The New 5k Retina iMac – The Best iMac ever?

On Thursday Apple unveiled a new 5K iMac — the first desktop Mac to feature Apple’s famed Retina display technology. It’s fancy and pleasing to the eye, but is it the best choice for a Mac User? The jury is out on that, but an interesting offering especially if high-end content creation is your thing and you do it day in and day out. You probably have some questions, so here’s what we could understand and piece together of this new kid on the block!

1. A new high-end horse from Apple stables

Apple already has a 21.5 inch and 27 inch iMac variant in its stable, but they do not feature the retina display, they continue to be made and shipped. In fact, just a few months ago they introduced a new entry-level iMac with CPU specs similar to a MacBook Air, and a new lower price too. But till now, the 27-inch iMac was priced at a maximum of $1999, unless you custom-configured it with faster components, extra memory and different storage.

The Retina iMac occupies one part of the iMac product line only – the very high end – with a price to reflect it. It’s $2499, $500 more than the next closest regular 27-inch iMac configuration. That is a big difference, but given the offering, we would say that it’s worth it.


2. The fastest iMac?

The processor inside is a standard 3.5 GHz quad-core Intel i5 processor. That’s just a bit faster than the faster non-retina 27-inch iMac. It’s also paired to an AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics processor that Apple says is good for about 3.5 teraflops of graphics compute power.

“Graphics compute power” doesn’t mean your games will run faster (although it can). High-end graphics packages and scientific calculation software rely on the large compute strength of graphics processors to help run through through complex calculations. Which means the iMac is a processing powerhouse, along with being a brilliant high-res workstation.

You can customize the iMac to order with a faster CPU (a 4.0 GHz Quad Core i7 is optional) and faster graphics too.

3. Fusion Drive is standard equipment

There is a lot of data on that screen, so just a simple hard drive will be a bottleneck. Unlike the regular iMac, the Retina iMac comes standard with a 1 terabyte Fusion Drive. This is master stroke by Apple. Apple’s Fusion Drive combines the speed of a 128 GB flash storage drive with the capacity of a 1 TB conventional hard disk drive. Combined they operate as a single 1 TB logical volume.

Your most frequently used files – apps, the operating system, other various and miscellaneous files, and your most frequently used documents – reside on the flash drive, providing almost-instant response when you need them. All the other stuff gets pushed off to the regular drive and is retrieved from there when you need them.

And if 1 TB isn’t enough, you can opt for a 3 TB Fusion Drive instead, or go pure SSD for maximum speed.

4. Multi Display support

The Retina iMac supports the ability to output to another display. It can simultaneously support full native resolution on the built-in display, along with up to 3840 x 2160 pixels (a 4K screen) on an external display. Imagine a 5k screen and a 4k screen, enough to make people go green with envy?

5. iMac with Thunderbolt 2 support

All the other/earlier iMacs are still equipped with Thunderbolt, not Thunderbolt 2, making the Retina iMac an even faster computer for use with high-end RAID systems, faster network interfaces or external 4K displays (as we noted above).

By pairing two channels together, Thunderbolt 2 operates at up to 20 gigabits per second, twice as fast as the original Thunderbolt and up to four times faster than USB 3. The net result is that you’ll spend more time doing things and less time waiting around for files to transfer.


There’s a lot of great and brilliant things about the 5k Retina iMac that can make people gape in wonder. But is the better performance and the incredible new screen enough to make you order one? Or is the new iMac not for you? Let us know what you think, in the comments section.

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