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Apr 12, 2001
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Despite its impressive performance, the new 24-inch iMac powered by the M1 Apple silicon chip, a new project shows that upgrading a previous-generation 21.5-inch ‌iMac‌ with an Intel Core i9 processor can deliver similar or even better performance.


The new 24-inch iMac is up to 56% faster than the previous generation 21.5-inch iMac with an Intel processor, which it is replacing. The current highest-end 21.5-inch iMac available features an Intel Core i5 processor, but the desktop computer was previously offered with an Intel Core i7.

Now, taking matters into his own hands, Apple YouTuber Luke Miani, in his latest video, decided to outfit the previous generation 21.5-inch iMac with Intel's latest Core i9 processor. A configuration never offered by Apple officially.

Out of the box, the 21.5-inch iMac featured the Intel Core i3 8100 processor, 8GB of RAM, the Radeon Pro 555X graphics card, and 256GB of SSD storage. Miani himself upgrades the iMac to include the Intel Core i9 9900 and 32GB of RAM. All in all, including the upgrades, the 21.5-inch iMac costs $1,250. In contrast, the baseline 24-inch iMac with 8GB of RAM used in the comparison costs $1,299.

In initial tests focused on graphics, such as Geekbench 5, the M1 iMac outperforms the custom 21.5-inch iMac with a score of 7,700, compared to the Intel Core i9 scoring 7,400. In Geekbench tests for computing, the M1 iMac scores 20,000 compared to the 21.5-inch ‌iMac‌ featuring the Radeon Pro 555X, receiving a score of 15,789.

In more computing-centric tests, such as Cinebench, the Intel Core i9 scores 9,214, compared to the roughly 7,500 scores for the M1 iMac. In a Blender render test, the M1 iMac takes around six minutes to render a sample project, while the custom-built 21.5-inch iMac completes the render in three minutes and thirty seconds. It's worth noting, however, that Blender on M1 is running through Rosetta emulation, meaning there is a slight drawback in performance.

The full video by Miani is a great watch for those interested in possibly upgrading their own iMac with improved RAM, and a more powerful processor.

Article Link: Custom Built 21.5-inch iMac with Intel Core i9 Outperforms 24-inch M1 iMac in Tests
 

Sebosz

macrumors regular
Mar 12, 2015
185
944
Poland
This brings one interesting thing about these new iMacs - their prices. I know it’s been said many times, but the fact that Apple is offering a 256/8 configuration for $1250 is just absurd. I’ve seen phones with more memory. Or let me put it this way - the money they ask for upgrading these is sick, especially now when nothing in these devices is user-upgradable. It’s just ridiculous.
And before someone says “if you don’t like it don’t buy it” - I’d love to buy one, but I’m not gonna pay 2x more just because I want a 16/1024 configuration.
 

ThisBougieLife

macrumors 68030
Jan 21, 2016
2,862
9,307
SF Bay Area, California
Yeah there’s no denying the 21.5” iMac was neutered over the years. It used to be closer in performance to the 27”, just smaller. (Same thing happened with the Mac Mini, which used to have a dGPU until 2014). So I hope the 24” is offered with an M1X or whatever it ends up being called. I love the form factor of the 24” iMac but wish it had a bit more GPU power.
 

Chicane-UK

macrumors 6502
Apr 26, 2008
443
1,082
Yeah I mean cool little project but... my only thoughts are what's the TDP compared to the M1, with the i9 9900 and that GPU combined? Probably at least 6-7x that of the M1. And therefore, I hope you like the sound of the cooling fans running to keep that thing cool if you put it under any kind of load for more than 30 seconds..
 

macsplusmacs

macrumors 68000
Nov 23, 2014
1,546
7,040
Yeah I mean cool little project but... my only thoughts are what's the TDP compared to the M1, with the i9 9900 and that GPU combined? Probably at least 6-7x that of the M1. And therefore, I hope you like the sound of the cooling fans running to keep that thing cool if you put it under any kind of load for more than 30 seconds..


Agreed. What's the NOISE LEVEL OF THE FAN when i do something as simple as watching a youtube clip??

LOUD YOU SAY???
 

Art Mark

macrumors 6502
Jan 6, 2010
431
809
Oregon
This brings one interesting thing about these new iMacs - their prices. I know it’s been said many times, but the fact that Apple is offering a 256/8 configuration for $1250 is just absurd. I’ve seen phones with more memory. Or let me put it this way - the money they ask for upgrading these is sick, especially now when nothing in these devices is user-upgradable. It’s just ridiculous.
And before someone says “if you don’t like it don’t buy it” - I’d love to buy one, but I’m not gonna pay 2x more just because I want a 16/1024 configuration.
Do you feel the same way about BMW cars, breakfast cereal, oil, decent food in a grocery store, or is it just in Apple products you've suddenly discovered that business run on greed?
 

dannys1

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2007
3,294
5,881
UK
This brings one interesting thing about these new iMacs - their prices. I know it’s been said many times, but the fact that Apple is offering a 256/8 configuration for $1250 is just absurd. I’ve seen phones with more memory. Or let me put it this way - the money they ask for upgrading these is sick, especially now when nothing in these devices is user-upgradable. It’s just ridiculous.
And before someone says “if you don’t like it don’t buy it” - I’d love to buy one, but I’m not gonna pay 2x more just because I want a 16/1024 configuration.

I think they're incredibly cheap considering the performance you get. The iMac with it's built in monitor is a steal - it's also no where near twice as much to upgrade.
 
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