Apple iMac 27-inch 2.7GHz review
Apple's newest iMac is an outstanding all-in-one, but its high price and limited performance improvement mean it's not worth upgrading from a recent model.
Review Date: 25 May 2011
Price when reviewed: £1,399
Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides
Apple's iMac range sets the standard by which every other all-in-one computer is judged, with impeccably-styled aluminium chassis and massive integrated displays. This 27in widescreen is the same as the iMac's previous incarnation, with a massive 2,560x1,440 resolution. Whether you want to work on multiple spreadsheets or watch an HD movie, it's brilliant. We're sometimes not keen on glossy displays as they can suffer from reflections, but we were won over by the Mac's bright backlighting and brilliant colour. It's easy to adjust to whatever viewing position you need it in, too, and moves smoothly despite its size and weight. The computer runs almost silently but the chassis heats up to a remarkable degree.
We've previously had complaints about the limited power of Apple's iMacs compared to similarly-priced desktop PCs and even all-in-ones from other manufacturers. All-in-one systems are always more expensive and less powerful than a desktop of the same price; you're paying for the streamlined convenience and, in the case of the iMac, for Apple's distinctive design, build quality and operating system. The latest iMacs are more powerful than ever, though. Apple is keeping the precise details of the system's specification close to its chest, but the model we've reviewed appears to use Intel's 2.7GHz Core i5-2500S processor, a more energy-efficient relation of the phenomenal 2500K.
The 2500S is less powerful than its 95W sibling, though. Our reference PC has a 3.3Ghz Core i5-2500K and 4GB of RAM and gets an Overall score of 100 in our benchmarks. The iMac scores a fair bit less, with an Overall score of 85. That's still powerful enough to last a good couple of years before you need to upgrade to handle the latest software, but at this price we'd still expect a bit more power for our money.
The graphics processor is an AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 512MB of RAM - not the most powerful GPU around, but nonetheless capable of producing a fast 51.3fps in Call of Duty 4 at a resolution of 1,680x1,050. If the 2,560x1,440 integrated screen isn’t enough for you, there are also two Thunderbolt ports that allow you to connect up to two more monitors, as long as they have DisplayPort sockets. The ports can also be used to connect Thunderbolt external storage devices, but that's something of a moot point, as no such devices have yet been released.
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