A few weeks have passed since the big iMac's unboxing. I believe that it's time for an update. I didn't want to post my initial impressions too soon as they may be flavored with a bit too much of the infamous new Apple RDF. Yes, even I am swayed by the smell of a new Apple product and it's new car smell perfection. Having logged full time hours on this new beast for a few weeks I can safely say that that my initial enthusiasm has not diminished.
I declare the new iMac to be as close to perfection as can be had at the moment. As a reminder I opted for the top of the line 27 inch core i7 model with standard hard drive, and standard 4 Gig memory configuration and standard graphics. Of course the standard graphics on the big boy has an exceedingly good ATI processor as well as 1 Gig of VRAM that at least doubles the performance of my last graphics card setup.
Immediately after placing my order for the iMac, I also ordered 16 Gigs of third party RAM from OWC. A smokin' deal at about 200 bucks. I think I will wait for the 8 Gig chips to come down to at least the same unit cost of the 4 Gig chips before contemplating an upgrade to the maximum 32 Gig configuration. I would recommend the 16 Gig configuration as a must have on this machine given the paltry price of 4 Gig chips at this point. Too bad Apple continues to gouge you on memory as shipped as it does dilute the near perfect out of box experience with the pedestrian endeavor of having to remove three screws and juggle a couple of memory chips prior basking in the LED backlit glory.
The bottom line is that this machine is a bargain for anyone that needs some heavy duty computing and would also like a gigantic display. I am not a heavy duty video manipulator but I can say that this new iMac trounces older MacPro's in just about everything I have thrown at it for a fraction of the price. Be it ludicrously sized multilayer Photoshop files that contain 4000 dpi scans from medium format film, Aperture 3, batch processing of RAW files, or even Call of Duty with everything turned on - this is a very low priced ticket to stelar performance. I won't even talk about lesser computing chores - this machine is a beast.
Couple the 32 Gig memory capacity, up to 2 Gig VRAM, and Thunderbolt I/O means that there are very few reasons for anyone to buy a MacPro at this point. Big memory, big graphics performance, and big storage soon to come, I cannot help but recommend that this is a serious machine that deserves serious consideration for those contemplating an upgrade. If you need a gaggle of fast local storage you may have to wait just a bit for the forthcoming Thunderbolt peripherals but when they come I am guessing that they will not disappoint and are sure to be far less expensive than anything that get's anywhere near the performance or capacity. If you already have bigboy storage I am betting that there will be a Thunderbolt adaptor to just about anything in fairly short order considering the design and driver architecture account for this.