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The IMac: Apple's All-In-One Solution For The Desktop

Should You Buy a New Mac Mini, iMac or Mac Pro?

The iMac has one of the more unique histories among desktop computer lines. Perhaps what sets it apart more than anything is that it was one of the first - and to date, certainly the most commercially successful - of the "all-in-one" computer desktops. The original iMac, released in 1998, contained a G3 (roughly similar to a Pentium II) 233 MHz CPU running on a 66 MHz system bus, and sold for $1,299. External expandability was limited to two USB 1 ports on the side of the system, and two more USB 1 ports on the keyboard. When it was first released, the iMac came in only one design, the now infamous (and uniquely translucent) "Bondi Blue":

All-In-One simplicity: The original "Bondi Blue" iMac. Courtesy of Masashige Motoe and Wikimedia Commons.

In terms of both style and power, iMacs have changed considerably in the nine plus years since their original release. The 20" flat-screen Intel iMacs, which run Core 2 Duos at 2.0 or 2.4 GHz on an 800-MHz Front Side Bus, are described below:

The "Ice White" Exterior has been replaced with "Brushed Aluminum": The 2007 iMacs.

IMac 20" Default Configurations

Model 20" iMac (MA876LL) 20" iMac (MA877LL)
Processor 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
L2 Cache 4 MB Shared 4 MB Shared
Front Side Bus 800 MHz 800 MHz
Memory 1 GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (1 x 1 GB)
Upgradeable to 2 GB (2 x 1 GB) or 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Hard Drive 250 GB 7200 RPM SATA
Upgradeable to 320 GB or 500 GB
320 GB 7200 RPM SATA
Upgradeable to 500 GB or 750 GB
Optical Drive 8x "SuperDrive" with 4x DL
8x "SuperDrive" with 4x DL
Graphics ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT with 128 MB RAM (no upgrade options) ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256 MB RAM (no upgrade options)
Display 20" (viewable) glossy wide screen TFT active-matrix LCD, 1680 by 1050 pixels, millions of colors
Display Ports Mini-DVI output port (support for DVI, VGA, S-video, and composite video connections via adapter (sold separately)
Audio Built-in stereo speakers with 24-watt digital amplifier, built-in microphone, optical digital audio output/headphone out, optical digital audio input/audio line in
Video Built-in iSight Camera
Ports One FireWire 800, One FireWire 400, Three USB 2, plus Two USB 2 on Keyboard
Network Wired: 10/100/1000 BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet
Wireless: AirPort Extreme (802.11 a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
Warrantee 90 days free phone support, one year limited warrantee
Accessories USB Keyboard and Mouse plus Remote Control all included, IR Receiver included, Wireless Keyboard and Mouse are available
Software Mac OS X 10.4.10 Tiger Operating System, iLife ’08 (including Microsoft Office Demo), iWork ’08 (30 day trial), Front Row, and Photo Booth
Base Model Price $1,199.00 $1,499.00

I’ll next take a look at Apple’s high end iMacs, the 24" iMac models

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