After testing the new Core i series MacBook Pro last month, we got the latest iMac which sports an Intel Core i3 proc¬essor at a good 3.06 GHz. Looks wise, as is the case with the iMac and MacBook Pro lineup, there are hardly any noticeable changes. All the changes are present under the hood. Let's start by taking a look at the new features.
The 21.5 inch Core i3 model supports Hyperthreading which is expected from Core i series of Intel processors. This feature allows the two cores in the processor to run four threads (or tasks) simul¬taneously, thus speeding up processor intensive tasks like video editing, rendering in 3D modeling etc. It does not sup¬port Turbo Boost technology which is present in the higher end Core i5 series iMacs.
Unlike the previous gener¬ation of iMacs, this generation does not have any in-built graphics solu¬tions. NVIDIA GeForce 330M is replaced by ATI Radeon HD 4670 dis¬crete graphics, an entry level graphics solution. Discrete graphic solu¬tion means HD 4670 has its own video RAM memory of 256 MB which is sufficient for graphics intensive work or gaming. The 21.5 inch iMac still con¬tains the same 4 GB of DDR3 RAM running at a higher 1333 MHz, up from 1066 MHz of the previous generation. Memory can be upgraded to up to 16 GB. As far as the aesthetics go, Apple has not implemented any changes as far as the overall design goes. The unibody aluminum body with sharp edges is still there. Screen looks as beau¬tiful as always thanks to the backlit LED with an IPS panel, having a resolution of 1920 x 1080 with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Viewing angles like its pred¬ecessor are quite good. Due to the glass cover, the screen tends to be reflective and watching movies with lights around you can kill the expe¬rience.
The Bluetooth wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse as the same from the previous generation. On the right hand side you have the slot loading Super Drive and an SD card slot just beneath it. The SD card slot can also support the newer SDXC card format. As we mentioned during the iMac 27-inch review, the absence of a BIu-ray drive on such a product is baffling. Specially so because the monitor's res¬olution is perfect for BIu-ray content. Applications have sur¬prising omissions like Aper¬ture and iWork which are both present in the previous genera¬tion iMac that we had tested in May.
Synthetic tests like Geek¬bench gave a score of 5,735 (which is higher than the 4,750 observed in Core i5 MacBook Pro as well as 4214 which was obtained in the 27 inch iMac Core 2 Duo test). Xbench aced as well with a score of 223.06 as opposed to 158.2 of the MacBook Pro and 176 of the 27 inch iMac. Real life tests like data transfer also gave impressive rates of around 48 MB/s. Encoding around six MP3 files (approx size 54 MB) to AAC format in iTunes 10 took around 56 seconds. We noticed that the iMac gets considerably hot on the bottom left hand corner on the rear side after prolonged usage. As is the case with all Apple products, the pricing is premium. Multimedia experience on the iMac is stunning.