We were hoping the rumors of a new, less expensive iMac were true, and we knew there would have to be some cuts made somewhere to lower the price. But there’s no way we expected such a huge gap between the new Mid 2014 version of Apple’s 21.5” iMac ($1,999) and the previous entry level model. While the enclosure, screen, ports, and memory are the same, this new Mac has some weak components inside, at least compared to the step-up model.
The most obvious figure that jumps out is the processor speed. This iMac packs a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, compared to the 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 you get by spending $200 more. The hard drive space has been cut too, halved to 500GB. It’s only $50 to jump back up to 1TB, and there are options for a Fusion Drive or flash storage if you build to order. Finally, the graphics processor is the same Intel HD Graphics 5000 found in the MacBook Air. We haven’t tried this one out yet, so we can’t speak to actual performance, and the guts may actually be just fine for entry-level use. The components are essentially the same as current-generation MacBook Airs, and those are very capable machines.