Lab puts new iMac to the test

All-in-one machine takes on tough benchmarks

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…)

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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.

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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Reader Comments

Thu, Mar 11, 2010 David H Washington, DC

Greg, I wonder if you tested the new Mac with the minimum required security configuration for Federal government computers as located on as required by FAR Part 39.101(d). (PS: For convience, the NIST-approved checklist is located at

Wed, Mar 10, 2010 Dr. Tutinean

Human propensity to rely on 'negative bias' or group think can be beaten. I took my 24 inch iMac to work and Hid the Apple logo....period! I ran bootcamp...completed the windows install. I also kept a live CD of Ubuntu ready and ran all three operating systems WITHOUT VIRTUALIZATION SOFTWARE during different parts of the day. Further, and for example, during work hours, Windows 7, at lunch the guys came over from R&D and we played video games, ran the live CD to do budgets and spreadsheets that I needed. After a while, EVERYONE is asking IT for, "...whatever it is HE has..." VIOLA! I show them it is NOT a new 'monitor' as they led themselves to believe, it is a professional using an iMac!!! nuff said...!

Wed, Mar 10, 2010 C. Kerr Hollywood, Florida

Looking forward to the full results of the comparison. Could you, or any of your readers, comment on ways and methods to overcome the "NO MACS! THEY ARE BAD!" stance of my particular IT department?

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