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Old Nov 9, 2012, 08:44 AM   #1
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21.5 2.9Ghz with Fusion or 27 imac base?

I have been a long time lurker, and now deciding on my new computer. I know that it is all based on people's needs, as it is with mine. I'm heading towards the 21.5 2.9Gz with Fusion, but I'm wondering if other users are in a similar situation.

My current needs does not envisage 16Gb of Ram, (more like 2-3Gb at the moment) but what of the future....

I have a budget of 1,500, and considering how much the fusion/memory upgrade on the mini is 200/160 respectively, means I can only do 1 upgrade. I'm not considering an i7 upgrade.

21.5 2.7Gz with 16Gb Memory: 1,260
21.5 2.9Gz with 16Gb Memory: 1,409
21.5 2.9Gz + Fusion (8Gb): 1,449

and to murky the waters further:

27 2.9Gz stock: 1,499 (option to upgrade Ram later if needed).

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Old Nov 9, 2012, 09:05 AM   #2
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I'd go either with:
21.5 2.7Gz with 16Gb Memory: 1,260, or
27 2.9Gz stock: 1,499

The middle two are too close to the 27 inch in price to bother with.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 09:08 AM   #3
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I was in a similar boat, initially. Once I started spec'ing out the 21.5" with what I'd want (including RAM), I was in 27" territory. The screen size doesn't dramatically sway me one way or another. But I think whichever you go with, Fusion will be essential, as indicated here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0M6pv9qAH4&hd=1

It's one of those upgrades that makes all of the other specs pale in comparison, because your perceived speed is just leaps and bounds better with Fusion. If you WERE going to upgrade the RAM, the 27" becomes a no-brainer, since doing that on your own basically negates the price difference between the 21.5" and 27".
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 09:33 AM   #4
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I would go with the 27" w/ fusion as you can upgrade the RAM later on very easily.
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Old Nov 9, 2012, 09:53 AM   #5
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27" with Fusion would be my choice too if I had 1700.....
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:52 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by slymarques View Post
21.5 2.7Gz with 16Gb Memory: 1,260
21.5 2.9Gz with 16Gb Memory: 1,409
21.5 2.9Gz + Fusion (8Gb): 1,449

27 2.9Gz stock: 1,499 (option to upgrade Ram later if needed).
Yes the same thing is on my mind aswell, Ive been thinking about it since it has been announced.
I initially wanted to get the 21,5" with FD but with that money I could get a 27" so its a really hard choice.
Now, I might as well just get a base model 21.5" and save myself the hassle and cash

I just wish we had ssd standard on atleast the high end models, which was the main reason why I skipped the 2011 imac.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 08:24 AM   #7
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I had the same trouble figuring out which is more worth it for me:
16gb RAM?
Fusion drive?
27 inch screen with a better GPU (660M vs 650M)?

Of course I must leave out those "best" options like 27 inch + 675M or even 680MX and stuff, as it'll completely kill my budget...

Here's my analysis:
1. 27 inch + 660M vs 21.5 inch + 650M: I've been to an Apple reseller checking out and comparing the old 21.5 and 27 inch iMacs there. The biggest take away for me besides that the magic mouse absolutely sucks (haha), is that the 27 inch while is really, really nicely HUGE, it's impractical for myself. My eyesight is not exactly good and I don't use glasses, also I prefer to read bigger fonts. These reasons make me prefer to have the screen slightly closer to me. And this in turn makes the 27 inch too big for me, as I need to constantly move my eyeballs or even my neck to see everything. If I move the screen too far away everything will be a bit hard for me to read.

Another important issue is the GPU on gaming. The top specs of 27 inch is out of question so I can only compare 650M vs 660M. From various benchmarking I know that running 1920*1080 on 650M is much more reliable and smoother than running 2560*1440 on 660M. And I seriously don't want to like running games on non-native resolutions.

Conclusion: 21.5 inch for me.

2. 16gb vs 8gb RAM: I don't run photoshop and other RAM demanding apps, I mostly read PDF and make Keynotes and use virtual machines, I also hate leaving unopened background apps and Safari tabs open (makes me feeling lost), so I *think* 8gb will be enough for me. Though I must admit 4gb is hardly enough for my 2012 MBA, so I do have a slight fear that 8gb will not be enough for the iMac. Then again, I expect that even if my current RAM usage doubles up, 8gb will still be (just enough) for me.

Conclusion: May not upgrade to 16gb; really depends on my mood when I put my order :P

3. Fusion drive vs just HDD: now this is a very good question. Having used 7200 RPM, 5400 RPM and SSD before (well, I think most of us do so :P) I can tell you how the phrase "never look back" really applies on the SSD. Booting speed is one thing, but being able to instantly search through your files and PDF/XLS contents can speed up your work efficiency massively. However I'm not very sure if my Fusion drive has over 600gb of files will it still be able to search file content that fast...

Conclusion: I'll probably upgrade to Fusion drive...as once you get used to SSD like myself got used to the MBA, you'll hardly tolerate all those "LOADING..." or "SEARCHING..." screens anymore.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 09:29 AM   #8
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21" with FD for me, and if I want to future proof 16GB RAM (as you can't upgrade yourself). Don't forget to add the AppleCare and any other extras when calculating your price. As this is my first Mac I will also be buying a time capsule and quite a bit of software.
I think the 27" would be a bit over kill for my small study. It's personal preference though. The only way to know is to sit in front of one as you would at home, not how it's set up in the shop. Plus if you go for the 21" it's going to be at least a month sooner!
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 09:33 AM   #9
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Go 27" base. When funds become available you can do external thunderbolt + SSD and use the internal stock drive to store data.
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