17" Apple iMac: The Official SPCR Review

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17" Apple iMac: The Official SPCR Review

Post by Devonavar » Fri Apr 21, 2006 12:29 am


Al
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Post by Al » Fri Apr 21, 2006 9:46 am

Great review as always... Something on the last page caught my attention;
The one exception is Apple's "Mighty Mouse". Although it pretends to have a scroll wheel and "two button" functionality, using the tiny, hypersensitive ball to scroll up and down was frustrating, and it took one of us the better part of an hour to master right clicking. The arrow movement is also too slow, even at maximum speed.
Come on... who was it?!

Al

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Post by jaganath » Fri Apr 21, 2006 9:48 am

Definitely the best-looking PC I have ever seen. The lack of cable clutter and the sheer visual attractiveness of the iMac are the two big selling points for me, as well as the minimal footprint on a desk (hardly bigger than a normal TFT screen). However, that power-saving thing that the LCD screen does by reducing brightness, can that feature be turned off? That would be very annoying if you were reading a large chunk of text.

PS. There's a typo on page 3, currently says "since no airflow could not be felt at the bottom even with the system running full tilt."; either the "no" or the "not" shouldn't be there.

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Post by learning_bird » Fri Apr 21, 2006 9:48 am

Good to see you finally giving macs some attention .

About some of your power and screen troubles, like those stated in "Much of the power savings in the low power mode seems to come from a reduction in the brightness of the LCD screen, which drops to the lowest possible brightness. This sometimes got quite irritating, since the low power mode sometimes kicked in while reading a large block of text on a web page and the mouse would have to be moved around to boost the brightness back up." : have you played around with the energy/power settings on the System Preferences panel?

Undoubtedly, the iMac is one of the most silent, power efficient and powerful computers out there, as you've discovered.

Congratulations for your article.

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Post by qviri » Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:25 am

The only glitch I have with this system -- and I think someone else pointed it out in one of the iMac threads in here -- is the blank area underneath the screen. It looks a bit silly and out of place. I wonder if it would look better if it was thicker, but shorter. Go slim bezel!
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Post by Aris » Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:49 am

qviri wrote:The only glitch I have with this system -- and I think someone else pointed it out in one of the iMac threads in here -- is the blank area underneath the screen. It looks a bit silly and out of place. I wonder if it would look better if it was thicker, but shorter. Go slim bezel!
that was the first thing that caught my eye. that HUGE WHITE blank space below the actual screen itself. they should have put somthing here to make it seem like it has an actual use for being their. like inputs or buttons or lights or somthin.

ive always had a thing for apples, but never owned one. just never had the money to keep my PC's up to date and buy a mac.

i do however always recommend macs to people who dont know anything about computers. like my parents n shit. it'll do what they want. surf the net and check email.

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Post by qviri » Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:01 am

Aris wrote:i do however always recommend macs to people who dont know anything about computers. like my parents n shit.
I don't think that was the most fortunate use of the admittedly popular phrase...
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Post by MikeC » Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:39 am

Al wrote:Great review as always... Something on the last page caught my attention;
The one exception is Apple's "Mighty Mouse". Although it pretends to have a scroll wheel and "two button" functionality, using the tiny, hypersensitive ball to scroll up and down was frustrating, and it took one of us the better part of an hour to master right clicking. The arrow movement is also too slow, even at maximum speed.
Come on... who was it?!

Al
Must've been the old dude, right? :lol:

An aside about bylines at SPCR: Devon spent a lot more time with the iMac, he worked it long enough to have to deal with the right button issue, and he wrote 98% of the review. That's what's meant when the byline says "by so-and-so with who-and-who" The first person credited did the bulk of the writing, the with person helped. When it says "and" then the first person is the primary author, but got lots of help from the second.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
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Post by learning_bird » Fri Apr 21, 2006 1:12 pm

Aris wrote:
qviri wrote: ive always had a thing for apples, but never owned one. just never had the money to keep my PC's up to date and buy a mac.
If you wish to try Mac OS X you can do it with a PC. To learn how to do it go to www.osx86project.org.

I'm doing it with an Asus board and a Celeron D 331 and it runs smooth.

After that I think you'll be hooked on OS X and you'll see Macs with different eyes and buy one.

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Post by mshan » Fri Apr 21, 2006 8:27 pm

"The only glitch I have with this system -- and I think someone else pointed it out in one of the iMac threads in here -- is the blank area underneath the screen. It looks a bit silly and out of place. I wonder if it would look better if it was thicker, but shorter. Go slim bezel!"

I think this applies only to the 17 inch iMac.

If you look at the dimensions of the 20 inch iMac, you will see that it is more rectangular, while the 17 inch iMac has an odd, squarish profile.

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Post by qviri » Fri Apr 21, 2006 11:03 pm

Uh, not according to the picture I found on the ordering page (one of the few with pictures of the 20", surprisingly):

Image

It's a bit better; but still looks odd to me.
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Post by rpsgc » Sat Apr 22, 2006 2:03 am

I'm puzzled... Why don't they use 2.5" HDDs ? :?
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Post by smilingcrow » Sat Apr 22, 2006 2:15 am

Those power consumption figures are amazing for a whole dual core system; I guess they are close to laptop figures!

I would have liked to have seen some sound recordings posted, especially since the system is in effect a closed box and there is no easy way of tweaking anything to shave a dB here or there; in this situation the subjective noise quality is paramount. Admittedly, the system is very quiet but if I were thinking of buying one I’d like to hear what the hard drive sounds like when stressed.

It sounds a very impressive piece of kit.

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Post by qviri » Sat Apr 22, 2006 8:59 am

rpsgc wrote:I'm puzzled... Why don't they use 2.5" HDDs ? :?
Perhaps because Apple had difficulty sourcing 160 GB (17") and 250 GB (20") laptop drives for cheap?

Heck, they're even offering 0.5 TB if you're willing to cough up the cash.
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Post by rpsgc » Sat Apr 22, 2006 10:00 am

It's expensive but it exists... 160GB 2.5"
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article298-page1.html

With what as been said so far I don't know how the "typical" iMac user would need 250 or 500GB.
There's always external storage... but oh well, it's quiet as it is. I was just curious to why...


Oh and they could also have a version without the X1600, say a X1300 or something IGP for even lower power consumption! :P I reckon it would work for most people who would just use it to browse the 'Net / do office work.
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Post by learning_bird » Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:02 am

rpsgc wrote:It's expensive but it exists... 160GB 2.5"
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article298-page1.html

With what as been said so far I don't know how the "typical" iMac user would need 250 or 500GB.
There's always external storage... but oh well, it's quiet as it is. I was just curious to why...


Oh and they could also have a version without the X1600, say a X1300 or something IGP for even lower power consumption! :P I reckon it would work for most people who would just use it to browse the 'Net / do office work.
So...the "typical" iMac user just browses the Net and do some office work.

That's a bit presumptuous, sorry to say.

If you search for several of the reviews made around the iMac Core Duo, you'll see its as powerful or even more than the best Pentium D 900 series and challenges the much more costly AMD FX series.

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Post by Erssa » Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:35 am

learning_bird wrote:So...the "typical" iMac user just browses the Net and do some office work.

That's a bit presumptuous, sorry to say.

If you search for several of the reviews made around the iMac Core Duo, you'll see its as powerful or even more than the best Pentium D 900 series and challenges the much more costly AMD FX series.
No need to make this thread a PC vs Mac battle...
rpsgc wrote:I reckon it would work for most people who would just use it to browse the 'Net / do office work.
Maybe you didn't understand what rpsgc wrote?
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Post by rpsgc » Sun Apr 23, 2006 3:01 am

From the review:
Long story short, the iMac is a computer for the connoisseur and for "Everyman", just as Apple intended. Power users, enthusiasts, anyone who wants to tweak the hell out of everything should probably stick to building their own systems — they'll be happier molding the computer to their own personal quirks. However, for those who want to use a computer, not take up computer building as a hobby, the iMac is among the best there is.
Now take it as you will. I still can't see how I implied, in any way, that iMacs were inferior to PCs. And how is that accomplished by HDD size alone?

I'll even reiterate: Unless the user has a PVR / buttloads of pr0n / huge media library OR does movie editing ... they don't need 500GB. That's what I said.
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Post by jonasy » Sun Apr 23, 2006 4:17 am

Great review! Made me want one of those ...

Someone suggested that they should use 2.5" hard drives, but I really can't see the point of using a slower, more expensive drive with significant less storage capacity with only a barely noticeable (for most people that is) noise difference. Maybe a silent seeker can change the HDD to a 2.5" himself?

Frankly, Mac users are probably using P2P-software to download music, movies, games, apps (pr0n!) as much as non-Mac users. So a big hard drive is probably good marketing for Apple and makes them sell more Imacs.
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Post by rpsgc » Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:11 am

jonasy wrote:Great review! Made me want one of those ...

Someone suggested that they should use 2.5" hard drives, but I really can't see the point of using a slower, more expensive drive with significant less storage capacity with only a barely noticeable (for most people that is) noise difference. Maybe a silent seeker can change the HDD to a 2.5" himself?

Frankly, Mac users are probably using P2P-software to download music, movies, games, apps (pr0n!) as much as non-Mac users. So a big hard drive is probably good marketing for Apple and makes them sell more Imacs.
Fine... no point in beating a dead horse Image
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Sun Apr 23, 2006 10:16 am

Greetings,

The 17" iMac is the quietest computer I have heard since...a 286, I think. The PS and hard drive in my 486 made a lot more noise -- and went a lot slower, too. I actually had no problems with either the scroll ball, or the right button...though I would have to get more used to how the Mac OS works -- it has changed a lot since the days of my Mac IIcx. (Which was also very quiet, come to think of it!)

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The iMac is quiet, energy effient...
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Post by Karvalakki » Sun Apr 23, 2006 12:05 pm

What about Intel based Mac mini? Is it at least as silent as this iMac?

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Post by moritz » Sun Apr 23, 2006 1:50 pm

With regards to the higher power usage even in idle mode in Windows: Maybe Apple underclocks the graphics card in OS X? That's what they're doing on the new Powerbooks ("MacBook Pros").
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Post by hravn » Sun Apr 23, 2006 11:55 pm

moritz wrote:With regards to the higher power usage even in idle mode in Windows: Maybe Apple underclocks the graphics card in OS X? That's what they're doing on the new Powerbooks ("MacBook Pros").
Exactly what I thought...
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Post by Admiral Ackbar » Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:22 am

My only issue with this is that this is not a desktop. Its a laptop on a stand. In other words, you can't upgrade this mother.

So in a couple years you just toss it and get a new one if you want to run a newish computer game.

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Post by qviri » Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:03 pm

As opposed to replacing "just" the motherboard, CPU, graphics card and RAM in a desktop?

edit: okay, being forced to upgrade the LCD -- now there's a drawback. Didn't think of it at first.
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Post by Admiral Ackbar » Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:17 pm

qviri wrote:As opposed to replacing "just" the motherboard, CPU, graphics card and RAM in a desktop?

edit: okay, being forced to upgrade the LCD -- now there's a drawback. Didn't think of it at first.
Also the stuff you mentioned is about $600 for descent stuff. Thats still less than $1500. Plus I hate having to tell people, nope, you can't upgrade that. Just toss it or use it the way it is.

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Post by Gerwin » Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:56 am

Admiral Ackbar wrote:
qviri wrote:As opposed to replacing "just" the motherboard, CPU, graphics card and RAM in a desktop?

edit: okay, being forced to upgrade the LCD -- now there's a drawback. Didn't think of it at first.
Also the stuff you mentioned is about $600 for descent stuff. Thats still less than $1500. Plus I hate having to tell people, nope, you can't upgrade that. Just toss it or use it the way it is.
As a Mac user, I agree with you on that one. When I switched to Macs 1.5 years ago, I was afraid it would bother me, but it actually doesn't. In PC world, I was used to upgrade things because something newer was available, but with a Mac, I just don't feel the need for upgrade. It's like not feeling the need to upgrade your fridge. And actually, that is much nicer than constantly having the feeling that your computer is outdated because something newer appears every 2 weeks.
It's also sort of an ironic luck that games for Mac are way behind those for windows.
So from a PC point of view, the non-upgradability of an iMac is an issue, but Mac owners are rarely bothered by it. And if you are, buy a Powermac. Not as silent as an iMac admittedly, but the way it's built makes you drool.

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Post by mb2 » Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:20 am

how easy is it to actually open up? .. do they go out of the way to make it hard, or easy?.
as u say its not upgradeable.. yes its not very easy but should upgrade as easily (i use that term losely) as a laptop.. u should be able to change the RAM and hard drive
apparently u will (may) be able to drop a merom into a mac mini.. so maybe this too?
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:32 am

Greetings,

The iMac's do support an external monitor. Also, you can upgrade the RAM and the hard drive, so what's the big deal? Like a laptop, it is not possible to upgrade the CPU, video, or the motherboard -- but since these are integral to the design, why would you want/need to?

Do you want to have a separate box on the desktop? Then get the Mac Mini. If you want expandability or upgradability, then wait for the CoreDuo Mac midtower. And if you don't like a super quiet, elegant and sleek machine, with a secure OS, all w/o any work on your part -- then build a PC; by all means! :P

By the way, on the cost comparisons, some things that may not have been taken into account: the iMac's built-in web cam, and it's built-in wireless networking. Also, the dual core CPU?
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