Buying guide: 2012 Macs

By Roman Loyola, Macworld |  Hardware, Apple, computers

The iMac comes with Apples Wireless Keyboard and Magic Mouse. If you order online from the Apple Store, however, you can switch the keyboard to a wired version with a numeric keypad, and switch the mouse to an Apple Mouse or a Magic Trackpad, for no extra fee. You can opt for both a Magic Mouse and a Magic Trackpad for $69.

The iMac does not have an optical drive. If you want to read or burn CDs and DVDs, you need to buy an external USB optical drive.

How do I connect stuff? Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built-in. All iMacs have four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, a gigabit ethernet port, and an SDXC card slot.

If you want to connect a FireWire device, you need to use a Thunderbolt-to-FireWire Adapter. USB 2.0 devices can connect to the iMacs USB 3.0 ports.

How fast is it? The iMacs are among Apples fastest computers. The $1499 iMac runs neck-and-neck with the $2499 quad-core 3.2GHz Mac Pro. The $1299 iMac provides a significant boost over the Mac mini. If you decide to get a 21.5-inch iMac with a Fusion Drive, the processor upgrade to a 3.1GHz Core i7 CPU, and 16GB of RAM, youll have a machine thats blazing fastit's the second-fastest Mac weve tested so far.

Unfortunately, we cant speak about the performance of the standard-configuration 27-inch iMac models. Apple is taking orders on these models, but they wont be available for several weeks. (As of this writing, Apple says that orders placed now will not be available until January 2013.) Well post a review of the 27-inch iMac as soon as possible.

We can, however, talk about the performance of a built-to-order 27-inch iMac with a 3.4GHz quad-core Core i5 processor upgrade, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX graphics with 2GB of video memory, and a Fusion Drive. This iMac is the fastest Mac weve tested, though such a configuration will set you back $2599.

Macworlds buying advice: For new Mac owners, the $1299 iMac is a good alternative to the Mac mini, providing a nice performance boost. If performance is your top priority, consider the Fusion Drive upgrades, or even the processor options. Also, if you want a 21.5-inch iMac, the 8GB of RAM should be fine, but buying the RAM upgrade at the point of purchase could save you some hassle in the future. The 27-inch iMacs are ideal for demanding users who need as much speed as they can get.


Originally published on Macworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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