Ars Technica reviews the new entry-level 21.5” iMac. Steps forward: new enclosure is lighter, quieter, and runs coolers than its predecessor. Steps backward: only leaves room for slower 2.5” hard drives, worse speakers, and no user upgradeable anything. That is, unless you don’t mind getting hosed at order time.
The 21.5-inch iMac can be upgraded to 16GB of RAM at purchase for $200; 16GB of RAM in two 8GB DIMMs costs about $60 on the open market.
It’s just sad to see that, even in a desktop computer, we’re entering an age of hyper-inflated, OEM-defined RAM prices that end users can’t choose to fight by purchasing their own upgrades.
It’s not just RAM either. Want the new hard drive performance hit to go away?
It will also completely disappear if you opt to add a Fusion Drive to your new iMac, which sounds like a no-brainer until you consider that you’ll be paying $450 for the upgrade—$200 to pay for the high-end 21.5-inch configuration and $250 more for the 128GB SSD itself.
All of this is to say the cheapest iMac you can buy with a solid-state drive of any kind on board costs $1,749 before tax. This is a world where the MacBook Air starts at $999 and includes standard SSDs across the line.
I’ve always upheld that iMacs are the best Mac value around. I’m struggling to say this now.∞