iMac (Mid 2011) – faster than a Mac Pro?

In may 2011, the Mac-native sites had spread sensation: in tests conducted in different places and different people 27-inch iMac 2011 confidently and constantly showed better results than a 6-core Mac Pro 2010, current at the time…

If the result obtained experimentally, and it can be repeated – it is a fact? The conclusions from these facts was made: “the only thing the Mac Pro is a professional is his cost.” The race was honest, in the tasks of real life. Find the list of tests in which 6-core Mac Pro lost I couldn’t. But I don’t try too hard.

In addition to these facts were other, less concrete: in most of the races Mac Pro 2010, ahead of rivals-winners, no less-repeated, sometimes twice. Sensation, as sensations, burst. 6-core Mac Pro was found not guilty.

A session of exposure consisted of four races on the speed of execution of tasks in Adobe After Effect CS5.5, Adobe Photoshop CS5.5, Handbrake (Converter MPEG video in MPEG-4 video files) and iTunes (converting MP3 to AAC). In After Effects and Handbrake Mac Pro won Photoshop grandmasters played in a draw, convert MP3 to AAC in iTunes iMac’am was not equal.

But it was not the results but the exact knowledge about what to convert MP3 to AAC in iTunes 2011 was used only one thread. Worked one core. Due to the intelligent Turbo Boost 2.0 in Sandy Bridge processors iMac was the winner.

In Photoshop used to race the algorithms used multiple threads, but less intensive than the algorithms in After Effects and Handbrake. Neither the programs nor their developers are not to blame: we don’t know for what reasons they chose one or the other approach.

Side effect – let the 27-inch iMac Core i7 with clock frequency of 3.4 GHz is not the fastest Mac in the world, he’s definitely one of the most…

This is a continuation of a series about the iMac on Intel, the previous parts are here:

The first part: the First Intel Mac – there are links to a series about the iMac G4 and iMac G5;
Second part: the Last “Behemoth” (eMac) and its Successor – there’s also links to a series about eMac;
Third part: Intel Core 2: and again the iMac to come…
The fourth part: Setbreak, or iMac Core 2 (IG)
Fifth part: White, middle class.
Sixth part: 24-inch iMac, was it a special operation?
Seventh part: iMac aluminum not without extreme…;
Eighth part: the iMac becomes more powerful…;
Ninth part: iMac (Early 2009): the recession has affected Apple…;
Tenth: iMac (Mid 2009). the iMac is not for everyone…;
Eleventh part: Unibody iMac, remote control and mouse…;
The twelfth part: iMac (Late 2009) Intel Core 2, younger model…;
Thirteenth part: iMac (Late 2009) Core i5/Core i7, overtaking Mac Pro;
The fourteenth part: More iMac’and for the same money. Apple 2010;
The fifteenth part: the Elite of the breed of iMac 2010;
The sixteenth part: the thunder and a home desktop computer….


A (of two or three percent of the total) 27-inch iMac’and with the most powerful graphics the profits to the customers in an unusable state. Some number of Macs with this card came in the off state later. If even a tenth of a percent disgruntled enough to cause the storm, unable to imagine what was happening.

Once you have problems, the new Mac and changed without talking. The warranty period has not expired, nothing can be done. I’ve read indignant letters to those who had to change iMac’and two in a row is really gross.

The study returned iMac’s identified the problem. Apple, as usual, was not to blame: the manufacturer of AMD Radeon HD 6970M could not cope with the quality control. His problem became a problem Apple and AMD, I do not envy him.

Apple announced a replacement program for AMD Radeon HD 6970M, which is valid for three years from the date of purchase of the iMac.

For serious customers

Only the online store had four configurations. In two of them the option of more powerful processor was not provided, and among the options with the same screen size, they were the cheapest – we considered last time.

In the remaining two initial configurations were used Core i5, but in any of them, for a fee of $ 200, the Core i5 can be replaced by Core i7.

21.5-inch iMac for $ 499 1

Processor – Intel Core i5 2.7 GHz (i5-2500S), cache third level 6 MB. Sandy Bridge (32 nm HyperThreading, much more – and Turbo Boost 2.0, which in the cases of concentration of load on a single core increases its frequency up to 3.7 GHz, a full Gigahertz. In some tests have 6-core Mac Pro won even he, and even without a more powerful CPU – not a sensation, but still good.

DMI with a throughput of 5 GT/s.

In the may 2011 configurations, the basic set included 4 GB PC3-10600 (1 333 MHz) DDR3 SO-DIMM in our online shop expandable up to 16 Gigabytes, and even up to 32. Option 21,5/2,7 was no exception.

SATA II (3GB/s), but two days after the start of sales, no ads about it, the EFI version was raised to 1.6 and gradually switched from SATA II to SATA III (6 GB/s).

In a basic configuration, drive capacity 1 TB (7 200 rpm), options – drive capacity of two Terabytes, and/or SSD volume of 256 GB. Disk and SSD can be installed at the same time. After the purchase too, but if the SSD is not installed initially, it was a little difficult – but even to get to the drives to replace them was not easy, therefore a small additional difficulty was unimportant.

8x SuperDrive. iMac12,1 and iMac12,2 was the last iMac with an optical drive.

The graph is the same as in the 27-inch iMac economy class, AMD Radeon HD 6770m, also with 512 MB of GDDR5 RAM. Not entirely hopeless, even from the point of view of gamers, and rafagat would not touch her.

Built-in screen with a resolution of 1920×1080, one of the best in the industry. On the outside, it connects to the Thunderbolt port, support resolution up to 2560×1600. In TDM mode (Target Display Mode) this remarkable computer could be turned into a monitor. You could only use computers with Thunderbolt ports, in may 2011, this condition was responsible only MacBook Pro released in February.

Four USB 2.0 ports, one Firewire 800, Ethernet 10/100/1000Base-T, and Thunderbolt.

AirPort (802.11 n with up to 450 Gbps speed compatible with 802.11 a/b/g) and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR – built-in. Keyboard and mouse (Magic Mouse) to complete only the wireless. If desired, the Magic Mouse could be replaced by a Magic Trackpad. Or take both for an extra $ 69.

Aluminum Apple Remote – option for $ 19. The options were many, more than the 21.5-inch economy version twice. One of them is Intel Core i7 2.8 GHz (i7-2600S) cache third level is 8 MB. Sandy Bridge, Turbo Boost 2.0 (among other things), the maximum frequency of 3.8 GHz. Another hero from the list of “winners Mac Pro”.

The 27-inch iMac for $ 999 1

Processor – Intel Core i5 3.1 GHz (i5-2400), cache in the third level is 8 MB. Turbo Boost 2.0, when possible, dynamically increases the clock speed of one of the cores to 3.4 GHz. DMI with a throughput of 5 GT/s.

The basic kit of 4 GB PC3-10600 (1 333 MHz) DDR3 SO-DIMM, with extra charge when you purchase – up to 16 Gigabytes, beyond online store – up to 32.

SATA II (3 Gbps) or SATA III (6 GB/s). Default – disk of 1 TB (7 200 rpm), and a standard for the may iMac 2011 set of options: disk to 2 TB and SSD to 256 GB.

Graphics card AMD Radeon HD 6970M with 1GB of GDDR5. The amount of video memory could be increased in the Configurator to 2 Gigabytes. This map became the main character of “gratulate”. The problem affected a relatively small part of the released iMac, not less than 95% of them are problems with the graphics card not was, but “one tablet is enough” – a quote from the Soviet film “the diamond arm”.

Built-in screen (glossy, IPS led backlit display with a basic resolution of 2560×1600. Apple claimed that this screen is the best in the industry. It looks like it.

Two Thunderbolt ports. Without any tricks, easy and simple, the iMac could connect to two large monitors, with a resolution of up to 2560×1600 each. Support for TDM (Target Display Mode).

I almost forgot (this is a problem for all variants of the may iMac models) slots SuperDrive and SDXC memory cards located on the same side of the body close to one another. Complained about it and Apple has solved the problem quickly and dramatically – but more on that another time.

For $ 200 instead of the Intel Core i5 3.1 GHz (i5-2400), you can choose Intel Core i7 3.4 GHz (i7-2600), with the same third level cache (8 Megabytes).

Clock speed is only loaded kernel could be increased to 3.8 GHz.

Enjoyed it so iMac (i7) in 2015-2016, no complaints. I want to repeat.

To be continued

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