywhere make the point that what you get doesn't seem justified by the price point.

      So, my paraphrase of the summary would be: "if you want to spend £1000+ then the iMac is a decent option, if you want to spend less then Apple don't want your business".

    2. Mike Richards

      Well said

      My parents' iMac needs replacing and Apple really aren't offering an entry level machine any more. Whether it's replaced by a Mini or an iMac it'll be the best part of a thousand quid and they'll end up with a machine much more powerful than they really need.

      Surely its time to go back to the small cheap computer that the Mini started off as.

    3. adrianrf

      "the price point for what you get doesn't seem justified" — sure; that must be why…

      …Apple's repeat sales to existing customers keeping tanking, their brand is so universally reviled as a promise of post-sales remorse, disappointment and abandonment; and they're struggling not to be de-listed on the stock exchange.

      because the post-sales value experience is so disappointing.

      thanks for the insight.

      1. chivanova


        stop making stuff up... its pathetic.

  3. Lottie

    Entry Level

    And it costs a grand?

    To be fair, it di do well in the tests, but I HATE those slot loading CD drives. I think that would actually sway me way from buying this computer. How do you use them with mini 8CM CDs?

    1. Matthew 17

      3" CD's work fine

      They're grabbed wherever you shove the thing in and moved into the right place, ejecting is the same as before.

      Occasionally get tempted to sell my Pro and buy one of these, even though mine's the 8-core model, as it's the 2008 model the new iMac's might be quicker for most apps and will come with a better screen.

      That said it's quite nice having 12GB RAM and 4TB of storage.

      Maybe I should just buy a new screen.

      1. Ted

        3" CD's don't work in slot load drives

        just a correction, in the Mac Pro the 3" CD's work fine, but in any model with a slot load drive they do not, so don't try it or you'll have a devil of a time getting it back out.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Jobs Halo


        Get the 30" cinema while they last if you can swing it. They're sexy as hell.

    2. BingBong
      Thumb Up

      who uses 8cm CDs?

      Windows drivers for odd hardware that's who and they will be out of date so you might as well download them from tinternet anyway.

      It's a very nice piece of kit though (wifey also likes it) and I like the slot loaders which have been on macs for around ten years; it's great fun to eject disks and see how far they bounce .... My G5 iMac is long in the tooth but unfortunately it still just works and I can't part with it (even though you get good returns on eBay for macs compared to peecees) ... I suppose it could replace the G4 Cube in wifey's study but that still works fine even when running Windows 98 in Virtual PC for the only Windows app wifey uses. So I'm running out of "I need a new iMac because..." excuses.

      1. Lottie

        re: who uses 8cm CDs?

        me, when I want to rip japanese singles.

    3. RichyS

      Re: Entry Level

      I know. And an entry level Aston Martin costs over 60 grand.

      It's an outrage.

      1. Neill Mitchell
        Thumb Down

        Whay hey!

        >>I know. And an entry level Aston Martin costs over 60 grand.

        The obligatory meaningless car analogy! Well done RichyS.

    4. ThomH Silver badge

      Not usable, at least on my 2008 iMac

      Although both the Wii and at least one of ye olde PowerPC G3 CRT iMacs could happily accept either 8cm or 12cm discs, my 2008 iMac definitely won't accept 8cm CDs. I'm not sure what the reasoning is or when exactly that feature was removed, though I'd imagine it's part of Apple's conscious attempt to sideline physical media. See also: BluRay.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nearly in 2011???

    eh? It's only August!

    You probably one of the guys who's glad the christmas sales started in July...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Nice bit of kit

    I'm not sure that price is an issue here. You can either afford it, or you can't.

    There's no doubt that it's a superb machine; the quality of the display is stupendous. But if you're on a budget, look elsewhere.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Title

    Repairs are a doddle - there are plenty of 3rd party places that will look after you should you need it.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Too pricy

    My 18" (I think) PowerPC iMac is still going strong after about 5-6 years now, and apart from replacing the keyboard (because I just fancied it), it's still running fine. I seem to remember it costing me about £1200 at the time, so in light of that, the news ones probably represent pretty good value.

    But I have to agree with other comments though - I thought 18" was pretty big (ohh-err) and not everyone wants or needs a wopping great 21" (or bigger) screen. Bit silly to limit your market like this.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Magic TrackPad

    Apple gives you the option of either the Magic Mouse or the TrackPad, or both for £59. Seems sensible to me, seeing as one makes the other largely redundant.

  9. P. Lee Silver badge

    missing models are a problem

    I have an old 24" with the almost non-existent gpu. I love the screen size (and 4:3 shape) but hated the fact that I need a separate host for games.

    For office-type work you don't need the gpu but screen-estate is always precious and with an imac non-upgradable. A 3Ghz dual-core and a decent gpu at 24" would have been a better option. An additional-screen output option would be welcome as would dual-ethernet.

    Smaller screen, faster gpu - I'm not sure its a reasonable trade-off. There also needs to be something between the rather small 21" and the oversize 27"

    It's embarrassing that a hackintosh is required because Apple simply don't provide the configurations people want.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    How much?

    (froth) I could make a computer out of the toenail clippings I store in a box under my bed, and it'd be still be faster/bigger/better/etc/yawn! People who buy Mac i things are muppets and just want shiny shiny. Who cares if chick dig them.

    Me? I'll stick with my toenail clippings thank you. The fact that chicks don't dig them is just because females are stupid. I'm happy to wait until evolution solves this little problem. Then you wait - I'll be in!

    1. Robert Hill

      Not just shiny hardware...

      You buy an Apple because OS X is still (marginally) the friendliest OS around, and the one that needs the least tinkering. And has some very, very cool applications that run on it better than on WIn 7.

      Just as a random example, OS X allows the use of ASIO sound drivers without a second thought, when using my Digital Audio Worksation software and Absynth synth software. Win, has no ASIO drivers at all, despite being what most synth players want to use to direct their sound. I can (and have) installed ASIO4ALL and gotten it to work on Win 7...but frankly, in 2010 I shouldn't HAVE to - but instead Win 7 wants you to use DirectSound - which was built for GAMING, not media production, and does NOT chain and re-direct as easily or well as ASIO. I can also use MIDI over TCP/IP a lot easier on OS X, and I can go on...but you get the idea. After 20 years of trying to ape OS X, Windows STILL can't equal it for multimedia show one glaring example.

      Look, if you merely run Office and a web browser, and maybe bang out some Java for work, then Win 7 is a great, lower cost way to do it, and the machines do cost less. But it is a HUGE mistake, and shows great ignorance of the topic, to claim that the only thing Apple has is "shiny shiny". It's got a whole lot of cool stuff under the hood. And that is from someone who has never even owned - but who constantly expends time and effort trying to get Win 7 (all the way back to 3.0!) to do what OS X does natively....

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Logic and reason

        You should know by now, that trying to be reasonable and logical where Apple is concerned will only get you downvoted by both camps (the haters and the bois).

        Oh and you just have - wasn't me, honest!

        Best just to sit back with a beer and laugh at the some of the insane logic, butchered statistics and downright lies both sides like to use. It's a most amusing spectator sport.

  11. Rob Davis

    3 thoughts: SDXC = general expansion slot? Use external burner? why leave nVidia and CUDA?

    Save wear and tear on internal slot loader: I'd add a cheap external USB DVD/CD burner. Prolly faster at burning too - 18x-20x for DVDs. Doubt the internal slot loader does that speed.

    Switched to Radion - curious - thought the benefits of nVidia were CUDA - where some things could be farmed off onto the graphics card, even audio DSP! Thoughts?

    SDXC slot as high-speed expansion bus, i wonder? Wonder how fast the transfer rate is of the SDXC slot. Given that this accepts up to 2Tb cards (when they become available), I would think that the transfer rate ought to be very fast, in proportion with this capacity. After all it's no good being able to store so much data on the cards if it is slow to transfer the files. If it is very fast then could the slot be used as an expansion bus - after all there is the SDIO standard, which is used in cameras for providing a WiFi link to a host computer for picture transfer. But maybe here on this iMac, the SDXC slot could provide general expansion capabilities and be a substitute for an ExpressCard interface?

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      CUDA is proprietary nonsense

      Apple have chosen to embed GPGPU stuff directly into the OS as a first class component through OpenCL, a standard supported on ATI, Nvidia and Intel chips, on OS X, Windows and Linux. CUDA is just Nvidia's proprietary equivalent, though it deserves some respect for being on the market a lot earlier. In any case, Apple don't use CUDA but do and will offload plenty of tasks to your GPU anyway. They've also got some really good stuff for taking advantage of multiple cores as of 10.6, so those quad cores may even be worth it.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    non-Apple repairs are possible....

    #1 - have you looked at non-apple repairs? A quick google brings up -

    who have second hand superdrives with 90 day warranty for £55 and new ones for £95 plus VAT.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    27" price

    A little while ago -- before this refresh -- a group of us tried to put together a shopping list for a machine equivalent to the 27" iMac.

    It almost came out cheaper.

    It's hard enough to find big IPS monitors, it's even harder to find one at a less than eye-popping price.

    The conclusion we came to, then, was that if you didn't care about picture quality then you could build a machine more economically. However, once you added in a decent IPS monitor then the price difference pretty much went away and you'd be wondering why you invested all that effort when you could just go into John Lewis and carry one away.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "My problem with Mac's is the repair cost outside of warranty, may as well just throw it away.

    My MBP has a dodgy "superdrive", Apple wanted over £250 to repair it. The drive (which they won't sell separate) can be purchased for around £50.

    Won't get fooled again."

    Should have looked up the Sales of Goods Act and brush up on warranties ;-)

    "And it costs a grand?

    To be fair, it di do well in the tests, but I HATE those slot loading CD drives. I think that would actually sway me way from buying this computer. How do you use them with mini 8CM CDs?"

    I think 8cm CDs went out with Betamax.

    Yes it costs a grand, but because they hold their value I can now sell my 2007 model on ebay for £500 and buy a new one for £500.

    If I'd bought a PC in 2007 I'd be lucky to get £200.

    1. RichyS

      Re comments

      If you bought a PC in 2007, you'd be lucky to get the scrap value for it now.


    imac 21 inch

    hum sorry but apples to exspensive in my opinion not to sound to negative but im happy with my lian li pcp80r gaming case thanks looks more awsome.

    1. adrianrf
      Thumb Up

      why on earth doesn't Apple try harder to…

      cater to potential customers like Dead4Ever?

      never mind; self-answering question.

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge


      If you have to ask the price then you can't afford it.

      Lets not forget the exchange rate isn't great for dollars to pounds at the moment. Apple doesn't change their price every week, it's there for the duration of the product's life no matter what exchange rates do.

      Also, you probably don't want to run OSX or want an easier life.

      They seem expensive when you think in "Wintel" terms. But Mac owners keep their machines for 5 years on average and still can get a few hundred quid for them when they are that old. There is no resale value for a 5 year old PC.

  16. Bad Beaver
    Thumb Up

    Nifty little machine

    I use this at work. Very zippy little bugger. The screen is indeed nice to look at but at times the gloss is incredibly annoying.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Unfair comparison

    If you were really trying to be fair to the VAIO L13 you would also have mentioned the dual digital tuner and the Bluray drive. A better comparison would have been with a machine of similar specification and preferably not from Sony who are second only to Apple in adding an unjustified price premium.

    1. Mudslinger

      Second to?

      Sony usually manage to charge more than Apple for equivalent kit.

      Perhaps that's what second to means here.

  18. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Jobs Horns

    Laptop in a desktop


    Buy a proper box.

    1. Prag Fest
      Jobs Halo


      Called good taste, just trust me on this one.

  19. Kaulitz
    Thumb Up

    Good All-rounder

    I grabbed this "low end" iMac from John Lewis a fews days after the refresh to replace my battered but trusty white 2007 Macbook.

    Overall it's a great machine even when it comes to gaming running COD 4 and the Sims 3 on full in the native 1920 x 1080 resolution.

    In terms of price I don't think that it's overpriced when you consider what you're getting. As mentioned above there is a reason why brand loyalty with Apple is so high.

    There's only two annoyances i've encountered, the first is a buzzing noise. This used to occur when the brightness was on full however since the software update it only seems to happen when the brightness is mid-way. Apart from that the machine runs whisper quiet.

    Second is the "Magic" mouse, it's awful to use and even the feel of it just isn't natural. The old blue tooth mighty mouse has a much nicer, more substantial feel to it.

  20. Jolyon Ralph

    Rollover buttons

    >I could do with an option for creating rollover buttons in iWeb.

    I've never used iWeb, but I think we can be pretty sure that anything that relies on :hover behaviour, such as rollover buttons, isn't likely to be on Apple's target list seeing as they see the future as touchscreen devices, such as the iPad, where :hover doesn't exist as such.

  21. Anthony Hulse


    That buzzing noise shouldn't be happening. I have a new 21" (although I took the Core i5 BTO route) and there's no buzzing whatever the screen brightness is set to. If you can live with it fine, but for the price an iMac costs you should be expecting perfection. It's not a fault with the model, so you have one that's flawed. Get it swapped.

    On a more general note, this is one great machine and well worth the money IMO. Of course it won't suit everyone's needs, but I couldn't be happier with mine.

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