New iMac: anything comparable by price and hardware for PC users?

Here's the iMac specs:

21.5-inch: 2.7GHz
2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5
Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
8GB (two 4GB) memory
1TB hard drive1
NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M with 512MB
Available to ship:
7-10 business days
Free Shipping
$1,299.00

Darn nice and a very thin screen with all the hardware in it ('cept keyboard of course).

Anything comparable for PC folks?

Are you looking for comparisons for the unibody form-factor?

Macs aren't as overpriced anymore. If you're looking for a unibody pc version, it's hard to find one with such a tiny screen, 24" has become the bare essential with 27" being the most common. We use HP Z1 workstations in place of imacs but those are xeons with quadros so it's not really for home users.

Mac Pro on the other hand is ridiculously overpriced.

There are slews of new Windows 8 AIO's. All the major manufactures have them and I believe some have decent GPU's

This series of Dell all-in-ones has similar features (23" screen though) and ends up with a similar price.

...unless this is a "Mac vs PC" bait post in which case I can't get out of here fast enough.

You can definitely find one that has similar (or better) hardware specs for the price. The problem is finding one that has all that and the same quality screen.

Lurking for identical curiosity.

Well, keep in mind that these new Macs are literally glued together, and that the smaller ones can't even have their RAM upgraded without being taken apart, which presumably shatters the glue and requires a new application. (apparently, the 27" models have a dedicated door to get at the RAM, but the small models do not, requiring a total teardown to get at the sockets.) You won't be adding any other drives inside the chassis, either, not even an SSD. The Thunderbolt ports will allow for very, very fast external drive enclosures, so that's not as bad as it could be, but be warned. If you want an SSD, you're going to have to put it in an external box for that model.

If you're willing to build a PC yourself, you can do something that's faster and more featureful, except for the Thunderbolt stuff, for at least a little less, maybe substantially less. (when you have slots and a case that can take more drives, the need for Thunderbolt is not that pressing.) Assembling modern PCs is about as hard as building a Lego set, maybe easier. In exchange, you'll get a machine that will be a lot faster at graphics, probably a little faster on the CPU, and can have more drives and memory added easily. And, of course, they all have PCIe slots, so if someone invents something wonderful that we don't know about right now, you should be able to just buy whatever it is and plug it in, no particular fuss.

If all you do is run basic application stuff, and maybe the occasional game, the new iMacs are okay computers, but they're about as appliance-ish as you can get, without lasting like real appliances do. If you're a gamer, they're a poor choice; the graphics are weak, and getting multichannel game sound, if it's even possible, will probably require a receiver.

So, it really boils down to what you want to do with the computer. If it's just email and word processing, then it's silly to spend anywhere near what they're selling... you can do $500 PCs that will be fine. If it's gaming you want, you're better served with a PC, too. The only real reason I see to buy one of these is if you're in love with the form factor.

tl;dr version: it's way too much computer for most people, and not enough computer for gamers, but it looks cool.

I believe there are at least several Windows 8 AIW's with decent discrete GPU's. Given most are 1080P+ I doubt they would be all that great for gaming.. but certainly better than that iMac.

Malor wrote:
The only real reason I see to buy one of these is if you're in love with the form factor and like OS X.

Fixed.

Well, if you want OS X, just buy a Mini. Those are great little machines; they'd be nearly as fast as the iMac, and much cheaper, even adding a monitor. And they're actually easier to expand, at least a little bit. They even have a single-channel Thunderbolt controller, IIRC, so in addition to having room for a drive or two in the tiny case, you can add an outboard box that would run lickety-split. And you can expand those little suckers to 16 gigs of RAM, which is pretty solid, for such a tiny machine.

Still lousy for games, but all Macs are kinda lousy for games.

Their only real downside is that they don't look as cool.

Malor wrote:
Well, if you want OS X, just buy a Mini. Those are great little machines; they'd be nearly as fast as the iMac, and much cheaper, even adding a monitor. And they're actually easier to expand, at least a little bit. They even have a single-channel Thunderbolt controller, IIRC, so in addition to having room for a drive or two in the tiny case, you can add an outboard box that would run lickety-split. And you can expand those little suckers to 16 gigs of RAM, which is pretty solid, for such a tiny machine.

Still lousy for games, but all Macs are kinda lousy for games.

Their only real downside is that they don't look as cool.

I have to disagree about the mini. Maybe I just had 8 bad ones but even the brand new one I got recently is unusable after a couple of hours of light browsing and document work until you restart.

No one should ever react to hardware on a global scale despite whatever personal issues one may have had. For example I can browse the Asus motherboard forums and find hundreds of horror stories.. yet for the most part Asus produces a rock solid motherboard product.

TheGameguru wrote:
No one should ever react to hardware on a global scale despite whatever personal issues one may have had. For example I can browse the Asus motherboard forums and find hundreds of horror stories.. yet for the most part Asus produces a rock solid motherboard product.

Sure... but if I got 8 bad motherboards from asus in a row... guess who's never buying another asus product?

TheGameguru wrote:
No one should ever react to hardware on a global scale despite whatever personal issues one may have had. For example I can browse the Asus motherboard forums and find hundreds of horror stories.. yet for the most part Asus produces a rock solid motherboard product.

Except Acer. Everything Acer makes is garbage, has always been garbage and barring a major change in their corporate philosophy, will always be garbage. I will defend that point till the day I die! (Had many bad experiences with Acer in the last 20 years).

ibdoomed wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:
No one should ever react to hardware on a global scale despite whatever personal issues one may have had. For example I can browse the Asus motherboard forums and find hundreds of horror stories.. yet for the most part Asus produces a rock solid motherboard product.

Sure... but if I got 8 bad motherboards from asus in a row... guess who's never buying another asus product?

That's wonderful.. but why should anyone care about what you are doing? Which is my exact point.. your individual experience has very little bearing on the overal experience.

Thanks folks. I'm still dreaming of getting back into PC gaming somewhat, just not top of the line stuff. But this Mac,for the price, seem's to have some good specs for the price, AND fairly 'mobile' for moving it from table to table, or room to room. But PC is what I want, although the price is still a bit high for me. I get several 'tech deal' email adds and this seemed a really good price for a nVidia card and proccessor. Good monitor, 8 gigs of ram and TB of HD. Seem's very decent from what I've seen. Being out of the loop on PC's too, all this i3' or 5's with ivy bridge this and that for boosts is fairly greek to me.

Anyway, again, thanks for the conversation regarding this. Apperciate it.

That Mac has horrible spec's for gaming..don't be fooled.. at native resolution 512MB of Vram will cripple it..

For gaming, that's a crap machine, Donan, and you don't want it.

TheGameguru wrote:
ibdoomed wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:
No one should ever react to hardware on a global scale despite whatever personal issues one may have had. For example I can browse the Asus motherboard forums and find hundreds of horror stories.. yet for the most part Asus produces a rock solid motherboard product.

Sure... but if I got 8 bad motherboards from asus in a row... guess who's never buying another asus product?

That's wonderful.. but why should anyone care about what you are doing? Which is my exact point.. your individual experience has very little bearing on the overal experience.

Because it's statistically significant. You can't possibly be suggesting that apple specifically picked out 8 mac minis known to be bad and sent them to me so that no one else in the world would get a bad one?

What if Car and Driver tested 911's and 8 out of 10 had the brakes fail? No one should notice/care?

I once got 16 Crucial 4GB so-dimms of which 14 were bad. Obviously a bad production run...does that mean all Crucial so-dimms are worthless? Of course not. Not sure why you think you are special. You just got 8 bad Mac Mini's whoopie doo...how many people are perfectly fine with theirs. I have one going on 4 years 24x7 (it runs a video art screen)

ibdoomed wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:
ibdoomed wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:
No one should ever react to hardware on a global scale despite whatever personal issues one may have had. For example I can browse the Asus motherboard forums and find hundreds of horror stories.. yet for the most part Asus produces a rock solid motherboard product.

Sure... but if I got 8 bad motherboards from asus in a row... guess who's never buying another asus product?

That's wonderful.. but why should anyone care about what you are doing? Which is my exact point.. your individual experience has very little bearing on the overal experience.

Because it's statistically significant. You can't possibly be suggesting that apple specifically picked out 8 mac minis known to be bad and sent them to me so that no one else in the world would get a bad one?

What if Car and Driver tested 911's and 8 out of 10 had the brakes fail? No one should notice/care?

In no way is a sample of 8 Mac Minis remotely statistically significant.

Back on-topic - I love my iMac (mid 2009, 24"), but will be building a hackintosh this Christmas rather than upgrading to one of the newer machines because of the lack of a decent GPU. If you want to do more gaming than stuff from a few years ago (all the Mass Effects run at their highest settings, Skyrim gets ~45 fps, but without any of the HD texture mods, etc), you should definitely go the PC route. If you prefer OS X, there are plenty of guides out there that walk through building a hackintosh, which would allow you to still run OS X but also put in a much better GPU.

We use Mac Minis at work for iOS development and as the machines to drive a couple of HDTVs with webcams and Skype for poor man's Telepresence. They certainly don't become unusable after a couple of hours.

As a regular-use machine, though, they benefit greatly from SSDs. Macs in general do, but especially if you get the base model with a 5400 rpm drive, an SSD turns it into a completely different machine. 128GB SSDs are regularly below the $100 mark now, so buying a baseline Mini and slapping an SSD in it is a pretty decent way to get a Mac desktop relatively inexpensively.

Yep. As I've said many, many times, OS X lives and dies on drive seek time. There is nothing else that you can do to a Mac that improves it more than an SSD. Not RAM, not CPU, not video card, nothing. Always add an SSD before anything else.

That's part of why the new cheap iMacs suck so bad, because you have to add an expensive external Thunderbolt box to get an SSD going, and then you lose the benefit of the sleek form factor. I think you'd be much better off with a Mini, in most cases.

TheGameguru wrote:
No one should ever react to hardware on a global scale despite whatever personal issues one may have had. For example I can browse the Asus motherboard forums and find hundreds of horror stories.. yet for the most part Asus produces a rock solid motherboard product.

Sounds like someone never had a Packard Bell

Back on topic, the iMac can be configured with a Fusion Drive, but its an extra $250. That seems to be way, way expensive.

Fusion Drive combines 128GB of super fast flash storage with a traditional hard drive. It automatically and dynamically moves frequently used files to flash for quicker access. With Fusion Drive in your iMac, booting is up to 1.7 times faster, and copying files and importing photos are up to 3.5 times faster.* Over time, as the system learns how you work, Fusion Drive makes your Mac experience even better. All while letting you store your digital life on a traditional, roomy hard drive.

Yeah, but even then, you're stuck with the hybrid Fusion approach. You can't just buy a cheapie and replace the drive with an SSD completely.

Fusion's a good idea, but going pure SSD will absolutely be better. Fusion is kind of like RAID-0, where if either drive fails, you lose all your data -- and with the case glued shut, losing either drive means a visit to the Apple store. Not cool.

Late to the party, but I just came across this today. Seems very comparable to the iMac and much more customizable...Not as stylish, of course, but definitely more flexible.

http://www.maingear.com/custom/deskt...

Certainly interesting, a kind of half-way between using laptop stuff and desktop stuff. Seems like a smart choice for something that looks like it's meant to be a sealed box. It seems a little weird that they tout their HDMI in capabilities with a 360 and those are the only shots showing it running a game.

Symbiotic wrote:
Late to the party, but I just came across this today. Seems very comparable to the iMac and much more customizable...Not as stylish, of course, but definitely more flexible.

http://www.maingear.com/custom/deskt...

That thing looks enormous compared to the new imacs.

Yeah, 2.5" deep. Could be very noisy under load, too.