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

By Kenny Yeo - 12 Mar 2013
Launch SRP: S$2368

Performance (Part 2)

Performance Part 2

In Part 2 of our Performance report, we’ll compare the new iMac against recently reviewed Windows-based AIOs such as the ASUS ET2411INTI and ET2300INTI and the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720. To do this, we ran Boot Camp on our iMac, installed Windows 7 and ran SYSMark 2012, PCMark 7, Dirt 3 and Far Cry 2.

SYSmark 2012

Last year, BAPco recently released SYSMark 2012, the latest edition of their popular benchmarking software. SYSMark 2012 puts the system through a rigorous series of various workloads ranging from office productivity, data analysis, media creation and 3D modeling.

In terms of specifications, the 21.5-inch iMac is pretty comparable to the ASUS ET2300INTI. They have the same processing platform (Intel Core i7-3770S processor and both have 8GB of DDR3 1600MHz). However, the ASUS machine has a faster 7200rpm hard disk, but the iMac trumps it in the graphics department with its beefier NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M GPU (which is hardly used in this benchmark). Also note that the iMac scored considerably better than the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720, which is still a fairly recent AIO machine.


PCMark 7

The iMac didn’t do too well on PCMark 7 and was outscored by the ASUS duo in PCMark 7 by around 20%. It also lost out slightly to the Acer Aspire Z5. Looking at the breakdown of scores, we can see that it was undone by its lackadaisical score in the "System Storage" workload. Since the Fusion Drive works only in an OS X environment, the iMac when running in Windows is entirely dependent on its 5400rpm mechanical hard disk, which explains the poor scores. 



Far Cry 2 & Dirt 3

Thanks to its NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M GPU, the iMac managed to score a convincing win over the rest of the Windows-based AIOs, which only have an entry-level GeForce GT 630M GPU. This meant that even at 1080p resolution and with moderate graphics settings, the iMac was able to maintain an average FPS of above 60. With these kind of results, you can even choose to crank up the in-game graphics quality settings and even consider anti-aliasing. 

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  • 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
No optical drive bay
No user upgradeable components
Audio subsystem is weak
Screen tilt limited
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