Macworld Forums

Macworld Forums: Review: Thin is in with new 21.5-inch iMacs but user upgrades, SuperDrive are out - Macworld Forums

Jump to content

  • (6 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • Last »
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

Review: Thin is in with new 21.5-inch iMacs but user upgrades, SuperDrive are out

#1 User is offline   Macworld 

  • Story Poster
  • Group: MW Bot
  • Posts: 34,402
  • Joined: 30-November 07

Posted 07 December 2012 - 07:05 AM

Post your comments for Review: Thin is in with new 21.5-inch iMacs but user upgrades, SuperDrive are out here
0

#2 User is offline   JMHammer 

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 205
  • Joined: 08-September 04

  Posted 07 December 2012 - 07:33 AM

I think the new 21.5" iMacs are beautiful and a terrific value, if you can be satisfied with the base model or you need the features/size of the higher-end models (or are willing to pay for them even if you don't need them). However, if a 5400rpm hard drive sounds like a poor choice for an otherwise very fast modern desktop, and if you ever want to upgrade the base 8gb of RAM or don't want to pay the "Apple Premium" for their RAM upgrade, you need to go to the more expensive higher-end 21.5" model just for the privilege of being able to pay even more for an upgrade to a Fusion Drive; and you need to pay even more for a 27" model (whose size might not work for the space you intend for it) if you want to be able to get at the RAM without major surgery.

Those are the reasons I chose to go with a Mac Mini. (I have been overdue for a new Mac for a while; my mid-2007 20" iMac continues to work well, in fact it runs Mountain Lion splendidly, but I want USB 3 and Thunderbolt and other new tech in the new Macs.) I don't play bleeding-edge-graphics games so the Mini's graphics subsystem is fine for me, and since I have a closet full of peripherals it was far less expensive for me to get a Mini with a Fusion Drive and slap in 16gb of Crucial RAM than to get a similarly-equipped iMac.

I probably would have gotten the new bottom-end iMac if Apple had allowed for something as simple as a 7200rpm 1gb hard drive as an option and a freakin' hatch to the RAM slots.
0

#3 User is offline   aralim_1 

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 59
  • Joined: 22-January 08

  Posted 07 December 2012 - 07:58 AM

So they've released a new model of iMac with generally faster performance, but a WORSE video card for anything that needs to leverage CoreImage / CoreVideo. Final Cut, Premiere, Cinema 4D are all going to be worse on this machine than they were on the 2011 iMac.

If I end up going for a new computer next year as I get more and more into high-definition video editing, I may have to look at a refurb 27" 2011 iMac rather than one of these new models, just so I can have the most "oomph" in my graphics cards for that GPU-intensive work. Saves me money, but kind of sucks for Apple.

Only other option will be that 2013 Mac Pro that Tim Cook hinted at back at the start of the year. Hopefully it will make the iMacs looks like turtles for the price premium.
0

#4 User is offline   Atgard 

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 37
  • Joined: 03-May 10

  Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:41 AM

Sounds like style over substance to me.

Losing a SuperDrive, dropping from 7200RPM to 5400RPM hard drives (not acceptable in a desktop), losing FW 800 ports, and making even the RAM not user-upgradable (on iMacs, you already couldn't easily get to hard drives or anything else) … those are several big steps down. And for what? So it's thinner when viewed from the side? I'd rather keep the oh-so-huge 1-inch-thick iMacs and keep all these useful features.

I buy my computers to get things done, not to impress other people, or to use as a paring knife. I feel Apple is moving farther and farther away from the needs of its long-time users, chasing the bling of the iPhone crowd. I'm sure it's a wise business decision for them, but I'm not thrilled about it.
David Derrico, author of Right Ascension, Declination, and The Twiller: Top 1,000 Amazon Kindle bestselling novels
Now available for just $2.99 through the Apple iBooks Store
Find more info, reviews, excerpts, and my "Always Write" blog at www.davidderrico.com
2

#5 User is offline   BoydPetersenqewx 

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • Group: New Members
  • Posts: 16
  • Joined: 20-July 11

  Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:47 AM

I agree with you completely. I was ready to buy until I found out it had a 5400rpm drive and you could not upgrade the ram. Now I'm not sure what to do. Guess I'll stick with my 2008 iMac for now.
1

#6 User is offline   chief4444 

  • Newbie
  • Pip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 9
  • Joined: 10-March 07

  Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:48 AM

I waited for months for the new iMacs to debut, and after they were introduced, I compared them to last years models and went with a refurb from 2011. While it may not be easy, I can still relatively easily upgrade the hard drive on the older model, and I easily and inexpensively upgraded the RAM as soon as I bought the machine. I will not buy another iMac unless the RAM and hard drive can be easily or even relatively easily removed. I don't care about thinness for a desktop model. I have used Macintosh computers and upgraded them consistently since 1985, and I will not buy a dead-end machine since I typically use them for 8-10 years. After two years, my iPod touch battery is almost completely dead, and I resent having to pay $80+ to have Apple replace it because of their obsession with thinness that makes it very difficult to replace the battery.
3

#7 User is offline   pcharles 

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 919
  • Joined: 23-February 04

  Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:07 AM

My general sense is that should you ever need to replace a broken screen on your iMac, you probably have other things going on that may be more of a concern.

The 5400 rpm drive probably seems like an issue, but I wonder how much it really matters, when you really should be getting a fusion drive. If you have never had a computer with a solid state drive, it is time to upgrade. The performance difference is astonishing. My 5 year old Polycarbonate Macbook, with a Crucial M4, takes a fraction of the time to load anything that my 2010 2.9GHz iMac takes. That iMac has just gone in to our Tech Support people to have an SSD added, and my home 2011 iMac will soon get the same treatment at a local service center.
0

#8 User is offline   pcharles 

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 919
  • Joined: 23-February 04

  Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:15 AM

Quote

I waited for months for the new iMacs to debut, and after they were introduced, I compared them to last years models and went with a refurb from 2011. While it may not be easy, I can still relatively easily upgrade the hard drive on the older model, and I easily and inexpensively upgraded the RAM as soon as I bought the machine.


It sounds like you are not a typical iMac user. I am pretty tech savvy and have rebuilt computers in the past, but even I would not open an iMac when we have a company in town who can do the job (under warranty) for $40 per hour.
0

#9 User is offline   wingsley 

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 21
  • Joined: 24-November 03

  Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:21 AM

I find that I have very strong mixed feelings about the new iMacs. Apple seems to continue to buck the industry trend of releasing new models that are less expensive. At least you get more consistent quality from Apple. The new Fusion drives and USB 3 are welcome additions, and the new reduced-glare display is intriguing. But we are talking about a desktop machine here. There are obviously millions of us who use bus-powered FireWire portable hard drives on a regular basis (those won't work with a Thunderbolt adaptor). And how is it such a great leap forward that this svelte new machine has no optical drive? The deletion of the optical drive may be debatable, but there is one vexing design flaw about these new machines that is downright stupid: moving the SD card slot from the side of the previous model to the back of the current model. Congratulations, Apple! The company just released another G4 Cube: a great-looking machine with neat new features that also happens to be expensive and less practical than whatever came before. That whole point of the embedded SD card slot was convenience, right? How is it convenient when it is hidden on the back side?
2

#10 User is offline   cashxx 

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 146
  • Joined: 17-June 10

  Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:03 AM

I'm PO'd because of the glue. No reason they couldn't have used just magnets again. Another thing is the ram upgrade, have to take the board out to swap ram and other components.
0

#11 User is offline   FurriousG 

  • Member
  • Group: Macworld Insiders
  • Posts: 102
  • Joined: 24-September 09

  Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:04 AM

Typo alert + snark.

"Left to right: Audio out, SDXC card slot, four USB 4 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, gigabit ethernet."

That's very forward thinking of Apple to include USB 4 ports.
0

#12 User is offline   TVK 

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 23
  • Joined: 22-May 05

  Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:10 AM

Quote

Those are the reasons I chose to go with a Mac Mini. (I have been overdue for a new Mac for a while; my mid-2007 20" iMac continues to work well, in fact it runs Mountain Lion splendidly, but I want USB 3 and Thunderbolt and other new tech in the new Macs.) I don't play bleeding-edge-graphics games so the Mini's graphics subsystem is fine for me, and since I have a closet full of peripherals it was far less expensive for me to get a Mini with a Fusion Drive and slap in 16gb of Crucial RAM than to get a similarly-equipped iMac. I probably would have gotten the new bottom-end iMac if Apple had allowed for something as simple as a 7200rpm 1gb hard drive as an option and a freakin' hatch to the RAM slots.

Your comments are what I've been looking for. I've been ready to upgrade my 2008 iMac for half a year, but I might just go with a BTO mini with an i7 and fusion drive. I have plenty if FireWire drives and no Thunderbolt drives. I just don't know if a mini will last me 4-5 years like my iMacs usually do.
0

#13 User is offline   fotojim123 

  • Newbie
  • Pip
  • Group: New Members
  • Posts: 5
  • Joined: 30-April 12

  Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:30 AM

Wow lots of good comments here. Long time Mac user business and personal. I have been waiting for this new iMac but now thinking I would be better off with a year old refurbished unit. Or maybe a Mac Mini. still running 10.6 on our business Mac but have Mountain Lion on Mac Book Pro. Just do like the limitations and hi upgrade costs of the new iMac's...Now looking into drivers for our Epson 9800 pro printer for Mountain Lion.
0

#14 User is offline   chief4444 

  • Newbie
  • Pip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 9
  • Joined: 10-March 07

  Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:32 AM

Quote

It sounds like you are not a typical iMac user. I am pretty tech savvy and have rebuilt computers in the past, but even I would not open an iMac when we have a company in town who can do the job (under warranty) for $40 per hour.


What is a typical imac user? Someone who has lots of disposable income and loves to throw out perfectly good machines every few years when they need more RAM or a new hard drive? I have upgraded macs since 1985 with RAM, hard drives, processors, SCSI, USB, ethernet, etc. Macs used to be modifiable to allow them to be used longer. I haven't changed, but Apple's attitude has changed toward allowing people to modify the Mac. I understand that a thin iMac would need a design that makes accessibility prohibitive; but, who is asking for such thinness? Not a typical imac user.
2

Share this topic:


  • (6 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • Last »
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

1 User(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users