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What’s New in the 2013 iMac

25 September 2013 2,075 views No Comment


It is easy to pooh-pooh the upgrades Apple baked into the 2013 iMac. Granted, for the average consumer, there isn’t a lot of feature checkbox red meat. Nevertheless, for the discerning user, especially image and video editing professionals, there is a much to love.

Based on Intel’s Haswell family of processors and chipsets, the 2013 iMacs offer faster processors, greatly improved integrated graphics (a.k.a. Iris Pro, entry-level model only), better power management/cooler operation (i.e. no whirring fans) and Thunderbolt II (2x, graphic below), which delivers 10GBps synchronous sustained throughput.

Yes, there are also four USB 3 (5Gbps) ports, which’re USB 2 compatible.

2013 iMacs: Basic Specs, Prices

21.5-inch, $1,299
— 2.7GHz quad-core i5
— Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
— 8GB (2 x 4GB) RAM
— 1TB hard drive
— Intel Iris Pro graphics

21.5-inch, $1,499
— 2.9GHz quad-core i5
— Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
— 8GB (2 x 4GB) RAM
— 1TB hard drive1
— GeForce GT 750M w/ 1GB

• 27-inch, $1,799
— 3.2GHz quad-core i5
— Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
— 8GB (2 x 4GB) RAM
— 1TB hard drive1
— GeForce GT 755M w/ 1GB

• 27-inch, $1,999
— 3.4GHz quad-core i5
— Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz
— 8GB (2 x 4GB) RAM
— 1TB hard drive1
— GeForce GTX 775M w/ 2GB

Those that order the high-end 27-inch model can get an optional nVidia GeForce GTX 780M with 4GB for just $150 — a wickedly good deal.

As shown in the Fusion Drive graphic above, Apple has improved Fusion Drive (+$200) performance by 50 percent. This is Apple’s version of SSD (Flash) + traditional hard disk hybrid drive technology.

Adding a straight SSD drive is a BTO option (256GB, 512GB) starts at +$200.

Apple gets the 50 percent boost by integrating the SSD portion of the Fusion Drive directly onto the motherboard and the PCIe bus — very slick, but the Fusion Drive isn’t a user serviceable part. In fact, the 21-inch models have no user serviceable parts, while the larger 27-inch models offer only user upgradeable RAM.

2013 iMac: Graphics + Memory

Another big upgrade (graphic above) found in the 2013 iMac are the graphics. Whereas the entry-level $1,299 model’s Intel Iris Pro onboard GPU is functional, the other three configurations include nVidia GeForce GT 750 family discrete GPUs with at least 1GB RAM.

And, by discrete, Apple means soldered directly onto the motherboard which, like the 2013 iMac’s SSD (Flash) storage, means it’s integrated into the PCIe bus and that means faster performance.

When it comes to RAM, all four models ship with 8GB standard, which isn’t new. Also not new is the fact that the RAM in the 21.5-inch iMacs can’t be upgraded after the fact — it’s a factory option only. The RAM in Apple’s larger 27-inch models is user upgradeable.

Ready to upgrade? Which 2013 iMac features have you reaching for your credit card?

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