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Apple preps cheaper iMac for students

Apple's cheaper iMac offers schools a discounted desktop computer. But some question if Apple's cheaper iMac has the specs to match the price tag.

By Sean LudwigVentureBeat / August 11, 2011

Apple rolls out a cheaper iMac for schools. But does the cheaper iMac have powerful enough specs?

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Apple on Monday released details on its new cheaper iMac computer, which targets educators.

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The $999 desktop will only be available in bulk purchasing from Apple from its Higher Educational online store, so average consumers are out of luck.

The machine features the basic elements of an iMac but will keep the specs dialed down for more affordable pricing. The education iMac sports a 21.5-inch display, a last-generation 3.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 processor, a 250GB hard drive, and 2GB of DDR3 RAM. Additionally, there’s an AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics card with 256MB memory, FaceTime HD camera, and a Mini DisplayPort.

However, because this new budget model is only $150 less than the more powerful entry-level iMac for students, I think bulk education buyers should consider that model as well. Apple’s entry-level consumer iMac has a 2.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 6750M graphics card with 512MB of memory, and a 500GB hard drive. Buying a slightly more power machine now can help future proof it down the line.

The last education-focused iMac was a 17-inch $899 model with a 1.87-GHz Intel Core Duo processor and 512MB of RAM.

Are you interested in having iMacs at your college or high school? Do you think these machines are powerful enough to meet the increasing demands of college students who need to run powerful programs?

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