20" vs. 24" for college?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by skythefly13, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. skythefly13 macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2005
    I am a senior in high school currently, and am going to purchase (well, get it as a graduation present!) an iMac for college. I have a 1.5ghz 12" Powerbook that is slowly starting to show its age with newer programs/graphics and such (It is 4 years old after all!) and am really excited to make the upgrade in june/july about.

    My dilemma is this:

    A) Get the 20" iMac, upgrade its RAM (through Crucial or another 3rd party), hard drive size possibly, and maybe even the wireless keyboard and mouse.

    B) Get the 24" iMac, don't upgrade anything and just get it standard from the Apple store. Plan on upgrading over time.

    I know the higher 20" and lowest 24" have the same configurations, just different screen size...what do you guys think I should do?

    Thanks for your suggestions!
  2. Mac OS X Ocelot macrumors 6502a

    Mac OS X Ocelot

    Sep 7, 2005
    Since you asked me, I don't think the extra $300 is worth it for the extra inches, and you probaby won't need it for college. I had the same situation four years ago--getting a new iMac for graduation (i had to pay for half of it, actually)--and I got the 17'' (then the lower size, compared to the 20'') so I can upgrade it and I never felt like i needed more than 17''. But I got it in May and just before college started they upgraded to the G5 so I missed out >.<

    Edit: by the way, one of my sad hobbies is making the configuration I'd buy if I could afford it right now and i always choose the higher end 20'' (mostly for the 256MB graphics) and upgrade to the highest HD capacity (like 750GB for that one; even though the 500GB would probably be enough for me, for now). At least you already know to buy ram from crucial!
  3. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    They have a different kind of LCD panel as well, the 24" has an S-IPS panel while the 20" has a TN, the 24" will have dramatically better picture quality which is essential if you are doing graphic work in college.
  4. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    If you ask me, I would go with a 24" iMac and upgrade over time, as funds permit. The 24" standard will work fine presently for most applications, and you can just bump up the memory later as you save up. I also agree: the 24" screen just looks SO much better overall, and it isn't just size.

    If you go the opposite route, you can't really upgrade to a bigger screen (well, you could hook up a second monitor, but that could get clunky in a college dorm room with limited space).

    One suggestion though: Before any upgrades, you should save up for Apple Care and get it before your warranty runs out. Especially considering you're going into college and will probably rely heavily on that Mac. That way you'll have a three year warranty, telephone support the whole time and if something breaks down, you won't have to worry.

    I had to deal with a busted computer when I was in college, just out of warranty too. I was without my own computer for a whole semester. Camping out at the computer lab waiting for a machine is NOT fun. :)
  5. Weezy F Baby macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2007
    VERY GOOD ADVICE! If you were getting a laptop, I would have said that Apple Care is not optional but for an iMac, it is still a really good idea.
    P.S. I would go for the 24" and slowly upgrade.
  6. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    I would say 24" because you could use it to watch movies with the ladies and not have a cluttered 32" Tube TV with miles of wires going to 3 different gaming devices taking up half your dorm room.
  7. CashGap macrumors 6502


    Sep 15, 2007
    Music City, USA

    20" is the new 15". And there is no way to upgrade once you realize it.

    Arguably, the 24" display is also more of a productivity boost than the other upgrades you mentioned. And those other upgrades get cheaper every day.
  8. errol macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2008
    Get the 24" and a HD usb tv tuner, so you can get nice looking TV on the iMac. In a dorm, you'll have less space, so I'd spring for the larger iMac so it can double as a TV+HD-DVR
  9. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    1) 24" iMac ( only issue would be space available in the dorm - you could go 20" and regret not getting the 24", or you could go 24" and regret not getting the 20" if space is a problem - but to be honest I dont think space will be a problem )

    2) Apple Care ( in case something goes wrong )

    3) External Hard Drive ( for Time Machine backup in case something goes wrong )
  10. bluedoggiant macrumors 68030


    Jul 13, 2007
    MD & ATL,GA
    I have always recommended this to college students. But for number one, I recommend the 24". But I really think would be best, well, is kinda price, but I think its worth it.

    I think you should wait a little bit for macbook pro updates, and get an almost maxed out 15"mbp, or you could get it maxed out. but i recommend 15" for portability. get a mouse and keyboard. and get a display to hook it up too. So you will get a laptop. And somewhat of a desktop. I think its a great idea. But you could be paying up to $4000 depending on what display you get.

    But for your real question, i recommend the 24". It's just gorgeous.
  11. erikpmort macrumors regular


    Oct 4, 2006
    trust me, you'll always look back if you don't go big! i have a 24" and can't imagine having smaller now ;)
  12. LZeppelinJ0 macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2008
    Definitely the 24". My buddy has one at college and it's simply drool worthy. Not to metion, as posted previously, you can get a USB HD TV tuner and relax on the couch or in bed with your mac remote and enjoy some HD TV :)
  13. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    i have no idea who's telling you to get the 24". When moving in/out you'll be thankful for having the 20" its big and heavy and takes up space also the desks in the dorms (at least in my school) aren't the biggest...
  14. Nabooly macrumors 6502a


    Aug 28, 2007
    Get the 20". I upgraded from a 17" hp laptop and this thing is huge, i swear. I still look at it sometimes and am like "damn! Thats huge!" :rolleyes:
  15. mpaar macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2007
    As usual all the sizes get suggested . . .

    Inevitable that everyone has his or her own opinion. It truly falls to the individual to make his/her own decision, and of course its fun to read the opinion.

    I do have mine and will be exercising it when I SWITCH mid-summer.

    And no, I shall not tell you what I plan to buy . . .

    I am sure that you will make the choice that bests suites you.

  16. MrT8064 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2006
    see what size your college desk is, then make a decision!

    also remember, for the price differnece between 20/24" you could get a whole new 20", and then you would have 40" of real estate, for the same price as 24!!
  17. PseudoWoobie macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2006
    Now one thing you have to consider is that dorm rooms in college are usually not very spacious. Hell, I had a 17" monitor in college and it looked huge on my desk. I think you'll find that most people in college have laptops to minimize the space taken. That in mind, I would definitely recommend the 20". I think you'll find it more than big enough.
  18. barijazz macrumors 6502

    Dec 29, 2007
    Will you need the extra inches? Really can't tell you if you do or not.
  19. compuguy1088 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2007
    In the Sub-Basement of Solitude
    I would recommend a laptop which allows portablity (ie. Macbook or a Macbook pro). For most common tasks a Macbook will do the job (though I own a MBP).
  20. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    Yeah you do. I am, and several other people.

    First off, with flat panel monitors and especially the iMac, there's no longer a correlation between desk footprint and screen size. That USED to be true in the age of CRT's, but the base of a 20" iMac is no smaller than a 24". You can still stack books and lots of other things under the machine and around the base, and you have no extra tower or desktop unit that you have to stash somewhere, which more than makes up for the large screen size.

    Second, the 24" is still lighter than any tower and even most small-form-factor PC/monitor combos. No, it's not a laptop, and agreeably the laptop would be the smallest thing to get. But for the price, an iMac 24" can't be beat. You'd easily be paying over $2,300 even at student discounts to equal the iMac in a laptop package. Or you could sacrifice significantly and get a MacBook... fine for some, but if absolute portability is not a must, then the iMac is the best fit.

    One last thing: TOO light and TOO small = easily stealable. Thefts happen in college dorms. A 20" iMac is just as shiny and enticing to a thief as a 24", but the 24" is just bulkier and heavier enough to to a bit more dissuading to someone who wants to carry it off.

    Which reminds me: in any case, no matter what the OP gets, he should also buy a security kit.
  21. bluedoggiant macrumors 68030


    Jul 13, 2007
    MD & ATL,GA
    Did anyone actually read my post? (Below)

  22. compuguy1088 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2007
    In the Sub-Basement of Solitude
    Yea I did, though there is a gap in time from now until the thread starter graduates? By that time there will be a refresh for the MBP (around May/June I would guess?).
  23. Fossie macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2008
    24" all the way. I have a 20" and regret not going for the larger screen.
  24. iphonesrq macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2007
    im in the same boat you are in...i am thinking the higher end 20, but after reading this might have to go w/ the 24...
  25. ahand macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2007
    my vote goes to the 24". over time you can upgrade the innards. that screen is amazing.

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