On the 6th May 1998 Steve Jobs introduced us to the iMac. It was without question the model that saved Apple, introduced us to the “I” prefix and set the tone for design led devices that are now adored the world over. Today, it is by far the most popular Apple Mac that we lease and is the cornerstone of many a marketing agency, design or printing company. Here we examine how it has evolved and which one is right for your business.
When it was first released the iMac introduced to us to the “I” prefix which stood for internet, individual, instruct, inform and inspire. It was Bondi Blue and targeted at consumers allowing them to easily surf the net. Centred on a 1024×768, 15-inch CRT and featuring a 233 MHz G3 processor, 32 MB RAM, 4GB hard drive and a CD-ROM drive, it was a commercial success.
Nearly 17 years on, the iMac is available in 21.5” or 27” display and since last October we have the incredible 27” 5K Retina model. All 3 models are characterised by the elegant slim design. In fact the 21.5” model only takes up 7” of desk space from front to back. Excusing the low cost iMac, which is really only for home or office admin use, the iMac ships with Intel Haswell Quad Core i5 processors. A Quad Core i7 being is standard on the Retina model and available as an upgrade on the top of the range 21.5 and 27” versions. The i5 processors are more than capable for everyday creative tasks. If you are going to do a lot of encoding or data transforming consider the i7.
In terms of RAM the 27” model comes with 8GB of RAM but this is easily upgradeable and we have historically provided our machines with a free upgrade to 16GB. The 21.5” RAM is preconfigured so it is important to consider this when ordering. If you are working on big Photoshop files, video editing or alike more RAM will be a real bonus. Graphics capability is always a big question for many of our customers. The 2.7GHz 21.5” iMac uses the integrated Intel Iris Pro Graphics. We have many customers who utilise this machine and feel that it represents great value for money. There is still a stigma attached to integrated graphics but the Intel Iris Pro Graphics is a real step forward. The NVIDIA graphics then spreads across the rest of the range with a maximum of a 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M available on the top end 27” range.
The 5K Retina model comes with a 2GB Radeon R9 M290X graphics that can be upgraded to the 4GB R9 M295X. Regardless of which iMac you choose, the graphics capabilities are there to satisfy all but the hungriest of video editing professionals. The final point to note is of course the displays. The size is the first consideration and that is just about how much real estate you would like. On top of that it is all about the resolution. The 21.5” gives you a 1920 x 1080 pixel display, the 27” 2560 x 1440 and the 5K Retina is an amazing 5120 x 2880 pixels. That’s twice the vertical resolution and twice the horizontal resolution of the other 27- inch models. It is simply stunning.
A phrases that our team can often be heard saying is that all the iMacs are great. The 21.5” is an exceptionally robust machine that can handle serious amounts of workload. The smaller size does also mean that it is very popular for more crowded offices. The 27” version is our most popular model and this can only be down to its greater performance, extra real estate and the ease of increasing the RAM capability. So that just leaves the 27” iMac with 5K Retina Display. Putting the Mac Pro to one side it is Apple’s most powerful machine, it comes with an integrated 5K display and when it comes to bragging rights it cannot be beaten. Whether you need 14.7 million pixels, can of course be debated, but it Apple products have never been about need. They have been about excitement, just like that Bondi Blue iMac in 1998.