Is he really that cool? Comparison of the new iMac M1 and iMac 21.5


In the iMac lineup, instead of 21.5-inch models, there are now 24-inch models, painted in seven bright saturated colors, models with an unusual 4.5K resolution. Pre-orders for them will be accepted only from April 30th. And 24-inch models, designed for the first time in Apple’s history to address the strengths and weaknesses of Apple Silicon, have a bright future ahead of them. While they are being booed and muddled in exactly the same way that the iPhone, MacBook Air and Apple Watch were booed and muddied a long time ago. They are judged solely by pictures and specifications. I will try to compare the old and the new, based on reliably known facts.

Comparison of iMac M1 and iMac Intel

The latest generation of 21.5-inch iMacs came out in 2019. Choice of eighth generation Intel Core i3, i5 or i7. RAM from 8 GB to 32 GB, 256 GB SSD or 1 TB Fusion Drive. We will not arrange races of chips from Intel of the 8th generation with M1 – M1 wins even more serious rivals without overheating and without much effort.

The M1 iMac comes in two flavors. In the online store, for the convenience of customers, they offer three configurations, but two of them are practically variants of the same thing. In the cheapest iMac, the M1 GPU has only 7 cores, like the cheap MacBook Air. The amount of its SSD-memory is limited to 1 TB. Prices for it start at 129,990 ₽, there are only two Thunderbolt / USB 4 connectors on its case. Ethernet is not supported, but its support can be purchased for an additional fee (the connector will be in the power supply). By default, it comes with a keyboard (case colors) without Touch ID, but this can be fixed for an extra charge.

For the “middle” and “senior” options, they ask for 149,990 and 169,990 rubles, respectively. In the graphics processor of their chips, all 8 cores are active. The capacity of the SSD is limited by the capabilities of the M1 – up to 2 TB. The same two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports, plus two USB-C USB 3 connectors. The older options come with a keyboard with Touch ID and a host of other perks.

The 21.5-inch iMac is still being manufactured and sold by Apple. It has been in service and on the shelves since 2017, the year of the decade of the iPhone. It has a 2-core Intel Core i5 of the seventh generation, Kaby Lake. Its display resolution is not even retina. In the Apple online store, it costs 106,990 rubles (with 8 GB of RAM) or 126,990 rubles (with 16 GB of RAM). Either a 256 GB SSD or a 1 TB Fusion Drive are available at no additional cost.

The audio system, camera, microphones in iMac 24 are an order of magnitude cooler than in 21.5-inch Intel iMacs. According to Apple, they are of the highest quality and incredibly good. Including due to the fact that their work uses the capabilities of the 16-core M1 neural processor – not only small iMacs, but also 27-inch iMacs had nothing like this. But all this must be checked and compared on real devices.

Comparison of iMac 24 and iMac 21.5 graphics

21.5-inch iMacs have integrated graphics. Pretty decent for its time. She did not have enough stars from the sky, but they did not complain about her. These iMacs could have either 1 5K display or two 4K displays. The resolution of the built-in display is 4096 x 2304. Discrete GPUs are still considered something notoriously more powerful and solid than built-in ones, but Apple Silicon has already begun to change the rules.

There are no benchmark results yet for the old and new iMac (the new one is still unavailable). In theoretical comparisons, the M1 tears up the graphics of 21.5-inch Intel iMacs like a heating pad, but we’ll wait for the real results. The M1 iMac has an integrated GPU, with 7 or 8 cores. Due to M1 limitations, iMac can only connect one monitor up to 6K resolution. The resolution of its built-in 4.5K display is 4,480 x 2,520. Incredible properties are declared – support for a billion colors, for example.

Cons of the iMac M1

The accusations are about the same that were brought against the Intel iMac for several years. Recently, they have been meticulously added to the “flaws” column in the reviews of each new iMac model. For example, they complain in our Telegram chat that there is no touch interface support. Still. Although it has been proven many times that it is impossible to use a touch interface on a vertical screen for any long time, Apple is required to build this feature.

Around the M1 iMac display are bezels. They’re thinner than the Intel iMac, but they’re still there, and they’re white! Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see anything wrong with that. Both in the pictures and in the videos – this is normal. That’s not all: what is called the “chin”, which was not on any concept of future iMacs, as if nothing had happened, is still in its place. It decreased, the Apple logo was removed from it, but the chin itself was left. And the color on the front surface is not as bright as on the back side. According to critics, this is terrible, and you can only look at the new iMacs from behind. Yes, they are good in the back. And on the side. And in front too.

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