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We Test 3 new G5 iMacs and get their owners opinions, is the G5 iMac Really Hot?
April 4, 2005 Tech Lab Staff, written by Zack Bryce

The new iMac was released almost 5 months late, as Apple thought that the supply channel had enough of the “snowball” iMacs to satisfy the very slow pace of sales in mid-2004. Lets face it, being on time with hardware releases and forecasting sales supplies hasn’t been Apple’s forte for a long time.

Since Apple was so late and we just couldn’t seem to get our hands on a new iMac when it finally did hit the supply channel, we decided to do a “seasoned owners” review of the 17” and 20” G5 iMac. Gathering up three owners of each model of the iMacs after having used them for four months minimum; we interviewed them and poked-prodded and even took apart one of each model to see inside.

Not an original idea by any stretch of the imagination, the new slim G5 iMac is one of the best looking and functionally thoughtful one-piece computer made yet. But, it isn’t perfect because of one serious flaw that parents with youngster need to worry about. We can’t imagine why Apple’s designers made the base so small considering the top-heavy nature of the G5 iMac, especially the 20-inch model.

 The iMac looks very stylish, like a picturre frame or new flat panel TV set. But the smallish base is like a Golf Tee balancing a Bowling Ball on top. Be careful with tots around

One of our “seasoned owners” had their 20-inch iMac tip over twice at the hand of rambunctious pre-teens, fortunately saved by a number of books on either side of the iMac.

We’ve also read of at least one parent relating a story that their youngster playing around the iMac on a desk had it topple forward on top of the child. They said that they now intended to strap the iMac base to the desktop. In “shaky” country California and other states where houses and businesses can take a good shock, we’re concerned that there will be a lot of flying iMacs. Be forewarned.

The 17 and 20-inch G5 iMacs, the 17 is the best deal.

The most unique thing about the G5 iMac is the “picture frame” appearance that is striking at first glance. It does look as tough it should be hung on the wall, instead of sitting on the desk. Opinions of those we sampled ran from pure love to “liking” acceptance. This in strong contrast to the previous G4 “snowball” iMac model, which most computer buyers either hated or laughed at. (At least, it was unlikely to tip over).

To our tastes, the 20-inch G5 iMac, which does look like it’s about to tip over on the diminutive base, looks better than the 17-inch because its wide screen seems an oddly small percentage of the overall size of the G5 iMac. Just too much blank white plastic area below the 17-inch LCD.

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Included with the G5 iMac 17 and 20-inch models is an Apple wired keyboard and mouse (both of which are made by Logitech for Apple). Options include the Bluetooth Apple Mouse and Keyboard, which we think is a great idea to consider. Both are exceptional devices as we reviewed them in Best Wireless Keyboards & Mice.
              
   Cooling fans draws air in the bottom out the top

Standard Model Features
The iMac G5 comes in three flavors at the time of this review and on top of that, you can also custom configuration any of the three models with add-on features like the Airport Extreme wireless card, Bluetooth, more RAM and more.

The three basic flavors are a 17-inch display G5 1.6GHz (M9248LL/A), a 17-inch G5 1.8GHz (M9249LL/A) and the 20-inch G5 1.8GHz model (M9250LL/A). The two middle models come with DVD-R “SuperDrive” CD-RW, but only a messily 256MB of PC3200 SDRAM (2GB is the maximum capability), which isn’t really sufficient for OS 10.3.x. This is an on going absurd situation with Apple providing less than market equivalent Hard Drive and RAM size, yet charging the “Mac Premium” prices for their computers.
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Click here for: SpecsConfigurations, or
BTO (Built To Order)
details
.
bar All three models share the “fair to midland” capable NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra with 64MB of DDR SDRAM, running at 8X in an AGP mode. Great for graphics, moderate video editing, yet pretty sucky for Game play (what little serious games there are for the Mac anyway).

Maximum LCD display resolution is 1440 x 900 on the 17-inch and 1680 x 1050 on the 20-inch G5 iMac models. As usual, the LCD’s that Apple uses as exceptionally bright with wonderful contrast ratios, but you’ll now find that on any moderately priced desktop display now that the market is in an LCD glut mode.


USB, Firewire, etc. ports just out of reach on the back.

On the back of the G5 iMac are a bounty of I/O ports including: 2 – FireWire 400 (where’s FireWire 800?), 3 - USB 2.0, VGA, S-Video and Composite Video outputs. Unfortunately, this is a real awkward to get to location. There are also 2 – USB 1.1 on the Apple wired keyboard, not useful for anything but connecting a device like a mouse because they are low powered. Even most “Flash Thumb Drives” fail to run on these keyboard USB ports.

There are twin down pointing tiny speakers are built into the bottom of the iMacs. The theory being that this with enhance bass and volume.

What’s inside –
Not easy to open up, but not impossible, the inside of the iMac is best described as six pounds of ….. sugar, in a five pound sack. There is NO wasted space and frankly a cleaver job by the manufacturing company that engineered and manufactured this for Apple off shore. You do know, that Apple makes nothing of their own any longer?



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