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Apple's 24'' iMac - All-in-One with OS Options

Apple's 24'' iMac - All-in-One with OS Options
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The iMac has had a firm place in Apple’s product line ever since its introduction in 1998. This is hardly surprising considering that many credit it with practically saving the company and helping it re-emerge on the stage. Each of the iMac’s generations came with its own characteristic design that may not have been everyone’s cup of tea but certainly influenced other companies’ design efforts in one way or another. Thus Apple’s all-in-one consumer system quickly secured its spot in the limelight and shows no sign of relinquishing it any time soon.

In 2006, Apple surprised and in some cases shocked the world by switching from PowerPC processors to Intel CPUs. This move opened up a great many options for the company, not the least of which was giving users the option of booting into Windows as well as its own OS X operating system. Many who had previously only hypothetically considered Apple hardware now found themselves with a safety net of sorts, allowing them to test the waters before taking the plunge and switching to Apple completely. Tom’s Hardware had the opportunity to take a closer look at the 24" model of the current iMac series.

Design

Apple tends to polarise its audience. People tend to either fall in love with its designs or reject them. Either way, the iMac certainly has the "Wow-factor" on its side. It’s hard to imagine that full-fledged a PC could be this thin, especially after having looked at the list of components the slim enclosure houses. Although it sounds like an overused cliché (not to mention an advertisement) by now, iMac owners should get used to the question "But where’s the computer?"

24-inch iMac Apple

Click on any image to launch the slideshow.

In designing the current generation of iMacs, Apple made a departure from its previous colour scheme. While the previous iMac used the same white-and-acrylic colour combination as the rest of the consumer products (iBook/MacBook, iMac, mac Mini), the current iMac now sports the aluminium enclosure previously reserved for the professional lines (Powermac/Mac Pro, Powerbook/MacBook Pro). This model also comes with a glossy screen that is flush with the rest of the enclosure and no longer recessed by a few millimetres. The iSight camera still sits in the middle of the frame atop the display. Due to the black bezel it is much harder to make out, though. The imac also retains its characteristic chin that has become something of a trademark of the recent iMac lines. On the whole, the new design gives the current iMac a more serious feel that that of its white predecessor.

24-inch iMac Apple

From a purely visual perspective, the large screen has one major disadvantage. Every smudge and fingerprint stands out on the glossy surface. Apple, always known for its attention to detail, ships a polishing cloth for this very reason.

24-inch iMac Apple

Apple has also redesigned the keyboard completely. The previous model shipped with the classic Apple keyboard with its sloped rows of keys that notoriously caught every crumb or speck of dust that happened to float by. The new keyboard follows the design motto of the new iMac - it is extremely slim. We’ve recently seen another keyboard that features individually spaced keys with very short travel in an Apple product, namely the MacBook. It seems the company liked this design enough to carry it over into the desktop realm. The white optical Mighty Mouse remains unchanged, although the iMac’s version comes with a very short cord.

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  • 0 Hide
    rtfm , 12 April 2008 04:39
    Heesh, you can keep your £1,149.00, I'll spend it on two faster pcs instead...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 12 April 2008 12:04
    rtfm,
    You're not the target market. iMacs are not for gamers who want a big noisy box that you can put great honkin video cards into - they're for people who want a silent, slim computer that won't look out of place on the coffee table in the lounge "that just works". Like a laptop, you can?t upgrade the video card or swap the internal screen or CPU, but like a laptop, you *can* upgrade the internal HD or RAM, plug in Firewire or USB external drives, connect an external screen as big as you like etc.

    We have the 2.8GHz, 4GB RAM 24 incher iMac with 3 EyeTV digital TV tuners in our lounge acting as our home media centre with the optical audio-out plugged into our home theatre sound system and data projector for when we have larger groups watching movies and it works a treat.

    For those who are in this demographic, compare the iMac to other PCs in the same form factor - the Del XPS One or the Gateway One or the Sony VAIO LT19U and it comes in cheaper, faster and better looking and with the ability to run Windows and Mac OS X natively and it?s not a bad choice.

    Here's a classic quote from Cnet about the Dell XPS One vs the iMac:

    "You know your performance is in trouble when your gaming scores are slower than a Mac's. But on every test, from music encoding to photo editing to multitasking, the XPS One falls behind the iMac that costs $750 less."

    Horses for courses and each to his or her own.

    -Mart
  • 0 Hide
    dobby , 13 April 2008 20:07
    simple equation live on true to a next generation of apple produects.
    Overprice + underspec = rip off crappy products

    +if you want apple media centre then why wouldnt you get a Mac Mini or Apple TV and hook it up to a TV designed to be a TV, on the grpund that the apple screen would poudce a high enough contrast ration. Althoguh i would still get a Vista Box with Media Centre (or Myth TV with Linux ;) 
    and keep saving money.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 14 April 2008 14:27
    PC users when are you going to understand; MAC is a whole package, You got the beautiful operating system, you got well design pieces of hardware with features that PC vendors don't even think of implementing into there system. You may said but Mac users don't have the advantages of upgrading to the latest hardware but I will tell you a prefer a video card with a well written driver, that it would let me play the game without any glitches; you can keep your latest hardware with half cook drivers that all it will give you is a headache.
    Why do you think XP and Vista run so smooth on MAC hardware.... This is something for PC users to think about.
    I got a PC at home and a Mac and let me tell you life is soooo much easier with a MAC.
  • 0 Hide
    sandifop , 14 April 2008 17:56
    I think I'll frame these comments, they illustrate how hard it is to roll square rocks. The PC guys are right, from their point of view. Macs are more expensive than a 4 fan beige box and the $ is their priority. Mac guys have their priority; design, usability and silence are valid priorities. This isn't team sports, people. Both sides manage sound like cranky old a$$.
  • 0 Hide
    waxdart , 14 April 2008 20:51
    It’s known that if you pay a Mac price for PC parts you will end up with a better PC system. Design / Silent has its price.

    And as for usability – you’re talking about operating system Vs operating system.

    I like mine with a little less DRM. So neither win. And if you don't know what DRM is then go learn.

    1. I like Macs, but not the price.
    2. (XP) I’ve no love for it; but it pays the bills.
    3. Ubuntu, I love the free price. Not ready for prime time.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 18 April 2008 19:40
    I find it amusing that a mac fanboy has taken the time to tell me that apple "just works" as opposed to the big, nasty noisy PC (because they're all like that kids).
    Well that's not been my experience. Try and connect to a network printer on a mac, just try it... then learn how to re-write FreeBSD just to get it working, even HP's awful PC software does a better job. Try using an Outlook archive, ooops you can't. Try playing a game that looks like it was made in the last ten years, nothing. Try using around 90% of the software on the market today...
    If you're the sort of person who hasn't got requirements above reading a website, more money than sense and have decisions easily swayed by marketing then buy a mac be become part of the moron club.
    Then spend your time trying to convert others, hopefully this will give you more chance of finding someone out there who you can help you use your 'computer', you know, for when you finally get around to writing that novel you've been telling the girls about (they don't believe you by the way).
  • 0 Hide
    ryzor , 20 April 2008 01:19
    i dont see the arguement. mac=nice looking, works out of the box...
    pc=(can be)nice looking, works out of the box, plays games+hd video.
    to me, a mac is more of a status icon (to some anyway) and a pc is something that does the job. you can get pc's that "just work", and likewise i know a family friend who has had a terrible experience with his 24" imac.
    personally i dont see the problem with having a simple cable runnning from a quiet box under my table (a pc) to my screen, its just not that big a deal. my pc is also sufficiently good looking and unobtrusive that i would put it in my living room. so for me, the mac has absolutely no plus points. however...since i do lots of audio work, maybe a mac pro and pro-tools hd would be attractive, but again, mac pro is basically just a pc with osx (not all in one, nice and powerful, does what i want) so there is not much there either...
  • 0 Hide
    philholt10 , 20 April 2008 02:45
    wow a low end pc for £1,149.00
  • 0 Hide
    alexmg , 23 April 2008 11:42
    I agree with some of the comments... People that are obsess with PC and can't see anything out they need to open there eyes these are new days.
    People are happy to pay more for a well design piece of hardware.. Anyway is not all about the hardware is the whole package that make Mac a good system.. Software and hardware go hand in hand.
    read this article it may change your mind.
    http://arstechnica.com/articles/culture/what-microsoft-could-learn-from-apple.ars/1
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , 24 April 2008 21:17
    I cant believe there are people out there that still dont get this.... MAC HARDWARE ISN'T BETTER THAN PC HARDWARE FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST!
    Both PC's and Mac's get the same ram the same motherboards and now they even use the same damned processors, EVERYTHING and i mean everything is the god damn same except for the freaking case it goes in and what OS it runs, so people who dont wanna play games can get a mac it'll make no difference and people who get a PC can pretty much do everything, yeah it doesnt have some of the software but boooohooooo cry it off and go find 1 of the hundreds of versions of the same software...this isn't about which side is better anymore, its just who has the bigger ego...

  • 0 Hide
    AlexisV , 10 May 2008 03:11
    Regarding cost, remember PC's are worth very little second hand. Buy an iMac, sell it in 3 year's time and you've got a large chunk of cash towards a new one.

    To use a car term, PC's are generally 'depreciation disasters' and the only way to avoid losing money is to upgrade the mobo, CPU, memory and GPU every couple of years. Fine for Tom's Hardware readers, but not for a large chunk of the PC market.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , 13 May 2008 23:01
    I always find it amusing that you mac owners think PC's come in a build it yourself kit or somthing without working video drivers.

    "Why do you think XP and Vista run so smooth on MAC hardware.... This is something for PC users to think about"

    er yeah let me think about that.. er mabey it is because a Mac is basicly entirely PC hardware, in a different BOX. Hell I got OS X booting on my PC for a laugh once.