Today Apple released a new model in their line of iMac computers. The new model slots in below the original entry model 21.5" iMac with less powerful specifications but also a smaller price tag. With Apple's Mac Mini not having been updated since 2012, the new 21.5" iMac is a new way to access Apple's desktop ecosystem at a lower price than Apple's more powerful solutions without having to go with an older Sandy Bridge based hardware platform. Below the new 21.5" iMac is compared to the previous entry level model which still remains priced at $1299, as well as the upgraded 21.5" model in the iMac line.

Apple 2014 iMac Line
Configuration 21.5-inch Base Model iMac 21.5-inch Mid-Range iMac 21.5-inch Flagship iMac
Display 21.5-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS 21.5-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS 21.5-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS
CPU (Base/Turbo) Intel Core i5-4260U Dual Core + HT (1.4GHz/2.7GHz) Intel Core i5-4570R Quad Core (2.7GHz/3.2GHz) Intel Core i5-4570S Quad Core (2.9GHz/3.6GHz)
GPU Intel HD 5000 Intel Iris Pro 5200 NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M (1GB GDDR5)
RAM 8GB LPDDR3-1600 8GB DDR3-1600 8GB DDR3-1600
Storage 500GB 5400RPM 1TB 5400RPM 1TB 5400RPM
WiFi 802.11ac
I/O 4 x USB 3.0, 2 x Thunderbolt, 1 x GigE, SDXC reader, headphone jack
Starting Price $1099 $1299 $1499

The most immediately noticeable change with the new entry level iMac is the CPU. Apple has moved from the quad core i5-4570R used in the $1299 iMac which originally served as the entry level model to the dual core i5-4260U. This is the same CPU used in Apple's 13" Macbook Air and so users can expect a similar experience regarding performance, although the iMac is likely to be able to sustain turbo clock speeds for longer periods of time due to it being less thermally constrained than the Macbook Air. Single threaded performance should be pretty decent given the 4260U's ability to turbo up to 2.7GHz. Remember that these are roughly the same individual cores that are used in the higher end iMacs - there are just fewer of them. With the move to a Haswell ULT part there is also a sacrifice in GPU performance with the new iMac running Intel's HD 5000 integrated graphics rather than the Iris Pro 5200 used in what is now the mid-range iMac model. When we looked at HD 5000 performance in the MacBook Air we determined that the performance gains from moving to Haswell GT3 in a 15W part were limited by thermals. I suspect the iMac's chassis may allow the ULT part to stretch its graphics performance a bit more.

With the mid-range iMac sporting a quad core i5 and Iris Pro graphics the CPU is likely going to be the deciding point for users choosing between the new entry level iMac and the mid-range model. In addition to the CPU changes, the hard drive sees a drop in capacity from 1TB to 500GB compared to the previous entry level model.

Aside from the changes to the CPU and the hard drive the new entry level iMac retains all the other hardware that ships in the other 21.5" iMac models. It still includes the 1920x1080 IPS display which was found to perform quite favorably, 8GB of RAM, and all the I/O connectors including four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, 1 gigabit ethernet port, an SDXC reader, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Looking at the new iMac, it seems like a product that has the business and education market in mind. Users who intend to do anything performance intensive are much better served by the mid-range model. But in an office environment or in schools the performance reductions may not be much of a concern when the computers are needed for simple web browsing and working with documents. For those markets the $200 savings on each computer will be quite significant when ordering in large amounts.

The new entry level 21.5" iMac is shipping today for $1099 in the United States, $1149 in Canada, and £899 in the United Kingdom

Source: Apple PR

 

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  • nevertell - Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - link

    What's with the weird currency rates ? 899£ is a hell of a lot more than 1099$. Reply
  • MartinT - Thursday, June 19, 2014 - link

    The UK has stopped companies from playing the game of 'pretend there are no taxes', so prices including 20% VAT explain part of the difference. Reply
  • CharonPDX - Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - link

    I truly don't get this.

    The CPU in the $1099 iMac is MORE EXPENSIVE than the one in the $1299 iMac! ($315 for the dual-core/HD5000 model vs. $255 for the quad-core/Iris Pro 5200 model.) And the move from a 1 TB hard drive to a 500 GB hard drive CERTAINLY doesn't save $260!

    I know Apple gets quantity discounts, but I don't think any amount of quantity discount would reduce the dual-core chip to be cheaper than the quad-core chip. Unless it's actually using a heretofore-unannounced higher-power version of the i5-4260U that Intel is dumping to Apple dirt cheap?

    Yeah, this move doesn't make financial sense, either to Apple or to the consumer.
    Reply
  • janderk - Thursday, June 19, 2014 - link

    You are right, it makes very little sense to put an expensive low power CPU in a iMac which is always connected to an outlet.

    We all know that Apple buys processors in huge quantities. It could well be that the Macbook Air's are selling below estimations and the got a few million i5-4260U left in stock which they can get rid off this way.
    Reply
  • Alexey291 - Saturday, June 21, 2014 - link

    its an oem only cpu so the single purchase price for it is pretty much "whatever we felt like writing down - as long as its high enough to be too expensive"

    The oem purchase price is a different story on the other hand :)
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Saturday, June 21, 2014 - link

    You're forgetting that the $315 for the i5-4620U includes the PCH. The Z77 that Apple uses in conjunction with the i5-4570R has a $48 tray price. That still makes the combo in the cheaper iMac $12 more expensive, but there could be savings elsewhere. I'm thinking of whatever contract price Apple may have struck for LPDDR3, for instance. Reply
  • iwod - Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - link

    We need SSD. This is 2014 and 2015 Apple needs to get rid of HDD for good. Or Offer both.
    But the new price range is great. It seems there is something in the pipeline.

    If you looks at the MBA 13, you get 4GB more RAM, HDD instead of SSD and much larger and better IPS screen. I guess the margin for this iMac will be slimmer then MBA 13, but at least Apple gets to reuse as much component as possible.
    Reply
  • dsumanik - Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - link

    LOL yet another advertisement run for Apple by Anandtech. 20 bucks says this "article" was pre screened by an Apple rep.

    People in internet land…. examine the BIAS in every article you read nowadays.. the internet is quickly becoming one giant commercial....don't let sites like AnandTech make you a fool.

    and I quote :

    "the new 21.5" iMac is a new way to access Apple's desktop ecosystem at a lower price than Apple's more powerful solutions without having to go with an older Sandy Bridge based hardware platform"

    "It still includes the 1920x1080 IPS display which was found to perform quite favorably,"

    LOL.

    If apple desktop price metric is what this article seems to be favouring the “new" iMac for.... Ok, then... let’s have a look:

    ANY quad core mac mini, which can be bought refurbished from Apple from $500 to $800

    http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals...

    WILL ABSOLUTELY SMOKE the "new" 1099 imac in every department except wifi and maybe a few fps in graphics. Everything else will be a benchmark and real world performance SLAUGHTER in favour of the mini.

    I mean not not even close…. in productivity, encoding or even web browsing for that matter.

    the 2.6 mac mini quad core is still one of the highest performing systems apple ever built… with the exception of grpahics…. but anyone purchasing a budget system is not concerned with gaming FPS.

    Furthermore,

    The pricing for the old mini leaves 300 or MORE for DUAL 24" 1080p or GREATER monitors that can follow you to your next system upgrade...whereas the iMac display will need to be repurchased.

    Anand, ill sum this article up for you before Apple PR had a look:

    “Apple didn't upgrade the non retina 1080p display, replaced the internals with the cheapest hardware they had on hand and then slapped an 1100 dollar price tag on it.

    That said, we here at AnandTech think you should buy this new product because we own a lot of Apple stock."

    Hows that for Bias? *cough* ...the truth... *cough*

    Really, Apple.

    I thought new models were supposed to be an upgrade from the old one, this isnt even a sidestep...

    Where’s the magic Tim cook?
    Reply
  • Dug - Thursday, June 19, 2014 - link

    WTH are you blabbering about?
    You are trying to compare two different product lines, and refurbished at that.

    And Anandtech's post was making a comment on the new lower priced iMac to the more expensive iMac. Where do you get this weird assumption that they're biased against Mac Mini's?

    Please include Apple wireless keyboard and track pad, speakers, dual mics, web cam, a significant upgrade in graphics, and another thunderbolt port in your price calculations.
    Reply
  • dsumanik - Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - link

    LOL yet another advertisement run for Apple by Anandtech. 20 bucks says this "article" was pre screened by an Apple rep.

    People in internet land…. examine the BIAS in every article you read nowadays.. the internet is quickly becoming one giant commercial....don't let sites like AnandTech make you a fool.

    and I quote :

    "the new 21.5" iMac is a new way to access Apple's desktop ecosystem at a lower price than Apple's more powerful solutions without having to go with an older Sandy Bridge based hardware platform"

    "It still includes the 1920x1080 IPS display which was found to perform quite favorably,"

    LOL.

    If apple desktop price metric is what this article seems to be favouring the “new" iMac for.... Ok, then... let’s have a look:

    ANY quad core mac mini, which can be bought refurbished from Apple from $500 to $800

    http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals...

    WILL ABSOLUTELY SMOKE the "new" 1099 imac in every department except wifi and maybe a few fps in graphics. Everything else will be a benchmark and real world performance SLAUGHTER in favour of the mini.

    I mean not not even close…. in productivity, encoding or even web browsing for that matter.

    the 2.6 mac mini quad core is still one of the highest performing systems apple ever built… with the exception of grpahics…. but anyone purchasing a budget system is not concerned with gaming FPS.

    Furthermore,

    The pricing for the old mini leaves 300 or MORE for DUAL 24" 1080p or GREATER monitors that can follow you to your next system upgrade...whereas the iMac display will need to be repurchased.

    Anand, ill sum this article up for you before Apple PR had a look:

    “Apple didn't upgrade the non retina 1080p display, replaced the internals with the cheapest hardware they had on hand and then slapped an 1100 dollar price tag on it.

    That said, we here at AnandTech think you should buy this new product because we own a lot of Apple stock."

    Hows that for Bias? *cough* ...the truth... *cough*

    Really, Apple.

    I thought new models were supposed to be an upgrade from the old one, this isnt even a sidestep...

    Where’s the magic Tim cook?
    Reply

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