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

Summary & Conclusion

Performance Summary:  The late 2013 edition iMac line leverages the performance punch of Haswell and follows it up with NVIDIA GeForce 700 Series graphics. As configured, the 27-inch iMac reviewed here bolted through our benchmarks with ease and posted especially impressive figures in our gaming tests, including a 3DMark 11 score of 3,068 in Windows 7 (via Boot Camp). Running Cinebench 11.5 in Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks also helped showcase the CPU and GPU combination. Storage benchmarks weren't nearly as impressive, though Apple offers faster solutions than the 1TB (7200 RPM) mechanical hard drive that came in our test system.

Apple's attention to detail when it comes to designing products is arguably second to none, and certainly we feel the modern generation iMac is the best looking all-in-one system on the market. The aluminum unibody construction that Apple is so fond of translates nicely to the iMac's form factor in terms of sex appeal, and it's remarkably thin too boot. If we're to find fault with this design, it's because there's no way to service the machine or upgrade components on your own, not without specialized tools and some uncommon skills, anyway. This has become Apple's calling card -- build gorgeous systems that set the bar in style, but lock users out of tinkering. It's a bitter sweet proposition.

The 27-inch iMac starts at $1,799 and that's the configuration we received. While that seems high for a system these days, it's important not to overlook the fact that you're getting a premium IPS panel with a 2560x1440 resolution. Name brand monitors boasting similar specs typically start at around $550. Inside the brilliant display is a solid foundation consisting of a 3.4GHz quad-core Core i5 Haswell processor and NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M graphics, the two of which provide plenty of power to drive a 27-inch system. Only the 1TB HDD is a bit of a buzz kill, though at least Apple gives you the option of choosing something faster.

In terms of software, we're far more geeked about Boot Camp's capabilities than we are with OS X 10.9 Mavericks being a free OS. We like Mavericks just fine, but making it free only amounts to a $20 savings. Boot Camp, however, is also free, and it allows you to partition the hard drive to install Windows. For the cost of a Windows license, you can have the best of both worlds here.

Bottom line? The late 2013 edition iMac is an easy recommendation provided you're willing to spend a premium for a machine that looks as well as it performs, and are interested in OS X. If not, there are more affordable all-in-one systems out there that solely run Windows.

  • Haswell and NVIDIA form a powerful foundation
  • Best looking all-in-one on the market, period
  • Incredibly thin
  • High end panel looks great from all angles
  • Built in speakers aren't crap
  • Boot Camp allows you to run Windows without a perforance hit
  • Expensive compared to Windows systems
  • Connectivity ports are inconveniently placed on the back of the iMac

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