Hard disk drive December 18, 2012


As customers begin receiving the new iMac this month, business-end users and gamers may find one issue when booting up their new machine. As reader Michael Verde first shared with us, the built-to-order 27-inch iMac configuration with a 3TB Fusion Drive (an extra $400) will not allow any Boot Camp use. This essentially cuts off access to a full Windows experience that some Mac users may want to benefit from. Many might consider this a bummer, as a sizable amount of users turn to Boot Camp to access necessary Windows programs or just simply enjoy Windows paired with Mac hardware.

Apple highlighted the issue on both its iMac configuration and Fusion Drive explanation page. “Boot Camp Assistant is not supported at this time on 3TB hard drive configurations,” Apple said in buried text. “At this time,” could mean the feature is enabled down the road in a software update, but it is non-existent as of now.

There are virtualization solutions, such as Parelles and VM Ware, that provide a Windows experience, but they do not offer a full experience that many may want. Boot Camp users include gamers who want to run games at full settings and business users looking to use specific business apps in a full Windows environment.

Right now it is not clear what the cause is, or if it has anything to do with Apple’s new Fusion Drive technology, but it seems that Boot Camp is limited to hard drive with less than 2TB of space (PC World has a good explanation for this). Announced in October and shipping in the new Mac Mini and iMacs, the top Fusion Drive configuration provides 128GB of flash storage coupled with 3TB of HDD space. The cheaper configuration, 128GB Flash Storage + 1TB HDD, supports Boot Camp. So, we have to wonder: what is holding back the more expensive configuration? We reached out to Apple for comment.

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Apple just finished unveiling its all-new iMac design that we previously unveiled leading up to the event. We told you at the time that Apple is shipping two refreshed models of its 21-inch and 27-inch iMacs, but we would unfortunately likely see delays on at least some models. Apple decided to take the wraps off its refreshed iMacs today, but as we predicted, the models will not ship right away.

Apple did not confirm during the unveiling, but it has now listed the new iMacs on its website with availability dates listed as November for the 21-inch model and December for the 27-inch model. You will no longer be able to get your hands on the last-generation iMac, except through Apple’s refurbished section. Hopefully Apple can get enough of these out before the holidays, especially the 27-inch model that will not ship until weeks before.

Also of note for the new iMacs is the fact that the 21-inch model comes with no user accessible RAM slots, while the 27-inch model has 4 slots accessible from the back of the machine. The 21-inch model is configurable up to 16GB through Apple, but the 4 slots on the 27-inch can handle up to 32GB:

The 21.5-inch iMac comes with 8GB of memory and can be configured online with 16GB. On the 27-inchiMac, 8GB of memory comes standard, and you can upgrade to 16GB or 32GB. Configure and buy your iMac at the Apple Online Store and it will arrive with the memory already installed. Or add more memory to the 27-inch model yourself by popping open the easy-to-access memory panel on the back.

You can get full details on the all-new iMacs in our full coverage of the unveiling here.

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