Apple iMac 21.5-inch (2012) - Slimmer, Faster, Better

Launch SRP: S$2368

Performance (Part 1)

Performance (Part 1)

We began our benchmarking of the new iMac with Geekbench and testing the Fusion Drive. These benchmarks run in Mac OS X and we’ll be pitting the iMac against three other Mac systems - a Mid 2012 Retina MacBook Pro, a Late 2011 MacBook Pro and a Mid 2011 MacBook Air.

Geekbench

We begin our iMac performance benchmarking with Geekbench, a popular Mac OS X benchmarking tool. Geekbench runs a variety of tests that taxes individual components of a system such as the processor and memory and then gives an overall score of the system’s performance.

To ensure Fusion Drive is being utilized (if at all), we ran Geekbench on the iMac several times before recording down its result. In all, its score of 13700 was the highest, easily surpassing the Mid 2012 15-inch MacBook Pro Retina (Core i7-3720QM) by around 5%. How much of this was due to the iMac’s superior Core i7-3770S processor or Fusion Drive was hard to tell, but it is clear that the new iMac is a speedy system.

The new iMac was also substantially faster than both the Late 2011 15-inch MacBook Pro (Core i7-2720QM) and the Mid 2011 MacBook Air (Core i5-2557M).

 

Fusion Drive Testing

Since Fusion Drive works completely in the background, we decided to run time trials to see how fast the iMac starts, reboots and loads Adobe Photoshop 6. If Fusion Drive is working, we should see timings that are comparable to our Retina MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, since they both use flash storage. Our Late 2011 15-inch MacBook Pro which has a 750GB (5400rpm) hard disk will serve as a baseline reference.

Bearing in mind that the iMac has a Fusion Drive that consists of a 128GB SSD unit and a 1TB traditional mechanical hard disk, we would say that the results we've obtained below are pretty impressive. Although, cold start and reboot timings are noticeably slower than the Retina MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, it was still very much quicker than our Late 2011 MacBook Pro and its mechanical drive. Fortunately, the time the iMac took to fire up Adobe Photoshop CS6 is blazing quick. Clearly, Fusion Drive works and provides users with measurably and tangible speed gains.

Time to Start Apple iMac 2012 (21.5-inch - Fusion Drive) Retina MacBook Pro Mid 2012 (SSD) MacBook Air Mid 2011 (SSD) MacBook Pro Late 2011 (HDD)
Cold Start 24.2 seconds 12.8 seconds 17.5 seconds 1min 45 seconds
Reboot 35.8 seconds 15.6 seconds 28.2 seconds 2min 10 seconds
Adobe Photoshop CS6 2.9 seconds 3.8 seconds 3.8 seconds 10.8 seconds

 

8.5
Design
9
Features
8.5
Performance
8.5
Value
7
The Good
Attractive, slim design
Good all-round performance
Better than expected discrete graphics
Fusion Drive technology
USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports
Brilliant display
The Bad
Expensive
No optical drive bay
No user upgradeable components
Audio subsystem is weak
Screen tilt limited