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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:06 AM   #1
theSeb
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2012 iMac a sober and detailed dissection with a nice comparison chart



Ok, I lied. It's probably not that nice, but it gives us a good overview. I apologise for any mistakes or omissions and I do not accept responsibility for any grief, pain, suffering or loss of income that my chart may cause.

Screen – no retina screen, just a beautiful 2560x1440 screen with reduced glare (claimed). Thank you. I am glad that there is no power sapping retina resolution on here. The hardware is just not ready. The rMBP is a nice enough machine (I own one) and the screen is pretty to look at, but pushing around that many pixels is clearly too much for today’s mobile hardware, unless they forced in a desktop GTX 690 in there.

I would have been pleasantly surprised to see a GTX 680M. I am genuinely shocked that there is a GTX 680MX. I am not sure what the huge disappointment ringing through the forum is all about. The 680 MX is actually a slightly down-clocked version of the desktop GTX 680. For those interested, the 680M is a down-clocked version of the desktop GTX 670. The iMac is now faster than the Mac Pro, in terms of GPU power.

I was very sceptical about this new iMac, as you can see in this hotly debated thread that I created not too long ago, but I am feeling quite the opposite now.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1469172

As long as they can keep the thermals in check, this new iMac will eat the old model for breakfast. I am not sure if most of you realise how powerful the vanilla 680M actually is. The 680MX is a monster. Have a look at some benchmarks for the 680M all over the internet to see that you’ll be able to play all of your games and more.

The CPU increase is as expected. I wasn’t expecting 6 cores in there and they have given us the Ivy Bridge upgrade. 21.5 high and 27" share the same CPU. We saw this in the 2011 line up as well. In a nutshell, the CPUs picked closely match their 2011 equivalents. Except we now have shiny and new Ivy Bridge CPUs that are slightly faster.

4 USB 3 ports – thank you very much

2 TB ports – I was honestly hoping for 3 this time. 2 is not enough if you have embraced Thunderbolt.

It is currently unknown exactly how the BTO storage options will work, since the specs are not the clearest on this. Can one spec a 3 TB HDD and 768 GB flash? It should be possible, but the specs seem to say no.

The shape? Well, this is very subjective, but I am still not sure what the point was of the redesign. Does it look better? Again, this is purely subjective, but I am not too crazy about it. I would have preferred a smarter solution for a user-replaceable hard drive. I am sure that if anyone can design a beautiful all-in-one with way to allow the user to replace the HDD, then Apple can do it. This redesign feels a bit lazy, in my opinion.

All in all, the 2012 model looks good from a hardware point of view. They have crammed in a lot of shiny and new hardware in there that is very powerful. I am still sceptical about the thermal performance of this thing, but it’s impossible to comment on this, until we have some benchmarks or run our own tests. I am looking forward to getting one, depending on how much "OMG, the new iMac is the suxxors, it's too hot, dead pixels" mass panic we see once it comes out.

For all of the drama llamas over the last couple of months that have been crying doom and gloom: The Apple desktop is not dead. This is an amazingly powerful all-in-one desktop, on paper. If it works like I expect it to, then I take my hat off to Apple. Apple is clearly not only interested in iPads and iPhones. Please stop with the bs every year, because it's getting old and boring.
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Last edited by theSeb; Oct 25, 2012 at 03:23 AM.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:08 AM   #2
garrize
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Smile

That's great! Thank you!
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:10 AM   #3
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* all of the above*

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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:11 AM   #4
theSeb
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That's great! Thank you!
My pleasure. I forgot to mention one thing... It's interesting to see that they've crammed the MX GPUs in there. I guess that could be one of the factors in the delay, since the 680MX only appeared on Nvidia's product page today (it wasn't there yesterday) and there are no benchmarks of it yet.

The other one we heard about already was around the screen lamination issues. Did Apple try to have a 4K or full "retina" resolution display in there and gave up due to manufacturing issues or cost? I guess we will never know.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:27 AM   #5
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Apple told me, that despite what it says on the tech specs page, the new Imac 21" WILL have user changeable slots, I asked because i don't have the space for a 27" iMac
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:30 AM   #6
theSeb
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Apple told me, that despite what it says on the tech specs page, the new Imac 21" WILL have user changeable slots, I asked because i don't have the space for a 27" iMac
I am not sure who at Apple told you this, but it appears to be incorrect.

Quote:
Both of the 21.5 and 27-inch iMacs use SO-DIMMs, however the 27-inch model does allow for end user upgrades. Remove the power cable and there's a button that will pop out a little panel giving you access to the system's SO-DIMM slots. The 21.5-inch model needs to be taken apart to gain access to the memory slots unfortunately.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6402/u...e-memory-panel

Check out the picture to see where the panel is on the 27" model.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:35 AM   #7
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Why has the 21" imac storage gone DOWN to 5400 from 7200 rpm, the cheapest iMac 21" as far back as 2010 had 7200 rpm and 4 ram slots
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:40 AM   #8
theSeb
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Why has the 21" imac storage gone DOWN to 5400 from 7200 rpm, the cheapest iMac 21" as far back as 2010 had 7200 rpm and 4 ram slots
Apple giveth and apple taketh away.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:47 AM   #9
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Nice work and love the phrase 'drama lama'
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:55 AM   #10
theSeb
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Nice work and love the phrase 'drama lama'
Thanks. And thank you for helping me to realise that I didn't spell llama properly.


Although I guess technically lama kind of works too...

Quote:
Lama (Tibetan: བླ་མ་, Wylie: bla-ma; "chief" or "high priest") is a title for a Tibetan teacher of the Dharma.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:59 AM   #11
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Great summary, and good to hear about the GPU. I didn't see any mention of the ODD. I can see where that will be an issue for some, but I use my drive perhaps once or twice a year and wouldn't mind getting an external if I absolutely need to. My greatest concern is how well heat will be managed in the thinner form factor, but we won't know that for awhile.

Looking at the pics on Apple's website, it looks like the openings at the bottom of the case may be better for airflow than the current perforations, but we'll see.

Last edited by Roller; Oct 24, 2012 at 06:11 AM. Reason: Added bit about airflow
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 06:03 AM   #12
theSeb
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Originally Posted by Roller View Post
Great summary, and good to hear about the GPU. I didn't see any mention of the ODD. I can see where that will be an issue for some, but I use my drive perhaps once or twice a year and wouldn't mind getting an external if I absolutely need to. My greatest concern is how well heat will be managed in the thinner form factor, but we won't know that for awhile.
ODD is gone. I use an external BR writer, which works well, but it needs 2 extra cables for power and data so cable management becomes a bit of a nightmare if you have external drives and devices. I end up just keeping it in a cupboard and taking it a couple of times a year when I actually need to use it.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 06:06 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by theSeb View Post
Apple giveth and apple taketh away.
Well is that your official opinion on the matter? You gave a very nice write up for sure, but it all seemed one-sided, especially for someone that was previously skeptical.

The 5400rpm is insulting if you ask me. I think the machines are amazing sounding, just as you. But come on, there is no reason for it (other than apple picking up a warehouse full of 5400s for extremely cheap and now they're passing them on to us for pure profit, or course).

They removed options, lowered some specs and raised the price. Again, I'm excited about them, but I don't think I'm quite convinced just yet.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 06:11 AM   #14
Broseidon
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Great write up Seb!

Just wondering, as I know very little about GPU's - is the GTX660M in the base 27" any good?
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 06:11 AM   #15
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If the BTO 21.5" Had the 675MX card and an 256 or 512GB SSD, it would have been a great option. Really seems Apple is forcing people up to the 27" and while a lot of people here love them, they are huge and more expensive than already pricey equipment. Would have been nice to middle ground where the smaller screen could still push some pixels.

The way the 27" drive situation looks to me is that the 768 is 2 SSD's in the two bays. 512+256. Just a guess.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 06:12 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by theSeb View Post
ODD is gone. I use an external BR writer, which works well, but it needs 2 extra cables for power and data so cable management becomes a bit of a nightmare if you have external drives and devices. I end up just keeping it in a cupboard and taking it a couple of times a year when I actually need to use it.
Agree. I already have enough stuff on my desk, so I'd keep it somewhere else, just like I do with my backup drives.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 06:21 AM   #17
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Well is that your official opinion on the matter? You gave a very nice write up for sure, but it all seemed one-sided, especially for someone that was previously skeptical.

The 5400rpm is insulting if you ask me. I think the machines are amazing sounding, just as you. But come on, there is no reason for it (other than apple picking up a warehouse full of 5400s for extremely cheap and now they're passing them on to us for pure profit, or course).

They removed options, lowered some specs and raised the price. Again, I'm excited about them, but I don't think I'm quite convinced just yet.
That was my attempt at satire. No, it's not great that the drive is now a 5400 RPM, but, I am being bias to my own needs so the specs of the 21.5" don't concern me too much.

To be clear though, I do agree that some of the changes to the 21.5" model seem weird. Removing user-serviceable RAM and storage options seems like a weird decision. Cost cutting or ease of manufacturing comes into play here. I shall reserve my final judgement until we can actually do a BTO in the store and see what can be configured and for how much. It does seem like Apple is basically saying that you need the 27" if you want more than the average Joe iMac user is looking for.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Broseidon View Post
Great write up Seb!

Just wondering, as I know very little about GPU's - is the GTX660M in the base 27" any good?
It's not too bad for a mid-range mobile GPU. It depends on your needs really. If you're concerned about gaming, then check out the article in the link below. The game benchmarks are at the bottom.

http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-...M.71859.0.html

For example in Diablo III using high settings, it's 1% slower than a 6990M, which was a lot faster than the 6970M. This was the GPU in the 2011 27" top BTO spec.

So you can expect just as good performance from the Nvidia GTX 660M, or better, in comparison to the AMD 6970M.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 06:45 AM   #18
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660M for HD rendering and photo editing?

Hi,

Nice work, thanks!

Just a question regarding this:

Quote:
It's not too bad for a mid-range mobile GPU. It depends on your needs really. If you're concerned about gaming...
Is it also good enough for HD rendering and photo editing?

Thanks and regards from Germany,
Daniel
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 06:51 AM   #19
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How good is the 640m compared to the 6750m?

A 5400rpm HD is disgusting.

More talk about the 21.5" please.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 06:59 AM   #20
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I'm not entirely sure on this, but if the 5400 RPM was partially due to a shift from a 3.5" to a 2.5", wouldn't the speed drop be not as bad?

Awesome write up by the way, thanks for adding a bit of sensibility to these forums. Turns out putting the best mobile GPU into an iMac isn't enough for some people... perhaps they envision an all-in-one that's as thick and heavy as a Mac Pro.

Only real decrease, other than the 5400 (personally I've realised that if you care about that stuff, you'd be better suited to a 27" - I'm selling my 21.5" and would only replace it with a 27"), is the loss of the optical drive. I'm very surprised that people care that much. I suppose people will never be satisfied.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 07:00 AM   #21
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People need to be careful, Its all good rushing to have the latest but Apple are playing with their customers.
In a year or 2 the base iMac will probably be able to swap out ram and have a higher HD speed, they know they have a base of people that MUST have latest so will give you little and add each year.
If you can't wait then you need to order a higher spec which means more to Apple.

Personally going to wait was going to buy but lower specs on some parts/ non upgradeable ram compared to 2011 model I just bought in feb, Means i'll hold out for a year or two to get more bang for my money.

PS Don't be fooled by thin edges either. this thing has a bigger bulge at the back than previous iMacs. This to might be rectified in a few years
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 07:22 AM   #22
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On the website says up to 768 SSD memory. I believe will be more configuration options.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 07:32 AM   #23
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I have around 1250 to spend would I be better buying the base and upgrading to 16gb RAM or gong for the slightly better higher spec 21" but with only 8gb. Both will come in at roughly the same price I think

Thanks
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 07:51 AM   #24
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Hi,

Nice work, thanks!

Just a question regarding this:



Is it also good enough for HD rendering and photo editing?

Thanks and regards from Germany,
Daniel
It's definitely good enough for photo editing. As for rendering.... that's a tricky question. It depends on what applications you're using. Some use the CPU mainly, some utilise the GPU as well.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by I8P'CS View Post
People need to be careful, Its all good rushing to have the latest but Apple are playing with their customers.
In a year or 2 the base iMac will probably be able to swap out ram and have a higher HD speed, they know they have a base of people that MUST have latest so will give you little and add each year.
If you can't wait then you need to order a higher spec which means more to Apple.

Personally going to wait was going to buy but lower specs on some parts/ non upgradeable ram compared to 2011 model I just bought in feb, Means i'll hold out for a year or two to get more bang for my money.

PS Don't be fooled by thin edges either. this thing has a bigger bulge at the back than previous iMacs. This to might be rectified in a few years
Isn't most of this kind of obvious? Surely people can see the pictures for themselves and realise that the edges are thinner and then there is a bulge where all of this stuff has to fit in. Apple seems more and more keen to remove users' ability to upgrade so whether we see it return in the next iteration, or the one after that, is debatable.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by d0nK View Post
How good is the 640m compared to the 6750m?

A 5400rpm HD is disgusting.

More talk about the 21.5" please.
It's faster in synthetic benchmarks and in games. Check out the Skyrim, COD and BF3 benchmarks (or any other 2011 benchmarks). The 640M is even faster than the 6770M and trades blows with the 6970M in some games.

http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-...M.71579.0.html
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 08:01 AM   #25
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I'm not entirely sure on this, but if the 5400 RPM was partially due to a shift from a 3.5" to a 2.5", wouldn't the speed drop be not as bad?
If the new iMacs have shifted to 2.5" drives, that's a HUGE performance drop, regardless of platter speed.
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