Apple iMac 27-inch 2011 review

Is the high-end iMac more powerful than you need?

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Apple imac 27 inch 2011

The 27-inch Apple iMac takes a huge leap forwards with the 2011 refresh. Although the only change to the enclosure is a minor revision to the ports at the rear, the switch to new second-generation Sandy Bridge processors and powerful AMD graphics give a massive performance boost over the previous generation of iMacs.

We liked

The new iMac range's Sandy Bridge processors offer greater efficiency and performance than the first generation of Core-i CPUs, and the Turbo Boost feature is enhanced and improved with the 2.0 release.

The quad core 3.4GHz Intel Core i7 processor – available only as a custom option for the top-of-the-range 27-inch iMac – also offers Hyper Threading, allowing its four cores to run two threads at once for eight virtual cores. This means applications that support multiple cores can spread their tasks more evenly, again giving an improved performance.

The new Thunderbolt port will really only come into its own when compatible peripherals are released, but it has the potential to revolutionise I/O technology.

The SD card reader now supports higher-capacity SDXC cards, and the built-in camera has been improved, giving HD resolution, a 16:9 aspect ratio and better low-light performance.

We disliked

Although the 2011 Apple iMac's 27-inch display is of a very high quality, we wish there was an option to fit an antiglare screen instead of the standard glossy finish. If you order a MacBook Pro on the Apple online store, you can opt for a matte display, so why doesn't the iMac range offer a similar choice? The optical drive is looking long in the tooth too.


This top-of-the-range, 27-inch 2011 Apple iMac with a 3.4GHz Core i7 processor added as a custom option is an incredible machine, but it might be more than you actually need.

Creative professionals might welcome the larger screen and extra power, but for the average home user, a sub-£1,000 21.5-inch iMac could well prove more than good enough.

Tech Specs

Product TypeAll-in-One Computer
Green CompliantYes
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerATI
Graphics Controller ModelRadeon HD 5750
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Total Hard Drive Capacity1 TB
Product FamilyiMac
Operating SystemMac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
Brand NameApple
Form FactorDesktop
Processor Speed2.80 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size68.6 cm (27")
Screen Resolution2560 x 1440
Standard Memory4 GB
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR, EPEAT Gold
Memory Card ReaderYes
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Total Memory Slots4
Optical Media SupportedDVD±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 1 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Number of Processors Installed1
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Backlight TechnologyLED
Total Number of USB Ports4
Memory StandardDDR3-1333/PC3-10600
Height518.2 mm
Width650.2 mm
Depth207 mm
Screen ModeWQHD
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
ManufacturerApple, Inc
Product ModelMC511B/A
Product NameiMac MC511B/A Desktop Computer
Product LineiMac
Controller TypeSerial ATA
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberMC511B/A
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The new iMac 27-inch display with edge-to-edge glass covers nearly the entire front of the enclosure. When all you see is the display, nothing gets between you and what's on-screen. Movies, TV shows, websites, photos - everything looks stunning on the new 16:9 widescreen iMac display.

Maximum Memory16 GB
Package Contents
  • iMac MC511B/A Desktop Computer
  • Power Cord
  • Magic Mouse
  • Cleaning Cloth
  • Install/restore DVDs
  • Apple Wireless Keyboard
  • Printed and Electronic Documentation
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)13.80 kg