Which 21.5 iMac to get?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by viper1165, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2007
    I have been waiting for months for the new iMac to arrive, but I have a dilemma over which one I should get. I will be using my iMac primarily for photo editing(iPhoto & Aperture), light video editing(iMovie & maybe Final Cut Pro), iTunes, Safari, iWork and would like to have all running at once without getting bogged down or getting the beach ball.

    Which iMac would you recommend so that I can have it for approx. 4-5 years without having it slow down and on a budget of about $1600?

    1. 21.5 Base model $1299 - as is.
    2. 21.5 Base model $1299 - upgrade to 16GB Ram
    3. 21.5 $1499 - Fusion Drive
    4. 21.5 $1499 - Fusion Drive plus 16GB Ram

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2007
  3. macrumors 65816

    Feb 28, 2006
    I'd recommend the upgrades in this order:

    1) Fusion drive
    2) RAM
    3) Processor

    But since you can't get the Fusion drive in the base 21.5", options 3 and 4 are automatically out of your price range.
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    I'm getting a maxed out 21.5" iMac.

    I think maybe for you a Fusion Drive would probably do it.

    I've tried playing around with FCPX and iMovie on an 11" 2011 MacBook Air and it works decently. Not ideal, but it definitely works a bit. I'm sure even the standard base iMac would work very well with photo editing and light video editing.

    But, just for that better boot time, go for a Fusion Drive.
  5. macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2010
    I'm with glitch on this one. Fusion above all others, RAM next.

    Siderz, your maxed out 21.5" will be $2149 and will include:
    3.1 GHz i7
    1TB Fusion
    16GB RAM
    Geforce GT 650M 512MB

    You could get a 27" upper-tier model for $2249 ($2300 after you upgrade RAM yourself) which would include:
    3.2GHz i5
    1TB Fusion
    8GB (upgrade to 16 yourself for $50)
    GeForce GTX 675MX 1GB

    Sure the i5 would be less than the i7, but it sure seems to me like the 27" is the way to go due to the user-serviceable memory and the better video card, not to mention the screen size which has a finer ppi than the 21.5".
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    That's a good point, but people say the graphics performance on the 21.5" will be better because the screen is a lower resolution.

    Also the i7 has hyperthreading, all the i5s that Apple do don't :(

    I wonder what the resale value of the 27" will be later? Because I'm hoping to sell the 21.5" when the new Mac Pro comes out and get that (Depending on the situation/prices).
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2007
  8. macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2010
    Interesting about the graphics performance. The hyperthreading issue is definitely an issue if you do a ton of rendering, etc. You know your needs more than I, but if you don't think you'll be doing a lot of rendering, this article might be of use if you haven't read it: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/10/core-i5-or-core-i7-does-your-computer-need-the-extra-juice/

    Beyond that article, I have very little knowledge on hyperthreading, so if you have some insight please share.
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2010
    Personally fusion drive ith the xtra RAM but I don't see how that equals the same cost of just the 21.5 with fusion on its own
  10. macrumors regular

    May 13, 2005
    Because Aperture and FCP X can be memory hogs, I think RAM should be the first priority.

    That's one of the things that I dislike about the new 21.5" iMac. The lack of user upgradeable RAM means that for many users, the real "base model" is $1,499.
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
  12. macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2012
    I was thinking about getting tier two 21.5 and configuring to fusion, but apple can kiss those EXTRA 450 that it would take to get 2nd tier w/ fusion goodbye for I will just buy the base model 21.5, and buy myself a GoPro Hero 3 instead. Greedy ass Apple! Smh -__-
  13. macrumors 65816

    May 14, 2011
    New iMac, ridiculous prices, buy something else, which is what all sensible folk will be doing.
  14. macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2005
    I bought the education base 2012 mini instead of the iMac that I was expecting to get. I've used it for a week with the stock 4GB ram, but one banking website in Safari would try and grab all 4GB. 'Safari Web Content' was going wild and giving the beach ball that you wished to avoid. I threw in a single 8GB stick (kingston KVR16S11/8 8gb 1600mhz ddr3 non ecc cl11) to give me a total of 10GB, and this improved things enormously with my banking website 'Safari Web Content' now grabbing 7.96GB ram! At least I had 2GB left to run the OS, which was enough - just about.

    A quick Chrome browser d/l and the internet bank is fine, just not on Safari.
    The moral of this - is that more ram is good, but bad software anywhere - anytime - can give you the beach ball!

    My dual-core i5 mini CPU certainly behaves like it has 4 threads, activity monitor CPU shows quadruple indicators, I'm rarely pegging the CPU even when Safari is thrashing on a bad website. I can see that ANY quad i5/i7 in an iMac will work great, the extra magahertz will likely just add to global warming:D

    The choice of 8GB or 16GB in the new iMac is a choice about what memory footprint you are likely to need in 2014 for OS10.9.x, are there any hints yet about the expected direction that Apple is going? thinner cloud client with bloatware:confused:?? or massively parallel CPU/GPU processing:confused:?? or everything triple AES encrypted?:eek:??

    if you get the base 21.5" iMac in 2 years you could always sell this late late late 2012 iMac with 8GB and get the thinner haswell 16 or 32Gb iMac option at that point if you *really* need more ram?

    I think I'd actually suggest that you up your budget slightly to $1699 and buy from http://store.apple.com/us-k12/browse/home/shop_mac/family/imac
    as you must know someone, anyone in an education situation - $1699 then gives the 2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, terabyte HDD, and the 8GB which you can upgrade next year yourself. The 27" screen is so much of an upgrade over the 21" that karmic happiness & enjoyment would be your reward. The extra screen real estate is very helpful for all your intended uses.

    I suggest therefore that the real "base model" iMac is the base 27"

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