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Old Dec 18, 2012, 05:13 PM   #1
philipfreire
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Thumbs up My 27" iMac Review

Well I'm one of the lucky few who have already received their 27" iMac pre-orders and I'd like to share my thoughts and experience with this product.

I've been a Mac user since high school where I used my first iMac (the transparent bubble as I like to call it) and then later in college with the Mac Pro's. Shortly after college I purchased my first mac, a refurbished 15" MacBook Pro top of the line.

Well, after many years of use, the 2007 model finally died this year. Ironically enough two months after I upgraded the HDD to an SSD and the ram to its max potential and I also added a secondary hard drive by omitting the superdrive. And surprisingly enough I was more than content with its performance up until the logic board crapped out on me.

Now I was deciding between what to get next. I quickly jumped on the new release of the MacBook Pro 15" Retina display with maxed specs in October. A slight disappointment as I found the HD4000 graphics to be somewhat laggy with the interface. The screen also had a great deal of image retention. But I wont get into much more. I returned it within my 14 days.

I then purchased a 2012 mac mini which was also fully spec'ed out. To my surprise it was pretty good. Except it sounded like a jet plane was about to take off whenever we watched a video (HD or non-HD) and whenever I played Counter-Strike: GO. Speaking of Counter-Strike, I could only manage the lowest settings to get an enjoyable smooth experience and even then it struggled getting 28-40 frames per second. Also to my surprise, the HD4000 does not provide the smoothest user interface experience as well. But that could be a driver or hardware issue.

Thumb resize.

But I knew this going into integrated graphics. I just needed a computer in the meantime while i awaited for the 27" iMac, which we were all waiting for.

Luckily I wake up around 5AM for work everyday and I was lucky enough to get on the first pre orders and with that I made sure I was getting the best system I could get.

Thumb resize.

Also there were some good incentives to buying the iMac. As an Airmiles Card Holder, they were having 25x the airmiles event. Now anyone who has an Airmiles Card knows how it can take a while to accumulate points. So this deal was just too good to pass.

My configuration:

3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
32GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM-4x8GB
3TB Fusion Drive
NVIDIAGeFrc GTX 680MX 2G GDDR5
AppleCare
Magic Mouse + Trackpad + Wireless Keyboard

I had a few phone calls with Apple Representatives and was able to save an additional $50.00 CDN and also got a Super Drive added free of charge and my order upgraded to Expedited Shipping. And boy did that pay off as the iMac came in last night.

And with that, I present to you my 27” iMac sitting perfectly on the table.

Thumb resize. Thumb resize. Thumb resize. Thumb resize.

On the table surrounding this beautiful piece of art are M-Audio’s BX5 D2’s, Apogee Duet 2, Audio Technica’s M50’s the wireless Keyboard and Apple Magic Mouse, Apple Super Drive and Razer’s Mamba mouse.

Thumb resize.

I’ll give you my thought’s on the 27” iMac. It’s flawless, no damages, no screen issues but I have a few things I noticed about the screen. It is a bit more yellowish than the Thunderbolt Display - but its not an issue, just needs a calibration. The colors are more vivid. Apples obviously does not want to do away with glass. Since most of their products are made of metal and glass, this just falls into their design specs. And rightfully so, they are the two best pieces of material to use because of durability and longevity. But nothings perfect, as we know and I know, the Thunderbolt display was very reflective. This new display certainly improves on that one issue many of us had. Unfortunately it does not eliminate it, nor do I think it will ever because glass always has a reflectiveness to it. But laminating the LCD to the glass removed a good chunk of unwanted reflection. I’m much more content with the screen. Also, I prefered the height of the Thunderbolt display. As I sit in my chair at the lowest setting I felt the screen was at eye level. With the iMac, I must raise the chair up a bit. No big deal. And if you guys are wondering, I prefer no chin, but since the keynote we know that is their trademark for the iMac and will live on.

I don’t really notice a difference between the processor speed and power from the mac Mini, and I doubt I will anytime soon. Both are close in results and realistically I haven’t used it to its full potential and therefore I shouldn’t say much more.

The Graphics is where I noticed a huge difference. Now I’m not a hardcore gamer by any means. I play Counter-Strike: GO. Thats about it. On the Mac mini I was averaging 28-40fps on the lowest settings. On this, FPS is over 120. Now this isn’t really pushing this card to its limits but it serves my purpose great and should support future releases which I’m comfortable with. But I must say I have encountered an issue. When the game is loading, the computer has crashed and restarted with a white screen saying the computer has restarted due to an issue.

The fusion drive is quiet. I do not hear a thing. Mostly because its running mostly the OS on the SSD. But the hard drive will spin up every now and then when I’m accessing my huge music library or going through RAW photos. Although it spins, the sound is very faint and most of the time, I don’t even hear it unless I pay attention to it. Unlike my old Macbook Pro.

Anyways, on to the test results. I basically conducted three tests: Geekbench, Blackmagic Disk Speed Test and Cinebench.

Thumb resize. Thumb resize. Thumb resize. Thumb resize. Thumb resize.

I Hope you guys enjoyed this and those awaiting your iMacs, I hope your all just as happy as I am.

Last edited by philipfreire; Dec 22, 2012 at 11:14 AM. Reason: TIMG
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 05:14 PM   #2
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Please use the TIMG tags. With the jumbo pictures, it's almost unreadable.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 05:19 PM   #3
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Picture size

It is nice that you post such lovely images, but perhaps they could be compressed and made 800*600 or 1024*768 or something. It took several minutes to load that web page.

I see you, too, are an audiophile. Those are one of the best current closed-back headphones. I just got the ESW11LTD in to complement my ES10. The Duet must be great with the M-Audio speakers and the headphones.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 05:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post
It is nice that you post such lovely images, but perhaps they could be compressed and made 800*600 or 1024*768 or something. It took several minutes to load that web page.

I see you, too, are an audiophile. Those are one of the best current closed-back headphones. I just got the ESW11LTD in to complement my ES10. The Duet must be great with the M-Audio speakers and the headphones.
Apologies, I have fixed the image sizes. Hopefully thats better for you guys. I come from forums where it automatically sizes the image to the table size and if the user wants to see it enlarged, they just click on it.

And yes, the M50's are a great set of cans. The ESW11LTD are phenomenal, I got a friend with a set, great choice!

The Duet is a dream. Great DAC for a solid state. My dream would be a tube.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 05:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phillie86 View Post
I come from forums where it automatically sizes the image to the table size and if the user wants to see it enlarged, they just click on it.
MOD NOTE: We offer the TIMG tag that does that too. I changed your post to use them. Just manually change IMG to TIMG

B
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 05:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balamw View Post
MOD NOTE: We offer the TIMG tag that does that too. I changed your post to use them. Just manually change IMG to TIMG

B
Thank you!
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 05:54 PM   #7
Achlys
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Brown Leather Mat

Where did you get that brown leather mat from? The one that you keyboard and mouse sit on top of.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 05:58 PM   #8
Isengardtom
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nice

sounds like a really good machine. I'm glad I opted for the 680MX card

Can't wait for mine to arrive
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 06:00 PM   #9
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Brilliant effort, OP; I for one thank you for making it so...
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 06:11 PM   #10
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Where did you get that brown leather mat from? The one that you keyboard and mouse sit on top of.
Looks like: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30129964/

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Old Dec 18, 2012, 06:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balamw View Post
Correct and the desk is also from Ikea. Malm style.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 11:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phillie86 View Post
Apologies, I have fixed the image sizes. Hopefully thats better for you guys. I come from forums where it automatically sizes the image to the table size and if the user wants to see it enlarged, they just click on it.

And yes, the M50's are a great set of cans. The ESW11LTD are phenomenal, I got a friend with a set, great choice!

The Duet is a dream. Great DAC for a solid state. My dream would be a tube.
The ALO Pan Am is a DAC/headphone amp all-in one with USB, line, and stereo mini input. Very very powerful headphone amp. You can grab it with an external battery and power supply as well to keep noise to your preferences. Very very nice.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 01:00 AM   #13
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Phillie86, can you share the wallpaper that you're using on your iMac?
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 01:06 AM   #14
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Phillie86, can you share the wallpaper that you're using on your iMac?
Nice setup, and yeah that wallpaper is sweet!
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 09:50 AM   #15
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As an audiophile, what is your take on the built-in speakers? Obviously they're not going to compare to your setup, but for typical computer speakers, are they ok? All the reviews seem to say they're not as good as the previous, but as I never had the previous iMac I'm curious what level we're talking here.

I'm an audiophile as well in the living room, but not at the computer - primarily because I spend so little time listening to music at the computer.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 10:14 AM   #16
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What are those speaker risers?
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 10:19 AM   #17
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Very nice i have the exact same BTO 27" iMac and it benchmarks similar to yours but your FPS on Cinebench is very low I am getting 44.5, mine is also very quiet which is great. Nice to see another audiophile too, i have a set of Hifiman HE-400 planers driven off a Fiio E17 and a fairly serious HT setup with a Yamaha 3800 amp running it.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 02:47 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Phillie86 View Post
Correct and the desk is also from Ikea. Malm style.
Where did you get the mounts for the monitors? Tried to make out the logo, but google couldn't help me.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 03:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
MOD NOTE: We offer the TIMG tag that does that too. I changed your post to use them. Just manually change IMG to TIMG
Sorry, I wasn't aware of that feature.

Quote:
Phillie86, can you share the wallpaper that you're using on your iMac?
No problem, I uploaded it on my web server, you can have it.

Wallpaper

You can also find this image and much much more high res wallpapers from Jootix

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobright View Post
Nice setup, and yeah that wallpaper is sweet!
Thank you very much!

Quote:
The ALO Pan Am is a DAC/headphone amp all-in one with USB, line, and stereo mini input. Very very powerful headphone amp. You can grab it with an external battery and power supply as well to keep noise to your preferences. Very very nice.
I haven't really heard that one. I assume its a solid state? I love Burson DACs/AMPS but they are insanely priced!

Quote:
As an audiophile, what is your take on the built-in speakers? Obviously they're not going to compare to your setup, but for typical computer speakers, are they ok? All the reviews seem to say they're not as good as the previous, but as I never had the previous iMac I'm curious what level we're talking here.

I'm an audiophile as well in the living room, but not at the computer - primarily because I spend so little time listening to music at the computer.
Haha I haven't even tested them out. I may have only heard it for system noises like Dings and Dongs from the OS and the initial start up. But as an Audiophile I would never, ever recommend built in speakers.

Wow I just turned off my bookshelfs and turned on the internal speakers. Painfully bad reproduction of audio. I wouldnt use them for much more than the OS making Dings and Dongs and Facetime/Skyping.

Absolutely flat bass response and very coloured reproduction. Highs are also over powering that the mids almost seem non-existant.

Invest in a decent set up if your listening to music, or even a great set of cans (headphones)

Quote:
What are those speaker risers?
The speaker risers are literally a brand new piece of tech (if you call it that) They are called IsoAcoustics, designed by a Canadian broadcaster from CBC for over 20 years. They basically isolate the bass response that your bookshelf's will resinate through your entire desk. They provide a clear and tight bass and from my experience have improved the sound a bit in the low ends.

There are other products out there like the moPAD which are basically foam pads for your speakers. I never had those but I read reviews comparing both and this product has always come out with the better results.

They are pricey at $100.00 so beware. But they are made of steel, rubber and plastic components.

www.isoacoustics.com

Quote:
Very nice i have the exact same BTO 27" iMac and it benchmarks similar to yours but your FPS on Cinebench is very low I am getting 44.5, mine is also very quiet which is great. Nice to see another audiophile too, i have a set of Hifiman HE-400 planers driven off a Fiio E17 and a fairly serious HT setup with a Yamaha 3800 amp running it.
HiFiman makes some great cans! Nice! And the Filo is a highly great reviewed product. Nice!

How come I'm getting slower FPS You got me worried here. haha!

Quote:
Where did you get the mounts for the monitors? Tried to make out the logo, but google couldn't help me.
IsoAcoustics, Canadian made, $100.00 a set.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 04:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torana355 View Post
Very nice i have the exact same BTO 27" iMac and it benchmarks similar to yours but your FPS on Cinebench is very low I am getting 44.5, mine is also very quiet which is great. Nice to see another audiophile too, i have a set of Hifiman HE-400 planers driven off a Fiio E17 and a fairly serious HT setup with a Yamaha 3800 amp running it.
I re-ran the test Im getting 42.47 right now... weird.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 05:01 PM   #21
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Awesome review! I really appreciate it and also for sharing that great wallpaper. Can't wait to get a 27" next month! Just a gorgeous setup.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 06:08 PM   #22
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look like we need a "Sticky" on desk and setups. Yours look great, like its never used!
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 06:16 PM   #23
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Nice review, looking forward to mine already.

p.s. can't believe you paid Apple for the 32G of RAM!
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 06:52 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Phillie86 View Post
I re-ran the test Im getting 42.47 right now... weird.
You may have had another app open when you did it last time, anyway all is good now
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 10:05 PM   #25
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What happened to the TBD? I would've gone dual setup.
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