Buy an iMac from £899 – New iMac review

Apple have launched a stripped-down version of their popular 21.5″ iMac Desktop computer for less than £900! It seems that Apple may not be as desktop orientated as they once were and are geared up for the mobile market, concentrating primarily on iDevices, such as the iPod, iPad, and iPhone, however, they’re continuing their iMac line, so all hope is not lost for die-hard desktop users.


Apple iMac 21.5″

Processor specs

The new iMac features a lower spec processor, you get a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache but with the next model up the processor jumps to a 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz) with 4MB L3 cache, which would be preferable for some creative types, i.e Graphic designers, who would need more processing power for Adobe Photoshop for example, or recording engineers who would need extra CPU horsepower for running LogicPro Audio recording software. While in theory, you could run these programs on the lesser spec iMac, the next model up with the aforementioned 2.7Ghz CPU would definitely be worth the upgrade. The new iMac’s utilize soldered in processors and memory so these options have to be ordered at time of purchase. This has been the case since the iMac overhaul in 2012.

All processor options at a glance:

  • 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost upto 2.7GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache
  • 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz) with 4MB L3 cache
  • 2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz) with 6MB L3 cache
  • 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz) with 6MB L3 cache
  • 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz) with 6MB L3 cache

Storage options

The base model features a 500Gb hard drive, 7,200RPM fixed disk, while the higher models offer a 1TB as standard.

Memory Options

You’ll also have to pre-configure your memory option at the time of ordering as this is now soldered in as well! All this talk of soldered on hardware might seem a bit negative, but it’s not meant to be and the reality is that although hardware does fail now and then, it’s not that likely nowadays as the hardware is pretty reliable.

Graphics cards

The base model 1.4Ghz iMac features Intel onboard graphics in the form of the HD2500 set, and the next model up features intel IRIS onbaord graphics.  The next models feature nVidia graphics

No optical drive

Apple continues with it’s philosophy that the optical drive is as dead as the proverbial dodo, so it’s not including it anymore, and hasn’t done for some time. There’s nothing to stop you using an external USB optical drive though, should you need to.


The new iMac includes four USB 3.0 ports (backwards compatible with USB2.0), 2x Thunderbolt ports, 1 xRJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port as standard, and this should be enough for most users. There is also a card reader, and a headphone out socket for private listening. Wireless networking is supported as is BlueTooth.

Camera and audio

The new iMac features a FaceTime HD front camera, ideal for FaceTime or Skype video concferencing, plus stereo built in speakers and built-in microphone.

Wireless Keyboard and Magic mouse

The new iMac features the Apple wireless Bluetooth keyboard and an Apple Magic Mouse, or you can use an Apple track-pad, but this is an optional extra.

Mac OS X Mavericks

Apple claim that their OS is ‘the worlds most advanced operating system’. Being a Mavericks user myself, I can report that is great to use and I’ve not had any issues with Mavericks running on my mid-2011 21.5″ core i5 iMac. Be aware that Apple no longer offers software discs with their computers, as seems to be common practice nowadays. However there is now an Internet Recovery option, available by pressing CMD+R when the computer boots.

Included apps

There is a plethora of Apps now included in the new iMac line-up. Now Apple are offering their iWork suite pre-installed. As standard you get:

  • iPhoto
  • iMovie
  • GarageBand
  • Pages
  • Keynote
  • Numbers
  • Maps
  • iBooks
  • Safari
  • Mail
  • FaceTime
  • Messages
  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Reminders
  • Time Machine
  • Photo Booth
  • iTunes
  • Game Center
  • Preview
  • Notes
  • Mac App Store

21.5″ and 27″ IPS LED panels

Apples displays are among the best in the industry, so you’ll get plenty of quality screen real-estate if you decide on the new iMac. I’m sure you wouldn’t be disappointing with the quality here.

To conclude the new iMac’s don’t seem that much different from the last models, but the new pricing strategy will hopefully win-over would be desktop PC purchases. If you’re in the market for a desktop, and like Apple gear, already have an iPhone or iPad, then I’m sure you’ll find the new iMac a welcome addition to your home or creative studio.

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How to order

You can buy the iMac directly from the Apple website in your country, or from your nearest Apple store.

About admin

Mike Gisbourne is an IT Professional/System builder from the UK with 20 years experience of PC building. Building PC's since 8086 days and Windows 3.1/95. Mike specialises in PC hardware, server administration, hosting. He is also a musician, keyboard player.