How Apple’s M1 iMac compares to Windows PCs

The new M1-based iMac represents a significant upgrade for Apple’s popular All-in-One computer. But PC makers sell All-in-Ones too, though, and some of them are good machines. Can any of them measure up to the new iMac?

We looked closely at the specs we know about Apple’s new computer, and compared it to the All-in-Ones from major PC makers. Of course specs alone don’t tell the whole story, but on the face of it, the iMac should make its Windows counterparts nervous.

Value: The iMac loses

It’s a little hard to get a bead on just how much the new iMac 24-inch costs, as it won’t be available to order for a few more days and won’t ship until May. As expected, however, it’s premium Apple pricing. 

The base iMac nets you a slightly slower M1 chip, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD for $1,300. Perhaps in a move only Apple can pull, the base iMac doesn’t even appear to come with Gigabit ethernet or USB-A ports. That’s a cold move, because USB-A ports and ethernet are pretty much a standard feature on every single desktop made.

For $1,700, you get a slightly faster M1, but the same paltry 8GB of RAM, and a barely adequate 512GB SSD.

Comparable Windows-based All-in-One computers offer far more value, but we have to admit that the lower end of the Windows world can get pretty ugly. Many $500 All-in-One PCs still come with poky hard drives in them. Our advice to you is not to buy a PC with only a hard drive. Hold out for the SSD.

Still, one look at Dell’s Inspiron 27 7000 with 27-inch screen, 11th-gen Core i7 1165G7, 32GB of RAM, 1TB NVMe SSD, and 1TB HDD for $1,440 tells you there is no value in anything with an Apple logo on it.

Not that the world of PC All-in-Ones is all bargains. Microsoft’s top-tier (but long in the tooth) Surface Studio 2 starts at $3,500 with a 1TB SSD, 16GB of RAM, and 7th-gen (yes, 7th-gen) Core i7-7820HQ and GeForce GTX 1060 graphics. 

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