My new 20" iMac side-by-side with old 20" iMac, and a quick review

Discussion in 'iMac' started by rogersmj, Aug 10, 2007.

  1. rogersmj macrumors 68020


    Sep 10, 2006
    Indianapolis, IN
    First things
    Maybe someone's posted comparison pics already, but I haven't seen them. So I used my first foray into iWeb to try my hand at having it do all the dirty work and create an album for me. Not bad (I like it gives you the new "Skim" feature on an album). I'm a web designer and coder, so I don't really need iWeb, but I hate dealing with things like Gallery or setting up photo pages manually. iWeb worked just fine for this task.

    New iMac vs. Old iMac gallery

    First impressions
    I bought the 20" 2.0 GHz model and upgraded the RAM to 2GB myself as soon as I got home. I love the new iMac for the most part. The new keyboard is great, although I wish it came in full-size wireless. I'm trying it out on a provisional basis (I do have a bluetooth version of the old keyboard that I've been using for months), and so far I'm not motivated to go back. I got used to typing on it right away. The only thing that bugs me about it -- and this REALLY bugs me -- is they had to go and move all the function keys around. I want my volume control back over the number pad, damnit. And why give us a labeled key for Expose All Windows if you're not going to give us one for Expose Desktop? No biggie, I thought, I'll just set that to F11 like it's alway--oh wait, I can't use F11, that's VOLUME DOWN now. Argh. I guess I'll get used to it. I can definitely get used to the dedicated iTunes more awkward three-key Quicksilver shortcuts for me to Play/Pause and skip tracks in iTunes.

    The screen...WOW. I always thought the display on my Core 2 Duo iMac (September of 2006) was one of the best displays I'd seen in terms of brightness and vivid color, but the new one blows it away. In fact, it makes my Dell 2007wfp, which I have hooked up to the iMac and which uses the same high-quality IPS panel as the previous white iMac, almost look like a cheap display. I was a little concerned once I read that the new iMac uses a TN panel instead of IPS, because TN panels have a reputation for not being as color-accurate as IPS panels...but it is incredibly bright and vivid without over-saturating the colors. I'm quite impressed. And the whole machine, although not a notable performance upgrade from my last-gen iMac, definitely feels a little snappier. I do kind of wish the screen were matte, but the glossy really isn't getting in my way. If this glossy glass is the reason the screen is so freaking awesome, I'll take it. By the way, I don't game at all, so I don't care that the 3D performance of the graphics card...well, sucks. So watch out for that if you do game on your Mac.

    Except for the black Apple logo on the front, which I think will take a little getting used to, the case is super-sexy. Yes, it's quite a different feel from the white iMac, but I like it. IMO, photos don't quite do it justice. Its edges are so trim and the way the glass is perfectly flush with the aluminum almost makes the old one look a touch clunky. I still think the white is quite classy. In my mind, the aluminum iMac = sexy and the white = classy. But that's just me.

    One major difference that I can't explain is that this one runs my server drive mount script (that I use at boot to connect to my Linux file server) almost instantaneously...whereas the white iMac would sit there and think about it for a good 20 or 30 seconds, the Automator icon spinning up in the menu bar. Both are connected to my network via a Gigabit switch. I did format the white iMac once, and it still behaved the same before and after, and since I used Migration Assistant my new aluminum iMac is setup exactly the same as the old one. Must be some subtle difference in the networking chipset and how it talks to my home network.

    Another subtle difference is the Mighty Mouse. I don't use the Mighty Mouse (I use a Logitech Revolution VX), but I did notice that the new iMac's MM cord is a good 4-6 inches shorter than the old one, and it has white side buttons instead of gray. Probably worthless information, but I hadn't seen anyone point that out yet.

    Sidenote: this was my first time using Migration Assistant. Wow, talk about a timesaver. It got everything moved and setup perfectly, except for UNO. Most excellent.

    Good computer, a decent evolution (excepting 3D video performance) of the iMac. Sharp looks, snappy performance (even on this base model), and a reasonably good value to boot.

  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    How does the video performance stack up to the old iMac?
  3. rogersmj thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 10, 2006
    Indianapolis, IN
    Well as I said I've never played any 3D games on either, so I can't speak to that. From what I've heard, it's about the same, which is pretty sad for a much newer design, especially considering the old 20" iMac wasn't a good gamer to begin with.

    As far as video encoding/decoding...everything plays very smoothly, and although I haven't encoded any video yet I have heard that this new line's graphics chips have a built-in H.264 encoder, which should make such tasks substantially less CPU-intensive.

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