Help please! 17" or 20" iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Lustaf, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. Lustaf macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2006
    I'm going to be ordering an iMac early next week and I'm trying to decide between the two models and what upgrades I should go with. I'm primarily going to be using this computer for school, Eyetv and maybe a bit of gaming.

    I have a few things in mind but I would like to see what people have to say regarding each machine and what upgrades are worth it. I'll be shopping on the Canadian site, through the education area and looking to spend no more than $2300.
  2. aswitcher macrumors 603


    Oct 8, 2003
    Canberra OZ
    20" has a better screen, not only bigger but better contrast and brightness. Plus bigger is better for TV/DVD.

    20" can get the 256MB Graphics Card for a $100 which would improve game playing I guess - and gives it a bit more longevity.

    Get at least a gig of ram in a single stick so you can upgrade later.

    Consider the new well featured Mac specific Logitech S530 keyboard/mouse over the Apple wireless Keyboard/Mouse option...
  3. plinkoman macrumors 65816


    Jul 2, 2003
    New York
    well, generally, the best advice can be to get the best of anything that can't be updated later, such as the screen size and the video card. don't bother with the 500GB hard drive as a 250GB firewire hard drive can be had cheaper then the upgrade, and don't upgrade the ram from apple either; you can get it much cheaper from other places (such as crucial).

    as for the screen size, well, thats up to you. if your near an apple store, go check them out and see if you really need/want those extra 3", and if they're worth the extra money or not.
  4. Lustaf thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2006
    This is one of the systems I was looking at getting. This leaves room for an upgrade to 2GB in the future and as the above poster stated if I run outta HD space I can buy a cheaper external drive than upgrading to 500GB. My only real concern is if that upgrade on the VRAM is worth it or not.


    * 1GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 1x1GB
    * 250GB Serial ATA drive
    * ATI Radeon X1600/256MB VRAM
    * SuperDrive 8x (DVD+R DL/DVD+RW/CD-RW)
    * Keyboard & Mighty Mouse + Mac OS X - U.S. English
    * Accessory kit
    * AppleCare Protection Plan for iMac - Auto-enroll
    * 20-inch widescreen LCD
    * 2GHz Intel Core Duo
    * AirPort Extreme
    * Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR

    Regarding that Logitech keyboard and mouse, how good is the battery time on the mouse? I know it says six months for the keyboard but I'm more concerned about the battery life of the mouse.

    Also has anyone here used Eyetv before? How does it perform?
  5. galstaph macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2002
    The Great White North Eh
    the vram is always good to have extra with, never know when it'll come in handy as you cannot upgrade it later.
    I think a 20 is a good choice.
    I've never used that logitech set, but my wireless logitech mouse has lasted over 5 months with no battery issues.
  6. tigercrane macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2006

    If you can swing the 20'' financially, then go for it. Better for movies, eyetv, everything.
    I just bought one with the upgrade vram and a 1gig stick from apple. Plan on getting another gig down the road when I get bored and feel like buying more gear because to be honest so far it works great with 1 gig.
  7. Lustaf thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2006

    Good to hear.

    I was actually going to ask about the performance difference between the 1 GB RAM compared to the 2 GB RAM, will I notice a large difference with the speed of every day tasks or will I only really notice it when I am running and using RAM hogs or playing a game?
  8. kugino macrumors 65816


    Jul 10, 2003
    huge difference in performance in just about everything with 2GB vs. 1GB. i'm a huge proponent of getting the most ram you can afford. yes, 1GB will work, but 2GB will be better. best $130 you can spend on your imac, IMO.

    as far as eyetv goes, it works great on the intel imac. make sure you get an eyetv 200 (assuming you don't care about HD)'s still a better choice than the eyetv 250 b/c it does hardware encoding and a few more video formats. the software is very good and it's basically tivo on your mac for free (minus the initial purchase price). check the other forums - there are some threads about eyetv there.
  9. tonyl macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2006
    I heard for 2.5gb is best for Mac, is that true?
  10. TheMasin9 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 22, 2004
    Huber Heights, OH

    not unless they make a 1.5gig dimm, which to my knowlege they dont...
  11. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    Hi, I have the 20" Intel iMac with 2GB of RAM. I would go with the 256Vram and by your ram from someone in Canada or someone that ships there as this is very easy to install yourself. The RAM cost me $240 and that was with next day delivery from I'm not sure if ships to Canada or if does either.
    Anyway about 17" vs 20" I use my iMac for Flash 8, starting to use Painter and Photoshop. All I can say is the 20" is great for placing my stage and palettes on the screen without feeling crammed. I say this as I had a 17" iMac G5 and really needed the extra room for these apps. Also it is nice to have two word docs. side by side on the 20" or two apps in general open next to each other.
    I'd say go for the most you can afford as it will last you longer and you won't say what if? ;) Last the Intels can only have 2GB of RAM total, I wish it would be 4GB but that's fine. Maybe CanadaRAM can help out with getting RAM in Canada for you (give him a pm) as that will save you $$ for other things :)
  12. ImNoSuperMan macrumors 65816


    Dec 1, 2005
    Here`s a quote from one of MultiMedia`s posts when 17"MBP was announced. It tells you a way to get 2 gigs of RAM for only 46$ extra. But this was in the case of an MBP. So I dont really know if this will work out for ur iMac or not. But IMO this is a very good trick to save some real money. You can read that whole thread here.

    Follow the link if you`d like read rest of the posts in the thread. A lot of people liked the idea while some didnt. U decide for urself.
    Also I`d say if you have the money in the pocket and space on your Table(for a 20" Mac) then definitely go for 20" iMac with 256 MB VRAM.
  13. ImNoSuperMan macrumors 65816


    Dec 1, 2005
    On second thought, If you wait for a few months Conroe iMacs at WWDC(Aug) can be a possibility. Or maybe Paris Expo(Sept). Wait, It cud also be MWSF(Jan 07).

    OK. No more second thoughts. Buy the iMac now. It`s a really great machine(though I dont own one. M waitn for MacBooks:eek: ). And I know this waiting thing really sucks. So get the iMac now. As I`ve already said Get the 20" if you can. Or else 17" is also great.
  14. m-dogg macrumors 65816


    Mar 15, 2004
    I have a 20" iMac G5 with Eye TV 200. Excellent setup - I'm very happy with it.

    I definitely recommend getting the 20" if you are planning to use Eye TV - Those extra 3 inches make a big difference when watching TV full screen.

    EDIT - The 20" is also better when you are watching Eye TV in it's default sized window, and browsing the web at the same time - They fit nicely on the screen together with no overlap. On the 17" they overlap a little bit (I used to have a 17" and then upgraded to a 20").
  15. Lustaf thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2006

    Thanks to everyone who responded, I really appearicate. Does the EyeTV 200 allow for gaming, using the iMac screen? I plan on hooking up my older systems to the screen and I wanna know if I should go with the 250 instead.

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