21.5" - 8GB or 16GB?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by virginblue4, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. macrumors 68000

    virginblue4

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #1
    Planning on preordering the baseline 2012 21.5" iMac and am not sure if I need 8GB or 16GB.

    Ill be mainly using it for web browsing, some gaming, videos, very basic video editing, iPhoto, pages etc.

    I plan on keeping it until it dies, so am thinking about the future as well.

    Any advice?
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2012
    #2
    Do you have enough money? Then the answer is 16Gb... the more RAM you get, the longer your iMac life will be... It's easy, RAM make the difference
     
  3. Moderator

    stridemat

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    Southampton, UK
    #3
    As its not user upgradable I would say get th highest spec machine that you can afford at the moment.
     
  4. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    #4
    Get 16gb because you wont be able to upgrade it afterwards on the 21.5.
     
  5. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2010
    Location:
    Finland
    #5
    I bought my mid-'11 21.5" iMac with 4GB of memory, and for the first six months it was enough. However, sometimes needs change and so when I found myself wanting to run virtual machines on my computer, I upped the RAM to 12GB myself, which made all the difference, and only cost me about 50 bucks.

    Since you won't have the option of adding more RAM later by yourself, I highly recommend you go for the 16GB now so that you are set for the future.
     
  6. macrumors 68040

    the8thark

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
    #6
    16GB.
    Easy answer. Why? Because you don't know what you'll be doing with the iMac in a few years time. And having 16GB is a nice way to help future proof your iMac for a while.
     
  7. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    #7
    16GB, although if it's like the 2012 Mac Mini, +16GB = +$300, which added to the price of the base 21.5" is $100 short of the 27" and its upgradeable RAM.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    APPLE-FANATIC

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    Location:
    Texas
    #8
    Ok. This also answered my question, so 16gb it is. Next is the i5 vs i7 processor, is it best to have the i7 processor (meaning is it that much better)? I have an i& in my earl MacBook Pro, but dont know anything about the i5. Just trying to collect all the info I need prior to pre-ordering as this will be my first iMac :)
     
  9. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    #9
    I personally would spend my upgrade money elsewhere, but that's just my computing needs. Maybe this will help:

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/10/core-i5-or-core-i7-does-your-computer-need-the-extra-juice/
     
  10. macrumors member

    *Batman*

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    Location:
    Gotham City
    #10
    Since you plan on keeping it as long as you can, I'd future proof it and get the 16GB so that you should be able to handle anything you need. I say better to have it Nd not need it, then to need it and not have it.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    APPLE-FANATIC

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    Location:
    Texas
    #11
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    #12
    8gigs. For what you describe you will never even use the 8gigs you have. Anyone telling you otherwise is being a fool with your money.

    An utter fool. There is no "future proofing" because I the future your graphics card, your hard drive et al will also all be out of date so you will just bottle neck somewhere else. But hey, if you've got 100$ just to blow away, go right ahead. At most right now, you are using 2 gigs tops doing the things you describe.
     
  13. macrumors 6502a

    APPLE-FANATIC

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    Location:
    Texas
    #13
    Ok, now Im :confused: so do you think 8gb is good enough for someone who primarily will be using their iMac for the following:

    High Internet surfing
    iMovie-Light to moderate
    iTunes-High (including music video and movie viewing)
    MS Office for Mac
    Pages, Keynote and Numbers
    iPhoto
    Facetime
    **Ability to run the latest Apple OS software thats pushed out every year (it seems like anyway)
     
  14. Bargle, Nov 4, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2012

    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    #14
    Absolutely without any doubt. If you had 4gb it would be more than enough. It's actually easy to see how much ram you are using right now on your computer.

    Are you on a Mac now? Just go to activity monitor. I do the same as you and have yet to use more than 2.79gb

    That's with multiple web pages, iTunes, smart music, GarageBand, I producer, iPhoto and photo booth, face time, and ibooks author all open at the same time!
     
  15. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    #15
    Or just wait untill someone does a tare down (shouldn't be too long before they are in end users hands)

    And then decide how hard its going to be to replace the ram in the 21" iMac.

    If its too hard order max, if its easy order minimum

    Is it really that hard a decision?
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    APPLE-FANATIC

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    Location:
    Texas
    #16
    WOW! Ok, I am sitting at 5.12 (Used) as of right now on my early 2011 MBP and have 8gb installed. So I guess if I am not at the 8gb limit on my MBP, 8gb on the iMac would suite my needs just fine. Just hate that you cant upgrade the 21.5", thats what worries me...
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    #17
    I can see how this makes sense, but what you want to look at in Activity Monitor is "Page outs," not "free." "Page outs" is when your computer writes data from memory to the hard disk, which is a slow operation, especially when it needs to load that data back into memory. It can write a large file out to disk and label the newly freed space as "free," but your machine still doesn't have enough memory.

    I only have 4GB, and it says that I have 300MB of free memory, but my page outs are at about 350%. I do 3D stuff on my old MacBook Pro and I'm really hurting for a new machine in which I'll be getting 32GB. Your usage is different, but I would look into it.

    If "Page outs" is 0, then you're good.
     
  18. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    #18
    Nailed it. The cheapest machine today, is better than the best machine of yesterday.
     
  19. macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #19
    16GB. No contest. Even if you don't need it today, eventually it will be required for software that your computer can otherwise meet the minimum system requirements for, such as a future version of OS X. If the 2012 21.5" iMac were like it's predecessors, I'd tell you to just go with the bare minimum and buy more RAM aftermarket, but the RAM isn't user-replaceable in the 2012 versions, so it's prudent to pre-max out the machine so that doesn't become an issue for you later on.
     
  20. macrumors 68040

    the8thark

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
    #20
    I disagree with you totally. You do not know the future no one does. Best example, I bought a 2006 iMac. Max accessible ram for it was 3GB. And for everything except hard gaming, it ran fine till 2011when I bought my 2011 iMac. Heck the 2006 iMac is still good today. Why did I upgrade? 3 reasons.

    I wanted a better GPU.
    Apple made it no longer run on the latest operating systems.
    3GB was no longer enough for basic things being done all at once.

    At the moment on my 2011 iMac I (with everything i use open) chew up about 8-10GB of ram. I never hit the 16 GB limit. But I am so glad I have the 16 installed. And in the future I don't know. I might get closer to the 16GB. Having the 16GB is a very nice piece of mind.

    Correct. But why go out and buy the cheapest Mac every refresh when a few dollars for more ram today will tie you over for many more years to come. For every basic task you don't need the latest and greatest Mac. You're slightly old Mac with the ram will be perfect.

    If you upgrade your Mac every refresh and never hit 6GB ram used then sure don't get the 16GB. But I think that's a waste of money. No need to buy new Macs so often when a touch more ram will tie you over for more years.

    It's all about your usage habits and Mac purchasing habits. If you have to pick one option for everyone then 16GB is the way to go but not everyone will want or need 16GB. You have to see which is better for you.

    If someone says you will not ever need more then 8GB they are dreaming. The fact if you have to work this out.


    Oh wow lucky you. Right now I have these Apps open.
    Safari (7 tabs open)
    iTunes
    Activity Monitor
    Tweetbot
    Messenger

    And that's it. And I have 4.9GB ram used. Probably varies a little from person to person. I think you get my point. Think about it.
     
  21. macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #21
    Really, it makes sense to eventually max out the RAM in your computer. Though on a computer where you can only max it out at the time of purchase, doing so is a no-brainer because, like you said, who knows what the future holds; really 16GB minimum system requirements are more than a few years out, but if the OP wants to use this machine until it dies, that's, without a doubt or question, the most sensible thing to do.
     
  22. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    #22
    I cannot agree enough with everyone that says you ABSOLUTELY SHOULD get 16GB, and I'm kind of cheap. :eek:
     
  23. macrumors 6502a

    smoking monkey

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #23
    It seems the people have spoken and the verdict is... 16GB of Ram!

    And I'm with the people. I definitely recommend 16GB as you never know what you might end up doing with the machine or who you might be able to sell it to in the future.
     
  24. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    #24
    Ok, in 2006 a guy needed 3gb of ram, and now in 2013 he's using 4.9.

    So, your 8gigs of ram will need upgrading some time in 2050.
     
  25. thread starter macrumors 68000

    virginblue4

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #25
    Thanks for all of your responses!

    I have decided that I am going to go for the 16 GB of RAM in my new iMac. Just another quick question, will the baseline 21.5 inch iMac be powerful enough to run some basic games from the App Store and games such as SimCity, when it is released next year?
     

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