Appledystopia: Independent Technology News

Apple Refreshes 27″ iMac

image credit: Apple

By Chand Bellur

August 6, 2020 at 4:11 p.m. PT

  • The new 27″ iMac ditches the Fusion drive in favor of double capacity SSDs in all models.
  • SSD capacity is still low, with the base model featuring a 256GB drive and the top model featuring only 512GB.
  • New graphics capabilities, powered by Radeon Pro 5000 series GPUs, enhance the overall 5K Retina viewing experience.

New 27″ iMac is a Major Refresh for Apple

Apple isn’t a company that makes bold and sudden changes, for the most part. Once in a while, they’re ahead of the game, switching ports or ditching headphone jacks, to the dismay of some very vocal users. This is precisely why they play it safe. Other, less prominent companies can unleash radical designs that fail spectacularly.

Apple isn’t immune to failure, especially when it comes to the Mac. The iMac Fusion drive is prone to failure, based on consumer feedback and my own experiences. Of the few people I know who own an iMac, about half of them had hard drive failures, including my own mother.

The butterfly keyboard mechanism was another albatross that Apple group-think failed to reject. This problem affected the entire MacBook line of notebooks computers, causing many high profile users to sound off.

Apple finally ditched the butterfly keyboard mechanism in all-new MacBooks. Unfortunately, the Fusion drive remains an option for upgrading the less expensive 21.5″ iMac. Appledystopia does not recommend upgrading to the Fusion drive. If you need more capacity, get an SSD upgrade or use external storage.

The new 27″ iMac isn’t as significant of a change as Apple marketing suggests. Apple added newer, more powerful processors, better audio and video capabilities, and expanded memory. It’s what one would expect. Eliminating the troublesome Fusion drive would have improved the entire lineup significantly.

New 27″ iMac Specs

The specs for the new 27″ iMac are what one would expect. They stuck with 5K video, as going beyond that on a 27″ screen is superfluous.

Apple’s new mid-level desktop machine sports tenth-generation Intel processors. Future Macs will be moving to Apple’s own processors. This creates a dilemma where an Intel-based machine may end up obsolete sooner than expected.

Apple devices tend to reach obsolescence much slower than others, with the company supporting older products for years. If you plan on keeping your iMac for as long as possible, however, you may want to wait for one that runs on Apple silicon.

Processors designed in-house can leverage system-on-chip technology, pushing common software tasks into hardware-based algorithms. Intel’s SoC technology only supports 4K HDR, which doesn’t fit well with a 5K display. The Radeon graphics adapter helps Apple take performance to the next level. Apple’s own processor could leverage SoC technology tightly meshed with macOS.

The new 27″ iMac features a 1080p front-facing video camera. Nothing says bold and innovative like finally embracing a decades’-old video standard. The “new” studio-quality, three microphone, beam-forming array is innovative, but nothing new. Apple introduced this in the first 16″ MacBook Pro.

27″ iMac Reasonably Priced

Apple’s newly-refreshed 27″ iMac comes at a refreshingly reasonable price. With the base model starting at $1799 (MSRP), it’s affordable for a reliable desktop computer. Just don’t upgrade to the Fusion drive!

Buying directly from Apple isn’t always the best idea. Retailers like B&H Photo, Adorama Camera, and P.C. Richard and Son usually offer better prices. You can also opt for brand new, yet older iMacs, which are still in stock. These large retailers will sell older iMacs at a low price, and they’re still great machines. The last two iterations of the 27″ iMac come with 5K Retina screens. Just beware of the Fusion drive and try to find one with SSD only.


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