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The 27-inch iMac Retina 5k - part 1 of 1 2

by Mike McNamee Published 10/04/2015

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Being very new, this machine arrived with Yosemite preinstalled which, until recently, would have had alarm bells going off all over the place, spelling lots of trouble for legacy spectrophotometers, almost any Epson printer and a host of other obscure peripherals and software. Thankfully those issues seemed to have been worked through and things progressed reasonably smoothly.

The detailed specification of the new Imacs are listed in the table below but suffice to say it comes in the expected elegant package with pencil-thin edges and a screen that can be so bright as to double as a studio flash. We did not have time to indulge in benchmark testing but the thing seemed extremely quick at all the usual tasks, things such as Photoshop appearing in the blink of an eye. Despite the lack of thickness Apple have squeezed some impressive technology into the back of the screen area and we are assured that 4k video editing will be flawlessly accommodated. Looking at benchmarking by other reviewers the consensus seems to be that the Imac is about three times faster than the benchmark average for other standalones. The 1.12TB Fusion Drive (part SSD, part spinning disc) is responsible for this speed and the data transfer rate is also about three times up on the category average.


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The rear-facing port arrangement is as painful as ever to use. Plugging a USB in requires turning the machine at least through 90 degrees on the bench and then you have to fumble the male USB into the socket hoping that you are a) on the USB port and b) the USB is the right way around (is it me or are they always the wrong way first attempt?). The Thunderbolt port is now version 2, twice as fast on an already fast benchmark although you will pay dearly for cables and peripherals (see table).

There are no card ports other than SD (Hello Apple, we're still using CompactFlash up here in the North!) and in any case you are faced with starting with a clean neat bench-top and then cluttering it with all manner of loose cables, trailing printer USBs, DVD drives, Spectro leads, etc. Real life is not like the adverts with a shiny Mac on a glasstopped desk, with a pretty model caressing the keys with her manicured fingernails and an equally well-dressed pair of creatives looking admiringly over her shoulder.


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1st Published 10/04/2015
last update 18/05/2017 12:32:26

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