The not so humble iMac has come a long way, and now for photographers it has taken another leap with revision 3 of the 21.5″ and 27″ models. Whilst we still maintain that the iMac is a “Pro-sumer” machine (cross between professional and consumer), the new i5 and i7 Quad-Core processors in the 27 inch model really put a dint in the processing time. Our Capture One processing speed test rated the previous models in the same zone as the 2008 Mac Pro 8-core 2.8GHz, we’ll have to wait and see what these new iMacs can do!

The 27 inch give us nearly the same number of pixels as a 30″ display (2560 x 1440 vs 2560 x 1600). The colour gamut is pretty good, but it is not recommended as a high-end retouching workstation – you really need an Eizo ColorEdge LCD display for that.

There is a little bonus with the 27 inch model, the iMac can also be used as a second display! That means if you have an iMac as a capture machine, when you are not capturing, you can connect it to your Mac Pro or MacBook Pro as a second display – you just need the right cable (we sell them too!).

Top Features

  • 21.5-inch display with 1920-by-1080 resolution
  • 27-inch display with 2560-by-1440 resolution
  • Available quad-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors up to 3.4GHz (27-inch model only)
  • ThunderBolt I/O ports
  • Wireless Magic Mouse
  • Apple Wireless Keyboard
  • AMD Radeon HD 6750M, HD 6770M or HD 6970M graphics
  • Up to 4GB of 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM standard; configurable up to 16GB
  • 500GB or 1TB hard drive standard; configurable up to 2TB and now even with a Solid State drive as well
  • Built-in iSight camera, stereo speakers, and microphone
  • Built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wi-Fi2 and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Mac OS X 10.7 Lion operating system

Ideal iMac model for a photographer

Below is a summary of what we’d suggest is a possible spec for a busy photographer:

  • 27-inch display with 2560-by-1440 resolution
  • Quad-core Intel Core i7 processor 3.4GHz
  • 16GB of 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM (or 12GB if this is a stretch)
  • 256GB Solid State drive with a 1TB or 2TB Serial SATA drive
  • ATI Radeon HD 6970M with 2GB graphics processor
  • … and of course AppleCare Protection Plan to keep it under warranty for 3 years

Please remember that we would alway suggest a mac with a specific graphic moinitor for those colour critical jobs.

Call Specular on 03 9091 2111 to let us help you specifiy the model that is right for you.

What is this Thunderbolt thing?

Thunderbolt is the next generation standard for connecting peripherals to your Mac

Most of the new Macs now come with a Thunderbolt port or two.The types of things that con be connected via this Thunderbolt port are :

  • Apple 27″ LED Thunderbolt Display
  • External Storage Devices
  • Another Mac (when it is in Target disk mode to be used as a hard drive)
  • Video Capture Devices

What we hope will be connected via Thunderbolt in the future:

  • Card Readers
  • Printers
  • Cameras

The Thunderbolt connector looks like this —->

What is so good about Thunderbolt?

Thunderbolt is fast!

In theory, it’s blazing fast. A Thunderbolt channel can provide up to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) of data throughput—and each Thunderbolt port includes two channels. Thunderbolt is also bi-directional, meaning it can transmit and receive data at the same time. Even with estimated real-world performance of around 8Gbps, Thunderbolt is many times faster than FireWire 800 and USB 3.0. It’s also significantly faster than the eSATA connections available on many Windows PCs.

Of course, just as with previous high-speed interfaces, performance of each connected device will often be much lower thanks to the limitations of the device itself; for example, most SATA hard drives top out at 3Gbps, and even SATA 3.0 drives are limited to a theoretical 6Gbps. Similarly, an older, slower device placed in the middle of the chain can—if not connected properly—cripple throughput for higher-speed devices connected after it.

Thunderbolt is a multi-function cable

Thunderbolt supports data, video, audio, and power, you can use a single Thunderbolt port—and thus a single cable—to connect many of your peripherals. Or at least you’ll be able to once you’ve got enough Thunderbolt devices and adapters.

Thunderbolt devices can be daisy chanined

You can connect up to six devices to each Thunderbolt port by daisy-chaining them—connecting the first to the Thunderbolt port, connecting the second to the first, and so on. Of course, this requires that each device in the chain have two Thunderbolt ports (or two other types of data ports along with Thunderbolt adapters)—one to connect to the device in front of it and one to provide a connection for the device after it.

To find out more about Thunderbolt connected RAID systems, go to our RAID storage area here.

Contact us for more information and to discuss how Thunderbolt might work for you. Specular 03 9091 2111.