New Apple iMac may now be the one for the most of us

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Apple’s latest iMac computers continue to enhance the line.
Currently the Apple store offers two basic models, each available with two
different processors from which to choose. The screen size is the main physical
characteristic that differentiates the two models. Each model lets you choose
from a variety of feature options such as memory and hard drive size but it is
the choice of the processor type and speed that is the most significant.

The first iMac with the 21.5-inch screen lets you choose
either the default 3.06 gigahertz (GHz) Intel Core 2 Duo processor, or upgrade
it to the faster 3.33 GHz chip. The second model sports the 27 inch screen. You
can elect to get it with either of the aforementioned processor speeds found in
the first model. But you can also get the 27-inch iMac with one of the Intel
Quad-Core processors and here is where things get really interesting.

The 27-inch iMac is now available with either a 2.66 GHz
Quad-Core Intel Core i5 processor, or the top-of-the-line 2.8 GHz Quad-Core
Intel Core i7. It is this fastest processor availability that led me to realize
that with this model iMac, Apple has crossed a boundary with its iMacs that has
up to now, never been crossed. For Macintosh owners who have always purchased
and used Apple’s tower configuration machines including their current Mac
Pro line, the time has finally come for many of them to finally embrace
the iMac.

Ever since the first Bondi-Blue iMac made the scene back in
1998, the Mac community has view the iMac as being the one you got the kids or
for general, light-computing family usage. When you wanted the fastest and most
powerful Macintosh, you got the one in the tower. No more. Both the i5 and i7
are not only the fastest iMacs ever made, they are in fact the fastest
MACINTOSH computers Apple has ever made. And while the i5 may only be
marginally faster that the fastest Mac Pro, the i7 model is much faster
according to Christopher Breen, senior editor of Macworld Magazine.

So what does this mean to most Mac owners looking for something
new? It means it’s time to give up the clunky computer box on your desk or
floor and get an iMac. Critics will say that you still need a Mac Pro if
you want to add interface cards. That’s true but only those needing dedicated
graphic or audio rendering engines on a card that relieve the main processor
from performing these complex tasks are still candidates for a Mac Pro.
For the most of us, an iMac with an i7 quad core processor and an ATI Radeon HD
4850 video chip with 512 megabytes of video ram is most certainly going to do
whatever the job requires.

So there you have it. Add up to 16 gigabytes of memory, an
internal 2-gigabyte hard drive and you’ve got the fastest Mac on the planet.
And it’s an iMac. It looks like a flat screen monitor but the computer itself,
the hard drive, the optical drive, everything is built inside of the screen.
But Breen wars that there are still some who may still want to wait a bit. The
screen uses a glossy glass rather than a matte finish which he says some pros
may find objectionable. But for the most of us, the screen produces some of the
most glorious colors and sharpest text I’ve ever seen on a computer monitor.
The LED lighting produces an instant-on white light display that can be easily
seen from any angle.

So if you currently own a desktop Mac that’s getting a bit
long in the tooth, before you consider another Mac Pro desktop, take
a closer look at an iMac. I’m fairly confident you’re going to like what you
see and it can cost you thousands of dollars less.

Visit the Apple website for pricing and available
configurations. www.apple.com

Craig Crossman is
a national newspaper columnist writing about computers and technology. He also
hosts the No. 1 daily national computer radio talk show, Computer America,
heard on the Business TalkRadio Network and the Lifestyle TalkRadio Network —
Monday through Friday, 10 p.m.-midnight ET. For more information, visit
his web site at www.computeramerica.com.
Via McClatchy-Tribune News Service.