Macworlds buying advice: For new Mac users switching from a PC, the Mac mini is an excellent machine. Its a great choice for shoppers on a budget, or for someone who wants a second computer in the home. It handles everyday usage well. If, however, you want to use a Mac as a production machine for video editing or some other task that requires processing power, consider an iMac.
What is it? The iMac is Apples iconic all-in-one computer. Made of aluminum, the iMac has a built-in display and looks stately as it sits on your desk. It also offers top-notch performance.
Whos it for? The iMac is great for both novices and demanding users. It can handle general-purpose and heavy-duty tasks equally well. Its also ideal for someone who is conscious about their workspace, or someone who needs to buy a complete computer setup (keyboard, mouse or trackpad, and display).
What are the specifications? Four iMac models are currently available. Two of the models have 21.5-inch displays, while the other two have 27-inch displays. All iMacs come standard with 8GB of memory and a 1TB hard drive.
The 21.5-inch $1299 iMac has a 2.7GHz quad-core Core i5 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics processor with 512MB of video memory. The 21.5-inch $1499 iMac includes a 2.9GHz quad-core Core i5 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics processor with 512MB of video memory.
You cant upgrade the 21.5-inch iMac after you buy it, so you might want to pay an extra $200 for a memory upgrade to 16GB. The $1499 iMac also offers a Fusion Drive upgrade for $250, and a 3.1GHz quad-core Core i7 upgrade for $200. (The $1299 version doesnt have a Fusion Drive or processor upgrade.)
The 27-inch $1799 iMac provides a 2.9GHz quad-core Core i5 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GT 660M graphics processor with 512MB of video memory. The $1999 iMac has a 3.2GHz quad-core Core i5 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GT 675MX graphics processor with 1GB of video memory. Both 27-inch models offer Fusion Drive or flash storage upgrades. Another option for the $1999 model is an upgrade to a 3.4GHz quad-core Core i7 CPU for $200.
On the 27-inch iMac, you can upgrade the RAM easily. The machine has four RAM slots, accessible through the back. Apple installs the standard 8GB as a pair of 4GB memory modules, so you can add more RAM after you buy the system. If you prefer, you can upgrade the RAM at the point of purchase to 16GB ($200) or 32GB ($600).