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PC Mag: 24-inch Penryn iMac great, facing rivals

updated 03:35 pm EDT, Fri May 2, 2008

PC Mag 24-inch iMac review

Apple's newest 24-inch iMac is an amazing computer, but is beginning to face tougher competition, writes PC Magazine in a new review. The $1,800 machine has been upgraded with one of Intel's new Penryn-edition Core 2 Duos, which use 45nm manufacturing; in theory this not only cools a system down, but reduces its power consumption. With options for a 3.06GHz CPU and a GeForce 8800 GS video card, the new iMac is claimed to be an extremely powerful computer, faster than some quad-core Windows PCs.

The magazine is also in praise of the iMac's LCD display, which supports resolutions up to 1920x1200, enabling the viewing of 1080p (full HD) movies. Other conveniences include a minimum number of cables, particularly if buyers choose the wireless keyboard mouse, and a default of 2GB of RAM, where many PCs only ship with 1. In environmental terms PC Mag notes that iMacs are built with recyclable aluminum and glass, and are now Energy Star 4.0-compliant.

The system is still said to be deficient in some respects, however, next to some similarly-priced PCs. Apple continues to omit memory card readers from iMacs despite this being a standard elsewhere, and the default Mighty Mouse is criticized for having a "wonky" right-click, as well as no back button. The system has no Blu-ray drive -- something offered by Dell and Sony -- and is increasingly less impressive when faced with the specs of other all-in-one systems, such as Dell's XPS One. At present though, PC Mag says it is confident enough to give the new iMac four out of five stars.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    wonky?

    WONKY?!!!?!

    If by that you mean elegant and functional, then yes.
    Otherwise, I don't get it. I've never had a problem using the right click on my mighty mouse. As for the back button, button 3 and 4 (X2) can be set to perform that function wherever it is available as menu choice. The PC mag article says "no navigate back key", so I presume they are referring to the keyboard, not the mouse.
    Even so, the OS has built in functionality by which you can navigate the system with the keyboard, forward or back.

    Maybe the "wonky" folks call it wonky because they never realized it was an option until someone more knowledgeable pointed it out to them. :P

  1. Gee4orce

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Card reader ?

    I also don't get the criticism of not having an integrated card reader. Seriously, these things are fugly, and in you will probably only ever need one out of the half-dozen or so slots provided for your particular memory card. When I need to download photos, I normally just hook up the camera with a USB cable anyway, so no card reader necessary....

    Might as well also criticise the fact that the iMac doesn't come with a reading light or integrated waffle toaster....

  1. Lo_Ruhamah

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    Ridiculous

    With the exception of the Blu-Ray drive (which I'd like to see more for potential storage than anything else) I find the they're suggestions to what is lacking quite ridiculous. I have never had any user for a "media card reader" as it's easier to simply connect a USB cable to the device which hosts the card than to open the device, remove the card then place it into the right slot on the multi-slotted devices. Right clicking as stated by Flying Meat is quite elegant, and a back button, which seems to me the most useless thing to assign a button to on a mouse can be easily configured into the mouse.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    Blu Ray??

    Presumably, the Blu-Ray drive (whether just player, or a burner) is meant for HD media. While I can see many MacBook[pro] owners playing movies while on the road, iMacs are home machines and the percentage of iMac owners who play movies on their iMacs (rather than, or in addition to, on their TVs) is probably minuscule. Out of that percentage, how many actually own and would like to watch Blu-Ray movies?As for burning, this is (again presumably) for those who create their own HD content (i.e. home HD videos, using the new crop of camcorders). Well, if you own one of the flash-memory AVCHD machines, you can squeeze almost an hour of AVCHD video on a single dual-layer DVD disc, which will run you about $1 each (if you buy spindles). Every Blu-Ray player out there can play these AVCHD files out of the box. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but blank Blu-Ray discs cost upwards of $20 each these days. I don't think it gives enough bang for my buck to burn on Blu-Ray, just so that I can claim that it is a bona-fide Blu-Ray disc.As for memory card slots, who knows; maybe (just maybe) the manufacturers will one day agree on one single standard (SDHC anyone?), so that Apple can then build a single little slot into the iMac without ruining the pristine appearance of the back of the computer. Until then, I don't mind hooking up a cable (or a card reader) for transfer, both SD cards from still camera, as well as SDHC from AVCHD camcorder.

  1. GreenMnM

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    @vasic

    "iMacs are home machines and the percentage of iMac owners who play movies on their iMacs (rather than, or in addition to, on their TVs) is probably minuscule."I would disagree with you on this point. There are tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people using Mac minis as home theater computers. There may be fewer iMac users, but I'm one of them. I use my iMac to play DVDs and purchased iTunes content (TV shows, movies, rented movies, and others) onto my HDTV. I've actually been holding back upgrading my iMac waiting for a Blu-Ray option. I think there's a large market of Mac users waiting for Blu-Ray built-in.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -7

    mouse and card reader

    Not everyone loves the mighty mouse. I was looking for a bluetooth wireless mouse, so I tried the mighty mouse. I kept left-clicking when I went to right-click, unless I consciously remembered to lift my left-click finger off the mouse. I also had a tendency to click the side buttons when trying to lift the mouse.

    It may be 'elegant', but its always been a fix searching for a problem. No one I know has issues with having physical left and right mouse button.

    And exactly how is an integrated card reader 'fugly'? They don't protrude or stick out. They're just slots. Or is the concept of just having some slots on the side of a computer enough to make it fugly?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -3

    rer: blu-ray

    All the talk about Blu-Ray being unneeded is fine, but Apple proclaimed 2005 to be the year of HD. Don't you think it would be nice for some people to be able to actually do something with their great HD movies, like burn them to disc or something?

    And I don't think you're taking into account students (even college ones) who use their computer as their TV.

  1. jasong

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -3

    it's 2008 now

    Testudo, Apple is done with the year of HD

  1. mproud

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    Need fewer types not more

    Yes! Someone else agrees media card readers are fugly!

    From a design standpoint, media card readers aren't really solving any kind of problem. We need unity among media connections, not more of the same thing.

    Anyway, where do people still use media cards? We're in the age of USB flash drives. Get with the times — SD, XD, whatever people are using is dead-end technology.

  1. Monde

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    Readers & more

    A Media card reader would be welcome on the iMac. Doesn't have to be fugly, yet a low-cost usb card reader would do the trick too. I've a card reader on my Powerbook and rarely use it. Most of the time I use the camera cabling. The only times I could really anticipate using a card reader is with friends cameras who want to share photos they've brought or taken. Mostly a non issue.



    I'd like to see another usb 2 port along with a extra FW 400. My iMac is at the center of a graphics/media hub and between laser printers, inkjet printer, external DVD burner, scanner, video converter, iPod dock(s), headset and portable hard drives, I've ended up putting no less than 2 extra hubs in place. The FW 400 is the only hang up. Don't use it enough to warrant a hub, but often end up switching devices to make due.

    Finally, the calibration of the 24 inch screen is a genuine bear-even with the right tools. I've a HP w2207 as a second to the right and must say it was much easier to get in line.

    Overall though, the iMac is an awesome consumer level machine, with the 24inch not being to shabby, even for pro use. There is nothing a graphics user could throw at it that would make you wish for a tower. Video is another matter though-definitely too slow for production schedules, but okay for personal use.

    My iMac-last gen 24" 2.8 extreme outfitted with 4 Gb of ram, 1 Tb HD with addition 3.5 Tb on FW 800. Couldn't be happier with the machine. The new ones are just a smitch better. The 7 months at the top were great though.

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