2014 Cheaper iMac Vs. 13 inch Macbook Air

MartinAppleGuy

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 27, 2013
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888
Here is a little comparison between the new cheaper iMac and the entry lever 13" Macbook Air. The iMac is priced almost spot on with the entry 13" Macbook Air (with the iMac being priced only £50 more expensive). Let's compare them then:

Screen
iMac = 21.5" 1920x1080
MBA= 13.3 "1440x900
winner = easily the iMac

Processor
They have the same processor, but the iMac performs around 10-15% faster multicore wise.
winner = iMac

GPU
They both have the same GPU (Intel HD 5000)
winner = draw

RAM
iMac = 8Gb
MBA = 4Gb
winner = easily the iMac

Storage Capacity
iMac = 500Gb
MBA = 128Gb
winner = easily the iMac

Storage Speed
iMac = 100Mbps read and write
MBA = 700Mbps read and 300Mbps write
winner = easily the MBA

This really isn't overpriced when compared to the MBA. I'd say it is a very tough chose for anyone that is looking to spend roughly £900 on a Mac (or £700 on a refurb version) and doesn't need it to be portable.
 

dcat0921

macrumors newbie
May 9, 2014
3
0
So the "new" iMac is essentially a desktop Macbook Air?
Yes and with and 8.2" larger screen, and more ram, and more storage. It may not be for everyone but for people who want an iMac at a lower price it's not a bad way to go.
 

Lankyman

macrumors 68020
May 14, 2011
2,006
763
U.K.
It's a sad impostor - SJ must be spinning in his grave.

If this carries on you'll see them in the 'pile'em high sell'em cheap' stores. It really doesn't deserve to carry the iMac name.
 

MartinAppleGuy

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 27, 2013
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888
Price is too high.... Should be 899 with the hardware in it....
For anyone considering an Air though, as long as they were not going to use the portability of it (which a lot of people buy the airs and keep them plugged in), this is not bad. It is quite a hard decision between the two if you ask me.

And remember that this iMac, once put in the refurb store, will only cost around £700-750 (Uk price is £899 by the way).
 

green tea

macrumors member
Dec 4, 2008
51
3
Your post doesn't come off a bit bias at all, not to mention you left out the portability factor. Either way, seems silly to pay for a desktop with an ultrabook processor :D
 
Last edited:

MartinAppleGuy

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 27, 2013
2,242
888
Also, I would add that having the same GPU in both machines does not result in a draw, the advantage goes to the MBA, whose lower pixel count is more appropriately paired with the iGPU than the larger iMac screen.
We do no know at this time if the GPU is over-clocked due to a better heatsink so maybe not.
 

Truthfulie

macrumors regular
Dec 18, 2013
248
0
iMac definitely takes storage capacity, but SSD is much more desirable for speed. I realize the casual users who might buy this machine may not care or even know what SSD is and that the price point makes it hard to implement SSD as standard...but really Apple should start pushing SSD or Fusion as standard in all their desktop lines. Hopefully later this year as price of SSDs are rapidly dropping.
 

mad3inch1na

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2013
662
6
Here is a little comparison between the new cheaper iMac and the entry lever 13" Macbook Air. The iMac is priced almost spot on with the entry 13" Macbook Air (with the iMac being priced only £50 more expensive). Let's compare them then:

Screen
iMac = 21.5" 1920x1080
MBA= 13.3 "1440x900
winner = easily the iMac

Processor
They have the same processor, but the iMac performs around 10-15% faster multicore wise.
winner = iMac

GPU
They both have the same GPU (Intel HD 5000)
winner = draw

RAM
iMac = 8Gb
MBA = 4Gb
winner = easily the iMac

Storage Capacity
iMac = 500Gb
MBA = 128Gb
winner = easily the iMac

Storage Speed
iMac = 100Mbps read and write
MBA = 700Mbps read and 300Mbps write
winner = easily the MBA

This really isn't overpriced when compared to the MBA. I'd say it is a very tough chose for anyone that is looking to spend roughly £900 on a Mac (or £700 on a refurb version) and doesn't need it to be portable.

Not to bash you, because you spent some time putting this together, but there are two main flaws with your argument. First, an SSD is the first upgrade any consumer should get, and without it, the baseline iMac is vastly inferior to the MBA. Second, if a desktop performs about as well as a laptop, it is a horrible desktop. The iMac fails to do even that.

You could argue that a large hard drive and large amounts of RAM can be invaluable, even topping the importance of an SSD, and I would agree with you. The only scenario where that is useful though is in a professional system, where huge amounts of data are being processed on the GPU and CPU. The low-end iMac has a laptop processor and GPU, making any benefits of the iMac over the MBA completely useless.

The MBA is a well balanced machine, with components that fit together perfectly. The new iMac is based on outdated hardware combined with mobile-class components.

Matt
 

Lankyman

macrumors 68020
May 14, 2011
2,006
763
U.K.
I wouldn't call it a tough call at all. As Mad3inch1a writes it's an underpowered outdated lemon. I really thought Apple had more business sense than this.

It's basically a large screen notebook.
 
Last edited:

ncbill

macrumors regular
Aug 18, 2002
225
1
still a standard sata interface - so pick up a crucial 512GB mx100 SSD for $220 and the iMac beats the MBA even on 'storage speed'
 
Last edited:

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
231
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
still a standard sata interface - so pick up a crucial 512GB mx100 SSD for $220 and the iMac beats the MBA even on 'storage speed'
The iMac doesn't beat the MacBook Air on storage speed, rather, they are on par, as both the iMac and MacBook Air use PCIe interfaces.

Depending on your luck, you'll get a SD0256F (SanDisk) or SM0256F (Samsung) (both iMac and MacBook Air)

SD0256F: 550MB/s write and 700MB/s read.
SM0256F: 670MB/s write and 720MB/s read.

SATA-based interfaces normally don't go past 550MB/s.
 

librarian

macrumors regular
Sep 24, 2011
106
2
So I've played with this model tonight for a few hours.
It's a turd. Everything was running dog slow. The hdd has the same poor performance of the other base model but because of the much slower gpu and cpu everything was extra sluggish.
Tests done: safari and chrome with 3 tabs: lag on youtube, facebook. Netflix does not run so good in full screen mode, lots of frameskips and hangs until i killed any other tabs/ applications running, it still skipped frames.
Photoshop: intense lag and input delay with a standard a4 document and an intuos 5 tablet
After effects: total struggle on simple operations such as adding 2 10 seconds clip in 1080p res. on the timeline. To achieve decent scrubbing speed o had to put resolution to quarter. Added a pixel blur effect and tried a render: 5 minutes for a 20 second clip.

Mac os: quicklook: total struggle on aything that wasnt a jpeg image. Moderate lag on mission control. Moving tabs from finder windowcto another seems an hardcore task.

Pages, numbers: decent performance, pages starts to lag when there are many hi res pics.

Mail: ok performance until you load a 5000+ mailbox, hangs occasionally.
Calendar: runs ok

The imac need about 1 minute to shut down and about 2 minutes to boot, similar performance of the other basic model.


If the "older" base 21,5" imac was already dog slow for mid-level video and photo editing and and absolute disaster for mild multitask workflows this new model reach the absolute worst level for an imac. I never, ever had a such crap experience with an imac computer. The 2010 base i3 model totally smokes this thing on many levels. The price-performance ratio was already low on the 21 line, but this one would be pricey even if it was on sale for 800€. Not even comparable to air, wich is is super portable and faster because of ssd
 

brdeveloper

macrumors 68030
Apr 21, 2010
2,541
194
Brasil
The very first Mac was underpowered in terms of RAM according to SJ. The board of directors always wanted charging a lot of money for an underpowered spec. Hopefully, the sales of this (not) cheaper iMac will be so bad that they'll even think about de-soldering rMBP RAM or they'll seriously think on changing their business model.
 

MartinAppleGuy

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 27, 2013
2,242
888
The very first Mac was underpowered in terms of RAM according to SJ. The board of directors always wanted charging a lot of money for an underpowered spec. Hopefully, the sales of this (not) cheaper iMac will be so bad that they'll even think about de-soldering rMBP RAM or they'll seriously think on changing their business model.
Why though? Is it seriously too much to ask for you to buy according to your needs?

----------

So I've played with this model tonight for a few hours.
It's a turd. Everything was running dog slow. The hdd has the same poor performance of the other base model but because of the much slower gpu and cpu everything was extra sluggish.
Tests done: safari and chrome with 3 tabs: lag on youtube, facebook. Netflix does not run so good in full screen mode, lots of frameskips and hangs until i killed any other tabs/ applications running, it still skipped frames.
Photoshop: intense lag and input delay with a standard a4 document and an intuos 5 tablet
After effects: total struggle on simple operations such as adding 2 10 seconds clip in 1080p res. on the timeline. To achieve decent scrubbing speed o had to put resolution to quarter. Added a pixel blur effect and tried a render: 5 minutes for a 20 second clip.

Mac os: quicklook: total struggle on aything that wasnt a jpeg image. Moderate lag on mission control. Moving tabs from finder windowcto another seems an hardcore task.

Pages, numbers: decent performance, pages starts to lag when there are many hi res pics.

Mail: ok performance until you load a 5000+ mailbox, hangs occasionally.
Calendar: runs ok

The imac need about 1 minute to shut down and about 2 minutes to boot, similar performance of the other basic model.


If the "older" base 21,5" imac was already dog slow for mid-level video and photo editing and and absolute disaster for mild multitask workflows this new model reach the absolute worst level for an imac. I never, ever had a such crap experience with an imac computer. The 2010 base i3 model totally smokes this thing on many levels. The price-performance ratio was already low on the 21 line, but this one would be pricey even if it was on sale for 800€. Not even comparable to air, wich is is super portable and faster because of ssd
Could you post a video?

And just for reference my iMac (the 2.9Ghz-3.6Ghz i5, 8Gb of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT 750m w/ 1Gb of GDDR5 VRAM) boots in 35 seconds and it has a HDD.

----------

Not to bash you, because you spent some time putting this together, but there are two main flaws with your argument. First, an SSD is the first upgrade any consumer should get, and without it, the baseline iMac is vastly inferior to the MBA. Second, if a desktop performs about as well as a laptop, it is a horrible desktop. The iMac fails to do even that.

You could argue that a large hard drive and large amounts of RAM can be invaluable, even topping the importance of an SSD, and I would agree with you. The only scenario where that is useful though is in a professional system, where huge amounts of data are being processed on the GPU and CPU. The low-end iMac has a laptop processor and GPU, making any benefits of the iMac over the MBA completely useless.

The MBA is a well balanced machine, with components that fit together perfectly. The new iMac is based on outdated hardware combined with mobile-class components.

Matt
I know someone that may be looking in to getting either a MBA or this iMac, and having more RAM and a better screen as well as more storage is much more important that having it boot up in 15 seconds once every three months and have apps open faster after boot (as due to App Caching, after an App has been opened once, it will open almost instantly on a HDD afterwards until a restart due to caching used in RAM).
 

alex0002

macrumors 6502
Jun 19, 2013
485
112
New Zealand
still a standard sata interface - so pick up a crucial 512GB mx100 SSD for $220 and the iMac beats the MBA even on 'storage speed'
Even better, take it one stage further and go to Micron, the parent company of Crucial and purchase the same 16nm NAND chips used in the $110 256GB MX100 SSD (or perhaps even the $76 128GB MX100) and if they need to keep the cost down, solder them to the main board.

It's 2014 and NAND costs less than $100 for 256GB. SSD should be the default and HDD is for people who need large storage and can't figure out how to add external USB, Thunderbolt, NAS or Cloud Storage.

Some people will insist on having a 500GB or 1TB internal HDD anyway, which can be offered as an option.
 

brdeveloper

macrumors 68030
Apr 21, 2010
2,541
194
Brasil
I know someone that may be looking in to getting either a MBA or this iMac, and having more RAM and a better screen as well as more storage is much more important that having it boot up in 15 seconds once every three months and have apps open faster after boot (as due to App Caching, after an App has been opened once, it will open almost instantly on a HDD afterwards until a restart due to caching used in RAM).
Well, my Mini has 16GB of ram and I always hear the HDD spinning every time I enter a new website. I think it's the browser cache which always stores content on disk. I noted that my 2009 Macbook with a SSD loads pages faster than the Mini. That is, I think a browsing experience is better when you have a SSD.
 

MartinAppleGuy

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 27, 2013
2,242
888
Well, my Mini has 16GB of ram and I always hear the HDD spinning every time I enter a new website. I think it's the browser cache which always stores content on disk. I noted that my 2009 Macbook with a SSD loads pages faster than the Mini. That is, I think a browsing experience is better when you have a SSD.
I have never had that. I know that Google Chrome does some reads and writes to the HDD though. I never hear my HDD. and webpages load almost instantly (I have the 802.11ac WiFi).
 
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