About to buy an iMac, but need help deciding!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by krystal009, Feb 22, 2007.

  1. krystal009 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    Location:
    Victoria BC Canada
    #1
    I've been lurking in this forum for about a month now, reading up on everything I need to know about Macs (PC gal my whole life)! Finally decided on a 20" iMac, and desperately wanted to wait to snag the latest and greatest that's supposed to be released ... but time is ticking, and I need to switch over in time to take on a graphic design contract.

    ANYWAY, I've been tossing and turning 2 versions of the iMac around for the past few weeks. I will be using this computer for graphic design contract work, as well as for personal use. The main programs I use are all the standard graphic design programs (Adobe CS2, and Macromedia suite). I like having Photoshop (or Illustrator), Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Firefox, iTunes all running at the same time. I'm currently on a crappy Seanix PC laptop, and I can barely have Photoshop and iTunes running at the same time without my computer freezing on me. I would also love for my new iMac to last me 4-6 yrs, since it's quite an investment.

    I've read a lot of great advice in this forum, so hopefully some of you can help me decide between these 2 machines, or a variation (I do qualify for the education discount):

    2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    3GB RAM
    250GB HD
    ATI Radeon X1600/128MB VRAM
    Wireless keyboard/MM
    AppleCare
    = $2573 Canadian

    or

    2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    2GB RAM
    250GB HD
    ATI Radeon X1600/256MB VRAM
    Wireless keyboard/MM
    AppleCare
    = $2354 Canadian

    I plan on getting CS3/Leopard and all that good stuff for Mac, but until it gets released, I want to use CS2 in Windows through Bootcamp or Parallels (I think those are the programs). Bad idea?

    Sorry for the long post, but I really want to make sure I'm getting the most "bang for my buck." Man I love that saying.
     
  2. Allotriophagy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2006
    #2
    Some thoughts.

    1) 3GB of RAM is a lot more expensive than 2GB and the benefit is not worth it. Get 2GB now and upgrade later down the line if you find you need to, when 2GN DIMMS are cheaper.

    2) 2.33GHz and 2.16GHz are minimally different in performance terms but very different in price.

    3) Upgrading the internal hard drive can be a pain - get the biggest from the start. (Wish I had done that with my iMac!)

    4) For graphics work...might the 24" iMac be better or is it out of your price range? I can't check the stores right now as I am on a cumbersome computer. You will get a bigger screen, higher resolution and better graphics options with the 24", as well as FireWire800 - handy for external drives.

    Most * for $ (that's a little explosion followed by a dollar), in my opinion, is the 2.13GHz 24" iMac with 2GB of RAM and 7600GT graphics.

    Erm...that is also the machine I happen to have. :eek: So perhaps I am a little biased.

    But really, my main advice is that 3GB of RAM and 2.33GHz cost far more than they are worth. With this in mind, you can keep your costs down and perhaps look further up the iMac line.
     
  3. Allotriophagy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2006
    #3
    Okay, just crawled through the Apple store and for a 24" 2.13GHz 2GB/250GB 7600GT, it is $2549. Compares very well with the 20" setups you are looking at, I think!
     
  4. krystal009 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    Location:
    Victoria BC Canada
    #4
    Yes, I just checked that out myself. The reason why I never thought to get a 24" was because it seems so excessively big. I've never actually seen one in real life, but my friend has a 20" and it seems humongous compared to my puny laptop. Plus, not knowing much about computer specs, and reading throughout this forum, people seem to favour loading up on the 20" as opposed to the 24".
     
  5. Allotriophagy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2006
    #5
    The 24" is pretty huge, but it is simply amazing to use. I mainly suggest it because you say you want to be using your new computer for the next five years or so. Since iMacs are not upgradable in terms of internet graphics/CPU/screen then it seems like a good idea to get the best one available now - especially if it won't cost much more.

    For graphics work, the increased screen size and resolution along with a more powerful graphics card will be the best thing about the 24" iMac. You can not only run Photoshop (or Illustrator), Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Firefox and iTunes at the same time, you can have most of them open on your screen. This is how I work with Word, Safari and PDFs. It's like sitting at your desk with the books you need open in front of you, your notepad ready...

    I'd recommend going to an Apple Store or somewhere you can play around with the various iMacs. See which one you have a better liking for - it may be that the 24" is too big, after all. Best to find out rather than leave it to chance!
     

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