's best attempt
so far at making the Macintosh
affordable. As of this writing
, there are four iMac models
in production (all price
s are in US dollars
and are rounded up to better represent reality
- The current basic iMac model ($800) sports a 350 MHz G3 processor, 64 MB of RAM, a 7 gig hard drive, a 100 MHz system bus, a 24x CD-ROM drive, an ATI Rage 128 Pro graphics accelerator, 8 MB of VRAM, an Apple Pro Mouse (a seemingly buttonless optical mouse), and colorwise comes in indigo only.
- The iMac DV ($1000) has all of the above except as noted: the hard drive is 10 gigs, the processor is 400 MHz, it has two FireWire ports, and it has a VGA output port (but the iMac DV is capable of video mirroring only). Also, this is the cheapest current production model in which one can install an optional AirPort card for wireless networking with other computers equipped with AirPort or other IEEE 802.11 compliant hardware. Please note that unlike the previous model that sported this name, this "iMac DV" does not have a DVD-ROM drive. It comes in indigo and ruby.
- The iMac DV+ ($1300) is very much like the iMac DV except that it has a 450 MHz processor, a 20 gigabyte hard drive, and a 4x DVD-ROM drive. If you need all that hard disk space and want to play DVDs on your computer, not bad; if you only want the DVD part and don't mind the old girly colors, find a used first edition iMac DV. The DV+ comes in indigo, ruby, and sage.
- The iMac DV Special Edition ($1500) has everything the iMac DV+ does except as noted: it has 128 MB of RAM, a 30 gig hard drive, has a 500 MHz processor, and comes in graphite or snow. Personally, I think if you're looking at this model, you may as well get a slightly used or even a new G4 instead, but if the thought of an angelic white gumdrop computer tickles your fancy, so be it...
iMac models include:
The 333 MHz iMac. This model features a 6 gigabyte HD and 32 MB RAM and, naturally, a 333 MHz processor; differences from the 350 MHz model that followed it include no AirPort card slot, less-accessable memory, a fan instead of the new models' quieter convection cooling system, a mere ATI Rage Pro graphics accelerator, only 6 MB of VRAM, only a 66 MHz system bus, and worse speakers. Comes in all five standard flavors, and is what I am using now. At least it's orders of magnitude better than the Performa 476 I was stuck with for years...
The 266 MHz iMac. This model featured, in addition to the 266 MHz G3 processor, a 6 gig HD, an ATI Rage Pro graphics accelerator, 6 megs of VRAM, and other specs similar to the original iMac. These were also the first iMacs to come in the now-famous five flavors. A few people were initially disappointed that the new blueberry wasn't quite the same as Bondi Blue, but they eventually got used to it.
The original Bondi Blue iMac. This was the machine that first shocked the world by not looking dull and having no floppy drive. It featured a 233 MHz G3 processor, a 4 GB hard drive, 32 megs of RAM, a 24x CD-ROM drive, a 66 MHz system bus, 2 megabytes of VRAM, and either an ATI Rage Pro or an ATI Rage II depending on when you got one. Lesser-known features of this model that vanished in later ones included a "secret" port under the motherboard not intended for third-party use and an IrDA port.
- The first complete series of iMacs, the last iMacs to include the round mouse people complain about so much, including:
- A basic iMac model that's much like the current basic iMac except that it only has a 6 gig hard drive, an ATI Rage 128 graphics accelerator, and allowed one to install an AirPort card. This model came in the "flavor" known as blueberry.
- The original iMac DV, which is almost identical to the current one except for the graphics card and the fact that the CD-ROM drive is replaced with a DVD-ROM drive. This was the last iMac model that came in all five standard flavors: strawberry, grape, blueberry, lime, and tangerine.
- The original iMac DV Special Edition is just like the original iMac DV except that it has 128 MB of RAM, a 13 gig hard drive, and comes in a transparent graphite color only. For $200 more at the time, that's not my idea of a good deal.
All iMacs feature a 512k backside cache
(aka level 2 cache
), two USB
ports, a prominent monitor
with a 13.8" diagonal viewable area
(for those of you who buy the hype
that everyone peddles about monitor sizes, that's a 15" monitor), a 56k modem
, and, through a standard RJ-45
jack, 10/100BaseT Ethernet
The iMac has proved to be a smash success; millions have been sold since the first Bondi Blue machines were introduced. The success of the iMac is the biggest reason why Apple made a comeback. For ordinary computer usage, they're really not as bad as they sound, but for serious, strenuous computing and the option of upgradeability, save up for a G4 and monitor.