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$1,099 iMac review: lose 50% of your performance to save 18% of the money

1 099 iMac review lose 50 of your performance to save 18 of the money Ars Technica


Let's get this out of the way first: the low-cost iMac is externally identical to the model released in late 2013, which is itself identical to the redesigned model from late 2012. It has the same 21.5-inch, glare-resistant, 1080p IPS display panel and the same port layout (one audio jack, one SD card slot, four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, and one gigabit Ethernet port). Its other networking features are also unchanged—it's got a three-stream 802.11ac implementation capable of up to 1.3Gbps connection speeds and Bluetooth 4.0. We're not even taking new pictures of the thing. There's nothing new to see.

Two major changes have been made to the iMac's internals. First, its 8GB of RAM is soldered to the motherboard and cannot be upgraded, either at purchase or afterward. Second, it's using the same dual-core 1.4GHz Core i5-4260U as the MacBook Air, even though every consumer iMac introduced since 2011 has included a quad-core desktop CPU.

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That seems like a giant step backwards. Bad Apple!

Unless they have a huge stockpile of dual core chips, which I can't see them having then I don't get it.  The only thing I can think of is that they really are defective quad core chips where they've locked or burned out two of the cores as they don't pass quality ratings, so they are using them for really cheap.  The soldering the ram to the motherboard is a really odd factor too.  Engineering manufacturing wise, does that really save money or just prevent someone from upgrading the memory to something the bios doesn't support?   Or simply just a marketing scheme to prevent cannibalization of revenue of their higher end machines?

Those are two really strange decisions.

I agree -- very strange decisions with no good explanation.

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