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on February 7, 2014
I doubt that I'll ever go back to Windows again (other than the machine that I use at work). This is something that I've wanted to do for a while but I didn't want to take the time to learn it. I finaly bit the bullet and did it. I ordered it on a Saturday and it arrived on the following Wednesday (free shipping).

Within a few days, I'd figured out most of what I care about. I bought a book but found it only marginally helpful. In the several days bewteen ordering it and the arrival, I watched tons of YouTube videos on the iMac and that's where I learned most of what I know so far. Note: FINDER is to the iMac what Windows Explorer is to a PC.

I keep all personal files on an exernal drive, the only thing on the internal drive is the OS, applications, etc. That's a holdover from my Windows days.

Music is loaded although I don't like iTunes so I downloaded WinAmp. Pictures are loaded including some old photos that I've scanned, retouched and then saved back to disc (not just in iPhoto). It has a fairly decent photo editor;basic but good for someone like me who doesn't have the patience for spending 2 hours fixing a picure. Disc formatting and partitioning is quick and easy. I downloaded SuperDuper (free) and created an image in one of the partitions of an external drive. I'm used to using things like Ghost and Acronis on Windows platforms so this SuperDuper image is comforting.

It goes to sleep and remembers how to wake up. I don't think I ever owned a Windows machine that could handle that through several sleep/wake cycles, they always seem to get confused and need a forced shutdown. I attached a watt meter to it and it uses about 40 watts when awake and about 2-3 watts when asleep. The battery in the keyboard is still at 100% but the batterry in the mouse is at about 90% after 10 days. That's understandable considering how much more the mouse is used. A wired mouse would fix that but I like not seeing wires anyplace.

It's incredibly quiet and I'm very sensitive to PC noise.

I bought MS office because it's so much easier (for me) than using what the iMac came with or things like OpenOffice. The interface is not identical to the Windows version; it's close but not identical - don't know why Miscrosoft couldn't have done a better job of that.

It comes with some parameteers set in 10.9 Mavericks that didn't make sense and I thought I was stuck with them until I figured out that they could be changed. The 2 that come to mind are (1) the vertcal scroll bar is not always visible on a web page and (2) a right click on the mouse is not active. I changed both of those things.

I was able to play with the 27 inch version at a local library and found the sceeen too big. Maybe I would have gotten used to it but the 21.5 inch version that I got seems just right.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon November 4, 2014
To put it simply, the iMac with Retina 5K Display is nothing short of spectacular. At this moment, there is no computer in the world like it.

First of all, look at the price. High quality 4K monitors can cost between $1000 and $2000 or more, just for the monitor. Apple reminds me of Spinal Tap... This one goes to 5K. 5K may not sound like much more than 4K, but the difference is actually an increase of over 67% more pixels. We're talking about a screen that can show a 14.7 Megapixel photo, without zooming. That's simply amazing.

When I first saw the Apple event where they announced this, my first thought was, if they are jamming that many pixels into this, they are going to need a super fast graphics card, because playback and editing in 4K requires 4 times more bandwidth than 1080p, much less 5K. So, I was skeptical. I went to the Apple store and they had a lot of 4K footage loaded into Final Cut Pro X. I was able to skim around, make edits and playback the 4K video as quickly as my current i7 MacBook Pro handles 1080p. What's even more amazing was the demo computer in the Apple Store was the entry level i5 model, with the stock low end graphics card.

What's even more amazing is that because of the massive number of pixels, the only other 5K monitors out there require more than one monitor cable to connect them, because today's cable standards can't even carry a picture that large through one cable. Because the monitor is built-in, they can drive the screen directly from the graphics card.

Another major benefit is that this is the first generation of iMac to use Thunderbolt 2, which doubles the speed of the previous generation. It has two such ports, and because the monitor is built-in, you won't need to use either to connect the monitor.

PLEASE NOTE: As of today, most Apple Retail stores and Amazon are only selling the ENTRY LEVEL configuration. To me, that's like going into the Chevy dealership and to buy the Camaro, but finding out that if you spend just a little bit more, they'll ship you a Corvette.

As far as I'm concerned, the price difference for upgrades is so small, that just about everyone who is in the market for this system should upgrade to the 4.0 Ghz i7 and the AMD Radeon R9 M295X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory... that configuration cranks out 3.5 Teraflops of graphics power. That's simply amazing.

In my case, I also upgraded to 512 GB Flash Storage, because speed is more important to me than storage. The stock configurations come with at Fusion Drives, which is a mixture of 128GB of flash storage with a conventional hard drive. I'm not a fan of conventional drives... I like the speed, silence and durability of solid state drives.
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on October 31, 2014
DISCLOSURE
I bought this using my student discount so I did it via the Apple website instead. The student discount brought it to $2299.

I BOUGHT IT BECAUSE IT'S RELATIVELY CHEAP? REALLY?

The iMac 5k is probably the only "value" oriented device Apple makes. It's ironic because it's the most expensive iMac. Let's put it this way, the 5k screen itself is sold for $2.5k by Dell(not available until Dec). I don't know yet if it's the same panel as Dell but Dell have historically used the same panels as Apple before with the previous 1440p thunderbolt display.

For a more mainstream comparison, the new LG 4k IPS monitor is a very good monitor. The price tag is $1399. However, I doubt it would have the same contrast and accurate color reproduction as this iMac. The reality is that any decent IPS 4k or 5k screen is going to cost you a fortune regardless of brand.

What Apple essentially gave you is the first professional 5K screen and a free computer. Considering that there's no wire that can transfer enough data to supply a 5k screen, the iMac is an even bigger bonus. 4k monitors will have to use 2 HDMI or display port to drive that much data. The Dell 5k monitor will probably use 2 X Display Port. The problem with that is obvious(possible lag, screen anomaly, etc...) if software isn't right. compatibility will be tough as well.

WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
1. The iMac 5k itself w/stand.
2. Wireless keyboard w/batteries
3. Magic Mouse w/batteries
4. Power cord

This was my accessories config but I changed my mind when I received the iMac. I went to the store and they just switch the magic mouse for the pad with no questions asked.

THE IMAC 5K OVERVIEW

1. The hardware itself didn't change much. You get a slightly faster i5 CPU, same 1TB fusion drive (1TB 2.5" drive and 128GB SSD), 8GB of RAM(upgrade it yourself to 16GB and save about $140), and the mobile M290X GPU. Although I would recommend people to choose the 256 GB or 512 GB SSD rather than the fusion if they're more serious with speed. Just get an external if you need more storage.

2. Running apps feels about the same as the previous iMacs. Benchmarks are similar until you get to GPU benchmarks which is less or more depending on what you run. But for Adobe and FCP, I don't see much speed differences overall when working.

3. General shape and aesthetics looks exactly the same. I can't spot a difference compared to the old one. Cooling seems to be fine with very little throttling when ran full speed. It seems to weigh about the same as the 1440p version.

4. The AMD M290X is the mobile version so don't expect it to be like the R9 290X. It is close to the performance of the R9 270X desktop GPU (basically a rebadged Radeon 7850). Editing videos and photos did not take a hit from the older NVIDIA Geforce 700s. Overall, the speed is the same as the previous generation's Geforce GPUs. It is slightly slower than the Geforce 775. Yes, all the popular software(FCPX, Photoshop, etc...) are optimized and support AMD GPU acceleration.

5. The screen is simply AMAZING. What's even more amazing is you can view the entire screen pixel for pixel of a 4k video with plenty of screen space for your FCP buttons and tool bars. Same with Photoshop, pixelmator, lightroom, etc.. for most photos. At 5120 X 2880, it is roughly 15 megapixels. The GPU may not be any faster, but you spend less time scrolling. Overall, it saves you a ton of time because you don't have to scroll much at all.

6. Gaming at 2880p is hopeless. You'll have to scale it down below 1440p to get decent frame rates.

7. The iMac is surprisingly stable and solid despite its high center of gravity. I have never felt that it would tip over or get knocked down if I bump the desk accidentally. This was one of my biggest fears because $2300 isn't exactly cheap and the screen would surely shatter.

So there you have it. Only buy it for the screen upgrade and don't expect any crazy performance boost. It is faster but not by much. Again, buy it for the screen, not anything else. You can get the non-5k 27" and save $700 if all you're going to do is blog, play a few games, read emails, and surf the web. This machine's premium is the best value for photo and video editors. That is unless you just have money to burn and wants the best.

SHOULD YOU CUSTOM ORDER?

Custom ordering from the Apple Store gives you a lot more options. I'll list the pros and cons here.

Pros:
1. Get exactly what you want since the stock in store is usually very basic specs. If you want a 3TB Fusion drive or the 512 GB SSD, then you most likely have to custom order.
2. iMac 5k does have a VESA option for those who like their own mount or base. You have to custom order this one as I've never seen any store carry this in their inventory.
3. Student discounts can only be applied at the Apple Store online or in store.
4. You can order online and pick up in store on the same day if it's available.
5. 0% APR financing if you're a college student and doesn't have thousands in the bank sitting around.
6. Choose any combinations of keyboard/mouse/pad. If you change your mind after you received the iMac(like I did), then just walk into the Apple Store and they'll switch it to whatever you want. You don't have to bring the whole computer, just the accessory you want switched.

Cons:
1. Wait time can be terrible. If your build is not in inventory, it may take weeks to build and ship it to you. I've done a custom build before and it took 3 weeks. This is way better than Dell a few years back where I waited nearly 3 months.
2. The prices for additional RAM is outrageous as usual. Just stay at 8GB and buy your own RAM. Installation is easy.

UPDATE: 11/10/2014

Some people are saying "You can tell the huge difference between the 2 screens because X site showed it"

Let me be clear about why this is not possible in most cases. The pic must be at least 15MP since that extra "clarity and crispness" is from the 4x resolution from 1440p. If you are viewing from a 1080p monitor, which only shows 1/7 the number of pixels, the picture they would need to show the difference would be more than 7x larger than your screen. So how would they be able to show if your text are crisp and clean? by pixel peeping of course, or magnifying it. I'm using the iMac 5k right now and I can tell you for most tasks, the iMac 5k is just as good as the 1440p iMacs. Everything is scaled up(eg. webpages) so there's really no extra crispness or clarity. That's because there's no content made for 5k, or even 4k yet. For the regular consumer, this huge screen upgrade will mostly go unnoticeable. The content isn't there for it yet.

The one improvement the iMac 5k will have over the regular 1440p iMac is slightly better texts that are not images. Apple have updated it to make it sharper as it scales up. In reality, most people wouldn't really notice until you tell them.

So who would get the most benefits from $700 to get 4x resolution increase? Back to my original point, photo and video editors. For a regular consumer, it's a nice "spec" upgrade but it won't do you any good until you fire up Photoshop or FCPX with your high res content. Now if you're going from a 2009 iMac to this, then you will see a night and day difference but that's only because you missed several generations of upgrade.

UPDATE 11/17/2014

As you know, I have the Fusion drive. The speed was not that great at first and there was some slowness. After a few weeks of use, my computer is running everything at blazing speed.

For the first 2 weeks, the iMac experienced some stuttering, lock ups, and even a few crashes especially with Safari running. Videos were also acting weird. After several updates, most of these problems seemed to stop. I'm guessing the new OSX was the cause.

I have the wireless keyboard and magic pad combo instead of magic mouse. The magic pad uses bluetooth to connect to the iMac. I experienced repeated problems with bluetooth connectivity every couple hours. The magic pad seems to lose connection for a few seconds. I noticed the light on it lit up when it tries to reconnect. It is very annoying. I am not sure if this is the magic pad, the iMac or a software issue. Will report back if I find anything.

UPDATE 12/30/2014

I used the Panasonic Eneloop AA rechargeable batteries in my Magic Pad now(Amazonbasics white AA rechargeable NiMH is the same battery rebranded). No more bluetooth connection drops for the past 5 weeks. The Eneloop batteries have incredibly stable voltage compared to the alkaline batteries that most people use. Alkaline batteries start at 1.5V and drop below 1.0V as you use it. The eneloop batteries hold steady with very little decline at around 1.2V throughout their whole discharge cycle. I use these batteries for electronics everywhere in the house and they work great.

UPDATE 2/27/2015

The wireless keyboard and pad seems to suck down battery fairly quickly. I have to change them about every 1-2 months. I also have the magic mouse which seems to last about 2 months between swapping batteries. This is a stark contrast to my Logitech wireless mouse and keyboard that would literally take years to deplete a set of batteries. I really like the design of the keyboard and its small foot print but I may have to switch to a Logitech K750 keyboard and a G602.
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on July 9, 2015
Love our new computer. The screen looks amazing and is so big and bright. The computer is easy to use, even when switching from PC. I don't regret not getting the retina screen. This computer is beautiful and quick.
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on April 3, 2016
I was excited to get this new imac. But early on things went wrong. The operating system was doing strane things. I became convinced that the computer came with malware on it and returned it. When i went to a local apple store and bought the newest version of this model i became aware that this package had been previously opened. The usb cable to charge the mouse and keyboard was not included and the tape that is removed by pulling a tab was not on the package. Though it otherwise appeared that the package was original these 2 items show it had been opened. I can only surmise this had something to do with it malfunctioning. I am writing this 5 days after returning and amazon has neither acknowledged receipt of the item or processed a refund. Based on my experience i would not purchase this item here but pay the $200 more and buy from apple directly. My experience with amazon has been very positive over time but this was not good. This comes also a few days after returning a copy of windows 7 sold on amazon that was originally packaged with a computer and will only work on that computer. Say what? This should not have been resold. So both these experiences make me cautious about computer related purchases on amazon.
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on January 4, 2014
Great experience buying this computer. It was delivered on time and the set up was very easy. My family had a Dell PC for a while but ever since I got an iPhone we were headed towards buying an Apple computer. There certainly is a transition period. But the times I go back and use the old computer I am reminded of all the really nice iMac features. Bright screen and quick response time. Also if you have old Microsoft files to use, we are trying Open Office which is free. Was a bit difficult to load (part of the transition), but it runs and allows you to save files with MS file extensions.
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on December 18, 2014
I think it's great. I haven't had a nice new mac in ever. We went for it. I don't really have another screen to compare it with but the Retina display is damn nice. So far I've edited video on this bad boy and no lags of any kind. And I have the basic model.

Oh and the shipping on Amazon is always awesome. Two-three day delivery and this comes in a nifty protective box.

*My one complaint is that it loses wifi everytime it goes into sleep mode. Anyone have an idea how to fix that I'm all ears.
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VINE VOICEon August 13, 2014
I have had my iMac for a week and I really love it. I have used Microsoft Windows for 24 years . I thought I was too old to learn a new system and would never buy an Apple product. My children gave me an iPad for Christmas and I was hooked. When it was time to get a new computer, I decided to try the iMac. It was very easy to set up right out of the box. Imagine the entire computer, speakers, everything in the monitor. Such a space saver. I bought the 21.5 inch screen.
I was able to transfer all my Word documents and photos from my PC to the iMac with a flash drive. The iMac has a word program (Pages), a spreadsheet (Numbers) and a Powerpoint (Keynote) that I was able to transfer my Microsoft Office files into. It does take some practice getting use to the difference between the PC and the iMac. I am still learning my way around, but it is a great experience.
The iMac does not come with a CD/DVD drive. You have to buy that separately if you want or need to use CD's. I highly recommend the iMac for anyone considering a new desktop computer.
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on March 2, 2015
Seller shipped fast, which was good. Price? Ehh it's an apple computer, what are you going to do. I was going to get a pc, but for a $200 more I got what I really wanted. Plus that new windows program was a little lame for me. Switched over to mac and I'm glad I did. I'll have to get a how to for this, but so far so good.
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on June 7, 2015
This machine is awesome. Been since 2007 since I upgraded my iMac. All I have to say is wow. I had extra RAM waiting here for it but out of box would have been just fine. GoPro 4K video on thi sthing is amazing! Picture editing amazing. Apple as always hit it out of the park offering this resolution. Previously and still the case for other builders this screen alone is 2K plus. So they basically are giving you the computer after paying for the screen....ENJOY.
I want to add. If you also intend to upgrade the RAM. Get it up and running plus all updates. Install ram restart, Shutdown unplug for 5 minutes to clear all cache. Restart again. All RAM sticks must be same size. 4's are installed. Just some info Ive learned with these upgrades.
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