Apple 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs (Mid 2010) full review - Page 3

Macworld Lab tested the new iMacs to find out how well they perform overall using the Speedmark 6 benchmark suite. Overall, we saw moderate speed boosts over the previous generation of iMacs.

In our testing, the new £999 21.5-inch 3.06GHz Core i3 iMac had the most dramatic improvement over its predecessor, a 21.5-inch 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo iMac; the new model showed an impressive 20 percent boost overall in Speedmark 6. The new £999 iMac, with its dedicated ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics processor, has its biggest performance gain in graphics performance, with a frame rate in our Call of Duty 4 test that was near four times that of the older 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo iMac, which uses an integrated nVidia GeForce 9400M graphics processor.

Apple iMac

The two middle iMac models, a 21.5-inch £1,249 model and a £1,399 27-inch model with 3.2GHz Core i3 processors, had improvements that were more modest over their same-sized predecessors with 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo CPUs—the new iMacs have about a 16 percent improvement in their Speedmark 6 scores. The two 3.2GHz Core i3 iMacs had about a 7 percent improvement in Speedmark 6 over the new 3.06GHz Core i3 iMac.

During our testing, we had an odd slowdown in the HandBrake portion of our Speedmark 6 test suite. The £999 iMac took nearly twice as long to rip a DVD chapter using HandBrake than on the other iMacs; we expected a slower time because of the slower processor, but not as much as we experienced. The £999 iMac we tested came with a SuperDrive from Hitachi-LG DATA Storage (model HL DT ST DVDRW GA32N), and a HandBrake developer thought that perhaps this particular SuperDrive uses riplock, a feature that slows the optical mechanism during DVD playback to reduce the amount of audible noise. This would explain the slowdown during DVD ripping.

The new top-of-the-line iMac, a 27-inch quad-core 2.8GHz Core i5 iMac, is now the fastest standard configuration Mac we’ve tested, though its boost over its predecessor, a quad-core 2.66GHz Core i5 iMac, was small—just about 4 percent overall in its SpeedMark 6 overall test score. In individual application testing, the two iMacs showed very similar performance. We saw the biggest improvement in the new Quad-Core iMac in our Call of Duty 4 framerate tests, where the new model was 35 percent faster.

Apple iMac


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