This Week's Sponsor:


An Extensible Spotlight Replacement Built to Boost Productivity

New iMacs: Teardown, First Benchmarks

Following yesterday’s release of the new iMacs with Sandy Bridge processors and Thunderbolt technology, the guys over at iFixit immediately started tearing down a 21.5-inch model. In their official teardown article, available here, there are a few notes of interest: iFixit notes how, design-wise, nothing much has changed in the new iMacs, which can be opened in the same way of the old generation units by pulling off the magnetically-held glass and removing the screws holding the LCD in place. The display is manufactured by LG and it’s the same used in the previous-generation iMac. iFixit also gives the machine a 7/10 Repairability Score, noting that average users can easily replace RAM, but accessing the CPU and GPU requires to take out the whole logic board, which is described as a “tricky process.” The teardown also reveals the Thunderbolt connector is similar (but not the same) to the one found in the early-2011 MacBook Pros; one heat sink is reserved for the CPU, with the other assigned to the GPU.

As noted by 9to5mac, the first iMac 2011 benchmarks have started appearing on Geekbench’s website, revealing good performances for the new machines with results sometimes (depending on the model) above 2010 Mac Pros and early-2011 MacBook Pros. Here’s a screenshot from Geekbench’s browse section I took a few minutes ago:


Compare the first results above with a list of official old Mac benchmarks that include Mac Pros, early-2011 MacBook Pros and a mid-2010 iMac:


Macworld also tested a new 27-inch Core i5 iMac with 3.1GHz processor using Speedmark 6.5 and noted it was 16% faster than the old high-end iMac model in overall usage, while it was 22% faster than the old iMac in an iTunes encoding test. You can read the full report here, and more tests will be published in the next days.

Another 2010 BTO model, the 27-inch 3.6GHz Core i5 iMac, used a dual core processor at a faster clock speed. In terms of overall performance, the new standard 3.1GHz Core i5 iMac outperformed the 3.6GHz 2010 BTO iMac by 14 percent. In applications that make efficient use of four processors (Cinebench, Mathematica, and Handbrake), the new iMac was dominant, finishing 35 percent, 67 percent and 42 percent faster, respectively. In many tasks, however, having faster but fewer processors is an advantage, as can be seen in zipping and unzipping folders, and opening a Word document in Pages.

Compared to the 15-inch 2.2GHz Core i7 quad core MacBook Pro, the new 3.1GHz Core i5 iMac was 10 percent faster overall, and a few seconds faster in almost all of our individual application tests.

Unlock More with Club MacStories

Founded in 2015, Club MacStories has delivered exclusive content every week for over six years.

In that time, members have enjoyed nearly 400 weekly and monthly newsletters packed with more of your favorite MacStories writing as well as Club-only podcasts, eBooks, discounts on apps, icons, and services. Join today, and you’ll get everything new that we publish every week, plus access to our entire archive of back issues and downloadable perks.

The Club expanded in 2021 with Club MacStories+ and Club Premier. Club MacStories+ members enjoy even more exclusive stories, a vibrant Discord community, a rotating roster of app discounts, and more. And, with Club Premier, you get everything we offer at every Club level plus an extended, ad-free version of our podcast AppStories that is delivered early each week in high-bitrate audio.

Choose the Club plan that’s right for you:

  • Club MacStories: Weekly and monthly newsletters via email and the web that are brimming with app collections, tips, automation workflows, longform writing, a Club-only podcast, periodic giveaways, and more;
  • Club MacStories+: Everything that Club MacStories offers, plus exclusive content like Federico’s Automation Academy and John’s Macintosh Desktop Experience, a powerful web app for searching and exploring over 6 years of content and creating custom RSS feeds of Club content, an active Discord community, and a rotating collection of discounts, and more;
  • Club Premier: Everything in from our other plans and AppStories+, an extended version of our flagship podcast that’s delivered early, ad-free, and in high-bitrate audio.