By Bob LeVitus
I’ve been test-driving one of the new 20-inch iMacs
for the past month and while it sports the largest display
ever offered in a one-piece computer, it’s also a
blazing fast Mac with many of the same state-of-the-art
components and features found in the more expensive Power
In addition to the spectacular 20-inch
display, new 20-inch iMacs include:
- 1.25GHz PowerPC G4 processor.
- 256MB RAM (DDR SDRAM).
- 80GB 7,200 RPM hard drive.
- 4X speed SuperDrive CD/DVD player/burner.
- NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra graphics subsystem with
64MB VRAM (DDR SDRAM).
- 2 FireWire 400 ports; 3 USB 2.0 ports (on computer);
2 USB 1.1 ports (on keyboard); VGA, S-Video, and composite
video output; headphone, speaker, and audio line-in jacks;
10/100BASE-T Ethernet; 56K V. 92 modem; keyboard; mouse;
and Apple Pro Speakers.
- AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth-ready.
But wait—there’s more.
You also receive a boatload of Apple software including
Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, iLife ’04 (GarageBand, iTunes,
iPhoto, iMovie, and iDVD), Mail, iChat, Safari, Sherlock,
Address Book, QuickTime, iSync, iCal, DVD Player, AppleWorks,
and Apple Chess. Furthermore, you get a bunch of useful
third party offerings such as Microsoft Internet Explorer,
EarthLink (includes 30 days of free service), Quicken 2003
Deluxe, World Book 2003 Edition, Microsoft Office v.X Test
Drive, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, Deimos Rising and
So, while it isn’t exactly cheap at $2,199, it delivers
a lot of bang for your buck. And it does have the biggest,
most beautiful display ever offered in an iMac.
The 15-inch flat-panel iMac display resolution maxes out
at 1024 x 768. The 17-inch iMac maxes out at 1440 x 900—the
same as many bulky 19-inch CRT (picture tube) displays.
The 17-inch offers 65% more screen real estate than the
15-inch, but the 20-inch iMac offers up to 1680 by 1050
resolution, which is 36% more than the 17-inch iMac and
124% more than the 15-inch iMac. That’s a lot of screen.
And, since it has a widescreen aspect ratio (16:10, the
same as the 17-inch iMac but not the 15-inch, which has
a squarer 4:3 aspect ratio), it’s wonderful for watching
letterboxed movies on DVD. And, all three flat-panel displays
are smaller, brighter, sharper, and offer better contrast
than most of their CRT counterparts.
It’s fast as heck, too. I threw the big guns at it—Photoshop,
GarageBand, iDVD, Logic, and other demanding programs—and
it didn’t falter one bit. In fact, this Mac felt almost
as speedy as my (fast but much more expensive) dual 1GHz
After using 15 and 17-inch iMacs and eMacs for years, my
family was blown away by the 20-incher, confirming something
I’ve been saying for years: Bigger is better (when
it comes to computer displays, that is).
Now that my family has used this iMac for a month, there’s
no turning back. They want me to sell our older Macs (which
both, by the way, work just fine), and replace them with
a single 20-inch iMac, and even promised never to fight
over who gets to use it.
There is one last thing. Since I raved about GarageBand
twice last month, you might be interested in two free GarageBand
presentations taking place at the Apple Store in the Galleria
beginning February 17th. There’s a one-hour GarageBand
workshop on Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. and a 15 minute overview
on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 5:00 p.m.
For more information on these (and many other free presentations),
Apple Computer, Inc. Cupertino, California
is a leading authority on Mac OS and the author of 41 books,
Little iTunes Book and
Mac OS X for Dummies, 2nd Edition. E-mail comments to
Copyright © 2003 Bob LeVitus
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