Apple iMac 27in (2013) review
A formidable all-in-one, with updated Haswell internals and new Nvidia graphics - at an even higher price
After last year’s iMac redesign, Apple has stuck to the tried and tested in 2013. As such, this year’s new iMacs are little more than a refresh, sporting the same sumptuous exterior design as the 2012 models and a handful of upgrades.
The most obvious change is the inclusion of new Intel Haswell processors, but this isn’t as big a deal as you might think. Haswell’s prime attraction is energy-efficiency – there’s no big step up in raw performance – with the main beneficiaries being improved battery life for laptops and tablets.
Still, results from the 3.4GHz Core i5-4670 model were impressive. With the help of 8GB of RAM, it scored 0.98 in our Real World Benchmarks, which is comparable to the 3.4GHz Core i7 Ivy Bridge iMac we tested last year.
Accompanying the upgraded CPU is an updated 1TB Fusion Drive, with its 128GB SSD now connected via PCI Express rather than mSATA, and a similarly improved Nvidia GPU. This time it’s an Nvidia GeForce GTX 775M instead of the GTX 680MX, and it produced impressive average frame rates in our Crysis gaming benchmark, with 56fps at Full HD resolution and Very High quality settings.
As is the norm for Apple products, the iMac remains the most visually alluring all-in-one on the market. Its smooth, silver metal back is gently rounded and terminates in an ultra-thin, 5mm edge. It’s a triumph in minimalist design that extends to the beautifully crafted peripherals. Our review iMac came supplied with Apple’s Magic Mouse and the usual compact keyboard.
The mouse has lost none of its appeal – its touch surface is responsive and it feels reassuringly weighty in the hand. The keyboard’s keys are still a little bunched up for our taste, but they yield well with just enough resistance to make touch-typing a comfortable experience.
The star of the show remains that beautiful 27in, 2,560x 1,440 IPS display. We’re surprised Apple has resisted opting for Retina once again, but it’s still a stunner. In tests with our X-Rite colorimeter, the results were similar to last year’s model, with superb colour accuracy (an average Delta E of 1.8 is exemplary for an all-in-one PC), a contrast ratio of 904:1 and a top brightness of 407cd/m[sup]2[/sup].
Everything else is as you’d expect. For wireless and wired connectivity, there’s dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4, four USB 3 ports, two Thunderbolt ports (which double as DisplayPort outputs), Gigabit Ethernet and a 3.5mm audio jack. The latter provides both analogue and optical digital output.
As with last year’s model, there are four user-accessible SODIMM slots that sit below a small flap on the rear, giving you the option of potentially quadrupling the RAM.
As an annual update, this year’s iMac 27in looks a little underwhelming. It’s also more expensive than before, with the base Core i5 model costing a significant £100 more than last year’s unit; if you want a Core i7, it will cost you £79 more for the base-level machine. So while it remains the most accomplished, desirable all-in-one desktop machine on the market, you’ll need deeper pockets than ever to afford one.
|Price ex VAT||£1,591|
|Price inc VAT||£1,909|
|Features & Design||6|
|Value for Money||4|
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Total hard disk capacity||1,000GB|
|CPU family||Intel Core i5|
|CPU nominal frequency||3.40GHz|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|Memory sockets free||2|
|Memory sockets total||4|
|3D performance setting||Medium|
|Graphics chipset||Nvidia GeForce GTX7 75M|
|Resolution screen horizontal||2,560|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,440|
|Resolution||2560 x 1440|
|Dimensions||650 x 203 x 516mm (WDH)|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||1|
|3.5mm audio jacks||1|
Operating system and software
|OS family||Mac OS X|
|Recovery method||Recovery partition|
Noise and power
|Idle power consumption||42W|
|Peak power consumption||233W|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||108fps|
|3D performance setting||Medium|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.98|