capsule review

21.5- and 27-inch iMacs (Mid 2010)

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New iMacs (Mid 2010) benchmarks

Speedmark
6
Adobe
Photoshop
CS4
Cinebench
R10
Mathemetica-
Mark 7
Compressor
3.0.4
Aperture
2.1.4
iMovie
'09
iMovie
'09
iTunes
9
Call of
Duty 4
Finder Parallels
WorldBench 6
Handbrake
0.9.3
iPhoto
'09
OVERALL
SCORE
SUITE RENDER SCORE MPEG
ENCODE
IMPORT IMPORT
ARCHIVE
EXPORT MP3
ENCODE
FRAME
RATE
UNZIP
ARCHIVE
MULTI-TASK
TEST
RIP
DVD
CHAPTER
IMPORT
27-inch iMac 2.8GHz
Core i5 Quad Core
217 0:40 1:09 10.1 5:36 1:47 1:17 0:57 0:58 88.1 0:44 4:03 1:01 0:22
27-inch iMac 3.2GHz
Core i3
188 0:42 1:37 6.2 6:58 1:59 1:42 1:05 0:59 81.4 0:44 4:45 1:37 0:27
21.5-inch iMac 3.2GHz
Core i3
190 0:41 1:37 6.24 7:00 1:54 1:42 1:04 0:59 81.4 0:43 4:41 1:37 0:25
21.5-inch iMac 3.06GHz
Core i3
178 0:41 1:42 6.01 7:13 1:57 1:44 1:05 1:01 81.3 0:44 4:51 3:27 0:28
27-inch iMac
2.66GHz Core i5 Quad Core
209 0:39 1:12 9.64 5:44 1:50 1:22 1:03 1:07 86.9 0:43 5:07 1:22 0:26
27-inch iMac 3.06GHz
Core 2 Duo
162 0:42 2:15 4.28 8:16 2:34 2:17 1:16 1:16 66.2 0:39 4:45 2:23 0:32
21.5-inch iMac 3.06GHz
Core 2 Duo
(ATI Radeon HD 4670)
164 0:41 2:15 4.42 8:06 2:32 2:16 1:18 1:16 69.1 0:43 5:20 2:20 0:32
21.5-inch iMac 3.06GHz
Core 2 Duo
(Nvidia GeForce 9400M)
148 0:44 2:16 4.23 8:09 2:28 2:14 1:41 1:11 21.9 0:46 5:26 2:09 0:32
Mac Pro
2.66GHz Quad Core
203 0:38 1:00 11.13 6:17 1:36 1:09 1:18 1:10 49.3 0:44 4:27 1:15 0:27

Best results in bold. Reference systems in italics.

How we tested: Speedmark 6 scores are relative to those of a 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook, which is assigned a score of 100 (higher scores are better). Call of Duty score is in frames per second (higher is better). MathematicaMark is a performance score (higher is better). All others are in minutes:seconds (lower is better). The new iMacs were tested with OS X 10.6.4 and 4GB of RAM. The 27-inch 2.66GHz Core i5 iMac was tested with OS X 10.6.2 and 4GB of RAM. The Core 2 Duo-based iMacs were tested with OS X 10.6.1 and 4GB of RAM. The 2.66GHz Mac Pro was tested with OS X 10.6.1 and 3GB of RAM. We duplicated a 1GB file, created a Zip archive in the Finder from the two 1GB files and then unzipped it. We converted 90 minutes of AAC audio files to MP3 using iTunes’ High Quality setting. In iMovie ’09, we imported a camera archive and exported it to iTunes using the Mobile Devices setting. We ran a Timedemo at 1024-by-768 with 4X anti-aliasing on in Call of Duty 4. We imported 150 JPEGs into iPhoto ’09. The Photoshop Suite test is a set of 14 scripted tasks using a 50MB file. Photoshop’s memory was set to 70 percent and History was set to Minimum. We used Compressor to encode a .mov file to the application's H.264 for video podcast setting. We ripped a DVD chapter to the hard drive. We recorded how long it took to render a scene with multiprocessors in Cinebench. We ran the Evaluate Notebook test in MathematicaMark 7. We ran the WorldBench 6 multitasking test on a Parallels 5 VM running Windows 7 Professional. We timed the import and thumbnail/preview creation time for 150 photos in Aperture.—Macworld Lab testing by James Galbraith, Mckinley Noble, Blair Hanley Frank, and Chris Holt.

Macworld’s buying advice

The iMac continues to be an attractive all-in-one computer for the family, home offices, and business. If you’re looking for a new Mac or you’re thinking about upgrading a desktop Mac that’s at least a couple of years old, you’ll be satisfied with the features and performance, as long as you’re willing to deal with the glossy display. If you bought a late-2009 iMac, the reasons to upgrade aren’t very compelling, unless you have the previous $1199 iMac with the integrated graphics and you want better graphics performance for games.

The $1199 iMac is a very attractive deal, especially now that it has a dedicated graphics processor. The new $1999 Quad-Core 2.8GHz Core i5 iMac is an impressive machine, outpacing the current (but soon to be replaced) Quad-Core 2.66GHz Mac Pro in many of our tests. The iMac doesn’t have the expansion options as the Mac Pro, but if you need a very fast Mac right now, it’s the machine to get. However, it’s worth waiting for the new Mac Pros to arrive later this month; we’ll have benchmarks and full reviews as soon as the Mac Pros are available.

[Roman Loyola is a Macworld senior editor.]

At a Glance
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