Is Mac's all-in-one Intel iMac i3 powerhouse the photographer’s dream machine?
Apple’s latest iMac is a huge, yet beautiful, behemoth of a machine – the 27in version offers an LED-backlit screen with a massive 2560×1440 resolution. That’s considerably larger than Full HD and ideal for videographers and photographers alike to have considerable real estate to view vast portions of images or even edit 1080p video at full pixel-to-pixel resolution with plenty of room for tool bars and palettes to also share the screen. The LED-backlighting makes for bright images and, although the glossy screen can be reflective to light, correctly positioning the iMac in the room will defeat this issue (it’s hardly portable).
On the outside everything is the usual Apple-gorgeous; elegant, well designed and conceived. An near edge-to-edge screen that’s glass coated and sits flush to the aluminium enclosure, all held up by a tapered pedestal with a hole for cables to be kept out of sight. It’s very neat and tidy indeed. As are the new small-scale Apple Wireless Keyboard with its controllable light-up keys and the Magic Mouse with an intelligent multi-touch technology inbuilt into its top for gesture control.
On the inside things suitably match the exterior – the new 3.2Ghz Intel Core i3 processor came with this particular model, but i5 and i7 options are available and, for the power-hungry, the top spec has a Quad-Core 2.93Ghz Intel i7 configuration. In testing the i3 performed considerably well, with plenty of juice to power through pro-spec applications such as Photoshop. 4GB RAM is the standard configuration, though it’s now possible to configure your machine to take up to 16GB of RAM for additional cost. Plus, with the new 512MB ATI Radeon HD 5670 graphics card (previous releases used GeForce cards) the display is equally catered for to ensure smooth frame rate playback, and the utmost power for 3D imaging and the like. The casing can get rather hot however, as Intel processors tend to run rather hot – not that this is a problem in the short term.
So where does the new iMac go wrong? It’s tough to flaw these superb machines, though the price isn’t exactly going to be to everyone’s tastes (add every conceivable addition to the 27in Quad-Core Intel Core i7 and it’ll come in at just over £5k – not that many people would ever require this configuration). Once you have the basic machine there’s software that you’ll want to add to get the most out of the machine and so price is the ultimate wall that many will face. Compared to a MacPro or MacBook Pro setup, however, the price is actually among the most reasonable on the Apple store and so the iMac offers a great balance of features for the asking price. Looks like it’s time to take that loan out after all…