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The Indefinite Article.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

More iMac Commentary

The new iMac G5 seems like a good value upgrade from the previous version iMac. In some ways the G5 processor is overkill for what most people will use an imac for, or at least what most of us imagine the normal iMac is used for. At the same time, the specifications are underwhelming for people who are concerned about Doom III. However, I think that it hits a nice spot for something fast enough for many tasks and it will remain useable for quite a while.

As someone who falls in that "budget production work" category of computer buying, the iMac G5 presents an interesting compromise. It offers much of the power of the low end Powermac for about $800 less ($500 in CPU price and about $300 in monitor price). In my mind, I am putting a La Cie Electron Blue 19 inch CRT with the Powermac G5 dual 1.8. The La Cie is one of the finer CRTs on the market and offers 1920 by 1440 pixels, as opposed to the iMac G5 17in's 1440 by 900. To compare apples to apples, pardon the pun, if you were to try and get a 17 inch LCD, it should cost you a little more.

If you have the cash, the new iMac doesn't hold a candle to the speed and expandability of the Powermac G5. However, the RAM and disk are easily upgraded and the processor power is ample. It will compare favorably to older Powermac G4's for folks without Firewire 800 devices.

As a design statement, the iMac G5 doesn't say much to me other than "put sticky notes on my chin!" It has the familial design hint of a wide rectangle in a tall rectangle that goes back to the original Macintosh. The base is certainly more sure-footed than it looks. However, it doesn't match the one unit lump simplicity of the original iMac nor the sunflower stalk functional grace of the iMac G4.

In terms of where it fits into the evolution of computers and Macintoshes, the iMac G5 seems the most grown up of the iMacs. It is an austere pizza box on a stand with regular components that look easy to upgrade. The cooling unit of the current Powermac G5 is as large as a Powermac G4 Cube. If they were able to cram all that into the back of a monitor at this point, a Powerbook G5 doesn't seems as far off. I'm a bit worried about the eMac ever getting a G5, because it would be a real squeeze.


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