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27-inch iMac 2010 Review: Review of the i3, i5, and i7 27-inch iMac

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27-inch iMac 2010 Review – Review of the i3, i5, and i7 27-inch iMac

27-inch iMac, Summer 2010

Courtesy of Apple

The Bottom Line

The 2010 update to the 27-inch iMac is mainly a speed bump, slipping in higher clock speeds for the Quad-Core i5 and Quad-Core i7 models. The more drastic change, and one for the better I might add, is that Apple finally leaves behind the Intel Core 2 Duo line of processors and now supplies an Intel Dual-Core i3 for the entry-level 27-inch iMac.

Pros

  • IPS panels provide wide color gamut and color accuracy.
  • Quad-Core processor options available.
  • Bi-directional Mini DisplayPort offers video in capabilities.
  • SSD options let you have two drives installed.
  • 4 SO-DIMM slots for a total of 16 GB of RAM.

Cons

  • Still no Blu-ray options.
  • Hard drive and SSD are not user serviceable parts.
  • No matte finish display options.

Description

  • Choice of Dual-Core i3 and i5 processors, as well as Quad-Core i5 and i7 processors.
  • Hyperthreading on all models; Turbo Boost on all i5 and i7 models.
  • ATI Radeon HD 5670 or 5750 graphics processor.
  • 1 TB and 2 TB hard drive options, plus a 256 GB SSD option.
  • One FireWire 800 port.
  • Four USB 2.0 ports.
  • One SDXC card slot.
  • Mini DisplayPort. (Bi-directional; can be used for video-in.)
  • AirPort Extreme 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, 10/100/1000 Ethernet.
  • Built-in iSight, microphone, and stereo speakers.

Guide Review - 27-inch iMac 2010 Review: Review of the i3, i5, and i7 27-inch iMac

The 2010 iMacs are going to be very popular. With revamped processors and graphics, these new models are winners.

iMac Processor Choices

The 27-inch iMac is available in two standard configurations, as well as a custom built-to-order model. The least expensive 27-inch iMac is configured with either a 3.2 GHz Intel Dual-Core i3 or a 3.6 GHz Intel Dual-Core i5. The i3 model supports hyperthreading, the ability to run two threads on a single core, making the Dual-Core i3 appear to the operating system as having four available cores. The i3 doesn't support Turbo Boost, however. Turbo Boost can crank up the clock rate when only a single core is in use. To get the benefits of Turbo Boost, you'll need to select one of the i5 or i7 processors for the iMac.

The other standard 27-inch iMac uses a 2.8 GHz Intel Quad-Core i5. It can optionally be custom configured to use a 2.93 Intel Quad-Core i7. Both of the i5 and i7 processor options support both hyperthreading and Turbo Boost.

Graphics

The iMac's graphics also got a bit of a speed bump. The 27-inch model uses one of two ATI Radeon graphics solutions: the HD 5670 with 512 MB of RAM in the dual-core configured iMacs, and the HD 5750 with 1 GB of RAM in the two Quad-Core configured iMacs.

The ATI Radeon HD 5750 is a compelling graphics upgrade. With double the graphics RAM, the HD 5750 will be the choice for individuals who want to make their 27-inch iMac a graphics workstation, or who like to play a few games now and then. The HD 5670 is no slouch, though. While not quite as nimble as the HD 5750, it will easily handle the needs of most Mac users.

Display

The 27-inch iMac uses an LED backlit IPS panel, which provides good color accuracy and a wide color gamut. The display has a native resolution of 2560x1440, and is simply gorgeous.

Storage and Memory

All of the 27-inch iMacs come equipped with 4 GB of RAM and the ability to install up to 16 GB using all four RAM slots. The iMac's hard drive options include a 1 or 2 TB drive. You can also choose to install a 256 GB SSD (Solid State Drive), either in place of the standard hard drive, or in conjunction with it, giving you the ability to have two drives within your 27-inch iMac.

Ports

There have been no changes in the iMac's port configurations. You'll find the expected four USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, a mini DisplayPort for attaching a second monitor, and an SDXC card slot.

Recommendations

At $1,699, the Dual-Core i3 model is bound to be one of the most popular configurations. It provides a huge 27-inch display as well as a processor that's a nice improvement over the Core 2 Duo processor it replaces.

The Quad-Core i5 and i7 versions of the iMac will appeal to those who like tip-top performance from their desktop, or who have specific graphics needs that are best served by the better graphics option in the Quad-Core models.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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