We found ourselves 'hardware-crunched' due to recent project deadlines. To get by, we picked up one of the new iMacs. For the money, these machines are very impressive. Here's the features that matter to pro designers.
• Plugged in the power cord and network cable, it was up an running
• In less than 5 minutes the computer was un-boxed and running (sure.. installing the Apple and Adobe collections took longer.... )
• 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor (very fast at encoding DVDs!)
• Comes with 1GB memory (more is nice... but this was enough to 'just go')
• A robust and fast 250GB Serial ATA 7200-rpm hard drive
• 8x SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) (yes... does just about everything)
• High-speed 802.11g, Bluetooth, and Ethernet built-in
• A HUGE 24-inch widescreen LCD (everyone from staff to clients stares and comments on how nice the screen looks... everyone)
• Very bright and crisp with a wide viewing angle
• a reasonably powered NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics processor with 128MB of GDDR3 SDRAM using PCI Express (fast enough for Motion and After Effects).
• Support for external display in extended desktop
Other Nice Things that come in handy
• Built-in iSight camera
• One FireWire 400 and one FireWire 800 port
• Three USB 2.0 ports
• Internal 24-watt speakers (not bad sounding.... but use monitors for real audio work)
What's really cool is the system is actually approved for running Final Cut Studio. I highly recommend if you are in a system crunch or need an extra machine to check the iMac out.