Originally Posted by rogo
So with respect to monitor use, I agree with all of you that 30Hz is a dealbreaker. I also agree that 50" might be a bit too big -- it wouldn't fit on my desk as configured. So right now, it's just a dream. But as I contemplated getting a 27" iMac, these developments are giving me a bit of pause. Maybe making the monitor investment right now isn't the right decision given that we might have 4K screens in the 30s in the not-too-distant future....
While I can see the aesthetic appeal of an iMac, I've never really considered owning one. They always seem like such a bad deal to me. You are essentially buying a high-end laptop, which means that you have a fixed spec computer, but unlike a laptop, you're tethered to a desk. You have a mid-range display, but you're stuck using it with that one computer. I know Apple finally allow inputs via DisplayPort now, but the computer has to be running for that to work, it's very temperamental, and I don't believe it supports scaling if you were to try and send it a 1920x1080 signal for example.
If something goes wrong with either the display or
the computer, you can't use either of them, and if you're out of warranty, it means throwing the whole thing out and buying a new system, even if one of the two are perfectly functional.
If you were to buy a 27" monitor and a PC tower, if something goes wrong with the display, then you can replace it, or if something goes wrong with the tower, it's very likely that you can replace a single component to fix it rather than the whole computer itself. With the iMac design essentially being a laptop inside, there are no upgrade or repair options beyond taking the entire machine into Apple and waiting a couple of weeks for it to be serviced - if you are inside your warranty. (outside of warranty, most repairs from Apple are ridiculously expensive)
While 4K monitors aren't a reality today, in a year or two, I suspect there will be a "retina" iMac, and your only upgrade path would be to get rid of your old system and replace it.
It's too bad Apple's only options for a desktop machine outside of the iMac are the Mac Mini - which is a nice bit of kit, but not as quick as an iMac, and the Mac Pro - which is very expensive due to using server-grade hardware, and it's years
out of date at that.
It would be nice if they had offered a machine that used regular desktop hardware rather than your only choice be between notebook hardware or server hardware.