08 2.8GHz 24" iMac or 09 2.66GHz 24" iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by waffle911, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. waffle911 macrumors regular

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    #1
    Time to upgrade the family's home office PC. It's 5 years old and slow as molasses, plus the DVD burner doesn't even read anymore; so I'm convincing the folks to get a 24" iMac, and likely ripping their large CD collection to the HD. We might get an Apple TV or Airport Express to stream music to the AV receiver in the living room. Also, price/value is important. But the question is this: Which one do we get, and which specs should be considered more important? (I do have sufficient technical knowledge of what all of the specs mean)

    The Contenders (with relevant specs):

    The Returning Favorite (On Clearance): $1399 (Apple), $1253 (Club Mac)
    • 2.80 GHz C2D *
    • 2GB 800MHz DDR2 RAM (will upgrade to system maximum of 4GB myself–only $50)
    • 320GB SATA 7200RPM HDD (upgrade to something better myself? I know how, but it's a lot of effort)
    • ATi Radeon 2600 HD PRO 256MB GDDR3 *
    • 3x USB 2.0, 1x Firewire 400, 1x Firewire 800

    The Challenger: $1499 (Apple), $1355 (Club Mac)
    • 2.66 GHz C2D
    • 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 RAM (room to expand to 8GB when prices become sane) *
    • 640GB SATA 7200RPM HDD *
    • Nvidia GeForce 9400M (integrated) shared 256MB DDR3
    • 4x USB 2.0, 1x Firewire 800 *
    Now, I want a good, clean fight. Nothing below the belt, no grabbing, no kicking. At the sound of the bell! Ready!
    *Ding!*
     
  2. Liam8 macrumors 6502

    Liam8

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    Canada
    #2
    The Challenger

    I would try to convince my parents to get the challenger computer, it is better value than the other computer that you would upgrade yourself.:apple:
     
  3. Poncho macrumors 6502

    Poncho

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    Jun 15, 2007
    Location:
    Holland
    #3
    I had the same dilemma.

    Went for a late 2008 3.06 with 2Gb and Nvidea 8000 card as opposed to new one.

    Reasoning? Whatever iMac I got I would be chucking it in five years, so better to spend £1200 on one than £1500. The shop even upped the RAM for me at the same price as Crucial in the UK was offering it online and fitted it for me.

    Using it now...

    The huge screen is what is amazing me. The internet speed is no faster than my 2006 white Macbook with 2Gb of RAM, nor is the mounting of dmgs, opeining of Photoshop etc. So I don't think getting the more expensive model at this time would give you much noticeable improvement for the sort of stuff you are f=doing.

    Anyway, back to my MAc...
     
  4. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    Oct 21, 2008
    #4
    The price is only $50 apart once you've upgraded the RAM in the older model, and the older one will wind up being more expensive if you do upgrade the HDD. So in this case, I'd say the new one, hands down.

    FWIW, if you do go with the cheaper one, I wouldn't bother installing a bigger drive. External drive or, better still, network-attached storage would be a way easier option. :)
     
  5. waffle911 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Yeah, but the older model has a faster processor and a better video card, and that's what's bugging me. (the difference in FSB and RAM clock speed between the two is negligible in observable performance)
    That's pretty much what I was thinking, get an external with FW800. I actually already have a good enclosure in mind, and then I would just need a reasonably priced low-power HDD to put in it. But storage space also isn't an immediate concern (for now). Actually, I think the old PC has a 160GB HD—and only 20GB are filled. That would quickly change if we put the entire CD library on it though (in a high-bitrate format)
     
  6. trip1ex macrumors 68000

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    Jan 10, 2008
    #6
    I think the new one is a bit more "future proof" if there is such a thing in the computer world. Maybe a consideration since your current family pc is 5 years old.

    The new iMac has the ability to go to 8gigs of RAM as you mentioned. Not a big deal now for most people, but a few years from now it could prove (more) useful. IT has the larger hard drive. The iMac I just sold had 250gigs and I pushing the edge of that with photos, music, home movies and more and more of my own DVDs ripped to my pc. On my old iMac I had all the USB ports on the back filled and only one open. I would welcome the extra USB port on the new machine. Also the new machine uses less power. You probably won't save a ton of $$$ there, but every penny helps.

    IT's true the older machine has the nicer gpu, but it is not like that gpu is a powerhouse at all. It was a fairly low-end gpu when it came out 2+ years ago. The 9400M, while weaker for games, might even bring better video processing tech, but it's a semi-educated guess on my part.

    The 2.8ghz cpu on the refurb is a tad faster, but it doesn't look like you will notice it except in benchmarks. The 2.66 ghz cpu is closer to its speed than it would be otherwise because faster memory feeds it.
     
  7. trip1ex macrumors 68000

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    Jan 10, 2008
    #7
    With that said I bought a the 2.4ghz 24" imac refurb for $1049. $350 difference between old and new was enough for me to blink.
     

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