The display sports a 2560 x 1440 resolution, meaning that images and video pop. The backlit screen shows off hi-res pictures amazingly well, letting you pick out individual strands of hair in photos. That glossy glass screen does throw off tons of glare, though, and no anti-glare option is currently available. Point ye olde iMac away from any windows if you want to get any work done. The heavy lifting’s being done by an AMD Radeon HD 6970 graphics processor and it delivers surprising performance for a GPU in an all-in-one. Downloaded from Steam and without turning any sliders down, Portal 2 runs like a dream on this iMac. It’s not going to supplant a custom-config Alienware or Maingear gaming tower but it’s a better-than-respectable option for PC gamers who just happen to be OS X lovers.
The 2011 iMacs deliver a whole lot of computer for their asking price. With Intel’s quad-core i5s or i7s on board, it’s almost more than a middle-of-the-road user would need and handles basic usage smoothly. That said, would-be purchasers should note that the rockbottom configuration at $1,199 isn’t terribly configurable. If you want more oomph, you’re going to have spend more. The most intriguing aspect of the new all-in-one is how it could be used as a perfectly competent A/V rig for all those Final Cut, Aperture and GarageBand jockeys out there. The screen doesn’t skimp on brightness or detail and the GPU is second only to AMD’s 6990. Dreams do come true: you won’t get laughed out of the room if you mention you’re playing games on a Mac. Thunderbolt’s really too new to say how much of a game-changer it’s going to be. But, the flexibility and capability it provides–for displays, for data transfer and whatever other implementations come down the pike–means that these iMacs won’t feel obsolete or under-powered anytime soon.