iMac Gets $200 Price Drop, but Performance Suffers

As was rumored last week, Apple has officially refreshed its entry-level 21.5-inch iMac.

The Cupertino-based company introduced a new iMac model and moved the previous entry-level model into the mid-range position. The new entry-level variant sports a 1.4GHz dual core Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM and 500GB of storage, all for the price of $1,099.

This new price tag is $200 less than what the entry-level price used to be for the iMac. $1,299 use to be the required cash amount to get past the barrier to entry, but that model has now been moved into the mid-range slot. It still sports a 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

The new entry-level iMac is just $100 shy of breaking the $1,000 price barrier, and it’s the cheapest that an iMac has ever been for the public, but it also took a considerable hit in the performance department. This new entry-level model comes with just a 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor, while the old entry-level version (which is now the mid-range model) sports a 2.7GHz Core i5 chip. That’s quite a huge drop.

Buyers will also want to take into consideration the drop in storage from 1TB to 500GB and the slight decrease in graphics performance, with the new entry-level iMac only packing Intel HD 5000 graphics, rather than Iris Pro graphics like the rest of the iMac lineup.

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As for the 27-inch iMac line, it remains the same with no new entry-level model being introduced, but that’s not terribly surprising since Apple seemed to want to focus on lowering the cost of the cheapest iMac, and we have to say that $1,099 for an iMac isn’t too shabby.

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We’ve heard rumors in the past about an updated iMac coming in 2014, and it was said it would see a generous spec bump as well as a lower cost for the entry-level model. While the price drop ended up being true, the generous spec bump is nowhere to be found, and instead we’re seeing a spec drop.

Furthermore, we saw that code found in OS X Yosemite points to a possible upgrade to the iMac’s display, rocking a Retina display for the first time. Of course, the iMac already has a high-resolution screen, but the Retina display could make the iMac’s display close to 4K quality. While we didn’t anything of the such with today’s iMac refresh, there’s still time this year for a late-2014 iMac update to hit the market.

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Of course, we’d love to see an iMac break the $1,000 price point, but we doubt that will happen anytime soon, especially since the MacBook Air has been hovering around that price for quite a while. Of course, anything’s possible and we may eventually see a $999 iMac, but don’t count on it anytime soon.

You can obviously customize the new $1,099 entry-level iMac with a faster processor or more storage, but at that point, you may as well go up to the mid-range option and get a better base better. However, if you’re set on paying only $1,099, we’d actually recommend checking some of Apple’s refurbished options. They even have a 21.5-inch iMac for $1,099 that has a 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM, 1TB of storage and Intel Iris Pro graphics.

We’ve talked before about how refurbished Apple products are really the only way to go if you want the biggest bang for your buck, as the company’s refurbished options are pretty much brand new. The only big difference is that you don’t get any of the fancy packaging, but that’s really not too big of a deal for most buyers.

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