iMac (Late 2012)

Slimmer than ever, the Late 2012 iMac is the first iMac ever not to include a built-in optical drive. Apple has also managed to make the iMac’s glossy screen 75% less reflective than before.

Late 2012 iMacs

2012 iMac

27″ iMac is the slimmest yet.

Another iMac first: You can’t upgrade memory. If you order your iMac with the base 8 GB of RAM, that’s all you’ll ever have. You can order both the 21.5″ and 27″ models from Apple with 16 GB installed, and there’s even a 32 GB option for the 27″ iMac. The 21.5″ iMac ships with a 1 TB 5400 rpm hard drive, and the 27″ model bumps that to a faster 7200 rpm drive.

Another step forward is the use of two microphones to improve noise reduction.

Introducing Fusion Drive

If you want way more performance, look to the $300 256 GB SSD (768 GB option for 27″ model) or the new $250 1 TB Fusion Drive, which combines a 1 TB hard drive (3 TB option for 27″ iMac) with 128 GB SSD. Fusion Drive treats the hard drive and SSD as a single 1.125 (or 3.125) TB volume, storing the operating system and all included software on the SSD and initially putting everything else on the hard drive. It also reserves 4 GB of space on the SSD for use as a hard drive cache. The brilliance of Fusion Drive is that the operating system keeps track of your work patterns and will move files, data, and applications to the SSD or back to the hard drive based on that information. Best of all, this is totally transparent to the end user. To revive a phrase Apple has used for a long, long time, it just works. Maybe because this is brand new, unproven technology for Apple, there is no Fusion Drive option for the Server version.

Other Details

CPU speeds start at 2.7 GHz, and all Late 2012 iMacs have quad-core processors. That’s a quad-core i5 on the standard configurations, and both sizes offer a faster i7 option for those demanding ultimate performance. All models now include USB 3 (4 ports), and the 21.5″ 2012 iMac now has two Thunderbolt ports, just like it’s larger sibling. The SD Card slot, which supports SDXC, has unfortunately moved to the back (vs. the side in previous models). The 2012 models no longer have FireWire. The smaller iMac has the same 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution as HD TV, and the 27″ beastie provides an impressive 2560 x 1440 pixels. The base 21.5″ model has Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics with 512 MB of dedicated memory, and the faster 21.5″ model has GT 650M graphics. The base 27″ model includes GeForce GTX 660M graphics with 512 MB of video memory, and the top-end 27″ iMac has GTX 660M graphics with 1 GB of video memory (expandable to 2 GB). The Late 2012 iMacs also have gigabit ethernet, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and ship with Apple’s wireless keyboard, Magic Mouse, and Magic Trackpad.


  • introduced 2012.10.23 at US$1,299 (21.5″ 2.7 GHz i5, GeForce GT 640M), US$1,499 (21.5″ 2.9 GHz, GeForce GT 650M), US$1,799 (27″ 2.9 GHz, GeForce GTX 660M), and US$1,999 (27″ 3.2 GHz, GeForce GTX 675M). 21.5″ iMac ships in November, 27″ in December. Replace by Late 2013 iMac 2013.09.24.
  • Part no.:

Mac OS

  • requires OS X 10.8.2 Mountain Lion or later
  • Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion compatibility
    • AirPlay Mirroring is supported.
    • AirDrop is supported.
    • Power Nap is not supported.

Core System

  • CPU, 21.5″: 2.7 or 2.9 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, 3.1 GHz i7 build-to-order option for 2.9 GHz model ($200 additional)
  • CPU, 27″: 2.9 or 3.2 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, 3.4 GHz i7 build-to-order option for 3.2 GHz model ($200 additional)
  • L2 cache: 6 MB shared cache on CPU
  • Bus: 1600 MHz
  • RAM: 8 GB, 21.5″ expandable to 16 GB, 27″ to 32 GB at time of purchase
  • Performance:
    • Speedmark 6.5:
    • Geekbench 2:


  • GPU, 21.5″ 2.5 GHz: Nvidia GeForce GT 640M with 512 MB dedicated VRAM
  • GPU, 21.5″ 2.7 GHz: Nvidia GeForce GT 650M with 512 MB dedicated VRAM
  • GPU, 27″ 2.7 GHz: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M with 512 MB dedicated VRAM
  • GPU, 27″ 3.1 GHz: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M with 1 GB dedicated VRAM (2 GB build-to-order option)
  • Display:
    • 21.5″ 1920 x 1080 LED backlit flat panel display
    • 27″ 2560 x 1440 LED backlit flat panel display
  • Video out: Mini DisplayPort, DVI and VGA with optional adapters


  • drive bus: 3 Gbps SATA Rev. 2 (6 Gbps with EFI update)
  • SSD: 256 GB build-to-order option, can be installed in addition to hard drive
  • Hard drive: 1 TB 5400 rpm SATA drive (21.5″), 1 TB 7200 rpm (27″), 3 TB option
  • SuperDrive: writes DVD±R, DVD+R, and DVD+RW discs at up to 8x speed, DVD-RW at up to 6x; dual layer at up to 4x; reads DVDs at up to 8x, writes CD-R discs at up to 24x, writes CD-RW discs at up to 16x, reads CDs at up to 24x


  • Thunderbolt: 2 ports
  • USB: 4 USB 3 ports
  • FireWire 400: none
  • FireWire 800: none
  • Ethernet: 10/100/gigabit
  • WiFi: 802.11n AirPort Extreme built in, three antennas support up to 450 Mbps bandwidth
  • Bluetooth 4.0: included
  • IR receiver: none
  • SD Card: 1 slot, supports SDXC
  • Microphone: internal
  • Modem: No longer offered by Apple


  • H x W x D (21.5″): 17.7 x 20.8 x 6.9 in/45 x 52.8 x 17.5 cm
  • H x W x D (27″): 20.3 x 25.6 x 8.0 in/51.6 x 65.0 x 20.3 cm
  • weight (21.5″): 12.5 lb/5.68 kg
  • weight (27″): 21 lb/9.54 kg
  • Power supply: 241W (21.5″), 365W (27″)

CPU Upgrades

  • none

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