Need advice for a family computer purchase

Discussion in 'iMac' started by bartonjm, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2012
    Location:
    NY
    #1
    Hello folks. My wife and I are looking to make an iMac purchase for our family. I'm trying to justify the base configuration of the high end 27 inch to my wife as we do a lot of family photo projects, and I really love the size of that screen. I'd love to get the 680 and fusion drive, but our budget can't justify that. She does not think we need the higher end iMac, so I need your assistance with ideas on how I can justify the extra money for the 27 inch version rather than the base 21 inch version. I've tried the "it will be more future proof" argument, but she's totally sold. Thanks for the help. Do you think they'll be any difference in the price structure for the next gen?
     
  2. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2013
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #2
    Take her to the Apple Store or Best Buy if you have one nearby and show her the difference. Pull up iPhoto on both and show her the screen you have to work with.
     
  3. macrumors 68000

    Hrududu

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    Wichita KS
    #3
    What computer are you using now? How long do you typically keep one computer before upgrading? More than likely she's right and you don't NEED a 27" iMac (I don't think may people do). If you can't afford it, then don't get it. If you're the type of person who does keep the same Mac for 5-8 years and you won't be upgrading again in a LONG time, then maybe the 27 is the right Mac for you.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2012
    Location:
    NY
    #4
    We tend to keep computers for about five years.
     
  5. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #5
    With my wife... I had to put the value in terms of the kids:

    a) Without the 27" it will be so difficult to use that you will not be able to make those beautiful photobooks of the kids

    b) They will need to use the computer for school research, and if they cannot have two windows side-by-side, then there work will suffer

    c) etc

    /Jim
     
  6. macrumors G5

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #6
    As above, take your wife to the store and compare...if you can stretch just a little, the fusion drive really is a worthwhile upgrade....I have a new 3TB iMac maxed out as a work tool, but you could cut down on the CPU, going for the i5 instead of the I7....if you work a lot with photos and high end video as I do, the 2G. GPU is also a good idea.....if you explain to your wife that this Mac will actually last you five years perhaps she will cave in a little...in short, buy the highest spec that you can possibly get...but think seriously about the Fusion system...it really does make a big difference.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Fatboy71

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    Too be honest I think your wife is right, especially for the photo uses you've described.

    I went for the entry level 27 inch and chose the Fusion Drive. I think this model would be perfect for you uses. I do photo editing on mine as well as video editing from ScreenFlow and its no problem for the entry level 27 inch iMac that I got. The only thing I upgraded from entry level was to choose the Fusion Drive option.

    I was debating on getting the 21 inch, but the lack of user upgradable ram made me consider the 27 inch, and I'm so glad I went for the 27 inch and the Fusion Drive, the Fusion Drive definitely makes a difference and pound for pound the Fusion Drive is a really worthwhile upgrade that you will benefit from pretty much everytime you load up your apps.

    I'm planning on keeping my iMac for 5-6 years.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2012
    Location:
    NY
    #8
    It sounds like the fusion drive is a vital option according to you guys. Thanks for the advice. I'm trying to convince her towards the 27. Is the price of the fusion drive reasonable? I know the ram cost is not.
     
  9. macrumors regular

    AlbertEinstein

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    #9
    The price of the fusion drive is very reasonable.:apple:
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    #10
    Have you sat down to compare them? You really need to get to a store with those machines and compare. Unfortunately, most stores don't have a chair/desk setup where you can sit down and get a real feel for the machine. I bought a 27" with upgraded CPU, GPU, Fusion, then added some RAM myself. I bought mine because I am getting into photography, and do some gaming. I expect the machine to still be usable 7 to 10 years from now. Squat down to sitting hight while looking at them. You don't appreciate the sizes involved standing over them.

    However, sitting at my desk, the 27" is still a bit overwhelming. That might stem from being accustomed to a 14" MacBook, or a 17" decade old iMac, but it is huge. A good friend of mine just sat down at it over the weekend, and thought it was impressive. He has a 24" iMac.

    Honestly, I think based on what you want to do, 27" is going to be overkill. For me, the price wasn't really an issue. I've had the money set aside for nearly a year, and the long delayed release made it even easier. If it is a matter of budget for your family, I suggest you buy what you need, and save the rest. You can add the Fusion, and even pay the Apple Tax on the 21" base model and still come out cheaper than the base 27". That seems a better use case for your situation.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Fatboy71

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    In the UK the Fusion Drive is a £200 extra.

    Prior to me getting my 27 inch iMac I had a PC and a 21 inch monitor. For around a day after getting my iMac I thought this iMac looks massive, but after this time I got used to it. Believe me, after seeing the initially size of the 27 inch you will get used to the size of it very quickly, I'm only pleased I went with the 27 inch now.

    Even looking at the 27 inch in a shop it doesn't really give you that much of an idea as to how it will look in your home and on your desk, as the shop display areas and the shop itself are much bigger than the desk and room in your home.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    smoking monkey

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #12
    Base 27 with Fusion.

    I disagree with an earlier post that says most don't need 27. More is better. Having two windows open side by size is such a breeze on the 27. Anything to do with study or even multi tasking will be done in a more efficient way because of it.

    I'm sure you'll talk the wife into it after visiting an Apple store or the like.
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    The Real Northern California
    #13
    There are a couple of points to be made with your wife that favor the 27" model.

    --> Memory. You have to pay Apple for whatever memory you get with the 21.5" model. With the 27" unit, you may add more as function demands and budget allows.

    --> Screen. If she is able to ignore the 27" screen after having seen it and used it next to the 21.5" screen, well, there is nothing that you can do.
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2012
    #14
    I think I'd have to agree with the wife. If money is an issue, and there is no reason you need it, why go with the 27'?

    Just for the sweet screen? $500 for a bigger screen just isn't worth it.
     
  15. macrumors G3

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the lens, UK
    #15
    I work on photos fine with my 21.5". My daughters homework is fine as well. If you think you need the 27 then just buy one. If you can't convince your wife I doubt anything we say will make a difference.
     
  16. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 28, 2012
    #16
    ... by the Apple standards. Only twice the market price of the included SSD :)
     
  17. macrumors 6502

    ssls6

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    #17
    Get a refurb 27" 2011 or so. $1300 and you'll both be happy. New thin ones look the same when you're in front of the screen. Get apple care on the refurb and enjoy.
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    smoking monkey

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #18
    Good idea. But I think if the OP doesn't get the 21 and gets a 27 at the first sign of trouble he is gonna cop it! And everything will be on him to make sure it works flawlessly!

    This is a delicate situation the OP is in! Perhaps he needs to throw 5 bucks on a pick the score in a hockey game and hope for the best! Just don't tell the wife where the money came from.
     
  19. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #19
    The price of the Fusion (128GB SSD) is not reasonable but a non brianer that you have to puchase.
     
  20. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Location:
    Calne, Wiltshire, UK
    #20
    I just purchased a 27" iMac last month, primarily for photo editing with Aperture & Nik plug-ins. I can tell you that it works really, really well at this task and is an absolute joy to use.

    Given I've been waiting for a while to purchase and had saved up, I opted for the i7 processor, 1TB fusion drive and the 680MX GPU. I ordered with the stock 8GB ram and upgraded it to 32GB. However, had I been on more of a budget, here's how I would have approached the purchase:

    1) The i7 and 680 are complete overkill for photo editing IMHO (not so for video editing however). Even the stock i5 is probably more than enough horsepower for Aperture (or any other editing suite). Others have said the same in this thread;

    2) Adding 32GB RAM has proven to be simply nuts, even though it was much cheaper than buying it from Apple. A quick glance at the Activity Monitor shows how most of this RAM remains idle ;-) That said, I would recommend adding more beyond 8GB. Many folks here have bought a 2x 8GB pack from Crucial and taken their systems up to 24GB, which is plenty;

    3) For photo storage, iTunes libraries, I think that a 7,200rpm stock disk is plenty fast enough. I would probably order the 3GB drive as it will retain its performance better than a 1TB drive as it fills up plus it's difficult to upgrade internal components (other than RAM) after purchase;

    4) Where the Fusion drive excels is in providing lightning performance for system files, apps, scratch disks, etc. You will really notice this in terms of iMac startup times, app launching times, app performance, etc. The good news is that you can start with a stock 1GB/3GB spinning media and upgrade to running your system disk on SSD after the fact. The iMac's thunderbolt port makes all of this possible. See this thread http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1489710 for information on how this is done.

    5) You can also use Thunderbolt to add high performance external storage as your photo library grows. There's plenty of storage vendors selling RAID enclosures with wicked fast performance.

    Good luck with your purchase. One more thing to consider. If you opt for a stock entry level 27" machine, not only will you save lots of unnecessary $$$ but you can walk out of the local Apple store with one under your arm on the same day. I had to wait 4 weeks for my build-to-order system!

    Nikko
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    smoking monkey

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #21
    My system loads up in under 10 seconds. And I got almost 1 TB of stuff on my 3TB HD. I'm loving the speed of the FD. It has made an enormous difference to using my computer.
     

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