iMac 2013 updated: Intel Haswell plus faster graphics, flash & wireless

Apple has refreshed the iMac with Intel's "Haswell" fourth-gen Core i5 and i7 processors, along with updating graphics, connectivity options, and boosting the speed of the all-in-one desktop's flash storage. The 2013 iMac is outwardly the same as the existing model, with a slimline aluminum and glass casing offered in 21.5- and 27-inch display variants, but inside there's a choice of Intel's latest processors with up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M graphics, along with WiFi 802.11ac.

As for the storage, Apple's desktops were already using special flash memory, and offering the Fusion Drive flash/HDD combination drives, but now the company has switched to PCIe-based flash. Effective on both the all-flash and Fusion Drive versions, Apple claims the speedier connection adds up to performance that's up to 50-percent faster than the 2012 model.

The range kicks off with the 21.5-inch iMac with a 2.7GHz quadcore Core i5 processor and Intel Iris Pro graphics. Its more powerful sibling, and the entry-level 27-inch iMac get quadcore Core i5 chips too, but add in NVIDIA GeForce 700-series graphics, with twice the graphics memory of the old iMac – which we reviewed back in December – for what Apple says is up to 40-percent more performance.

The top-spec iMac gets up to a 3.5GHz Core i7 processor and GeForce GTX 780M series graphics, with dedicated video memory of up to 4GB. Fusion Drives of 1TB or 3TB are offered, while flash drives of up to 1TB can be specified.

8GB of memory is standard, as is a 1TB hard-drive; the former can be expanded to up to 32GB, and the latter to up to 3TB. Physical connectivity remains at two Thunderbolt ports, four USB 3.0 ports, and gigabit ethernet.

When used with an 802.11ac compatible router, such as Apple's own AirPort Extreme, the iMac 2013 promises up to three times the wireless throughput of the old version, which topped out at 802.11n.

The new iMac 2013 is up for order from today, priced from $1,299 for the 21.5-inch and from $1,799 for the 27-inch. Shipping is generally within 24 hours, though the higher-spec 21.5-inch model has a 2-3 week delay.

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