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Lunch » Tags » Computer & Accessories » Reviews » Apple iMac MC511LL/A 27-Inch Desktop » User review

Very fast, very quiet, plays burned DVDs just fine (will update review frequently)

  • Aug 15, 2010
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My big concern is that the DVD drive would not play burned DVDs. Out of the box, my MBP did NOT play burned DVDs very well, if at all. After a couple OS updates, that seems to be a thing of the past, but a new concern for this drive. DVDs tested that worked are: Imation DVD-R 8x; Taiyo Yuden white; Verbatim DVD+R DL; Verbatim DVD-R; Memorex DVD-R 4x; Princo DVD-R 'white star'.

Upgrading memory on the iMac is easy. There are 4 slots for memory: 2 'upper' and 2 'lower', as Apple calls them, but they are really 4 side by side slots on the bottom (behind the Apple logo.) The 2 upper slots are populated by Apple's memory, but the 2 lower slots are open (unless you upgraded already.) The 4 memory slots are accessed by unscrewing 3 screws with a Philips screwdriver (a normal size will do.) Apple recommends "For the iMac (Mid 2010) models, use 2 GB or 4 GB RAM SO-DIMMs of 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM in each slot." Removing the aluminum screen is a one-screw deal, then push in the memory, and power the iMac back on. That's it. If you are planning on running VMWare, or playing games, or doing video, you will likely need to upgrade to another 2 or 4GB. I recommend 2 cards of 2GB each. VMWare running Win7, while OSX is running PS and a browser takes up about 60-75% of the 4GB installed memory. And remember: saving a little and buying janky memory is like putting used, dirty oil in your car - what are you really saving by doing that?

The older remote control for my MBP worked just fine. That is until we started watching some streaming video through Safari. For some reason that video knocked out the ability to use the remote, and I had to restart the iMac to get it to see the remote again. Don't know why, and it was only for video being played through todocast.tv website. May be a rare issue.

It only took 63 mins for me to move 93GB of data from an external drive using USB 2.0 cable. Loading Mac Office took less than 10 minutes to load from DVD (default config) - fastest I have ever seen, yet. One thing I noticed is that I can hear this hard drive writing to the disc, whereas I cannot here my older iMac's drive at all. I have to put my head up near the screen, but I can hear the thumping more prominently than I can on the 2-year old iMac. This might be due to the way the housing/area around the drive is designed: might be creating an echo chamber? Don't know why, just do.

Whoa! The wireless keyboard worked from over 50-feet away! I walked through a thick wood door, down the hall (cinderblock walls) and around the corner and it still worked! I have no idea how far away I can go, but across the room is no problem. Same goes for the wireless mouse. The mouse does not have the right-click set up as a default. I also found that the left-right swipe action was dangerous while browsing websites, for a left-swipe is the same as the 'back' button - and when filling out an online form hitting the back button (or accidentally swiping left on the mouse) can erase your inout data.) The vertical swiping action of the mouse is just like the iPhone, smooth and screen slides to a stop. Best mouse ever made.

This card is definitely showing a stronger signal than my MBP sitting the same distance from the router (which is a G-band). It also shows a lot more networks to choose from than the MBP.

Out if the box, the iMac needed to be updated. Nothing ridiculous, just about 7 updates (Safari, Java, AirPort, iTunes, OSX security...) with a half hour of download and updating.

People new to Mac, and those that haven't bought one in years, will find the contents of your retail box sparse: keyboard, iMac, mouse, 2 DVDs, small booklet, power cord and batteries for the keyboard and mouse (installed.) That's it. PC users/converters will be shocked at how little documentation there is in your box: no yellow pieces of paper screaming out warnings and 'do this first!' type messages. This is true plug and play.

These speakers sound just the same as the 2-your old iMac I am comparing all of this to. Maybe a little less tin/bright... Still not the best, most amazing speakers out there, but are far better than the majority of embedded computer speakers. I still recommend you buy a set of desktop speakers if plan on watching movies, playing music loud, or want a rich deep sound.

Still not super-stoked about the glossy screen, but I think I am starting to get used to it. Bright rooms (especially where the light behind you is brighter than the light behind the iMac) just suck to work in. That's when I break out the MBP and it's matte screen. The 178-degree viewing angle statistic is ONLY for the most optimum viewing conditions! Again, a bright room where there are reflections on the screen will just turn it all to a kaleidoscope: colors are seen but good luck figuring out what you are seeing! In a pitch black room, yes, you can benefit from the 178-degree viewing angle and all is good.

While having the quad core CPU makes for a very snappy and almost lag-free iMac, it does NOT speed up your old programs. It's NOT like Office programs are suddenly using all four cores to compute your Chemistry spreadsheet or create that graph. It just means that there are more pipelines for your programs to run on. In short, the program has to be written to utilize the multiple cores at the same time. Not even my Adobe CS4 is using all four cores.

The new thinner pedestal ("foot") is great for pushing back the keyboard/work. The old iMac had a 1/4 inch tall foot, almost brick-like, whereas this one about an 1/8 of an inch or less. Works like a ramp.

All said, I have to say that this is the best iMac so far. I know that should go without saying, but you can't always take this for granted. If you have a 1-year old iMac, I can't see upgrading unless you are having problems with it. If you have a 2+ year old iMac, or even a G5 rig, I can easily say that you should/could upgrade to this one. You will not be disappointed.

Will update this review as I come across more revelations.

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Tristan Denyer ()
Ranked #892
I am a graphic designer, front-end Web designer and digital artist.I have been doing graphic design work since 1990—beginning with X-Acto knives, tape, and harsh chemicals; then PageMaker on a … more
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Offering a brilliant 27-inch LED-backlit widescreen display in an edge-to-edge glass design and seamless all aluminum enclosure, the Apple iMac is ideal for watching high definition movies and TV shows from iTunes, or editing and watching your own videos or photos using iLife. The iMac now also comes standard with a wireless keyboard and the Magic Mouse, which features Apple's Multi-Touch technology. And it's been updated with a faster, more powerful quad-core 2.8 GHz Intel Core i5 processor--with four cores of intelligent processing power that set new benchmarks for iMac performance.

The iMac's display offers a 2560 x 1440-pixel resolution (for native 1080p high-definition viewing), and it uses IPS technology to deliver consistent color across an ultra wide 178 degree viewing angle. This 27-inch model (MC509LL/A) also features improved graphics with ATI Radeon HD 5750 discrete graphics featuring 1 GB of GDDR3 memory and a 1 TB hard drive.

It comes pre-loaded with Apple's Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard operating system--an operating system custom-designed for the advanced technology inside--and it also comes with the iLife suite of applications, including iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband, and iTunes.

Widescreen 27-inch iMac

The 27-inch iMac features a brilliant LED-backlit display with widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. Key Specifications Apple iMac

The iMac declutters your desktop with a wireless keyboard and new Magic Mouse--the world's first Multi-Touch mouse..
  • 27-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with IPS ...
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