Apple 27-Inch iMac (Late 2013) Review, Haswell Inside

Windows 7 Boot Camp Performance Testing

Here we're evaluating the 27-inch iMac's performance in Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, which we installed using Apple's Boot Camp utility. Boot Camp sets up a separate partition so that you can have a multi-boot environment on your Intel-based Mac system (yes, it only works with Intel) -- one for Mac OS X and the other for Windows 7. The neat thing about Boot Camp is that it allows you to run Windows natively, so you don't have to worry about losing performance to overhead like you do with virtualized solutions.

After installing Windows 7, we applied all the current updates and patches, including Service Pack 1. Holding down the "Option" button upon bootup with the iMac presents you with the above partition select option screen. It works quite well and is a pretty convenient way of running either operating system when you need it.

Futuremark PCMark 7
Simulate Application Performance
This synthetic benchmark suite simulates a range of real-world scenarios and workloads, stressing various system components in the process. Everything you'd want to do with your PC--watching HD movies, music compression, image editing, gaming, and so forth--is represented here, and most of the tests are multi-threaded, making this a good indicator of all-around performance.

Running PCMark 7 in Windows 7 via Boot Camp allows us to compare the 27-inch iMac to a wide range of systems, including several all-in-one rigs. The 27-inch iMac fell somewhere in the middle in the pack, which is to be expected since PCMark 7 puts such a heavy emphasis on storage performance. Systems using NAND flashed based storage solutions have a huge advantage in this benchmark, and the iMac is running a mechanical hard drive.

Futuremark 3DMark 11
Simulated DX11 Gaming Performance
The latest version of Futuremark's synthetic 3D gaming benchmark, 3DMark11 uses the advanced visual technologies and 3D effects that are only available with DirectX 11. 3DMark11 isn't simply a port of 3DMark Vantage to DirectX 11, though. With this latest version of the benchmark, Futuremark has incorporated four new graphics tests, a physics tests, and a new combined test. We tested the MacBook Air with 3DMark11's Performance preset option enabled.

We're really impressed with the strong performance in Futuremark's 3DMark 11 benchmark. Gaming on a Mac system is not only viable these days, it's highly encouraged when you have a system with a reasonably well powered GPU, such as this one. And if you prefer to game in Windows, for the cost of a Windows license you get two systems for the price of one courtesy of Boot Camp, and without any annoying performance hit since it's an actual dual-booting environment and not a virtual machine.

Lost Planet 2
DirectX 11 Gaming Performance

Depending on the title, gaming on the iMac's native 2560x1440 resolution might prove problematic, though you can get away with it on older games and/or titles that aren't particularly demanding, especially if dialing down the visual quality settings. Lost Planet 2 isn't one of those games. Here the iMac teetered on the edge of being playable at 1920x1080, though we also ran the benchmark on High with 4xAA. Compared against other AIOs, this is actually an impressive showing for the iMac, which came in second place.

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