iMac 21 i7 vs iMac 27 i7

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MadJens, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. MadJens, Jan 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013

    macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2013
    Hey everyone!

    I really need some help in deciding whether I should buy the iMac 21 or the 27 (both i7). Currently I have a VAIO notebook that I mostly use for surfing, Youtube, 1080p movies, live tv streaming, converting files with AirVideo/MakeMKV for the iPad, ripping Blurays and of course Excel/Word. So it's strictly for non-working reasons i.e. consuming when i'm at home. The fan of the Vaio is so annoying that a change to an iMac is not a debate anymore. The only question is: which one should I choose? The price difference between the two that I am looking at is give or take 450$. I would love to be able to save that money for the future iPad 5. However, there are some issues that I want to clear up first:

    1. As I am mostly consuming movies and tv series in 1080p (and not in need of fast multi-tasking per se) the 21.5 iMac should suffice, right? Because I read somewhere that because of the much higher resolution of the 27 iMac, the video quality of 1080p movies (be it from blurays, mkv's or web videos like youtube) looks washed out in full screen mode on the 27". Is that really the case?
    2. Also for surfing the internet I could imagine, that the iMac 27 is too big as most webpages do not support widescreen format?
    3. In case I choose the fastest iMac 21 with i7 (as I don't want to make a step back from the Vaio which has a i7 aswell) is that one, with 16GB RAM and Fusion Drive, significantly slower than an iMac 27 with i7, 16GB RAM and a GTX 675MX? I would probably only notice a difference while ripping and converting, right?
    4. Is there a big performance difference between the GT 650M and the GTX 675MX graphic card when watching movies, ripping/converting and surfing (I am not playing any games)?
    5. I am planning to buy the LaCie Slim Blu-Ray drive. Is this one good with OS X and compatible with old and future BDs?

    In advance many thanks for your advice!

    Kind regards


    Somehting additional that just came to mind:

    Maybe I don't really need a i7? My VAIO now has a Intel Core i7 Q 740 @ 1.73Ghz. The VAIO performs slow when watching web videos on Youtube in 720p and 1080p but is otherwise OK. Maybe even an i5 iMac would suffice for my needs?
  2. macrumors 68040

    Jan 8, 2013
    Go for the iMac 21" it is the most compatible imac screen ratio aspect for the web/movies etc. The need for the GTX null 650M being a very capable graphic card for your needs...maybe 640M as well should be more than enough. Another aspect..think where you gonna to use it, i mean the space room if it is big enough than 27" should be ok but if you are working in a mid or small room the 27" sensation will be that it is too big.

    And yes the quad core i5 on the 21.5" especially the high end (2.9ghz) should be more than enough.
    The vaio i7 < i5 from top end 21.5" iMAC
  3. macrumors 68030


    Sep 14, 2007
    Based on your listed activities the main advantage of the i7 would be faster video conversion times when using handbrake to convert videos. Also, since the cpu has a lot more muscle it is arguable that it will be a little less dated in three years time. The same can be said for most of the other upgrades available for iMac.

    For your usage the video card shouldn't make much of a difference.

    My advice? If you have a budget then ditch the i7 and get the Fusion drive, it will make everything a lot snappier than the i7 cpu.
  4. macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2011
    Mine is a 21" i7 with Fusion and 16GB Ram. Super quick, very compact, super silent, runs cool. If like me you cannot see the point of the 27" screen, buy a 21".

    This Fusion Drive thing is interesting. It's not a single drive unit with a SSD section attached. It's a Flash Drive PCB like MBP or MacAir has attached direct to the motherboard + a normal HDD. End result is wonderful. Much better than the previous generation of SSD + HDD iMac's
  5. macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2010
    Remember you cannot ever upgrade RAM or hard drive in the 21"... EVER. It's a nice machine but think of it as a MacBook Air for your desktop.
    The 27" is of course fully upgradeable and expandable.
  6. macrumors 68030


    Sep 14, 2007
    That's not really true. OCW and others are already selling memory and drive upgrade kits for the 21"... it's just that you have to pull the screen off after cutting the foam tape in order to get at the guts, something that admittedly few users will ever want to do.

    The 27" is just as "unupgradeable" as the 21" with the exception of RAM.
  7. macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2011
    Thats true, but if you pay a little extra for a decent spec up front, you're probably safe for a few years. Then you'll upgrade the whole unit anyway, no?

    In my case I was OK. Old iMac lasted 3 years till it got sluggish, sold it online for 2/5 of the purchase price and bought a new one.

    I think many people look at an iMac like a MacAir anyway, it's not really a computer to pimp.
  8. macrumors 604

    Mar 29, 2008
    Wha? How is the 21.5" more "compatible" screen ratio for web/movies? Both screens are 16:9.

    Personally, I find the 27" SO much more usable for those things. Movie and web side by side, being able to just SEE more, etc.

    It's very subjective, but that statement made no sense to me. :D
  9. macrumors 68040

    Jan 8, 2013
    check for example an apple page on 21.5" and then on 27"
    there will be plenty empty space on the 27
    and for movies if i know right full hd is 1080p right? so no need for more screen resolution
  10. thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2013
    Thanks, you were all a very big help (was a little unsure as this will be my first Apple computer after being very happy with iPhones and iPad)! Tomorrow I will order a 21,5" iMac with i7, 16GB RAM, Fusion Drive and can feel good about it! :)
  11. macrumors member


    Feb 13, 2008
    Rochester Hills, MI
    I just got the same one up and running.. You will love it...!!! :)

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