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Apple 20-inch Intel 2.0GHz Core Duo iMac Review July 27, 2006

Posted by Chris in Apple, Reviews, Technology.
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Specifications

20-inch Display
2.0 GHz Intel Core-duo
2048 MB RAM
256 MB Graphics Card

The Intel iMac has everything the G5 version has but with a new core; a dual core to be precise. This allows the iMac to run faster than ever. Of coarse, installing 2 GB of RAM helps this cause, along with the Radeon X1600 graphics card.

The iMac comes with the usual iLife suite, which includes iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and Garage Band. All this software has been completed extremely professionally and is very intuitive to use.

Things that impress me about the iMac, are the little finishing touches that show that Apple have really taken their time designing this product; such as the built-in iSight Camera and Microphone, and the FrontRow remote control, which sticks nicely to the side of the iMac through it’s built-in magnet, and of coarse the Apple logo, placed in the centre of your iMac.

Being a Windows and Apple user, naturally, I was keen to install Bootcamp straight away. (Bootcamp was released by Apple and creates partitions on your hard disk, allowing you to install Windows onto your Intel Based Mac.) To switch between operating systems, you must turn off your computer, and turn it back on again, whilst holding the option (alt) key. You then have the choice of either loading Mac OS X or Windows XP (Home or Pro).

Windows took around 40 minutes to install and runs extremely well. I now have the option to install and non-universal programs onto Windows, instead of using Rosetta.

When it comes to gaming, the iMac is an ideal compromise between professional work and gaming. Obviously there are many other machines out there much more capable of playing games than the iMac, however, with the 256 MB graphics card installed, games like Age of Empire III work very fast and are great to play.

The iLife suite is fantastic. One of my favourite applications is Garage Band. This allows you to record and make your own music. You can either plug in your Keyboard or Microphone, or if you don’t have an instrument, there are a variety of loops and sound effects at your disposal. Garage Band also features Podcast creation.

A great feature of OS X Tiger is the Widgets. Just click on the Widgets icon in your Doc, or press F12, and you are shown your local weather forecast, calculator, stocks and shares, or whatever you choose or download. (The apple website has a large selection to choose from).

Now for the important bit, how fast is the iMac? The iMac is fast. Loading basic applications such as safari takes about 1 second, like wise for Mail and iPhoto.

The iMac takes around 25 seconds to turn on and load OS X or Windows.

Loading more advanced applications such as Photoshop (in Windows) is also noticeably quicker than a 3.00 GHz Windows machine. Photoshop CS2 runs very well. It takes very little time to run advanced filters on images.

I installed Age of Empires III onto the iMac to see how well the graphics card could handle the graphics. On medium graphic settings the game runs very smoothly, even if your screen is filled with two fighting armies. On the highest settings, the frame rate is slow and it is unplayable. This computer is obviously not designed for gaming.

Overall, if you want to use this computer for graphic design, photo editing, the occasional game and even video editing, this is the computer for you.

And beware, you will grow accustomed to the 20inch screen very quickly and within a week it starts to look much smaller.

Design: 9/10
Performance: 9/10
Value: 7/10
Overall: 83%
Verdict: Even though the iMac may cost a bit more than your average PC, this is definitely not an average PC.

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