Sleek iMac offers modest upgrades

The 24-inch iMac is the big boy of Apple’s all-in-one desktop line. Despite a new design and upgraded specs, it constitutes a modest update. But this striking system will surely make you look twice.

We tested the retail-store configuration of the 24-inch iMac: Priced at US$1,799, it comes with a 2.4-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 processor, 1GB of memory, a 320GB Serial ATA drive, an ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics card with 256MB of GDDR3 memory, and a slot-loading DVD burner.

The PC World Test Center used Apple Boot Camp 1.4 to load Windows Vista Home Premium onto the iMac. On our WorldBench 6 Beta 2 test suite, the unit turned in a score of 82; that’s about 20 percent behind the average power desktop PC score of 103, but still swift. (This model’s high price dictates that we match it against power systems.)

As for looks, this iteration of the iMac dispenses with the kludgy plastic chassis of the earlier iMac line in favor of a sleek anodized aluminum one. Image quality on the 1920-by-1200-pixel-resolution, glossy glass-covered display is significantly better than before as well, thanks to superior contrast and sharpness.

Like its predecessor, this 24-inch iMac comes with a FireWire 800 port for fast data transfers between the computer and devices that use that interface, such as external hard drives.

As appealing as the new iMac is, with the Leopard operating system coming soon (at around the time you read this), I’d recommend holding off. If you do, you’ll get the new OS preinstalled.

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