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What You Get

Hardware: Full keyboard, Mighty Mouse, 1gb of RAM, 250GB SATA HD, 20Ē screen, Airport Extreme, Bluetooth, DVD dual layer burner Software: One dvd install /restore disk, Big Bang board games, Comic life, Omni outliner,Photo Booth, iWork trial, Front Row, as well as the iLife bundle (iMovie, IDVD, Garage Band, iTunes, iWeb and iPhoto)

System Requirements


iMac Core2Duo 20"

By Monte Ferguson

About twice a decade I get to go out and get something I really want. Which in my case is a new Mac. I gleefully tell folks Iím buying a new toy. Iím not one of those folks who try to get all solemn about these things. Recently some money came my way. And my wife, in one of those ďWill it make you happy?Ē conversations, said go ahead and get a new computer. Truthfully I think she just wanted me to quit moping over how slow my old one was getting slow at some tasks.

I bought my iMac Core2Duo as an Apple refurbished model. Which means I saved some cash but you donít get a fancy box. Inside the box is what matters anyway. When my unit arrived I was impressed with how small a box they come in nowadays. My Flat Panel iMac came in a box that would have taken up twice as much volume. Upon opening the box youíre presented with just a few items. Those include: keyboard, mighty mouse, remote, a restore/software install dvd, and a power cord. There was also some small welcome to Mac book. I looked through the book pretty fast. Not much new to say. On to the fun stuff.

I had my new Mac delivered to my work place. Mainly so it could be kept nice and warm. (So I could use it as soon as I got home.) But I will admit there was another reason. To make the PC guys jealous. And let me say they were all impressed with this unit.

First Impressions
After work I packed up and went home with my new purchase. I carefully lifted the unit out of itís enclosing protective foam. Then I picked the model up by itís aluminum base, which is quite a bit stronger and heavier than it appears. After I had it situated it was a simple matter to hook up power, ethernet, and the keyboard via usb. Then I stepped back to check out the scene. The first thing I really noticed was how big the display truly is. This is the first Mac Iíve owned that had a display larger than 15Ē. The display feels very roomy. It also seems brighter than my Flat Panel G4 iMac (700mhz).

I then went through the setup assistant. As usual a painless process to get things setup. However this time I got to try something new, well new to me. I had it invoke the Migration Assistant to move over all of my stuff. The Migration Assistant moves all kinds of things, if you let it. I let it move over all of my settings and files. About 2.5 hours later 70Gb of data had been moved over and setup just like it was on my old computer. It was painless and I was up and running immediately after that. No need to move things around. Oh sure I had to download some updates but everything I cared about, including my music and photos, were all moved over for me.

Iíve had a chance to use my iMac for a bit now and I can definitely say itís fast. There is no denying that. Itís hard to quantify how fast it is. So I chose to download and install Seti@home. My old Mac, Flat Panel G4 iMac (700mhz), could do about 50 work units a day on average. The iMac Core2Duo is averaging 950 work units a day. Programs launch almost immediately, at least if theyíre universal binaries. Even older apps launch quickly. I have yet to hear the fans kick in.

This is one heck of a jump up from my old iMac. The screen is beautiful. Itís bright and crisp. It also has a wider viewing angle than my old Mac. I can finally work in full screen edit mode with iPhoto. And itís a real pleasure to work with iPhoto full screen. Everything is in real time. Boot time is darn quick, under 35 seconds compared to 90 seconds for my old Mac. These new SATA drives they ship with Macís are fast and quiet. Iíve had to hold my head close to the iMac on several occasions to make sure the drive was still spinning. The built in ram is good but Iíll be getting more as soon as I can afford to. (See one of my cons for a further explanation.) The built in wireless capabilities will come in handy later. The Mighty Mouse is a joy to use. I immediately programed it so a right press on the mouse acts like a right click, or Control-Click. All in all I am extremely pleased with this Mac.

However there are a couple of things I can nit pick about. My biggest frustration is that my iSub is not recognized by the iMac. Based on forum feedback on the net Iím not the only one. I was surprised that Quicken was not bundled with the Mac. Itís the first time I havenít gotten a ďfreeĒ upgrade to Quicken when I bought a new Mac. I was also disappointed that there is only a trial version of iWork included with the iMac. I mean come on. Apple dropped Appleworks. So weíre left with out a word processor, well you can use Text Edit. The least they could do is include Pages for free. Rosetta, the technology that lets you run your older PPC programs. is a marvel. But it eats up ram. Iíve seen all of my Macís 1GB of ram used up pretty quickly when running a mixture of PPC apps and universal ones. Of course the main complaint is your older PPC programs run slower than they would on a PPC Mac. Thereís no way to get around that. However, since I didnít move up from a G5 I can say thatís less of an issue for me. Of course a ding for some folks is that the Mac Intels wonít run Classic. So, if youíre still using some really old apps youíre out of luck. In my case itís not that big of a deal. In fact Iím going to mess with a MacOS 9 emulator ďin my spare timeĒ and see if I can get it going.

Front Row
This is a feature that doesnít easily fit into the normal discussion of my Mac experience. In fact at first I had avoided using the feature. After all, where my Mac is placed is just a matter of a couple of feet from my chair. I really do not need the remote to control my Mac. However, I took Front Row for a spin on one of those days when my toddler just wouldnít stop fussing. It kept both of us amused. The interface is pretty slick. I enjoyed watching movie trailers in Front Row. Music playback was fun, though Iíd like the Cover Flow feature to make an appearance. The slideshow feature worked quite well but there was a noticeable lag before the slideshow began. All in all a pretty capable multimedia interface. In spite of myself I found that I liked it. Itís one of those things you either really enjoy or find annoying.

Unlike some lucky souls I only get to upgrade about twice a decade. But when I do itís quite a jump. Such is the case with this iMac Core2Duo. Itís a huge jump in performance vs my old system. If you are similarly moving up from a pre G5 system you will find the upgrade an extremely satisfactory one. Of course the experience will only get better as more of my main stay programs are updated as universal binaries. In the meantime Rosetta allows me to run all of my older stuff. The big beautiful display makes my computing day so much easier. I can finally view full scale versions of my digital pics without having to scroll around. And I can have our newsletter open in Indesign with two full sized facing pages at 100% magnification. I have only scratched the surface on performance with this Mac. There is no question that this is the best upgrade experience Iíve ever had. I would heartily recommend this Mac to anyone who has similar needs to my own.

Posted: Saturday, March 31st, 2007

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