Where to Put Your iMac - dummies

By Mark L. Chambers

If you pick the wrong spot to park your new iMac, you’ll regret it later. Some domiciles and office cubicles obviously don’t offer a choice — you’ve got but one desk at work, for example, and nobody’s going to hand over another one — but if you can select a home for your iMac, consider the important placement points in this section.

Pick the right location for your iMac

You know the mantra: Location, location, location.

  • There’s always the wall. Your iMac can disguise itself as a particularly interesting digital picture frame. With the right mounting adapter, you can hang your computer right on the wall and snub your desk altogether.

    This wall-mounted solution has three big problems:

    • Your VESA mounting plate must be installed safely and correctly (for example, using the studs within your walls).

      The iMac is slim and trim, but it’s no lightweight, and it doesn’t bounce well. You don’t want it to take a high dive!

    • You may have to remove your iMac from the wall mount to connect or disconnect cables from the ports on the back.

    • External peripherals aren’t happy campers, that includes any Thunderbolt and USB devices, which must either camp out on the floor or on a nearby (and conspicuous) shelf. (Cables for external devices tend to spoil the appearance of a wall-mounted computer, so if you’re using a wall mount, use an AirPort Time Capsule device for your backups.)

    Your iMac must be mounted at the proper height on the wall. It’s not good ergonomic practice to sit more than two feet away from your iMac screen, and the screen should be placed at (or slightly below) eye level.

    The best solution? Don’t plan on using any external devices. Instead, opt for a wireless network with a remote printer and remote backup storage space, like a Time Capsule unit on your network.

  • Keep things cool. Your new iMac is nearly silent, but that super-fast Intel quad-core processor generates quite a bit of heat. Fans inside the case draw the heat away. (Nothing like an overheated processor to spoil an evening of BioShock Infinite.)

    Follow these three rules to keep your cool. Make sure that

    • The location you choose is far from heating vents.

    • The location you choose is shielded from direct sunlight.

    • You allow plenty of room below the machine (where the air enters the case) and above the machine (where heated air escapes from the slot at the top of the case).

      Hot air from a wall-mounted iMac can discolor the wall.

Consider the convenience of where to put your iMac

Technology is nothing if you can’t make it convenient:

  • Outlets, outlets, outlets! Your computer needs a minimum of at least one nearby outlet, and perhaps as many as three or four:

    • A standard AC outlet

    • A telephone jack (if you use a Mavericks-compatible external USB modem for connecting to the Internet or sending and receiving faxes)

    • A nearby Ethernet jack (if you use the iMac’s built-in Ethernet port for connecting to a wired Ethernet network)

      Don’t forget the lighting. Your mom would say, “You can’t possibly expect to work without decent lighting! You’ll go blind!” She’s right, you know. At a minimum, you need a desk or floor lamp.

    • Plan to expand. If your iMac hangs out on a desk, allow an additional foot of space on each side. That way, you have space for external peripherals and more powerful speakers.