Apple’s top-of-the line iMac for the past year, the 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display, is one heck of a nice machine. “Retina” is Apple’s buzzword to indicate a screen running at such a high resolution that you can’t see individual pixels when viewing it from a normal reading distance. Text looks like high-quality print, and graphics are stunning.
Not only does the 27-inch iMac come with the most gorgeous screen Apple has ever made, the Mac is fast, and you can configure it with either a spacious and quick Fusion Drive (1, 2, or 3 TB) or lightning-fast flash storage (256 GB, 512 GB, or 1 TB) and up to 32 GB of RAM. It’s such a nice computer, in fact, that Apple has dropped the 27-inch model that didn’t have a Retina screen, and improved the Retina display in the 2015 revision to show even more colors. Plus, thanks to new Intel CPUs and the latest AMD Radeon graphics processors, the new 27-inch iMac should have slightly better performance than before. It’s not worth upgrading from a previous 27-inch Retina iMac, but this new iMac is a significant improvement over nearly every other older Mac. Prices start at $1,799, but expect to pay at least $100 more to replace the hard drive with either a Fusion Drive or flash storage for noticeably better performance.
But that 27-inch iMac is big, and it can get pricey when fully tricked out. If you don’t have the space for such a large screen, Apple now has a 21.5-inch iMac that does far more than just provide an inexpensive all-in-one option to fill out the line: it comes with a 4K Retina display that’s just as easy on the eyes as its larger sibling’s 5K Retina screen, and while it isn’t quite as fast as the 27-inch model, and can’t be configured with quite as much storage or RAM, you’ll save money and it won’t dominate your desk to the same extent. The 21.5-inch Retina iMac starts at $1,499, but again, trade the standard 1 TB hard drive for a Fusion Drive or flash storage for optimal performance.
Of course, if budget is paramount, the entry-level 21.5-inch iMac still starts at $1,099, makes do with a non-Retina display, and includes a slow-but-steady 1 TB hard drive. Thanks to a poky 1.6 GHz CPU, it’s no speed demon, but might be perfect for a kiosk or other dedicated purpose. Just a few hundred dollars more will get you a 2.8 GHz CPU and faster graphics processing, providing a basic iMac for situations where the Retina display would be overkill.
Whatever your needs or budget, there’s now an all-in-one iMac that will fit the bill—come in to check out the screens and talk to our experts.
Twitter: Apple’s 27-inch Retina iMac is great, but don’t miss its smaller, cheaper 21.5-inch Retina iMac sibling!
Facebook: Apple’s 27-inch Retina iMac is the company’s top-of-the-line model for most people, but if you want to save money or have a small desk space, check out the new 21.5-inch Retina iMac. It’s smaller, cheaper, and nearly as fast with the right options.