About the Summer 2014 iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Thermonuclear, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. Thermonuclear, Jul 11, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014

    Thermonuclear macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2009
    Consider some of features seen in the Summer 2014 iMac:

    1. 21.5 inch LCD/IPS HD display (1920x1080)
    2. Dual core Intel Haswell CPU running at 1.4 GHz
    3. Four high speed USB ports
    4. Wired Ethernet
    5. HD camera (1280x720)
    6. Speakers and headphone jack
    7. Keyboard and mouse
    8. Video input capability
    9. Free cloud storage; can be expanded for a price
    10. Many applications available for download; many are free
    11. Automatic update capability
    12. No Microsoft junk
    13. The OS can be overwritten with Linux

    Not the greatest desktop machine, but one which will provide most students or a casual user with everything they need.

    And you can get of this for US$349

    "Wait", you say. "The 2014 iMac costs US$1,099. You must have made a mistake."

    The 2014 iMac does cost US$1,099, but I'm not talking about any iMac. I'm referring to the 2014 LG Chromebase desktop.


    It's got an SSD as standard equipment, too.

    Seven hundred and fifty bucks less than the iMac. That's a 68% savings. You could buy three of these for the price of one iMac. Yet somehow both LG and Google make money on these, along with the application writers.

    Knowing all of this, could you still recommend the 2014 iMac to most students or casual users?
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    No, I usually recommend a laptop to students. They generally need a mobile solution.

    I also don't think you're getting your money's worth regarding this model, and I think the other iMacs are a better purchase.
  3. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    8GB of RAM VS 2GB
    500GB HDD VS 16GB SSD
    Amazing Aluminium Unibody enclosure VS plastic that actually as to be assembled by the user
    OS X VS ChomeOS

    Even if you put linux on it, that really doesn't have the amount of... student software that OS X has. I am one of these people who feel that the software included on a Mac is worth quite a bit, as well as saving you the hassle of both having to buy it and re-buying it after so many years.

    While I do agree that the 1.4Ghz iMac is steep on the price side, I still see most students going for the 2.7 model. Students can justify the extra £200 for a much better machine. I feel that the target audience for this new iMac is for elderly people who just want something that gets the jobs done (you have no idea how bad Windows is to someone who uses a computer for the first time and is in their old age). This Chrome thing would also work for their needs, but for students...no.

    This is all just my opinion.
  4. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    All that information aside, I still wouldn't recommend the new iMac to anyone.

    It is like telling people to invest their money in Blockbuster because it is a better investment than giving your money to a Nigerian prince. It is technically better, but they are still both terrible ideas.

    I am not saying the ChromeBase is a bad idea, as I am sure it is a great computer for some people. There are a large range of options out there though, so comparing against the iMac doesn't really convince me that I should get a ChromeBase, because every computer has a better value than the new iMac.
  5. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    You forgot one more thing - Thunderbolt vs no Thunderbolt.
  6. Truthfulie macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2013
    The target audience for this machine has no use for Thunderbolt whatsoever.
  7. Intelligent macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2013
  8. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    Sorry :)
  9. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    They don't have any use for it, but at least they can add in crazy peripherals for more power should the need arise, cost notwithstanding.

    For instance, a Sonnet III-D + desktop GPU would give a good eGPU solution.
  10. crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2011
    I'm a fairly confident Google fan boy most days, but I have yet to understand what ChromeOS is about - web apps, fine, but how the hell am I supposed to get anything done with just web apps?

    It's a simple solution good enough for kids/schools needs and people who use computers to browse, play Youtube videos and hang on Facebook, I'm not sure I'd recommend this for college students (perhaps it's good enough, who knows), but I know for sure I'm not the target audience for this stuff.
  11. Truthfulie, Jul 11, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014

    Truthfulie macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2013
    eGPU solution yields terrible price to performance ratio and if I remember correctly, eGPU can only be used with external monitor? No one in the right mind would purchase this budget iMac and invest in Thunderbolt equipment such as Sonnet that would cost as much as iMac itself...
  12. Thermonuclear thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2009
    Forgive me, but I forgot to mention that the LG Chromebase, like the Summer 2014 iMac, also has built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, and 1.6 GHz DDR3 RAM. Instead of Apple's stingy 5 GB cloud storage, the Chromebase comes with 100 GB.

    See: http://www.lg.com/us/all-in-one-chromebase/lg-Chromebase-22CV241-W/technical-specifications
    Unlike the iMac, the LG machine includes conveniently placed front-mounted controls (power, volume, brightness, etc.) and a few side-mounted ports (USB, audio). These are features that Apple dropped from the iMac as part of what Apple calls "progress".

    The HDMI input (no adapter needed) supports HDCP and so also supports Blu-ray playback and cable TV output. The Chromebase can also be used as a monitor for any game console with HDMI output, or even as a monitor for a recent Mac Mini.

    I don't know if the LG machine's CPU, RAM, or SSD can be easily replaced; but things can be no worse than with the iMac.

    Agreed, it's not a notebook. But that's okay, because for those who are better served by a mobile solution, there are a bunch of different Chromebooks which are notebooks. Most of these are a third of the cost of a Mac Book Air.

    If a student or casual user buys an iMac while their needs could be met by a Chromebase, what do they get for the extra US$750 (+215%) they paid? A thinner machine? Lots of shiny aluminum?
  13. Thermonuclear thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2009
    I assure you that I am no Google fan boy, but even I can see the value in some of these:


    More specifically:


    Apparently, the central idea is that Google will maintain everything on their storage while a Chrome OS machine will cache applications and user data.

    An alternative is to toss Chrome OS and install Linux to do all of your own programming in C, C++, Pascal, Lisp, Fortran, or whatever.


    You are correct. Any peripheral device likely to be used by a Chrome OS user could be connected my one of the USB ports, even a secondary monitor but more likely an external drive. Regarding the lack of a need for Thunderbolt, isn't the same true of the target audience of the Summer 2014 iMac?
  14. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    The problem with Chrome OS is Google can track your entire usage, instead of just your search results. This is the reason I'd never get Googles broadband, they would just be storing all data to sell later on. If my data is worth so much, why can't I sell it myself and make some money ;)
  15. Truthfulie macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2013
    That's where I was getting at. Someone above was mentioning that LG machine doesn't have TB therefore inferior when the truth is that having TB connection on iMac doesn't make it anymore appealing than the LG machine. With that said...I see iMac as something that doesn't offer much value in terms of specifications yet ChromeOS doesn't provide same level of flexibility and app selection which can and will be a problem even for the users of this target audience.
  16. Thermonuclear thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2009
    On the other hand

    On the other hand, there are some compromises using the LG Chromebase. Some of these can be remedied, but at extra cost.

    1. There is only 2 GB of RAM. While this may be plenty at present, it could be a different story a couple of years from now.

    2. The WiFi is 802.11 a/b/g/n only and does not include 802.11ac.

    3. The included 16 GB SSD will be a bit cramped for users with large data requirements. This can be alleviated by keeping everything in the cloud or by connecting more storage via the LAN or an external drive. The cloud is free but takes time for access; the cloud allocation can be increased beyond 100 GB, but there's a fee for that.

    4. The free email has advertising, as perhaps is the case with some of the free applications. There are ways to evade such ads, just as there are ways to evade most web ads.

    5. The keyboard and mouse are wired (USB), and are not of the highest quality. There is no USB hub in the keyboard, so it and the mouse eat two of the four USB ports. It might not be possible to physically reposition the key caps for alternative layouts (e.g., Dvorak).

    6. Installing Linux will likely take several non-trivial steps because of the box's Secure Boot nonsense and is probably not supported by the manufacturer. Reverting to the default Chrome OS might not be easy. Installing a dual boot for Chrome OS and Linux might not be practical or even possible. One can get automated updating of either Chrome OS and Linux, but maybe not both on the same machine.

    7. There is no SD card slot, a drawback for many camera users who will have to buy a USB adapter.

    8. Connecting a secondary monitor requires a USB adapter, and software support might be lacking.

    9. It is unclear if there is any support for Apple's iOS devices unless Linux is running. Those with Android gadgets will probably be okay.

    10. The power supply is an external brick. Easy to replace, but it's an annoyance when the machine needs to be relocated.

    11. Only one of the four USB ports is USB 3; the rest are USB 2.
  17. Thermonuclear thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2009
    The above is the only real argument against Chrome OS for many potential users. It's not a good solution for someone in the business world who works with sensitive corporate data. Even if Google has a good privacy policy in place, can you be sure that each and every Google employee and contractor will follow that policy 100% of the time?

    It's different for most students and casual users, though. And you can dump Chrome OS for Linux:

  18. zarf2007 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2010
    London, UK
  19. Thermonuclear thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2009
    I will probably get one of these, but first I want to see someone document a successful installation of a vanilla Debian Linux distribution which supports all of the ports, the controls, etc. An alternative would be to keep the Chrome OS and use it for developing applications for sale.

    Developing for and with a Linux Chromebase should be easy, although compilations will be much slower compared with a more conventional desktop machine. I've had no problem doing such with a US$55 BeagleBone Black single board computer with a 16 GB SD card, and that machine has only 512 MB RAM and only a 1 GHz 32 bit single core CPU. It's got wired Ethernet and the same 1920x1080 HDMI output, though.
  20. Thermonuclear thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2009
    A little research shows:

    1. The Chromebase can be assembled or disassembled with a screwdriver and a little care. There's no need for a special pry tool or a tape/glue kit.

    2. The RAM is socketed; there is a single SO-DIMM socket which holds a 1,600 MHz SO-DIMM module, the same kind of RAM used by the recent iMac and Mac mini machines. This socket comes standard with 2 GB module which must be removed for an upgrade.

    3. The machine can accept (at least) an 8 GB module; these cost from about US$80 to US$100.

    4. There is a definite performance increase using an 8 GB module vs the stock 2 GB module.

    5. No information yet about upgrading the 16 GB SSD.
  21. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Keep in mind that not everyone has fast Internet that can upload several gigabytes of files into the cloud in a minute.

    Cloud storage isn't really that viable for large files, until the entire world has access to at least 100 Mb/s of Internet speeds.
  22. joe-h2o, Jul 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014

    joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2012
    Ah, another rhymes-with-roll thread.

    I should post a photo of someone striking a formerly-alive equine.

    Celeron CPU, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB storage. lol.

    I thought you said this was comparable to an iMac.

    Oh wait, the new iMac somehow wronged your family and so you made it your life's mission to point out to people how you think it is the worst thing since Alaska was sold for $50.

    Keep on fighting the good fight, kid!

    Edit: it just gets more laughable by the second:

    One USB 3 port, the others are USB 2 and you need two of them for the wired keyboard and mouse plus 802.11n wifi only.

    Oh, and of course, you are limited to running it as a chomebox or putting Linux on it - I wondered why the rhymes-with-foal OP put "installing Linux" as a feature of the iMac.

    I guess I can do that too. Positive feature of the iMac: you can use it as a boat anchor, which you can also do with this chrome box thing, but for less money!
  23. Thermonuclear thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2009
    You are correct in that not everyone has blindingly fast Internet access. In particular, access in the US is surprisingly poor compared to much of Europe and East Asia.

    However, the situation is improving for most, albeit at a modest rate.

    The question is: can a Chrome OS machine be used even without super fast access? Downloading web applications from the Google Store usually needs to be done only once per program as they are cached in local persistent storage. Bandwidth limitations are more likely to arise from moving user data back and forth. But that data need not be transferred in real time if it can be cached in local storage and a Chrome machine can always be expanded with a USB drive if more storage is needed. The cloud is like a big backup disk, not like a processor; nearly all of application's processing is done locally.

    It looks like the Chromebase is a usable machine even if Internet access is limited as long as there is sufficient local storage for whatever a currently running application might need for its data.
  24. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
  25. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    [[ If a student or casual user buys an iMac while their needs could be met by a Chromebase, what do they get for the extra US$750 (+215%) they paid? A thinner machine? Lots of shiny aluminum? ]]

    Does the LG come with a working copy of the Mac OS?

    If not, it's all-but worthless to me...

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