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Old Apr 16, 2013, 03:01 PM   #1
historyteacher
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Purchasing guidance

Hey all,

I know there are a ton of threads out there regarding purchasing assistance (I have read most of them). I was hoping to ask some specific questions to people that perhaps know more about the requirements of computing than I do.

I currently have a 2008 white Macbook. Awesome machine...still works great, just running out of HD space and I would like to have something that will run a little more speedy and would like to gain all of the great features that multitouch trackpads and Mountain Lion offer.

I think I will be moving to a desktop (iMac) due to the fact that we have an office in our new house and the laptop primarily sits on the couch. I do not need to have portability for work. (I am planning on keeping the Macbook after purchase of the iMac to have a wiped clean internet surfing laptop).

What I do on a computer:
-iTunes
-iMovie
-iPhoto
-would like to be able to run windows in boot camp (hope I got that terminology correct) for some programs I use at work and to troubleshoot for others
-program called Smart Notebook (some of you may know what that is)

Looking at getting the 21.5 in. model iMac.

Questions:

1. Not sure that I need the upgrade to 16GB ram, but I also understand that it is not user upgradeable at a later date.

2. Love the idea of a fusion drive if it makes programs and such open faster (somewhat impatient when it comes to that stuff, hence the upgrade from my current computer)

3. Would the base model be a sufficient processor?

Thanks for all your help! It is always appreciated.

Mike
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Old Apr 16, 2013, 03:19 PM   #2
talmy
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1. Not sure that I need the upgrade to 16GB ram, but I also understand that it is not user upgradeable at a later date.
Frankly, 4GB would be more than sufficient. 8GB will give plenty of breathing room. 16GB is overkill.

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2. Love the idea of a fusion drive if it makes programs and such open faster (somewhat impatient when it comes to that stuff, hence the upgrade from my current computer)
Yes it will. You can also keep apps open all the time and make use of sleep to minimize/eliminate the startup time.

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3. Would the base model be a sufficient processor?
Yes. It will be much faster than your current MacBook.

I also suggest you look at using a virtual machine (I use Parallels) instead of BootCamp. This way OS X is always running and it's easy to share data between Windows and OS X (you can even copy and paste between them). You will also get the advantage of the Fusion drive under Windows (you don't with BootCamp). Downside is more RAM usage, but 8GB is still plenty.
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Old Apr 16, 2013, 07:53 PM   #3
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Awesome. Thank you for the advice. That is what I needed. I am one of those people that knows just enough to get in trouble by thinking I need more than I do.
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Old Apr 16, 2013, 11:33 PM   #4
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Awesome. Thank you for the advice. That is what I needed. I am one of those people that knows just enough to get in trouble by thinking I need more than I do.
Totally disagree about the RAM on the 21.5" iMac. Your needs may change and the 21.5" cannot have the RAM upgraded, therefore it is extremely wise to buy 16GB for possible future needs.
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Old Apr 18, 2013, 12:26 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=rkaufmann87;17153154 Your needs may change and the 21.5" cannot have the RAM upgraded, therefore it is extremely wise to buy 16GB for possible future needs.[/QUOTE]

Totally agree with this ........ 16GB RAM is definitely not "overkill". Get it while you can.
I have 32GB RAM on my 27" dream machine.
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Old Apr 18, 2013, 12:39 PM   #6
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Totally disagree about the RAM on the 21.5" iMac. Your needs may change and the 21.5" cannot have the RAM upgraded, therefore it is extremely wise to buy 16GB for possible future needs.
I also agree with this. And if you do use windows in a virtual machine, this becomes a very good idea and not just future proofing.
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Old Apr 18, 2013, 12:54 PM   #7
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OK. Everyone is jumping in saying 16GB is not overkill. I'll agree it's relatively cheap "insurance" but the OP would actually get by fine with 4GB of RAM so 8GB gives a 2X expansion as it is. I consider myself a heavy user and frequently will have open simultaneously 1. A Windows 7 virtual machine, 2. Keynote, 3. iShowU Pro (screen video capture), 4. Safari, 5. multiple preview windows, 6. DropBox, Hazel, CrashPlan, and who-knows-what-else running in the background, and 7. FinalCutPro X and I never go above 5 GB used on my 8GB iMac.

If it isn't enough and does swap, if the OP gets the Fusion Drive, that will minimize the effect. We have a MacBook Air with 2GB running Mountain Lion that runs just fine with all of the iLife and iWork apps and Safari. It doesn't have any "heavy" software installed.
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Old Apr 18, 2013, 01:06 PM   #8
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OK. Everyone is jumping in saying 16GB is not overkill. I'll agree it's relatively cheap "insurance" but the OP would actually get by fine with 4GB of RAM so 8GB gives a 2X expansion as it is.
...
I;m not sure 4GB will fall under gets by fine with iMovie in the mix. Also if they do go with Windows in a virtual machine, 4GB is nowhere near enough for a smooth operation since you need to give windows 7 a decent chunk of memory. Also software tends to use more memory with new versions since the machines have the memory available.

Also fortunately 8GB is the minimum an iMac comes with now so someone won't get stuck with a 4GB iMac with issues in a couple of years.
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Old Apr 18, 2013, 06:28 PM   #9
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just using 8 gb on my imac was causing page outs using windows virtual machine. yes it runs but it does page out which clearly shows its not enough ram. I bumped it up to 32gb. if he can afford 16 gb of ram i think he should.
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Old Apr 19, 2013, 09:51 AM   #10
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The amount of memory for the VM is, of course, adjustable. If you are only running the VM for a specific application (the OP sites the use of several Windows-only applications) then the VM memory can be sized appropriately.

For instance, I only run a few Electrical Engineering CAD programs, the largest of which recommends 1GB of RAM. I set the size to 1.5 GB. It was tight running on my old white MacBook with 4GB, but swapping was not a problem. With the standard 8GB on the iMacs, RAM is not an issue at all. My server system (Mac Mini with Snow Leopard Server) has 4GB of RAM and runs (24/7) Parallels to run Quicken (VM size set to 1GB), iTunes, Plex Server, CrashPlan, SuperDuper!, and about a dozen server functions.
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Old Apr 19, 2013, 11:02 PM   #11
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Historyteacher,

I've been at this game for roughly 30 years, my roots go back to the Univac 90/40 Main Frame and up. I'm new to Mac's but not Nix. One thing has always been true through the years. Get as much RAM as you can afford and you won't regret it. Seriously, we can all get by on less, but listen to what MOST of the responders are telling you. This IS a case where more is better.
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Old Apr 20, 2013, 09:35 AM   #12
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Get as much RAM as you can afford and you won't regret it. Seriously, we can all get by on less, but listen to what MOST of the responders are telling you. This IS a case where more is better.
This. If it were user upgradable then yeah sure I'd say see how you get on, but it's not, and you're likely to have this machine for many years. I'd say max it. 4GB is soon going to feel like very little RAM.
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Old Apr 21, 2013, 09:08 AM   #13
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Thanks to everybody who has responded. You all are a huge help! I totally prefer this forum for guidance over an apple store blue shirt wonder.

Talmy, I get what your saying, but if $180 is going to guarantee my performance for as long as possible I will probably go that route and get the 16 GB as many have stated.

Follow up if I may, how come the 21.5 doesn't have user upgradeable memory? Would make life so much easier!


Thanks!
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Old Apr 22, 2013, 12:16 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by historyteacher View Post
Thanks to everybody who has responded. You all are a huge help! I totally prefer this forum for guidance over an apple store blue shirt wonder.

Talmy, I get what your saying, but if $180 is going to guarantee my performance for as long as possible I will probably go that route and get the 16 GB as many have stated.

Follow up if I may, how come the 21.5 doesn't have user upgradeable memory? Would make life so much easier!


Thanks!
That's a question for Apple
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Old Apr 22, 2013, 03:36 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by historyteacher View Post
Follow up if I may, how come the 21.5 doesn't have user upgradeable memory? Would make life so much easier!

Thanks!
The 21.5" iMac's ram being not upgradeable as far as I know is because of smaller space limitations so Apple decided to have the ram permanently adhered to the logicboard. If you anticipate your task demands will increase later on, might as well get the 27" so you can upgrade the ram.
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