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Apple's new 27-inch iMac will charm plenty of you with its screen size alone. Fortunately, that won't lead you astray. Behind its expansive display, Apple has packed one of the fastest all-in-ones available, and added a few useful extras to sweeten the deal. This iMac isn't perfect, but its positives far outweigh its negatives. We can think of few users to whom we wouldn't recommend this system.
Available direct from Apple. Starting price $1,699.00
Apple's new eight-core Mac Pro demonstrates marked improvements over the older model in high-intensity digital media and multitasking scenarios. We also love the design tweaks that improve on Apple's already industry-leading sensibilities. Any Apple-bound design professional would welcome this new tool in his or her arsenal.
As Reviewed: $3,299
Check manufacturer's site for availability
The 3D graphics card market changes too rapidly for us to get bullish about a card with premature driver software. The ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 shows promise, even outscoring Nvidia on many PC games, but we would still wait until AMD works out the kinks before handing over your $450.
Click here to see this card from ATI's partners.
If you're looking to build a home theater PC, we recommend ATI's Radeon HD 2600 XT as the midrange card to use, thanks to its nearly perfect HD video image and its no-fuss installation. But for 3D gaming, you'd be much better off looking for a good deal on a faster, older graphics card.
If you're looking for a gaming card to run Vista and play most games, ATI's Radeon X1950 Pro will get you there, but not perfectly, and its real-world pricing is higher than we'd like. We're more interested to see ATI's next-gen cards use the newly refined CrossFire dual-card technology, debuted here, but that will have to wait.
ATI's flagship TV tuner card offers the best image quality we've seen from a TV tuner card and includes over-the-air HDTV support, but it's still not as good as a direct cable-box-to-TV signal.
We don't recommend paying even $125 for this new budget 3D card from ATI, but assuming you can find it for $100 or less, the Radeon X1650 Pro will meet your Windows Vista and basic gaming needs without overheating your PC or your wallet.
ATI's budget TV tuner card is fine for occasional TV watching or recording, but serious viewers will find that much better devices aren't much more expensive.
ATI's Radeon X1950 XTX is the fastest single-chip 3D card that you can buy. Unfortunately, with Windows Vista and its accompanying gaming technology, it's going to become obsolete in just five months. ATI adjusted the price of the Radeon X1950 XTX accordingly, but at $450, it's still not an insignificant purchase. We recommend it only if money is no object.
Apple's Mac Pro has design innovations that we hope will cross over to other systems. Its performance is as strong as you'd expect for a system in its class, and it's priced right, too. You might need more flexibility in your config options, especially for 3D design, but otherwise, the Mac Pro is as solid a professional-class PC as we've seen.