Lab puts new iMac to the test

In the past, Apple's iMac has shown mediocre performance in GCN Lab tests. How does the new model fare?

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We've finished testing computers for our all-in-one desktop roundup, looking at units from a variety of manufacturers. And of course it wouldn’t have been a true sampling of what is available if one of the latest Apple iMacs hadn’t been among them.

Back when personal computers first came out in the early 1970s, all of them were essentially all-in-ones That is, the computer, screen and sometimes a printer were all a single unit. Within a decade, computers and monitors sold as separate components were becoming more common. Apple continued to back the all-in-one form, starting with the original Macintosh in the mid-'80s. While Apple has some products with separate components, the all-in-one has been its bread and butter (Mmmm, Apple butter…)


With all-in-one PCs, one size doesn't fit all


Lately, network administrators have recognized the all-in-one as a viable and economical solution for some of their desktop replacement needs, so we decided this was a good time to review them. In the past few years, we have done roundups of more conventional desktop computers, and although Apple was always welcome it they submitted an iMac for these, it was always like comparing…two…very…different kinds of things. Yeah.

This year, the iMac really shined. I was even a little surprised given some of the constraints that the system had to endure in our PC-based test bed. In fact, the iMac even excelled in several areas.

To put things on an even footing, we have to run our Passmark Performance benchmark programs in a Windows environment, so we are not able to use the operating system that the Mac hardware is optimized for. In past reviews, this need seemed to be a bit of an anchor for the iMac, holding its performance numbers down in the middle of the pack or perhaps lower.

But this time, Apple must have figured out how to make the anchor more aerodynamic, because the iMac turned in one of the highest scores in the roundup. This was achieved even while running a PC operating system --Windows 7 no less -- on the test system. Apple probably knows that most government users will need to use their iMacs this way and made it easy to set up a PC disk partition using included software.

I won’t tell you exactly how it did, though – you will just have to read it for yourself in the full comparison. However, I will say that when you combine this with a very nice and bright Apple LCD, you can easily see why Apple stuck to making all-in-ones. They are pretty good at it.

Dang it, now I have to go to the store for apple butter.

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