“Who needs 4K when you can have 5K?” That’s the absurd question many are asking in light of the new 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina Display.
The screen is the star of this new all-in-one desktop. Its pixel count (14.7 million pixels at 218ppi) is currently the highest for any computer in the world. Why, you ask, would someone need seven times the standard 1920×1080 pixels? Well, it’s vital for professionals working with high-quality photo and video who want an edge. The extra resolution lets creatives view images and videos at their true native 4K resolution with room to spare for programs and controls. In addition, the iMac display uses a technology called organic passivation to reduce pixel crosstalk. No, pixels don’t speak; signals between pixels can get confused and cause surrounding pixels to act differently. First introduced on the Retina iPad, organic passivation technology separates the pixels from the signals that tell them when and how to light up. Of course, none of this would matter if the monitor didn’t deliver true color, so Apple calibrates colors using spectroradiometers (laymen can only assume this means “bionic eyes”). Ultimately, you’ll have a true, beautiful image on this screen and you will never hear a pixel’s whisper.
Apple says the iMac’s new guts can back up this stunning screen. They beefed up the internals with a faster processor and graphics card to provide enough juice for 4K video editing. The available processors are the most recent models, and Apple adds its own Turbo Boost 2.0, giving the processor a punch when it needs it. The graphics card has up to 3.5 teraflops of graphical computing power, which provides signals for the millions of pixels. And the iMac’s Fusion Drive keeps things fast using the perfect balance of disk and flash storage: frequently used items are kept at the ready on flash storage, while others go to the hard drive. The system learns how you work so that you’ll only notice the speed, and OS X Yosemite is also engineered to take full advantage of the 5K display.
Apple’s own Mac Pro is a competitor to this sleek all-in-one. But while both machines are made to handle intensive processing, this iMac has the screen you need. Other companies have great 5K monitors out there, but the iMac is a one-stop purchase with computing power where it really counts. The computer’s internals will likely go out of date faster than the display, but if you work in a graphics-intensive industry where you need this resolution, this is a more than worthwhile investment. And if you have $2,499 and want something gorgeous — well, that’s a pretty good reason, too.
Resolution: 5120 x 2880 pixels
Processor: 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i5
Memory: 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3
Storage: 1TB Fusion Drive
Graphics: AMD Radeon R9 M290X
Size: 25.6 x 20.3 inches
Weight: 21 pounds