Today Apple released a new model in their line of iMac computers. The new model slots in below the original entry model 21.5" iMac with less powerful specifications but also a smaller price tag. With Apple's Mac Mini not having been updated since 2012, the new 21.5" iMac is a new way to access Apple's desktop ecosystem at a lower price than Apple's more powerful solutions without having to go with an older Sandy Bridge based hardware platform. Below the new 21.5" iMac is compared to the previous entry level model which still remains priced at $1299, as well as the upgraded 21.5" model in the iMac line.

Apple 2014 iMac Line
Configuration 21.5-inch Base Model iMac 21.5-inch Mid-Range iMac 21.5-inch Flagship iMac
Display 21.5-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS 21.5-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS 21.5-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS
CPU (Base/Turbo) Intel Core i5-4260U Dual Core + HT (1.4GHz/2.7GHz) Intel Core i5-4570R Quad Core (2.7GHz/3.2GHz) Intel Core i5-4570S Quad Core (2.9GHz/3.6GHz)
GPU Intel HD 5000 Intel Iris Pro 5200 NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M (1GB GDDR5)
RAM 8GB LPDDR3-1600 8GB DDR3-1600 8GB DDR3-1600
Storage 500GB 5400RPM 1TB 5400RPM 1TB 5400RPM
WiFi 802.11ac
I/O 4 x USB 3.0, 2 x Thunderbolt, 1 x GigE, SDXC reader, headphone jack
Starting Price $1099 $1299 $1499

The most immediately noticeable change with the new entry level iMac is the CPU. Apple has moved from the quad core i5-4570R used in the $1299 iMac which originally served as the entry level model to the dual core i5-4260U. This is the same CPU used in Apple's 13" Macbook Air and so users can expect a similar experience regarding performance, although the iMac is likely to be able to sustain turbo clock speeds for longer periods of time due to it being less thermally constrained than the Macbook Air. Single threaded performance should be pretty decent given the 4260U's ability to turbo up to 2.7GHz. Remember that these are roughly the same individual cores that are used in the higher end iMacs - there are just fewer of them. With the move to a Haswell ULT part there is also a sacrifice in GPU performance with the new iMac running Intel's HD 5000 integrated graphics rather than the Iris Pro 5200 used in what is now the mid-range iMac model. When we looked at HD 5000 performance in the MacBook Air we determined that the performance gains from moving to Haswell GT3 in a 15W part were limited by thermals. I suspect the iMac's chassis may allow the ULT part to stretch its graphics performance a bit more.

With the mid-range iMac sporting a quad core i5 and Iris Pro graphics the CPU is likely going to be the deciding point for users choosing between the new entry level iMac and the mid-range model. In addition to the CPU changes, the hard drive sees a drop in capacity from 1TB to 500GB compared to the previous entry level model.

Aside from the changes to the CPU and the hard drive the new entry level iMac retains all the other hardware that ships in the other 21.5" iMac models. It still includes the 1920x1080 IPS display which was found to perform quite favorably, 8GB of RAM, and all the I/O connectors including four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, 1 gigabit ethernet port, an SDXC reader, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Looking at the new iMac, it seems like a product that has the business and education market in mind. Users who intend to do anything performance intensive are much better served by the mid-range model. But in an office environment or in schools the performance reductions may not be much of a concern when the computers are needed for simple web browsing and working with documents. For those markets the $200 savings on each computer will be quite significant when ordering in large amounts.

The new entry level 21.5" iMac is shipping today for $1099 in the United States, $1149 in Canada, and £899 in the United Kingdom

Source: Apple PR

 

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  • Tikcus9666 - Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - link

    5400 rpm drives in 2014, I'd expect at least a hybrid SSHD solution Reply
  • designerfx - Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - link

    This is about as low for specs as they can get for Apple. Old & slow notebook processor + old & slow notebook hard drive + notebook ram. This is lowest price laptop material (which usually don't go *above* $500), priced at $1000 starting! LOL. Parts cost here is probably $150 aside from the screen.

    I don't think anyone, especially anyone in education or business should ever consider using this product. You may as well get an intel NUC and get better or equivalent performance than even the $500 laptop with a much smaller footprint.
    Reply
  • Drumsticks - Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - link

    Given the tray price of an i5-4260U (according to ark.intel) is $315, I'm skeptical of your $150 mark. Even if they're double the actual price, we're still over your silly limit. Reply
  • Tegeril - Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - link

    Apple pricing outrage is invulnerable to logic and facts, unfortunately :\ Reply
  • euler007 - Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - link

    It's a MSRP for a product sold exclusively to OEM, I trust it as much as MSRP on clothing.

    A desktop i5 processor with twice the base clock runs about 200$.
    Reply
  • dsumanik - Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - link

    LOL yet another advertisement run for Apple by Anandtech. 20 bucks says this "article" was pre screened by an Apple rep.

    People in internet land…. examine the BIAS in every article you read nowadays.. the internet is quickly becoming one giant commercial....don't let sites like AnandTech make you a fool.

    and I quote :

    "the new 21.5" iMac is a new way to access Apple's desktop ecosystem at a lower price than Apple's more powerful solutions without having to go with an older Sandy Bridge based hardware platform"

    "It still includes the 1920x1080 IPS display which was found to perform quite favorably,"

    LOL.

    If apple desktop price metric is what this article seems to be favouring the “new" iMac for.... Ok, then... let’s have a look:

    ANY quad core mac mini, which can be bought refurbished from Apple from $500 to $800

    http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals...

    WILL ABSOLUTELY SMOKE the "new" 1099 imac in every department except wifi and maybe a few fps in graphics. Everything else will be a benchmark and real world performance SLAUGHTER in favour of the mini.

    I mean not not even close…. in productivity, encoding or even web browsing for that matter.

    the 2.6 mac mini quad core is still one of the highest performing systems apple ever built… with the exception of grpahics…. but anyone purchasing a budget system is not concerned with gaming FPS.

    Furthermore,

    The pricing for the old mini leaves 300 or MORE for DUAL 24" 1080p or GREATER monitors that can follow you to your next system upgrade...whereas the iMac display will need to be repurchased.

    Anand, ill sum this article up for you before Apple PR had a look:

    “Apple didn't upgrade the non retina 1080p display, replaced the internals with the cheapest hardware they had on hand and then slapped an 1100 dollar price tag on it.

    That said, we here at AnandTech think you should buy this new product because we own a lot of Apple stock."

    Hows that for Bias? *cough* ...the truth... *cough*

    Really, Apple.

    I thought new models were supposed to be an upgrade from the old one, this isnt even a sidestep...

    Where’s the magic Tim cook?
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Friday, June 20, 2014 - link

    It's a new product from a prominent tech company. They're not spending 50 pages on it for crying out loud.

    I WANT this article, I WANT articles from other PC makers when they release new products.
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Saturday, June 21, 2014 - link

    I get that pretty much every tech company has its fanboys and its haters who are prone to posting idiotic comments on Internet forums, but the quality of the comments in this thread is for the most part downright appalling. (Thanks for taking the time to post your nonsense thrice, dsumanik.)

    The new low end iMac is actually a very interesting move by Apple, because it marks the first time they have ever used a mobile CPU instead of a desktop one in an iMac. This required a new logic board layout due to the move to a single FCBGA multi-chip package for the CPU and PCH, and soldered LPDDR3 DRAM instead of SODIMM slots. I can only imagine that this will not be a one-off, and we can expect more of the same when the Broadwell based iMacs are unveiled.

    While Apple may focus on maintaining higher ASP's and margins than other PC OEMs, factoring the "Apple Tax" by only considering two specs is asinine. This $1099 iMac comes with:

    • an Intel Core i5-4260U CPU (dual-core + Hyper-Threading and GT3 graphics, i.e. aside from clocks, a top-of-the-line U-series die with a $315 tray price)
    • 8 GB of 1600 MHz LPDDR3 memory (which going by Geekbench actually has a slight performance advantage over the memory in the 8 GB Core i5-4570R models)
    • 2 Thunderbolt ports (Intel DSL3510L "Cactus Ridge" 4-channel controller)
    • Gigabit Ethernet and SDXC card reader with UHS-I support (Broadcom BCM57765)
    • dual-band, 3x3:3, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with Bluetooth LE (Broadcom BCM94360CD module)
    • Cirrus Logic CS4206B audio codec, dual Analog Devices SSM3302 20 W amplifiers and stereo speakers
    • 720p USB webcam with Vimicro VC0359 ISP and dual microphones
    • a rather well calibrated, 21.5-inch, 1920x1080, IPS display with bonded cover glass.
    • a Bluetooth wireless keyboard and multi-touch mouse which list for $138 if purchased separately
    • Latest versions of OS X, iLife and iWork

    The $599 mini (of which the latest iterations are actually IVB, not SNB as stated in the original post) has a slightly faster i5-3210M CPU, slower HD 4000 graphics, only 4 GB of DDR3 SDRAM, a single Thunderbolt / miniDP++ port, gains a FireWire 800 port, lacks ac Wi-Fi, only has one dinky little speaker, has an IR receiver, yet comes with no webcam, microphone, display, keyboard or mouse. And although the mini has lower idle power consumption, it actually draws more at max load without a display than the new low-end iMac does. If you wanted to add back in all the features of the iMac which the mini leaves out, you'd end up spending just as much if not more, and you sure as heck wouldn't end up with an all-in-one that can be pulled out of the box and plugged in via a single cable.

    Also note that the $1099 iMac has 1 TB HDD, 1 TB HDD + 128 GB PCIe SSD (Fusion Drive), and 256 GB PCIe SSD storage options for an additional $50 - $250. While you could potentially roll your own upgrade with the mini for perhaps a little bit less money, you'll never manage to achieve the same performance as those PCIe 2.0 x2 SSD modules provide.

    Comparing the mid 2014 iMac to other PCs, you'd have to be pretty ignorant to not comprehend that Apple generally uses higher quality / more expensive components, materials and manufacturing processes than much of the competition, and also spends a lot more time and money engineering their systems. Whether any of this is of value to a given consumer is entirely up to that individual, though, and it seems that many commenters here only value the biggest GHz's and GB's for the least possible $$$. Making purchases based solely on the price tag and a few prominently advertised specs is generally a sure-fire recipe for getting hammered when it comes to TCO. Go ahead and buy the cheapest inkjet printer you can find at a big box store and see how it works out for you over time. Whether this iMac is a better value than some other product in the long run will be entirely situation dependent, but being a Mac, it will likely depreciate at a much slower rate than other brands.
    Reply
  • RavenMoon - Tuesday, September 02, 2014 - link

    For US currency, the $ sign goes before the number. ;) Reply
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - link

    Yeah, WTF

    For that price, you should get a 2GB 850M or 775M, SSD + 2TB drive, and an i7.

    So are the 27" iMacs not getting updated with 4K displays like all the rumors suggested?
    Reply

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