Inside Apple's new cheaper iMac

Summary:The new iMac is powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, and this is backed up by 8GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and uses the Intel HD Graphics 5000 GPU -- but are you better off spending an extra $200 for the higher model?

(Source: Apple)

This morning Apple reshuffled its store and added a new product to its lineup – a new, cheaper 21.5-inch iMac. So how has Apple managed to out together a cheaper iMac, and what makes this one tick?

The new iMac starts at $1,099, making it $200 cheaper the existing 21.5-inch iMac offering, but what caught mu eye wasn't the scaled down price, but the scaled down spec.

The new iMac is powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, and this is backed up by 8GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and uses the Intel HD Graphics 5000 GPU present on the CPU to power the graphics. The only upgrade possible on this system is storage, with the option of a 1TB hard drive costing an extra $50, a 1TB Fusion drive for an extra $250, or a 256GB flash drive for an extra $250.

The main differences between this iMac and the $1,299 version is as follows:

  • Faster 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor
  • 1TB hard drive comes as standard
  • Faster Iris Pro graphics
  • Option to upgrade RAM to 16GB
  • Option to upgrade flash storage to 512GB

Another thing that struck me about the spec of the cheaper iMac is that it is strikingly similar to that of the high-end 11-inch MacBook Air, with the processor, graphics card, and price all being identical.

One advantage the new iMac has is that it comes with 8GB of RAM as standard while the MacBook Air only comes with 4GB, but this is offset by the fact that the MacBook Air comes with a 256GB flash drive which is faster than the traditional hard drive found in the iMac.

Which one should you go for? Well, for general browsing the web and running the odd app, the new iMac with its dual-core processor is ideal, but for anything that needs more grunt then for an extra $200 that quad-core processor, better graphics and the extra storage will come in handy. Also, the cheaper iMac offers little in the way of upgrade options beyind storage, and it is unlikely that the RAM inside will be user-upgradeable, so bear this in mind.

Topics: Hardware, Apple

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.