Pros: Good performance; elegant design; wide range of hardware and software features
Cons: 3D performance could be improved; no internal expansion slots
Bottomline: A powerful and elegant desktop computer, at a competitive price
Mac sales are going strong these days – as shown by Apple’s recent headline-grabbing financial results – and to maintain the momentum the company has updated the entire iMac product line.
The range starts at £799 for a model with 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 20-inch screen. However, we were intrigued by the high-end model priced at £1,269, which compares well with the £1,299 systems that we examined in a group test in July last year.
This model has a 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB Ram, 320GB hard disk and attractive 24in widescreen display – all of which put it right alongside its PC rivals.
The only minor disappointment is the graphics card – an ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro, which doesn’t provide the same level of 3D performance as the Geforce 8800 cards currently favoured by many PC manufacturers. But few buy a Mac as a games machine, so that’s probably not going to deter many people, and the Geforce 8800 is available as an option for an extra £90.
To compensate, the iMac does include a few other added extras that we didn’t see in our recent PC group test. It’s got a built-in webcam, 802.11n Wifi, Bluetooth 2.1 and a high-speed Firewire 800 port in addition to conventional Firewire 400 and three USB2 ports.
There’s a good software bundle, in the form of the iLife ’08 suite, that includes software for video-editing, digital photography, DVD burning, music composition and even web design. All of that is wrapped up in the iMac’s trademark slimline, all-in-one design.
Admittedly, there’s nothing especially innovative about this latest version of the iMac, but it does at least prove that Apple is now determined to compete with its PC rivals in terms of value for money, rather than just relying on fancy design as it has done in the past.
You can buy the Apple iMac 24" with Intel Core 2 Duo 3.06GHz, 2GB Memory and 320GB Hard Drive at: