Yesterday I received my first desktop Mac. The iMac is my computer of choice now and I have some initial reactions that actually even surprised me.

I have spent some time with the entire Mac lineup at the Apple store but have never spent a long period of time with one (other than my MacBook). So when I decided to get a new computer a few months ago I knew it would probably be an iMac. You see the iMac is really the only reasonably priced Mac in their entire line of computer (and many consider me to be an Apple fanboy, so this is saying a lot). The iMac is a good price for performance machine, a big contrast compared to the Mac Pro which is outrageously expensive, the MacBook Pro which is also too expensive, the MacBook Air which is basically only purchased if you care more about the look of your computer than you do about the money in your pocket. And, the same can be said about the rest of the computers made by Apple.

If I had it my way I would have purchased a Mac Mini (if it included an actual graphics card) a Apple keyboard and Mouse, and an Apple cinema display, but since I don’t want to spend $1,300 on an underpowered computer I figured I would spend $1,200 on a reasonably priced computer.

Unboxing the iMac makes you think one word, beautiful. The iMac was designed with a lot of care and it shows. I was very worried that I wouldn’t be very fond of the large bezel at the bottom of the screen but after about 5 minutes I didn’t care because the display (which is super crisp) overpowers it.

I wish the iMac would have had at least one more USB port on the back of it but since there is a hub in the keyboard I can get over it. But enough about the hardware let’s talk a bit about performance.

I purchased the low end iMac wish has a 20″ display, a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of Memory (which will soon be upgraded to 3 but the RAM I ordered from Newegg.com haven’t arrived yet), a 250GB hard drive, and ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT with 128MB memory.

The first test I ran on it was just the ripping of a DVD, which on my old PC (2.2GHz Athlon 64 X2, 2GB RAM, Geforce 7800GT, 160GB hard drive) would usually average about 24fps using Handbrake. On the iMac I was able to rip the same DVD using the same settings (iPod preset) at around 35fps, a 68% increase in speed. The next test I ran on it was xBench which I compared to my old MacBook (1.83GHz Core Duo, 2GB RAM, 160GB hard drive, Intel GMA950 graphics) the iMac was about 1.8 times faster in almost every single test.

The computer itself is absolutely wonderful and I would suggest anyone looking into purchasing a new desktop to look at one of these, they are reasonably priced, look gorgeous and happen to have (in my opinion) the best operating system available.

To those who are interested (probably not nearly as many) I want to mention the Apple keyboard. Before today I hadn’t been able to have any time at all with the new keyboard. I figured it would be very similar to the MacBook keyboard (which I loved) and I was right. But, this keyboard feels a little different, not only is it slightly titled towards you but the keys are also a little bit harder to push down, they seem to have a stronger spring when you release them and when you press them down. This observation could just be because I’ve spent almost two years on the MacBook but I thought it was worth mentioning.

The Apple keyboard is great but I think it is going to take me a while to adapt to the new placement of the expose and volume buttons (not that big of a deal).

(Sorry for the not so great photos, they were taken with my iPhone since I don’t have access to a digital camera right now. The camera I did have, Nikon Coolpix L6, decided not to work anymore).