Apple 27-Inch iMac (Late 2013) Review, Haswell Inside

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It's hard to believe there's a full fledged system packed inside Apple's slim and sexy iMac chassis. It was roughly a year ago when Apple revamped its all-in-one line, tasking the company's engineers to flatten the design as much as possible without sacrificing performance. What emerged was a sleek display measuring just 5mm at its edge with up to 40 percent less volume than the previous generation. It was such a radical design change that Apple had to abandon traditional welding methods in favor of a process called friction-stir welding, which combines friction-generated heat and pressure to force molecules from two separate aluminum surfaces to mingle with one another. It's a process commonly found on mission critical applications, such as the construction of rocket booster tanks.

Apple's late 2013 edition iMacs are largely unchanged in external form, though they're upgraded in function with a revamped foundation that now pairs Intel's Haswell 4th Generation Core processors with NVIDIA's GeForce 700 Series graphics (still based on Kepler). The Cupertino company also outfitted these latest models with faster flash storage options, including support for PCI-E based storage, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, all wrapped in a gorgeous 21.5-inch (1920x1080) or, as reviewed here, 27-inch IPS display with a 2560x1440 resolution.


Apple 27-inch iMac Late 2013 with Intel's 4th Generation Haswell Core Processor
Specifications & Features
  • Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks
  • 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz) with 6MB shared L3 cache
  • 8GB of 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM
  • 1TB (7200 RPM) hard drive
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M 1024MB
  • 27-inch LED-backlit IPS display (2560x1440 resolution)
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • SDXC card slot
  • Four USB 3.0 ports
  • Two Thunderbolt ports
  • Mini DisplayPort output with support for DVI, VGA, and dual-link DVI (adapters sold separately)
  • 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45 connector)
  • Kensington lock slot
  • Stereo speakers
  • Dual microphones
  • Headphone port
  • Apple Wireless Keyboard
  • Magic Mouse (multi-touch surface)
  • 20.3 inches (H) by 25.6 inches (W) by 8 inches (D); 21 pounds




While upgrade options aren't quite as robust as what you'll find from boutique system builders and even some competing OEMs, Apple does allow you a little bit of leeway to customize your iMac when ordering, such as adding more RAM, increasing and/or changing the type of storage, and adding accessories. Unfortunately, some upgrades are tied to specific baseline models. For example, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M and 780M graphics options are only offered on the most expensive iMac starting at $1,999, and not the one we received. The limitation feels arbitrary, though at the same time, paying $200 extra to step up from the model we received to the highest end starting points yields a faster processor (3.4GHz quad-core Intel core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz) and burlier graphics (GeForce GTX 775M).

Just days after we received our review model, Apple introduced Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks as a free upgrade. The benchmarks on the following pages were run with the new operating system, save for the Windows testing (via Boot Camp), in which we loaded up a partition with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit with Service Pack 1. We'll get to performance in a bit, but first, let's have a look at the system itself.

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Comments

Comments
RicoFrost one year ago

I really don't like the mac os or the price tag for what you get, however it does look nice.

basroil one year ago

"Boot Camp allows you to run Windows without a perforance hit"

Maybe that would be true if the drivers weren't absolute garbage, but as it stands there's a pretty significant impact in performance, especially if you include energy performance.

Paul_lilly one year ago

Don't know where you're getting that information from, but it's just flat out wrong. There is no performance hit and the drivers are no different than any other Windows system -- Boot Camp creates a partition on which you directly install Windows. It's not a virtualized or otherwise emulated environment. Windows runs at full speed, just like on any other system.

SJobbs one year ago

Nice going to pit the iMac using an i5 against machines using i7 processors. You should have gotten a fully equipped i7 Mac with a maxed out build.

MikeCleverly one year ago

Error spotted!

On the "Windows 7 Bootcamp" benchmark page, the Screengrab for "Futuremark 3DMark11" says the score was: P 3 0 6 8, but the bargraph says the score was 3 6 0 8. The 6 and 0 were switched, giving the Imac an even bigger lead. Schoolboy error! :P

Dave_HH one year ago

Error noted and corrected. No need for the insults. It's called a typo and pros, as well as schoolboys make them. By the way, it's iMac, not "Imac." :P

MikeCleverly one year ago

Sorry Dave, that wasn't meant to be taken as an insult. On the Imac thing, I do it deliberately, I don't like Apple's misuse of capitalisation ;)

Dave_HH one year ago

Hold-up, "schoolboy error!" was not meant to be an insult? I wonder. Is it proper to hyphenate the words "passive-aggressive"?

GemmaTodd one year ago

Screen looks beautiful. Looking forward to new res, will help alot.
Brother just wondering whether to upgrade, but screen not turning on. Looked at this site, anyone else had similar issues with these newer iMacs?
still looking forward to get a new one myself. 

Ricofrost 3 months ago

Still for that price I could build a monster gaming PC. Like i said it just looks nice if you want to have a minimal looks and lets face it that's why people buy it.

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