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27-inch iMac (2011) vs. iMac (2012) vs. Dell XPS One 27: Spec Showdown

Apple could have saved the announcement of its new iMac as its “One More Thing” that the company is famous for adding at the end of keynotes. It didn’t, but it could have. We certainly weren’t expecting an Apple October 23 News, Rumors, and Launch Announcementsannouncement of its weight to be thrown into Tuesday’s iPad mini event. In fact, the iMac’s slim chassis and sleek design, not to mention the updates to its insides, warrant an Apple press event of its own. Perhaps the company needs a break from huge press gatherings, seeing as yesterday’s event came a little over one month after the company announced the iPhone 5. Either way, we now have a brand new, extremely Air-thin and beautiful iMac starting at $1,300. To do this, Apple had to get rid of the iMac’s optical drive, but Apple’s Phil Schiller made sure to add that “for those who are still stuck in the past, we do offer an external optical drive.” But should you snatch up the current model before the new one hits shelves, or should you forget about Apple altogether and consider an equally impressive (and less expensive) option from Dell? Dell’s XPS One 27, starting at $1,280, offers more bang for your buck than the new 27-inch iMac, which starts at $1,800. We compared the two computers, while also throwing in the 2011 iMac model, so take a look to see how they stack up.

imac comparison dell er dell xps one 27 imac 2012 27 inch
All three machines offer the same screen resolution (2560 x 1440) and size (27-inch), and the same amount of storage (1TB), but that’s about all that’s similar amongst the three of them. The iMac update doubles the amount of RAM, bumps up its Bluetooth connectivity to 4.0, and takes the leap to Intel’s Ivy Bridge Core i5 and i7 processors. With edges that are just 5mm thick, and Apple’s new Fusion Drive, which combines both 128GB of flash with 1TB, the updated iMac definitely stands out from its predecessor. That being said, we thought the last version was pretty great, so you may want to consider skipping the bells and whistles of the new version for a refurbished 2011 model. Clearly, the Dell PC listed on our table is considerably cheaper, but that’s generally the case when comparing Apple to Windows machines. The Dell XPS One 27 matches up closely with the 2012 iMac, so if you’re looking for a top-notch machine at a smaller price tag and want to give Windows 8 a shot, then the XPS One 27 is for you.