Apple updates iMacs: Haswell, PCIe SSD, and 802.11ac

Apple logoJust a day after announcing its iPhone launch numbers, Apple is updating its iMac lineup. Last year's all new iMac was an impressive performer and quite the looker, and an update to Haswell was expected at some point this year. Pixel density enthusiasts may be disappointed to learn that there wasn't a move to a higher density display at either the 21.5-inch or 27-inch SKUs. Thankfully, pricing hasn't changed, so the base model retains its $1,299 sticker, while the 27-inch model starts at $1,799. That's not to say nothing's changed. So what's new?

Right off the bat is the addition of Intel's new Haswell processors, with the base 21.5-inch model most likely sporting the quad-core Core i5-4570R (2.7GHz base clock, turbo up to 3.2GHz with Iris Pro graphics), and the top of the line 27-inch SKU bringing what is likely the Core i7-4771 (3.5GHz base clock, turbo up to 3.9GHz). The upgrade is quite welcome and brings the iMac family CPUs into the present generation. However, as in the recently updated MacBook Airs, Haswell isn't likely to drive performance to much greater heights than the prior generation's similarly clocked Ivy Bridge processors.

Apple iMac

What could drive some performance increase in the high end is an optional PCIe-based SSD. While last year's SSDs were no slouches, the move to PCIe for flash storage opens up room for more performance. Apple claims up to a 50% performance improvement in storage speeds over both Fusion and all-flash options.

On the graphics side, the top spec gets a decent upgrade, with the Nvidia GTX 780M offering higher clock speeds and more RAM over its predecessor, the GTX 680MX. On the low end, we see Intel's own Iris Pro integrated graphics take the place of Nvidia's GT 640M, a good indicator that Intel's graphics efforts are making inroads on lower specced machines. It may be some time before we see an Intel GPU driving the 2560×1440 panel of the 27-inch model, but for the 1920×1080 21.5-inch model, it should be plenty. Other improvements include the addition of 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which is certainly a boon for those of you sporting a capable router, and is in line with the updates to the rest of the Mac lineup.

No cosmetic changes are in store, although you can also continue to order the thin iMacs with an integrated VESA mount. Aside from that, the refresh shifts options pricing a bit—for instance, it brings the price of the 1TB SSD option to $1,000 from the prior 768GB for $1,300. These models are available now online or at your nearest Apple Store.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: All-in-One, Apple

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