21″ iMac (Late 2015)

Remember the seemingly underpowered iMac that Apple introduced in June 2014? They’ve updated it from 1.4 GHz to 1.6 GHz and kept it available as a lower cost alternative to the 21.5″ Retina 4K iMac.

21-inch Late 2015 iMacThe Late 2015 model uses an ultra-low-power 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel i5 CPU – with Turbo Boost to the same 2.7 GHz as its predecessor.

The Late 2015 iMac offers a very decent level of performance, 8 GB of RAM (its only configuration) is very reasonable with OS X 10.11 El Capitan. Intel HD 6000 graphics is a step forward from last year’s model.

For those wanting an SSD ($250 additional) or Fusion Drive (also $250), these are available options that connect via a PCI Express interface, which outperforms the SATA Revision 3 used for the hard drive.

It includes 802.11ac WiFi and uses two microphones to improve noise reduction.

If you want way more performance, look to the $250 256 GB SSD or the $250 1 TB Fusion Drive, which combines a 1 TB hard drive with a 128 GB SSD. Fusion Drive treats the hard drive and SSD as a single 1.125 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.

That said, this is pretty new technology, and failure of either the hard drive or SSD would be catastrophic.

All iMacs now include USB 3 (4 ports) and two Thunderbolt ports. The SD Card slot, which supports SDXC, is on the back (vs. the side in previous models), and starting with 2012 models, iMacs no longer have FireWire.

The 21″ iMac has the same 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution as HD TV. It also has gigabit ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0, and ships with Apple’s wireless keyboard, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2.


  • introduced 2015.10.13 at US$1,099
  • Part no.:

Mac OS

  • Requires OS X 10.11 El Capitan or later
  • OS X 10.11 compatibility
    • AirPlay Mirroring is supported.
    • AirDrop is supported.
    • Power Nap is not supported.

Core System

  • CPU: 1.6 GHz (2.7 GHz Turbo Boost) dual-core Intel Core i5 or 2.8 GHz (3.3 GHz Turbo Boost) quad-core i5
  • L2 cache: 3 MB shared cache
  • Bus: 1866 MHz
  • RAM: 8 GB, with 16 GB option at time of order
  • Performance:
    • Geekbench 3, 32-bit single-core:
    • Geekbench 3, 32-bit multicore:
    • Geekbench 3, 64-bit single core:
    • Geekbench 3, 64-bit multicore:


  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 6000 or Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200
  • Display: 21.5″ 1920 x 1080 LED backlit flat panel display
  • Video out: Mini DisplayPort, DVI and VGA with optional adapters


  • drive bus: 3 Gbps SATA Rev. 2
  • SSD: 256 GB build-to-order option, can be installed in addition to hard drive
  • Hard drive: 500 GB 5400 rpm SATA drive, optional 1 TB 5400 rpm SATA drive
  • SuperDrive: external


  • Thunderbolt: 2 ports
  • USB: 4 USB 3 ports
  • FireWire 400: none
  • FireWire 800: none
  • Ethernet: 10/100/gigabit
  • WiFi: 802.11ac AirPort Extreme built in, three antennas support up to 1.3 Gbps 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: 17.7 x 20.8 x 6.9 in/450 x 528 x 175 mm
  • Weight: 12.5 lb/5.68 kg
  • Power supply: 241W

CPU Upgrades

  • none


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