Important Hidden Stuff on Your iMac - dummies

Important Hidden Stuff on Your iMac

By Mark L. Chambers

When you bought your new iMac, you probably noticed a number of subtle differences between the low-end iMac and the über-expensive top-end model. These differences encompass the important hidden stuff, and they’re just as important as the parts and ports that you can see:

  • Hard drive: The current iMac can be equipped with either a traditional serial ATA (SATA) hard drive or flash storage (also called a solid state drive, or SSD). Apple also offers a Fusion Drive, which is essentially a combination of a SATA drive and flash storage (offering the larger capacity of a SATA drive and the improved performance of flash storage).

    The iMac product line offers a number of different storage capacities, depending on the processor speed and screen size you choose: anywhere from a standard 1TB SATA drive to an immense 3TB Fusion Drive. (TB means terabyte, or 1,000GB.) The bigger, the better. Alternatively, you can opt for anywhere from 256GB to 1TB of flash storage instead. (Remember, though, that the iMac has room for only one internal drive.)

  • Wireless Ethernet: “Look, Ma, no wires!” Your iMac can join an existing wireless Ethernet network with its built-in wireless hardware. With wireless connectivity, you can share documents with another computer in another room, share a single high-speed Internet connection amongst several computers, or enjoy wireless printing. Truly sassy!

    Although Apple would want you to build your wireless wonderland with an Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station or a Time Capsule unit — go figure — you can actually use your iMac with any standard 802.11g, 802.11n, or 802.11ac wireless network. And yes, PCs and Macs can intermingle on the same wireless network without a hitch.

  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth is actually another form of wireless connectivity. This time, however, the standard was designed for accessories like your keyboard and mouse, and devices like your tablet and smartphone. Bluetooth is built into every Intel iMac.

  • SDXC card slot: This slot allows your iMac to read photos and video directly from standard SD memory cards — photographers and video junkies, rejoice!

  • FaceTime HD camera: The iMac built-in video and still camera appears as a tiny lens and activity light at the top of your computer.

  • Video card: If your applications rely heavily on high-speed 3D graphics, you’ll be pleased as punch to find that your iMac comes equipped with either Intel Iris Pro or NVIDIA GeForce graphics hardware. The three high-end NVIDIA GeForce cards are well suited for 3D modeling, video editing, and, well, honestly, blasting the enemy into small, smoking pieces with aplomb.