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Includes: Apple Remote, Apple Keyboard, Mighty Mouse, Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger, iLife '06, Front Row, & Photo Booth. Apple iMac with Intel Core Duo - Never judge a book by it's cover. A very appropriate phrase when talking about the new Apple iMac. On the outside it looks identical to the previous iMac desktop computer. The difference now lies at the heart of the latest iteration of the iMac. Powering the new all-in-one desktop is an Intel Core Duo! Dual processors on a single chip that gives you double the speed of the old iMac. With the new iMac you also get unique software applications. iLife '06 is a suite of applications that will make your everyday life easier to manage than ever before. And Front Row, combined with the included remote, lets you enjoy the media on your iMac from any seat in the house. Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive with 2.4x Dual Layer burning Write Speeds - up to 2.4x Dual Layer DVD+R, 8x DVD+R, 8x DVD-R, 4x DVD+RW, 4x DVD-RW, 24x CD-R, 8x CD-RW Read Speeds - up to 8x DVD-ROM, 24x CD-ROM Built-in 17 widescreen TFT active-matrix LCD Native Resolution - 1440x900 Built-in iSight webcam ATI Radeon X1600 graphics with 128MB of GDDR3 memory Ports - 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet, 2 Firewire 400, 3 USB 2.0, 2 USB 1.1 (1 on keyboard), mini-DVI, DVI Out, VGA Out, S-Video Out, & Composite Out Built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11g Wi-Fi wireless network adapter Built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR Module Unit Weight - approx. 15.5 lbs.
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Date First Available
January 10, 2006
Warranty & Support
90 days of free telephone support and a one-year limited warrantyWarranty, Labor:
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First impression: Wow, that is a big white brick/tile like object staring me in the face. Less personallity than the lamp iMac; it appears more business/professional oriented. Then I sit down in front of it, move the mouse to wake it up, and I am impressed. The 17" intel has a lot more screen real estate than the 15" lamp iMac; larger area and higher resolution.
I start clicking on applications, everything is so fast and responsive; especially native applications. I open a finder window and it appears instantly in front of me. I grab the corner and start resizing it; no delay, the window corner goes where I drag it. Open non native FireFox running in Rosetta, opens quickly but has noticeable lag. Click on the corner of FireFox and drag, feels like OS 10.1, the window takes a fraction of a second to follow the cursor; still very usable.
iPhoto. I import my old library (by dragging the folder from my old pictures folder to my new pictures folder). Open iPhoto. It says it needs to update my library, it does that flawlessly and opens. Takes 1 or 2 minutes for several thousand photos. I scroll through my library; everything is so fast. As I scroll through my film rolls a big black semi-transparent box pops up with the roll name. I go to my 6 MB RAW photos from my digital rebel. I double click on one to edit. It only says "loading picture" for about half a second. I start clicking the next picture arrow, instantly loads the next RAW photo (it must be caching them). I hit the next about once a second and it never stops to think, I hit next much faster and it starts saying "loading picture" I stop, and it pops up in about half a second. Not in 5 - 10 seconds like my old iMac.
I open full screen mode. I click on a photo, loads quickly. I hold command key, and click another photo, it pops up beside the first, I think why not select a 3rd? It pops up along the other 2, I went up to 6 on the screen at the same time and the computer was still responding fast. I got bored of comparing pictures, and did some more exploring.
PhotoBooth, I could play with this for hours.
iWeb, great for a home or possibly a small business website. Much more professional and customizable templates than .Mac alone. I will get good use out of this program.
There are some neat new programs on the computer that you don't hear much about (these might also be on the G5 iMac, I haven't used it enough to know what it comes with). There is a comic program where you can drag photos from your iPhoto library (or other locations) into comic book style pages that are fully customizable, then you add little speach/thought bubbles and text. Looks like a comic book. Very slick program for developing collages and such for web pages.
I am impressed. The computer is very responsive, except Rosetta, which is fast, but not as responsive. Think OS 10.1. I honestly think the Intel iMac running native applications is as, if not more, responsive than my Windows XP machine running after a fresh install. And I rarely get the beachball now.
Speakers: More "tinny" sounding than the external ball speakers I had with my iMac lamp, but similar sound output.
Keyboard: Nice non-slip feet that keep it from sliding all around. Positive feeling keys, but need some adjustment from my iMac lamp keyboard. It just feels different.
Mouse: I love the mighty mouse. Switch it to two button mode and it works great. Has a small learning curve. The scroll wheel (ball) gives me the shivers as it has a very fine resolution click and it makes for a "tingly" feeling in my had when I scroll. The side buttons also take some getting used to. As I said, a small learning curve.
Display 17": Nice and clear, I haven't found any dead pixels yet. I see one suspect, will have to check it later, but they are so small anyway you cant tell when they are dead, just looks like a fleck of dust. I like the widescreen and improved resolution over the old 15" I have.
Appearance: As I said, lacks some of the character of the older iMac lamp and original iMac, but nice and professional looking. The computer feels big due to the white area below the screen. I like the added touch of the "heartbeat" LED in sleep mode, it is in about the same spot as it is on the lamp iMac, but it isn't visible unless the computer is asleep.
Noises: What noises? Slight fan noise at times, a soothing white noise whir from the quiet fans. The faintest clicking of the hard drive, which is nothing obnoxious, but it is audible in a totally silent room or with your ear by the monitor. I haven't fully loaded the processor yet so I don't know how loud the fans can get. Then my external firewire drive fires up sounding like an airplane taking flight and totally drowns out the computer.
Conclusion: If you have to run all your old professional applications, you might wait a few months to make the "switch" to Intel. If you just use it for an everyday computer, what are you waiting for? I can't tell it isn't a PowerPC under the hood, it is the same old Mac I have always loved. Just make sure you upgrade to 1 GB of RAM to get the most from your new iMac.
I have only had a few hours to play with the computer, but they say you only get one chance to make a good first impression and this iMac certainly did.
Without question, I love Macintosh computers. The ease of use, performance, and design that is Apple makes me productive, keeps the headaches down, and makes working on a computer fun.
When Steve Jobs announced the new iMac, with Intel Core Duo processors I was almost certain I wanted to buy it. Why? Macs are well known for ease of use and capabilities, but they have managed all that for years, with processors that are not always top-notch.
Processor in the new iMac
The Intel Core Duo processor in the new iMac is an amazing chip. What have I noticed about the speed of the machine featuring this chip? It is incredibly fast. You'd be surprised by how much faster even web browsing is, when you have a processor as powerful as the Core Duo. However, what I've really been impressed by is doing things such as video encoding. I've encoded videos in H264 as much as eight times faster than my Powerbook G4. Furthermore, the iLife applications that are included on the iMac fly, with the speed. iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and Garageband perform like never before. I've really been impressed by the speed.
The Core Duo is a great processor. It offers exceptional desktop PC performance, in a design that can fit in small computers and notebooks. It features two cores on a single die, which effectively gives you the performance of two processors. Don't let the 1.83 GHZ clock speed fool you. This Core Duo Chip will outperform 3+ GHZ Pentium 4 processors. It really is an amazing breakthrough, from Intel.
The new iMac features an ATI Radeon X1600 graphics processor using PCI Express
128 MB of GDDR3 video memory. This is the best graphic card Apple has *ever* included with a consumer Macintosh. This graphic processor will work well for most gaming, and it is great for viewing back complex H264 movies, including high definition videos. You can enjoy high definition H264 videos, without drop frames. I couldn't even play these videos, on my Powerbook.
Video out - The new iMac, for the first time ever, features a Mini-DVI output. This allows, with adapters, the ability to connect the iMac to a DVI display, a television via composite or S-video, or an analog display via VGA. I have my new iMac Core Duo connected to my 20-inch Apple Cinema Display, and it works perfect! A nice feature. This allows for screen-spanning, so I can take advantage of both screens.
Memory - This iMac is a powerhouse, but it is held back by the standard 512MB of memory. You can still do a couple tasks at a time, but for intensive tasks and multitasking you need more memory. Add at least another 512 MB stick, for a total of 1 GB memory, but you might consider adding even more. The iMac supports up to 2 GB of memory. It uses PC5300 DDR2 - SODIMM modules.
Apple has removed some of the applications previously bundled, with the iMac. This includes Appleworks. Appleworks is no longer included, but if you own a copy, it will run fine on this machine. Apple does include iLife '06, which has iPhoto, iMovie, iWeb, iDVD, and Garageband. There is the Safari web browser, some board games, the always useful iCal, AddressBook, iChat, etc. Overall, I was pleased with the included software.
iLife 06 is particularly great. I love the new full-screen photo editing, photo comparing, etc. You can now also order calendars and greeting cards made with your photos, direct from Apple, by using the iPhoto software. iMovie has new themes, which helps make professional-looking home movies, and iDVD now supports widescreen DVDs. iWeb is a brand-new applications, which makes it easy to create professional quality webpages, quickly. I can't wait to rebuild by site using iWeb. Apple continues to make it easy to create music, manage your digital images, make movies, and create web sites.
A trial (30 day) of iWork '06 is also included, which includes the page layout program Pages, and the presentation program Keynote (which makes presentations that blow away presentations made by rival Powerpoint).
Hard Drive -
The 17-inch iMac comes with a 160 GB hard drive. This is going to be sufficient for most people to hold their photographs, music, and movies. However, some people may need more. It is also important that you remember to backup your important files to either another external hard drive, or DVDs. I only point this out because today with great machines like the iMac we're storing more of our great memories on computers than ever before, so make sure you don't lose them, if something happens to your machine. Apple includes a great backup program called Backup 3, if you subscribe to the .mac service. I use it all the time, and it simple interface helps me keep peace of mind.
The optical drive included with the new iMac allows you to watch DVDs, listen to music, burn DVDs, and burn CDs. You can also burn dual-layer DVDs, which is nice. It is a slot-loading drive, so the disks slide magically in and out of the computer's right side. There are no drawers to break off.
Front Row Experience - Apple has included a new software title that at this time is only available on the iMac and MacBook Pro. Front Row. Front Row comes with your iMac, and a remote control is also included. Front row allows you to watch and listen to media items, on your computer, from across the room. Click one button on the remote, and bring up Front Row, for quick access to your music, movies, podcasts, DVD, and more. I like this feature, but I wonder how useful it is, since I'm usually sitting right in front of the computer and can just use a mouse, to access this content.
PowerPC Applications on Intel Machine
If you own a lot of software for Mac, then most of it is probably compiled for PowerPC. Developers are working hard to make titles run natively on both Intel and PowerPC, but many titles are not yet ready. However, many titles you can use on an Intel Mac because Apple has included Rosetta, which translates the PowerPC code into something the Intel machine can read. However, you never see Rosetta for it works quietly in the background and makes running PowerPC applications seamless. Microsoft Office, for example, works perfect under Rosetta. Intensive applications such as Photoshop will run under Rosetta, but it will be slower until Adobe has an Intel compiled version of Photoshop. Rosetta does work and if you add memory to your iMac, you may find such application somewhat equal to how it would perform on a 1GHZ PowerPC G4, from my experience.
Two titles I use EyeTV and Toast 7 are not yet compiled for Intel, but they run fine on my Intel iMac, under Rosetta. Again, you don't have to open anything special to use Rosetta. Your Mac knows when it needs it and uses it.
Wireless- The iMac can still connect wirelessly to networks using its included Airport Card. Furthermore, it features a Bluetooth module to connect wirelessly to devices.
Design - This iMac is beautiful, and you notice the quality as soon as you begin to open the box. It is packaged with care, in beautiful packaging. The iMac is thin, and the display floats above your desk. Furthermore, Apple includes a nice keyboard and mighty mouse, which allows for multi-button clicking.
Overall, I am very happy with my iMac Core Duo. It should perhaps come with more memory standard, but it is a very impressive machine. It is incredibly fast on Intel-native applications, and it does a very good job running PowerPC applications. If you're upgrading from a G4 Mac like myself, this machine will seem to fly. If you're upgrading from a G5 based Mac, it will be faster on native applications, but the increase in performance will be less significant to you. The Intel machines are the future of Apple, so there is no question this is a good machine, and it is powerful enough to be a good computer, for quite some time. I'm happy with my purchase, and I look forward to continue exploring it in the coming days.
I used a PC for 10 years but got fed up with all of the bugs, reboots, crashes, viruses, and incompatibility. I loved my iPod, so I looked at buying a new Intel iMac. This is quite simply, the best desktop computer on the market and the best desktop computer that I've ever owned. Switching from a PC to a Mac was so much easier than I had thought it would be. And being a Mac user is like being in a family - with top-notch customer support from Apple, helpful and courteous users on the Apple Discussion board, and the Genius Bar at the Apple Stores. Mac OS X Tiger is amazing - and has everything that Microsoft Vista will 'try' to have, but so much more. Sure, you can buy a dirt-cheap PC from Dell, but what good is a slow PC with no applications installed? Included in every new Mac is the iLife suite. All you need to do is plug it in and you're listening to iTunes, editing photos, movies, and burning your home movies to DVD. If you're a PC user, switch now...but I'll warn you...you'll never look back!