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27-Inch iMac Core i7 With SSD Is Fastest Mac Ever

Apple's latest edition of the iMac is finally shipping with the build-to-order 3.4GHz Intel Core i7 and 256GB Solid State Drive option installed. As with any new Apple product, benchmarks and speedtests are beginning to trickle out, and the conclusion from Macworld is that this is the fastest Mac they've ever tested.

Last month, Macworld benchmarked the highest standard configuration 27" iMac Core i5 3.1GHz with standard hard drive installed. It scored 227 on Speedmark 6.5, roughly 16 percent faster than the old model -- but still quite a bit slower than a Mac Pro 3.33GHz Xeon 6-core, which scored a 263 on the same test.

Now, after a month-long delay, Apple is finally shipping BTO 3.4GHz Core i7 iMacs with a 256GB SSD option. This top-of-the-line iMac, the 27" 3.4GHz Core i7 w/SSD has been declared the fastest Mac that Macworld has ever tested.

The video above was sent in by a reader. He filmed it on his 27" 3.4GHz Core i7, 16GB of RAM and the 256GB SSD option. He opens all the standard applications that come with the iMac simultaneously (though with Front Row and Dashboard deselected, because they're both full-screen apps) as a quick demo of the speed of his new SSD iMac.

Macworld's testing puts the 3.4GHz i7 w/SSD at 298 on the Speedmark 6.5 test, well clear of the Mac Pro 3.33GHz Xeon 6-core's comparatively pokey 263. It also beat the Mac Pro in file duplication, Zip file compress and uncompress, iTunes encoding, and iMovie and iPhoto importing tests.

It's important to note, however, that for massively parallel tasks like Handbrake encoding, Cinebench, Mathematica, and GeekBench benchmarks the Mac Pro still outperforms the iMac because it has more cores, especially with Hyper-Threading. But, for individual application tests like encoding an MP3, importing a movie to iMovie, or importing photos to iPhoto, the iMac beats all.

Of course, the brand new iMac might be faster than the current generation Mac Pro, but the Mac Pro hasn't been updated since last July. New Mac Pros are expected sometime soon, presumably with Thunderbolt support and a rumored narrower, rackmountable enclosure.

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Top Rated Comments

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99 months ago
OMGWTF. Why even waste the time writing an article that mirrors that of another publication when neither of you has tested the iMac SSD against a Mac Pro SSD?

It's like implying that the a current Air with 2GB RAM is better than my late 2008 MBP with 8GB RAM because the Air's puny SSD reacts faster than my MBP's 7200 RPM WD Black drive.

Internetting would be faster but real work? Probably not. If you're going to write articles like this atleast test machines with similar available options.

Jeez. . .
Rating: 16 Votes
99 months ago

OMGWTF. Why even waste the time writing an article that mirrors that of another publication when neither of you has tested the iMac SSD against a Mac Pro SSD?

I was thinking the same thing. Put the 6 core 3.33 with SSD and lets see who wins.
Rating: 12 Votes
99 months ago
Anyone want to see a video of my 2004 iMac G5 opening all of its apps? It's not quite as exciting.
Rating: 10 Votes
99 months ago

Interesting, figured the mac pro would have beat it though

Get a Mac Pro and an iMac rendering, 100% usage on
all cores and see which machine melts and dies first ;-)
Rating: 9 Votes
99 months ago
Put an SSD in a Mac Pro and then test.
Rating: 8 Votes
99 months ago

what a surprise :s
imagine that it's slower than the previous one :confused:

It's not the fastest "iMac" ever, it's the fastest "Mac" ever.

Rating: 7 Votes
99 months ago

what a surprise :s
imagine that it's slower than the previous one :confused:

It's more about it also being faster than a MacPro.
Rating: 6 Votes
99 months ago
its the fastest mac ever? by standard configuration or how do they judge that?
12-Core Mac Pro with SSD 16-32gb of memory?

Rating: 6 Votes
99 months ago
It's the fastest Mac ever, except that it's not.

About 1/2 of the Macworld tests are hard drive intensive tests (duplicating files, importing files, zipping files, etc). Of course the SSD based iMac will outperform the Mac Pro on these tests.

Comparing the CPU/memory performance instead and you'll find that the iMac gets a geekbench score of 11648, while the Mac Pro gets an astounding score of 24262.

What's even more deceptive is that the SSD in the iMac is not even a high performer (220MB/s read 180MB/s write) -- it's simply better than a stock hard drive. For the same price ($500 BTO upgrade vs $550 total cost) you could get a 3rd party SSD from OWC that gets 559MB/s read and 527MB/s write.

Heck, any Mac that supports SATA III and had an OWC Mercury Extreme 6g installed would be declared the "fastest Mac ever" according to these messed up Macworld tests.

edit: Macworld compared the 2011 iMac against the 6-core Mac Pro, making the headline "Fastest Mac Ever" even more ridiculous.
Rating: 6 Votes
99 months ago
What a dumb article. Sure, an iMac with 16GB of RAM and an SSD will open a bunch of applications faster than a mac pro without an SSD.

Trying shoving a couple of OCZ Vertex 3s in RAID 0 on a hexacore 3.33GHz Mac Pro. See who wins then.
Rating: 5 Votes

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