Would this 24" iMac be worth it?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ronni3, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. ronni3 macrumors regular

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    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #1
    I recently joined the Student ADC program and am currently looking to purchase a new Mac with my hardware discount. You could pretty much say I am new to the Mac world, but I did have an Apple IIe some time ago. I have also dabbled with other peoples Macs but have never gotten seriously into it because, well, it wasn't mine to do whatever with.

    This is what I am looking at. I wanted some opinions and whether or not this would be a good setup. Keep in mind, I am an avid gamer AND I am coming from a Windows world. My setup with a PC consisted of a kick-a$$ machine all custom-built, but I sold all that to go Mac, and so I can have my 4 year old son play on the computer. I never liked that with a PC he just had to press a few random keys and he would, most likely, end up unleashing hell on Windows, plus whenever we went to the Apple Store he was overjoyed to play the kid games.

    Anyways, take a look at my 24" iMac configuration and let me know if this is a good idea. Oh, and I don't expect this system to compare to my old PC, I just want something that will allow me to play most, if not all, Mac games, and probably a few PC games using either Boot Camp or Parallels (if possible?).

    • 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    • 2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
    • 500GB Serial ATA Drive
    • NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT 256MB SDRAM
    • SuperDrive 8X (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    • Apple Keyboard & Mighty Mouse + Mac OS X (US English)
    • 24-inch widescreen LCD
    • AirPort Extreme
    • Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR

    Final Price: Approx. $2,650
     
  2. Maxwell Smart macrumors 6502a

    Maxwell Smart

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    Jan 29, 2006
    #2
    To be honest, if you're going to spend all that money, why not get a 2.0Ghz Mac Pro and a widescreen dell monitor and be able to upgrade your machine.
     
  3. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

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    #3
    I vote for Maxwell Smart's Mac Pro comment too.

    IMO Mac Pros...
    1. Hold value better
    2. Upgradeable
    3. More mojo
    4. More future proof
     
  4. ronni3 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Location:
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    #4
    I like the idea of going with a MacPro, but, first, I don't really care if I am able to customize. Second, I really don't like the FB-DIMM memory. I believe I read somewhere that in order to take full advantage of the new bus system in the MacPro, you would need to have at least four FB-DIMM slots filled.

    If I would put together a MacPro, this is what I would get:

    • 2.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    • 2GB (4 x 512MB)
    • 250GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    • ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB (2 x dual-link DVI)
    • Two 16x SuperDrives
    • Both Bluetooth 2.0+EDR and AirPort Extreme
    • Apple Keyboard and Mighty Mouse - U.S. English
    • Mac OS X - U.S. English

    The price would be aprox. $2,500, and that would be without a monitor. Would this be a better configuration than the one I had above? I understand it is four cores, but how much of a difference will there be?
     
  5. iKwick7 macrumors 65816

    iKwick7

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    Dec 29, 2004
    Location:
    The Wood of Spots, NJ
    #5
    I would personally save some cash and stick w/ the standard processor speed- everything else looks great though.


    I have the base 24" config. (would have liked to get a 500 gig hard drive, but I have an external and I plan on upgrading later anyways) and I LOVE it. It plays every pc game I have thrown at it wonderfully, not that I play much anyways. I did have to rebuy Civilization 4 though- I had the pc version and would rather play in OS X than on the pc.... works out nice though since I now have 2 copies of the game (1 pc, 1 mac) and can set up a little lan game once in awhile w/ my windows laptop.
     
  6. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

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    #6
    That is not a fair comparison.

    Firstly you are basing the configuration off some unsubstantiated and unofficial piece of instruction that you need 4 memory slots filled.

    Secondly you are buying your ram from Apple, and everyone here knows how much Apple ram costs.

    Thirdly you are getting a lot more with the Mac Pro too, why the extra super drive? Or the X1900XT?

    The Mac Pro will definitely serve you better in the long run, and holds value better too when you eventually want to resell it. The iMac will have a quarter of its value chopped off during the next (one of many) upgrades. Going by history, the consumer models get bumped almost 3 times a year, it will be near worthless on eBay inside a year.
     
  7. ronni3 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    I take it there is not much of a performance increase with the upgraded CPU. Anyone else care too verify that?
     
  8. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

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    Nov 13, 2003
    #8
    I would personally go with the mac pro, except change the configuration from what you put their. I would drop too just 1 super drive. Since the imac would only have 1 anyway its probably worth saving the money. That would be your call though. Also the 2.66 ghz CPU is worth gettings. I would also drop from the 250 gb drive to the 160 then buy a second for much cheaper. As they charge alot for the drives.
    For example in the canada store its a $95 price change from 160-250 for $110 cdn I can buy a 320GB drive and still have the 160! Thats what I did I use the 160 for the OS and applications the 320 for data.

    Those are my only thoughts but the mac pro is a great system I own one myself....however, I need more ram i only have 1 gb right now.
     
  9. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

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    Nov 13, 2003
    #9
    Well the 7300 is a pretty pathetic GPU. Yes it will play most games but without this upgrade games will perform worse on the mac pro vs the imac.
     
  10. ronni3 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 26, 2006
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #10
    So, are you saying stick with the 7300 Nvidia card? I could do without the extra Superdrive, and you are right about the memory. Do you have any idea what memory (FB-DIMMs) cost? I could easily see how the MacPro would be a better buy than the iMac. iWoot, you are tempting me to go with a MacPro, and I could easily go with a 20" Widescreen Dell LCD, but damn does that 24" look good. I think that was the whole reason why I wanted the iMac, but I see it would be in my best interests to go with the MacPro.

    I like playing around with games and PhotoShop, so help me configure a MacPro that will fit my needs without going overboard.
     
  11. ronni3 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Chicago, IL
    #11
    Does having only 1GB bog down your MacPro, or is it sufficient for the time being? Do you think if I had the X1900 graphics card and 1GB memory I would see a performance hit while playing games, or using PhotoShop?
     
  12. ronni3 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    Wouldn't it be better to downgrade the CPU to the 2.0GHz version, and with the savings, get 2GB of memory?
     
  13. ronni3 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #13
    How about all this for aprox. $3000. I do not want to go over $3000.

    Speakers
    Bose Companion 2 Multimedia Speakers v2

    Software
    .Mac - Retail Box Promotion

    Mac Pro
    • Both Bluetooth 2.0+EDR and AirPort Extreme
    • Apple Keyboard and Mighty Mouse - U.S. English
    • One 16x SuperDrive
    • Two 2.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    • 1GB (2 x 512MB)
    • 160GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    • Mac OS X - U.S. English
    • ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB (2 x dual-link DVI)
    • Apple Cinema Display (20" flat panel)
     
  14. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

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    Nov 13, 2003
    #14
    I don't think you will see a performance hit while playing games, however i notice it when I am doing GIMP related things while running adium, music and a couple other things.
    Thats a really hard choice as you can upgrade the ram later without completely replacing like what you would have to do with the CPUs.

    In the best situation I would go with:
    2.66 ghz
    2 gb of ram
    1 superdrive
    x1900
    160 gb drive and second internal from elsewhere

    You can also get the 2nd gb from someone else for example datamem sells 1 gb of ram for $224 so you can save some money there.

    Now lets say you want to drop the price that $224 you could do that and buy it later. The system will still be very usable. And that is a easy upgrade.
    In my opinion the 2 ghz will still be fast however you losing .66 ghz X 4 which is a total of 2.64 ghz Yeah it can't all be used at the same time, but on paper thats alot of CPU. I don't know how much it would actually change in the real world performance though.
    Its just the advantage of going with the 2.66 is its easy to get the 2gb of ram its not so easy to pay the price of replacing the CPUs.

    Its really up to you, but i would recommend buying the hard drive elsewhere, same with the ram if you buy the 2nd gig.
     
  15. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

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    #15
    Also the Bluetooth do you have any use for it? Same with the wireless? I thought O i may as well get it I will probably use it. But the more you look around the more you notice not that many keyboards and mice use bluetooth they normally have a USB adaptor. So unless you have something in mind already for the BT it may be able to go.
     
  16. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    Feb 19, 2005
    #16
    I don't know but if I were a developer I'd want a machine I can upgrade so I can test my app on a variety of configs. that's just me.
     
  17. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

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    Nov 13, 2003
    #17
    http://www.macworld.com/2006/09/reviews/24inchimac/index.php
    http://www.macworld.com/2006/08/reviews/macprorev/index.php

    They use the same method for testing systems. So you can compare numbers between the 2 ghz vs the imacs compared to the 2.66 ghz vs the imacs. Its really a hard decision. As yeah the 2ghz machine will own in anything that is designed for the multiply CPUs. The new photoshop CS3 will change many of those results. However things that are designed for 1 cpu the imac will beat out the mac pro...atleast the 2.33 ghz model does. As it has a faster clock speed. Its just interesting to look at.
     
  18. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

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    #18
    The iMac looks good, but the Mac Pro will make you look like the "strong silent type" whereas an iMac looks somewhat reminiscent of brotherly love :p

    FB-DIMMs are not as expensive as you think, they only cost ~ 30% more than desktop sized DDR2 memory modules, which when compared to the iMac's laptop sized SODIMMs are not a huge difference at all.

    If you want to Photoshop the 4 cores on the Mac Pro will help you greatly. While all the extra processor juice won't count for most games, but when it comes to image processing and video editing the Mac Pro is really tough to beat.
     
  19. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

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    #19
    There are some rumors of the Apple display getting an update soon so I'd hold on that. Anyhow the ACDs are pretty poor when it comes to playing games so you might want to look at a cheaper (but faster) LCD panel instead. Ironically the cheap panels are also the ones which have faster refresh rates ;)

    At the cost of colour accuracy of course.
     
  20. ronni3 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Chicago, IL
    #20
    Trainguy,

    I like all the points you made. I think I will end up going with a Mac Pro, but I am still having difficulty leaving behind the 24" screen. I could get the 2GB of memory and keep the 2.66GHz on the Mac Pro if I got, say, a 20" Widescreen Dell panel, but, man o man, wouldn't a 24" screen just be fabulous.

    You guys have given me plenty of good opinions, and I think I will end up with a Dell 20" and a Mac Pro. In the end I am getting the better system. I especially think the X1900 doesn't hurt one bit. :D

    Keep this thread going, as I would definitely like to continue hearing everyones opinion. I will also be waiting until after MacWorld before jumping on anything. You never know with ol' Stevie. The man is a magician!
     

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