20" or 24" imac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by 86047, Jun 28, 2007.

  1. 86047 macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    Alright, so I've decided to buy an imac for photography. I will be buying it when the imacs are upgraded to santa rosa, and when leopard comes out, as that's when i will have the money by anyway.

    But I'm not sure whether I want the 24 inch or not. I went to the Apple Store, and the 24" imac just blew me away. I could see working on a 20", but I think it would be more crammed, and I wouldn't enjoy working on it as much. I would like to have more screen size, but at the 500 extra, is it worth it? I probably won't be using firewire 800, so that doesn't matter. Either way, I will be getting the 256mb graphics card option. How does the x1600 compare to the 7600 GT? I've heard the x1600 is crippled in the imac?

    I will be using the thing primarily for lightroom and some photoshop work, and possibly a couple games on XP when I'm in the mood. I have an extra monitor, which would be wonderful for photoshop use with the 20 inch (or 24 for that matter), but lightroom doesn't support dual monitors (I much prefer it to aperture in most aspects).

    Either one will be a huge upgrade in both power and screen real estate from the little 12" ibook I've been working on for the past year and a half. I can't wait!

    A 20 inch imac:
    2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
    250GB Serial ATA Drive
    ATI Radeon X1600 w/256MB VRAM
    would run me $1625,

    and a 24 incher:
    2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB
    250GB Serial ATA Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT 256MB SDRAM
    would run $2,170

    Opinions please. :)

    Oh, and on another note, should I take the wireless for the extra 54 bucks? Are the batteries a pain to change all the time and whatnot? I really want to free my desk of wire clutter if possible, and I figure i would be saving a lot of cash by getting it with the imac rather than later (70 for the mouse, 50 for the keyboard). I would be using the mouse and keyboard with the ibook G4 on my desk as well, and not having to plug and unplug cables constantly might be a help. Are there ways to manage 1 bluetooth mouse and keyboard among 2 computers, or should I just go for the wired?
  2. itickings macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2007
    I fully understand your situation, I went through the same 20"/24" story with identical configurations. :)

    In the end, I bought the 24", and after using it for several months I'm confident I made a good choice. Really really love the screen. At first the screen felt almost too huge, but I quickly got used to it, and now I utilize basically the full screen regardless of the current task's nature. The 20" wouldn't work as well for me anymore.

    On the other hand, I'm sort of a window-holic and want instant access to as much as possible of the data (images, source code, layers, misc. files etc) I'm working with. If I'd gotten the 20" I probably would have adapted to it instead.

    The 250GB harddrive gets filled up though, but I got myself a FW800 external drive which in the end was noticeably faster than the internal one. The FW800 wasn't a selling point for me, but I ended up making good use of it anyway. (For me it was the VESA mount that made the deal)

    If you intend to share the keyboard/mouse between computers, go for the wired ones. There are cheap USB-switches for sharing devices between computers, which would at least keep you from unplugging and replugging the keyboard constantly. A full KVM would seem a bit redundant with iMacs.

    In the end, the problem is exactly as you put it, to decide if the larger screen is worth 500 extra to you. Very difficult choice.
  3. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    If you use the 24" for 1 year, it cost you $1.36 a day for the bigger screen.

    You can't upgrade an iMac screen once you buy it. My assistant just went from a g5 17" imac to the 24"... side by side, you can see why the 24 is essential.

    To me, that's the MOST important part, the screen size, especially where you want to do photos.
  4. Andras5soul macrumors member

    Jun 14, 2007
    itll be worth the wait. get the 24 if you have money.
  5. 86047 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    That's using it how many hours a day?
    I don't pay for the electricity though, so whatever.
    But i guess I will wait and get the 24.

    how does the x1600 compare to the 7300 though, and do you think bluetooth or no?
  6. 86047 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    the only thing to consider is that the rumor is that the 17 inch may be obliterated completely, resulting in a decrease in price for the 20 inch imac. That might be good for me, since i'm on a budget. I wonder if the price of the 24 would come down too...
  7. 86047 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    very helpful thank you.
    I plan to only keep a year or two's work at most on teh hard drive, and reference the rest to cd/dvd in lightroom
    however, if I start using the imac as a dvr with eyetv, well then I''m going to need more storage. I'm sure 400 would work just as good though. It comes down to whether I want the imac sooner, or later. I'd rather get it sooner, but it would be more beneficial to get it later. It also comes down to how the graphics cards compare i guess.

    As for the keyboard, mouse thing, I'm a little iffy about a switcher and everything, as I already planned to get a switcher for an external monitor and everything, so cost is going to start adding up (plus less space on my desk, and I don't like wire clutter). All the sharing between two machines aside, how are your experiences with the wireless? I'm sure it's nicer to have, but do you have to change/charge batteries constantly?

    The vesa doesn't matter to me. I am curious as to how those people iwht the 17" or even 20" mount them under the cabinets in their kitchens. How on earth do they mount it since it doesn't support vesa?

    what I really want to do is to be able to use that gorgeous 24" Screen for gaming with my 360 (also on my desk), but using eyetv or something similar produces too much latency, and I am not aware of any other method for using the imac's screen for this purpose. I actually wish the mini had better graphics, and then I would buy one of those, a switcher, and a 23" cinema display. THAT would be nice. oh well, apple really needs a midrange tower. it's genius actually, they have us paying for the screen size each time we upgrade.

    So 24" most likely anyway. I'll even have an extra 19" monitor for even MORE screen real estate. Stupid lightroom, if it supported dual monitors I would have just gone for the 20 and used the other monitor to keep my palettes and whatnot, like in photoshop. Oh well, the 24 will end up being amazing anyway. full 1080p hd too. My friend has it, I've seen it in action. I've used Photoshop cs on it. it's that feeling of freedom and not being confined really. maybe that's just cause I'm currently working on a 12" screen running at 1024 x 768 though :p. I do use the 19", but the problem with that is graphics performance suffers, and if Lightroom was difficult to use before on this ibook, then it is completely unusable when the vram is cut in half.
  8. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Aug 7, 2006
    What I meant was that 500 extra dollars, spread out over a year, is 1.36 a day, meaning it's not that much extra money when you consider the life of your computer and the investment.

    Meaning, a year from now, if you get the 20", you'll be saying "man, the 24 wasn't that much more, I wish I had got that instead."
  9. 86047 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    oh lmao I thought you were talking about power usage
    actually it isn't that much but then if you think about the timeframe in which I want to get the imac, it's more like 4 a day, on top of the 15 bucks a day I already need to save up enough for the 20"
  10. WizardHunt macrumors demi-god


    May 11, 2007
    Las Vegas, Nevada USA
    Oh without question, go for the 20 inch imac. You will love it!!!
  11. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    Have you considered the 20 inch with an extra monitor? I'd rather have 2 medium displays over 1 huge one.
  12. mavherzog macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2005
    Columbus, WI
    If the 24" iMac "blew you away", then I think you have your answer. You covet the 24" iMac. Why not make it yours? :)
  13. itickings macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2007
    Can't really vouch for the wireless battery stamina since I ended up using the wireless keyboard/mouse with the Mini in my living room, so they're not used as actively as my wired ones. I haven't changed batteries once though, and I ordered them when the 24" was released. I only used them actively for a couple of weeks when they were new, but the battery indicator didn't change then. Never heard anyone else complain about changing batteries all the time either.

    In my experience, the keyboard and mouse performs fine. Whether it is used next to the iMac or several meters from the Mini, it simply works. No complaints there.

    I believe the pre-iSight G5 iMacs had support for a vesa adapter.

    Nothing I've tested, but there are claims that some of the products support a low-latency passthrough mode for video gaming.
  14. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2007
    What I always do in a situation like this is try to determine what else I could spend the extra $500 dollars on and see if I am willing to give that up for the more expensive model. For example, in this situation that $500 could buy you 505 songs from iTunes, 40-50 music CDs or DVD movies, an iPhone, 25-50 books, etc. Of course the bigger screen is going to be better than the smaller one, but is the bigger screen worth what you could purchase with that extra money?
  15. 86047 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    well i have an extra monitor
    so why not 1 huge display and 1 medium display :p
    and like I said before, I'm going to be using lightroom, which doesn't support dual monitors.
  16. 86047 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    I like your comparison a lot, and that's definitely a consideration.
    I wish I could use that extra money to get an iphone
    but unfortunately, I am not a cingular customer. I am on a verizon family plan. When the contracts up, maybe I can convince the main account to move over to at&t. Until then, no iphone.
    You know, 500 dollars would be a nice chunk of the price of a lens.

    The eyetv hybrid only supports composite video and s-video anyways. Hardly High-Def.

    Honestly, if it weren't an all in one, I wouldn't worry as much, but as someone earlier said, since the screen isn't upgradable, I guess I'd better make sure I get what will keep me happy with my purchase down the road, even if i could use the money for something else nice. Otherwise, I'd have a new lens and a 20" screen. The fact that I can't get a new screen like I could with a tower bugs me, and I'm afraid I'd outgrow the 20" though. And the 24" did amaze me. And I could always save for the lens afterward. It's not like I do this for a living. But that could mean I don't need the bigger screen anyway. See, this is how my mind works. it goes back and forth and argues with itself.:rolleyes: I think I'll just make sure I'm happy and go for the bigger screen. it's not like overkill (for instance, i could never justify the purchase of a mac pro, because I don't NEED it). But I'd actually see the
    difference every day.
    I think I'll wait until I have enough money for the 20" to decide if i'll take the plunge or wait for the 24". By then, the lines will have changed anyway, and it may revamp the options somewhat.

    on another note, will the 7600 will be able to drive games at full 1900x1200?
  17. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2007
    You are correct in stating that you will see the difference every day. A monitor is probably one of the handful of computer upgrades that few people are never disappointed with. You will constantly use it and it will affect every aspect of your computer usage. I think that you will get your money worth if you spend much time onthe computer, but I also understand that a new lens is appealing.

    Good luck with your decision.
  18. TheBigL macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2007
    Wilkes-Barre, PA
    I hear ya...

    I'm in a very similar dilemma. I start college at the end of August as an Integrative Media major, at Willkes University which by the way is the first college to fully integrate to Mac. However, that's besides the point. I've been juggling between MBP's and Imac's and now that I decided Imac, I'm disputing between the 20" and 24". Of course the main selling point is the screen. With the 24" I'm really looking forward to relaxing in bed with my Front Row remote and chilling haha. Also, why dont you save some money and get the 3GB RAM kit from OWC for $159. The 2 GB upgrade through apple is like $175. Max is out for cheaper.

  19. tristan macrumors 6502a

    Jul 19, 2003
    high-rise in beautiful bethesda
    For photography, you should probably have the 30" ACD with a Mac Pro. So consider the 24" iMac a compromise. :D

    BTW iMacs will probably be updated soon so you may want to wait until the end of July or so.
  20. BKKbill macrumors 6502


    Like tristan said the updates are coming so I'm sure there will new specifications and a large HD. I'm in the same boat just waiting. I will probably wait until the new operating system is is here. Then the work begins. :D

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