"How mainstream PCs should be built!"4.5 starson by Jonathan F
Pros: Quiet, minimalist, beautiful, surprisingly quick
Cons: Video could be faster; not expandable beyond RAM
Summary: This is the mid-range computer most people would *really* be happy with. Why get something that seems to have bigger numbers behind it if it ends up being bulky, noisy, or requires add-in cards to accomplish what you want?
This system is pretty silent. Even when I deliberately stress it with a 720p video, the fans barely spin up at all and can't be heard over even modest volumes.
Also, the iMac definitely the top pick for a dorm room PC, a small apartment, or anyone who wants a reasonably quick desktop but without the usual cable clutter or loss of space. It's heavier than a laptop, but much lighter than most desktops and fairly easy to relocate if you're moving to another room or across the country.
Front Row is surprisingly useful, though it depends on your habits. To me, it's most useful for viewing movie trailers and downloaded video clips. It's faster than visiting Apple's Quicktime page for trailers, and for videos that are sharp enough to display full-screen, it's better than paying for a $30 copy of Quicktime Pro.
About the only gripes I have are about things that are somewhat excusable. The graphics are good enough that many relatively mainstream games (World of Warcraft, Sims 2, etc.) will run well, but obviously this isn't the machine for a dedicated gamer in the rfirst place. The other concern is that the system is more or less closed off; you can add RAM through a slot in the bottom, but you can't replace the hard drive or any other internal parts. It's not a major concern if you're not the sort who'd regularly upgrade or are comfortable buying external drives or other such add-ons.