$1200, $2000 or $2900?!?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by TallManNY, May 11, 2011.

  1. TallManNY macrumors 68040

    TallManNY

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #1
    Man, I'm ready to upgrade (because family member needs hand-me down iMac to replace their very old and kind of broken one, but not because my machine is having any trouble). But I can't decide which to get. I can talk myself into the 27" SSD i7 with 2GB vram to future proof, the high-end 27" to get the big screen and the 6970M card, or even the bare-bones 21.5 at $1200 looks a bargain.

    My work needs are all word processing and spreadsheets, so no processor needs there. I occasionally make a home movie of a trip or something like that. I don't care if it takes a while to encode the movie as there is no deadline on that stuff. I have external drives and don't need more than 500 megs of storage readily available.

    I do game though not hardcore. And the games that I play now, WOW and SC2, both run pretty well on my 2008 iMac (yes with settings on mid to low, but they still look pretty good to me). Do people think the bare bones model would give me a significant upgrade in performance over my 2008 core 2 duo, even if the Mhz are slower? Could I buy the barebones, install Windows 7, and then get even better performance? Maybe I would game more on the Mac versus XBox if I had Windows installed, which of course might then make me wish I had a 6970M with at least the 1GB VRAM.

    I have a good job (knock on wood) and can afford all three models, but don't want to piss away cash for power that is just going to sit there unused.
     
  2. Aaron from KY macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Location:
    Northern Kentucky
    #2
    Even the base model will give you more performance over your old one, due to it having the latest CPU architecture. The MHz are deceiving because it's a total different configuration. Consider this, the base model of this year is faster than the base model from last year, so of course it's going to be faster than yours from 2008. The video card in the base model is the same one that's in the top model MacBook pro, albeit with half the graphics RAM, and it's getting really good reviews. Check out Macworld.com and Barefeats.com to get a few benchmarks that may pertain to your usage. For office use even the base model is overkill. I have the base model 15" MacBook pro from 2010 and it doesn't slow me down in writing papers or surfing the web, and I'm almost sure I could probably game a bit if I didn't play console games instead.
     
  3. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #3
    The 2.5GHz i5 2400S has turbo boost so it runs at a higher clock rate depending on how many cores are in use. I believe the highest it can go is 3.3GHz. It's also a newer architecture and is much better.

    You'll see a significant improvement. Grab Windows for better gaming performance.

    If you want to play a lot of games get the 27" i7, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD, 6970M 2GB. It's a pretty great model, I'm wanting to get that one. I'm not sure if the 6970M will perform any better at 1440p though than the 6750M at 1080 though.

    You can upgrade the RAM from a third party like OWC much cheaper than from Apple.
     
  4. TheUndertow macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    #4
    I feel the same way...I probably will be happy with any version of the 27" (but started out thinking sick BTO, then good BTO, then stock w/ Best Buy sale...I'm also planning on getting a MacBook Pro if the refresh/redesign hits, so I'm trying to convince myself to go easy with this one.
     
  5. TallManNY thread starter macrumors 68040

    TallManNY

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #5
    Oh don't worry, I won't buy my memory directly from Apple. I will start with 4GB and then upgrade in a few months to 8 or 12 to make my machine feel "new and better". I've upgraded my current machine to 4GB midway through its life cycle and that worked for me and was very affordable.
     
  6. TallManNY thread starter macrumors 68040

    TallManNY

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #6
    Well my 2008 is the 2.8 Mhz EXTREME!!! version. So it definitely wasn't the base model when I bought it in 2008. But yes, I suspect that these i5s at 2.5 MHz are still majorly faster. And I doubt the ATI Radeon HD2600 can hold a candle to any of the cards they stick in iMacs today. But can the current base model game?
     
  7. TallManNY thread starter macrumors 68040

    TallManNY

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #7
    So you know my dilema. I got caught up with the hype initially. I will upgrade and I will place an order before the end of the month. But I'm not sure if I need the $3000 machine. Maybe the much much cheaper options are better. And then I can upgrade down the road a year earlier. Or do something else with the $1,000 I've saved.

    But on the other hand, SSD plus a top end GPU, that sounds sweet. When have us Mac users had it so good?
     
  8. aggri1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    #8
    Is an Apple-refurbished one an option? You could get last year's model for less money and it'd still be great. And, with the older 27" ones, you can use it as a screen one day with not just Thunderbolt sources!

    Just an idea, if you don't need the PoWeR! :)
     
  9. TallManNY thread starter macrumors 68040

    TallManNY

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #9
    I haven't looked into the refurbs yet. Boy, more choices!
     
  10. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #10
    Ah good! :)
     
  11. TallManNY thread starter macrumors 68040

    TallManNY

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #11
    Oh and I just ran Geekbench and pulled a 3897. Looking at the analysis made me realize that I'd forgotten how old my computer was when I put in my signature on Macrumors. I have 2.8 Ghz Core 2 Extreme, which I knew. But I forgot that was a Mid-2007 model (and pretty close to the top of the line when I bought it, I think). It is really holding out great these nearly four years later.

    Maybe there is a lesson there that I should go top end again and get another 4 years of not feeling like my computer is holding me back.

    Or maybe the lesson is that since a 2007 model is doing fine, I don't need all this advanced power and I should go low end.
     
  12. one1 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    #12
    Always buy the best you can afford. The higher resale and better performance will continue to satisfy through ownership. Buying anything less than the best you can buy is kinda like staying where you are right now because it's not as good as the best iMacs that are out. That's why you are upgrading in the first place. I bought end of last year and the latest upgrades last month mean nothing to me because I bought a better model and it is very relevant in the market.
     
  13. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #13
    That's up to you. The high-end model will be crazy powerful, overkill for most needs, my recommendation is to get the higher end 21.5" (if that's the size you want) for the better GPU for your gaming. Any of the CPUs will blow away the Core 2 that you're using, as they are quad core, have turbo boost, and have a newer architecture. If you'd like the 27" (My parents have one, it's huge, but pretty darn cool), then I'd get the higher end one there as well, but pass on the CPU and graphics memory upgrades. That has a pretty darn powerful graphics chip, and will be great for gaming, plus it has a faster CPU, which will cut down on your video encoding times a bit. I'd pass on the top-shelf model though. Processing needs for most tasks aren't growing nearly as fast as the processing technology itself, so in a few years, the difference there will still likely be fairly minimal for the majority of tasks.

    Just a couple of thoughts.
     
  14. TallManNY thread starter macrumors 68040

    TallManNY

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #14
    Hmm, I've heard there isn't too much difference between the 6750M and the 6770M, especially if I'm staying at the 1900 x 1080 resolution screen. Just some added clock speed but the rest of the card is the same.
    I think I'm going to pass on the high BTO like you suggest, even though I can afford it. It just seems like it won't really perform any different from lower end models for what I do 90% of the time but would still be running hotter and costing more money.
    But anytime I shift off of the lowest base level model, I start looking at the little jumps it takes to get to the 6970M, which I think is where I would get the big difference. But then, there I spending another $800.
     
  15. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    #15
    This is good advice. If you can afford the high end model, why not get it? The resale value down the road will be very good and in the meantime you have a top notch machine that will do anything you want. You also don't know what your future needs will bring.

    I had a late 2009 base model iMac but this time around I went one step up because there were instances where I needed the extra speed and hard drive space. I also didn't really spend that much on the upgrade. Selling off the old iMac brought the ending price way down.

    I guess the best question to ask yourself is not why, but why not?...especially if you can afford it.
     
  16. I AM THE MAN macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    #16
    My take on the situation would be pretty simple. I would just purchase the $1699 27inch model and really leave it as it is. If you do not need the extra processors of an i7, then it really would not be wise to waste your money on it. Even for gaming, a 27inch Monitor and an i5 processor will run SCII and WOW really well on High Settings (SCII is something I play on an iMac). Go for the $1699 model, I really doubt you will regret it.
     
  17. TallManNY thread starter macrumors 68040

    TallManNY

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #17
    Hmm, I haven't been thinking about that model because I'm concerned the 6770M can't handle gaming in native 2560x1440 resolution. I sure it can drive the lower resolution 21.5" Mac though.
     
  18. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #18
    http://www.barefeats.com/imac11c.html

    The 6770M seems to get 44 FPS in Portal 2 at 1440p whereas the 6970M gets 83 FPS.
     
  19. TallManNY thread starter macrumors 68040

    TallManNY

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #19
    Right while the base level iMac with the 6750 gets 57 FPS at its native 1080 resolution. That 27" high resolution screen seems to really test the GPUs when game time comes. So that is when I start thinking I better pony up for the 6970M if I go 27".
     
  20. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #20
    Yeah, it's not a bad idea.
     
  21. gpat, May 14, 2011
    Last edited: May 14, 2011

    gpat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Location:
    Italy
    #21
    I would get the base 27". The hardware is overkill anyway on every modern PC/mac, the screen is the sexy part. If you have cash to bust, go all-in and enjoy the beast.
     
  22. TallManNY thread starter macrumors 68040

    TallManNY

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #22
    Thanks all. I went with the $2000 high-end with no BTO options. I think the higher DPI on the screen and the fact that I'm switching from a large-ish 24" was the deciding factor. I have a large home workspace, so can push monitor far back if I feel it is too in my face.

    I continued up the chain for the 6970M because the graphics card has always been the problem with the iMac and this was the best they had. I think I would have been as happy with a 2.7 CPU and the better GPU if that had been an option. I didn't get the extra VRAM because the 6970M doesn't seem like it can push enough to really use it. Maybe with certain games in the future and with certain settings the 1GB extra will make a difference. But who knows and who knows if those will be games or settings that I will care about. It certainly doesn't make any difference based on any bench marks for any current games.

    I've been doing the data migration part last night and now again this morning. I realized that both my external drives are firewire 400 which has different cable from what this machine supports and that I have some old unbacked up media that I now need to export to my old mac and then pass over to new mac through ethernet. A few hundred GBs takes a good bit of write time. Good news is that HD runs quiet and I haven't heard the main fans yet either. That has always been something I liked about iMacs.
     

Share This Page