Testing the Apple iMac 27 inch Core i7 3.4 GHz Mac XXL

27-inch iMac Core i7 3.4 GHz

Despite widespread use of quad cores on the new range Apple 27-inch iMac remains the Rolls Series, with processor options up to Core i7 3.4GHz. It is with the latter that we have tested this new iMac, to compare it to previous high range. Sandybridge, Thunderbolt, HD webcam: see what offers this new model!

Design and Ergonomics

As for the latest MacBook Pro, new iMac surprise disappoint the fans: they are in all respects identical to their predecessors in terms of their design. Without surprise, they continue to impress on the other hand in finish and elegance: the 27-inch model still requires much once on the desk! We thus find the hull aluminum “unibody”, the glass panel that protects the screen, the rather massive foot (it must support such a monster), and the front of the machine free of any connections.

The right edge houses a DVD burner always “slot in” (still no Blu-ray) and an SD card slot, which we continue to wonder why on earth have been as close to the optical drive. However, it now supports the SDXC 64GB.

We also always ask the same question about connectivity, concentrated on the back of the screen. The foot has beautiful slide with ease, it is still binding enough having to return or go behind a behemoth 27-inch to plug in a USB stick.

Let’s talk about the connectivity, precisely. This one does not change much with one exception, of course: Thunderbolt, which made its debut on this iMac, with not one but two ports, for connecting eg a screen and Thunderbolt device (when they become available mass, which is far from the case), or, let’s be crazy, two screens!

The rest does not move, so it has the following connectors, and still no USB 3.0 for

4 USB 2.0 ports

2 Thunderbolt ports

1x Firewire 800

1 Gigabit Ethernet port

1 audio output

1 analog / optical audio input

Note that the ports Thunderbolt / DisplayPort now allow you to enjoy the entire range of use of the iMac as an external display for a MacBook Pro. This possibility was reserved before the 27-inch model, but it comes with a huge downside: it is only possible to connect a Thunderbolt-enabled MacBook! If you used to use this feature with your MacBook, whether Pro, Air or white, it will … Change MacBook! The mind boggles, especially as the connection cable Thunderbolt is still not available, announced “this spring” (already well underway …).


The main novelty of this update of the iMac is the transition to Sandy Bridge Intel architecture. Regarding the 27-inch, found in the first model the same Core i5 2500S 2.7 GHz, and the high-end Core i5 2400 to 3.1 GHz that can be replaced by a Core i7 2600 to 3.4 GHz (the configuration we received in test). Note that Apple no longer uses processors stamped “S” ie low consumption on the 27-inch: the firm at the apple here has recourse to standard processors.

The Core i7 2600 as CPU-Z

What’s new regarding graphics cards? It’s always that AMD is festive, with a 6770M (512MB) on the model “bottom” and 6970M, clocked at 680 MHz according GPU-Z for the top model, with 1GB of memory GDDR5 video standard, and an optional 2GB version on the Apple Store. In short, instead of performing cards to play in good conditions on Windows, although delivered in Mobility release.

The AMD Radeon HD 6970M according to GPU-Z

Storage options do not change compared to the previous generation. Both models offer a standard hard drive 1 TB, which could be replaced by a 256GB SSD, 2TB hard drive, or SSD / HDD combination.

It nevertheless notes that the SSD option is not given: it will add 500 euros to the bill, already rather salty. In addition, Apple seems to suffer from supply problems at the time of writing these lines: delivery spend several weeks when adding the SSD option. To note a downside, however: if it took you want to disassemble the screen to change your disk, the operation would not serve much, since Apple now uses cables and proprietary firmware for its temperature sensor hard drives. It is obviously impossible to use a disc which is not supplied as standard. The iMac was never designed to be scalable, especially since version “unibody” but this new edition marks another step in what critics called planned obsolescence …

What about RAM? 4GB DDR3 1333MHz are offered as standard, with the possibility of up to 16 GB. Tip: do not buy additional RAM above the Apple Store, the proposed rates are just prohibitive!

Finish with Wireless: Wifi N and Bluetooth 2.1 EDR are scheduled.

Display, input devices, webcam, sound

The screen iMac team seems to have moved relative to the previous generation, and we do not complain, with the obvious exception of the glass panel very conducive to glare. Apart from the inconvenience, we are forced to admit he throws! The panel is IPS technology, the viewing angle is absolutely spotless, and the rendering of colors very satisfactory for a mainstream computer. Something new on the 2011 version: there is an ambient light sensor.

The side of the webcam, there is however a fairly radical change as the MacBook Pro, iMac now embark a 720p camera. There is however one caveat: to take advantage of HD, it will go through FaceTime, Apple visio conferencing software, supplied as standard (and available on the Mac App Store for 0.79 euros). FaceTime lets course converse with Mac users, but also for iOS devices (iPhone 4, iPad 2, iPod Touch 4G). In the latter case, there is no benefit of course of HD. However, even without high definition webcam new iMac offers a much nicer picture: the gain in color rendering level is particularly very significant.

Facetime HD takes advantage of the new 720p webcam

New also with regard to the input devices: there is always the default pair Bluetooth Keyboard / Magic Mouse, but it is now possible to opt for a Magic Trackpad to replace the mouse.

Finish with the sound: the latter is provided by two speakers located below the screen. For integrated speakers, rendering is more than adequate with good bass and present fairly clear highs.

Consumption and temperature

logically we imagine that such a configuration is fairly consuming, and this is indeed the case: 148 watts measured at rest and 244 Watts at full load (Prime Torture Test 95 Mac OS X). However during the same test, the processor relatively little heated: 68 °, 30 ° against the rest.

Performance Tests

What gives this iMac against other iMac or MacBook? What performance under Mac OS X or Windows via Boot Camp? You will find quantified and compared results here

Performance tests


It’s a fact: the 27-inch iMac is impressive! More than 2000 euros as soon as one begins to add an interesting option, including the Core i7 3.4 GHz we prepared for this test, it starts to represent a substantial investment. Therefore but not completely delusional: certainly, we can definitely get an even better configuration for less riding a PC, but the gap will not be so absurd insofar as Apple still offers a very robust configuration, if excludes graphics card can be supplied in a mobile version (but still offers satisfactory performance).

In addition, it must be admitted that the comfort offered by this iMac is seductive: the computer runs cool, remains silent, and offers a screen of high quality despite its too pronounced reflections. So of course, it will measure its sale as USB 3.0 and Blu-ray are conspicuously absent, will you really need a dual Thunderbolt connection? Intel’s technology is still non-existent in trade, and the few devices that have been presented by Apple are primarily addressed to professionals of the video or photo, like the ability to connect two external displays. In short, a very beautiful baby, but not for every budget, and not for any purpose!

2011 Apple iMac 27 inch Core i5 / i7 More + Design always impeccable + Excellent performance + Quiet and well cooled Less – Cher! – Zero Evolution / owner disk – No anti glare option – Ni blu-ray or USB 3.0 4 Performance Design Equipment / prices

Edited on 03/05/2013 at 11:10