1st Time iMac Buyer: 8 or 16 RAM?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by cyberlism, Oct 22, 2018.

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  1. cyberlism macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2018
    #1
    I know there are tons of threads on this particular question, but I need some guidance. I currently use a 3-year old Windows laptop with the following specs:

    - 5th Gen Intel Core i7-5700HQ (2.70 - 3.50 GHz)
    - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M (2GB GDDR3)
    - 8 GB DDR3L RAM
    - 256 GB SSD

    I'm getting a new iMac (will wait for the Apple event first of course) and will mainly use it to create videos through Powtoon, do light image edits with Photoshop and Illustrator, play games through Steam (Dota 2 specifically), and just some general web browsing/word processing tasks. I generally like to keep many programs and browsers open at once though.

    My current laptop with the 8GB RAM can do all these tasks but I've experienced some lags while creating videos through the Powtoon website and when playing Dota (medium graphics settings), not sure if this is about the memory usage, processor, or the graphics card. Just want a really smooth experience here.

    The questions are:

    1. Will 8GB of RAM suffice, or should I look at the 16GB one?
    2. Should I get the 256GB or go with the 512GB SSD? (Plan to use this for a good 5+ years)
    3. What about Apple Care plan? Should I get it with the iMac?

    Thanks in advance guys!
     
  2. davidgnomo macrumors 6502a

    davidgnomo

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Location:
    Imola (BO) - Italy
    #2
    I guess you're looking for a 21.5' ... am I right ? If that's the case, I'd try to bump up specs as much as I can afford now as it would be very difficult (if not impossible) to upgrade a 21.5' iMac
     
  3. cyberlism thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2018
    #3
    Yup, forgot to mention that I'm looking at the 21.5 model.
     
  4. davidgnomo macrumors 6502a

    davidgnomo

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Location:
    Imola (BO) - Italy
    #4
    As I already wrote, I would buy the best I can afford : don't know about you, but I try to use my Mac for as much time as I can
     
  5. webbga macrumors member

    webbga

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    #5
    It is less expensive and more convenient to do this at the time of ordering than decide a year from now you need more RAM. I have a 27" with 16 gig. I do a lot of photo work and editing and the extra RAM helps - a lot.
     
  6. alien3dx macrumors 6502a

    alien3dx

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    #6
    16 gb ram. chrome hunger ram . if you had open fb video and son easily chunk ram a lot.256 Gb pretty okay if you dont download a lot of thing. 512 is nicer.
     
  7. deepakvrao macrumors 6502

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    Oct 16, 2011
    Location:
    India
  8. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #8
    1. Will 8GB of RAM suffice, or should I look at the 16GB one?

    Get 16GB. Buying a $1500+ computer in late 2018 with 8GB is not a smart idea.

    2. Should I get the 256GB or go with the 512GB SSD? (Plan to use this for a good 5+ years)

    If you have external storage you could go with either one but I personally would opt for 512GB SSD. It also allows more options such as bootcamping Windows on it.

    3. What about Apple Care plan? Should I get it with the iMac?

    I tend to get them depending on the purchase price.
     
  9. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2018
    Location:
    The Sillie Con Valley
    #9
    What do you do on a computer?

    If video editing, using a DAW or expect to do a lot with photos, 32G isn't a bad idea. Also, upgrade to the i7. If gaming, 32G/i7 is the minimum but why are you looking at a 21.5"?

    I wouldn't do less than 16G if you do a lot of web surfing. Unless doing the above, this is the safe bet.

    Word processing, email, light internet use, 8G is fine.

    RAM can be added to a 21.5" but it's a PIA and techs charge for this.

    Your Mac won't run better with too much RAM but will run worse with not enough.
     
  10. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #10
    OP wrote:
    "I'm getting a new iMac (will wait for the Apple event first of course)"

    You may be disappointed next Tuesday.
    I'm not expecting to see any new iMacs.
    (Of course, I could be wrong)

    If you buy a "current design" (2017) 27" iMac, the memory is user-upgradeable.
    Get 8gb to start (factory configuration).
    Add more later IF YOU FIND THAT YOU NEED IT.
    You might discover that 8gb does just fine.

    If you don't mind spending $200 more, get the 512gb SSD.
    More "breathing room".
    Having said that, I don't think the 1tb SSD is worth Apple's price.

    One word of caution about the i7:
    You are aware that these run "noisier" than other iMacs, due to the internal fan speeding up, right?
    Consider yourself to having been duly warned on this, re the i7...
     
  11. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    Oct 14, 2018
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    The Sillie Con Valley
    #11
    I've only seen this with the fusion drive installed—the spinner generates a lot of heat. With an SSD blade only, I don't notice the i7 fans running any longer or noisier.

    The OP was looking at the 21.5"

    A Build to Order 27" should always be the minimum RAM. Add 3rd party if/as needed.
     
  12. Lunder89 macrumors 6502

    Lunder89

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2014
    Location:
    Denmark
    #12
    Since you are going for a 21.5" iMac. I would recommend the 4K version. Since it comes with a discrete graphics card, which you will need to play games.

    The iMac 4K with the Radeon Pro 555 should do okay. At 1920x1080 it should run the game at Ultra graphics, if benchmarks are to be trusted :D

    Considering the price and your needs, I don't think you will get much out of upgrading to an i7, not with the current iMac anyway.

    Getting 16 GB of ram is a must. The 21.5" can have its memory upgraded later. I am not a fortuneteller, but for 5+ years I think it will do.

    If 256 GB drive is sufficient for you now, it might just be so for the 5+ years. A way to save space is to buy an inexpensive external harddrive and then offloading your projects to it, as you complete them. But consider carefully if this will work for you. If there is the slightest doubt, go for 512 GB SSD.

    I live in Denmark, Europe. Here the warranty rules are a little different, and AppleCare doesn't make much difference here, so I can't really speak to it.
     
  13. cyberlism thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2018
    #13
    I appreciate all your insights guys, thanks so much.

    Just visited the Apple store today and took a closer look at the 27”. Must say it made quite an impression, I think I’ll go for the entry level 27” and buy more RAM from a third party.

    That said where’s the best place to get RAM for iMac? I’ve heard a lot about OWC, is it a good place to buy? And should I get 2 x 4GB to add to the existing RAM or buy 2 x 8GB? This is probably a stupid question but are all RAM cards suppose to be of the same capacity?
     
  14. Lunder89 macrumors 6502

    Lunder89

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2014
    Location:
    Denmark
    #14
    Yes, all RAM sticks should be the same size, when they are running I Dual-channel. Meaning slot 1 and 3 can be 4 GB each, and 2 and 4 can be 8 GB each.

    You can get the base model 27", as long as you buy with pure SSD, you will regret the Fusion drive. :D

    I have a 27" from 2015, it is hard not to love.:cool:
     
  15. Caspavio macrumors regular

    Caspavio

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2018
    #15
    there maybe new macs coming out at the oct 30 event.

    im not sure if it's a good idea to buy 3rd party ram given apple's stance against 3rd party repairs and stuff. not sure if you get your warranty void. but i guess you can always swap out the 3rd party ram when you need a repair.

    i think having 4 ram chips (4x4gb) may have some benefits due to having multi-channel architecture (not sure how substantial it is), but you will have no room for future upgrading. you can also just buy 1 x 8gb (4+4+8gb) and leave 1 slot for future upgrade.
     
  16. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2018
    Location:
    The Sillie Con Valley
    #16
    Wow — I forgot that Apple still offered a non-retina version. I might buy this for my 87 year old father (if he didn't already have a MBP, that is). Perfect for word processing, email, a Christmas card list, YouTube videos, surfing the web and annoying grandkids on Facebook.

    This all comes down to the basic question.

    What do you want to do on it ????

    Answer that question and it will dictate the hardware.

    A low priced Mac will be the most expensive computer you can buy if it won't/can't do what you want easily and well.

    In January 1986, I spent $7,700 to buy a brand new Mac+ system to run my business—I still remember the price of each component in that package. The reason was to run FileMaker+ and it was the right decision at the time.

    If I spent $20,000 in 2018, that would be around the same. Fortunately, I don't have to.
     
  17. Hater macrumors 6502a

    Hater

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2017
    Location:
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    #17
    All of my machines have gone back to Apple for repairs with aftermarket HDD's and RAM in them. It's not an issue.

    They'll even warranty upgraded 21.5" models, as long as the damage is not due to the upgrade procedure.

    Aftermarket batteries may void things, but that doesn't apply to an iMac.
     

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16 October 22, 2018