$200 for i7 or $200 for 8GB RAM...?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by JReynolds, May 4, 2011.

  1. JReynolds macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2009
    Where the Air Force sends me
    I really don't know which of the $200 upgrades is better. I use handbrake a lot, iMovie, iPhoto, and Aperture. My wife uses iWork for school and we both browse safari.

    Obviously I'd be fine without upgrading at all, but what is the difference between the upgrades?

    i7 or 8GB RAM for an additional $200.

    Sorry for the technical ignorance

  2. morty192 macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2010
    for your needs the processor definitely! RAM is very easily user replaceable later on and will be cheaper then too!
  3. r.j.s Moderator emeritus


    Mar 7, 2007
    Upgrade to the i7, you can upgrade the RAM later for a lot cheaper.
  4. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2005
    You can buy an additional 8GB of RAM for $100 if you don't buy it from Apple.
  5. archer75 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2005
    you never ever ever ever pay apple for a ram upgrade. Do it yourself. You can get 8gb for $83 from newegg.

    Handbrake doesn't push the ram, neither does iwork or internet browsing.

    Aperture could potentially as the libraries get bigger. iphoto with large libraries never hit the limit of my ram for me. Neither did imovie.

    I would suggest the CPU upgrade because you can't do that yourself later.

    Then you run your mac for awhile and if you need more ram you can add it later.
  6. Jazwire macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2009
    I7 by a mile.

    2 reasons.

    #1 Its very easy to add ram at any time. (Takes 3 minutes.) Upgrading CPU is a major operation and sometimes not even possible.

    #2 You can upgrade to 8GB of ram from NewEgg for about 1/3 of that price. Actually you could upgrade to 16MB for less than 200 from NewEgg. ($165)
  7. treebark7182 macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2011
    Go for the i7 no question. I ordered another 8th of ram for 85 bucks bringing it to a total of 12gb. Ram is wayyyyy easy to install yourself on an iMac. The i7 is an amazing upgrade.
  8. Kroozin macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2011

    As a suggestion, I'd pass on both options from Apple...

    You're not going to notice a difference between an I5 processor and an I7 -- that's not going to be your bottleneck.

    I'd take my $200 and upgrade to 16GB of ram from another vendors (especially if you like to have multiple programs open or run VMWare/Windows).

    Either that or I'd buy the 8GB of ram and upgrade to a 2TB hard drive (again, not from Apple). You mentioned that you use both Aperture and iMovie so I'm assuming you do a significant amount of photography and if you shoot videos and RAW photos (my pictures are ~25MB/picture) then you'll want the larger hard drive. Either that or use the money for an external drive (if you need one)...
  9. M87 macrumors 65816

    Jul 18, 2009
    Apple is charging more than two times what it would cost you to buy that much RAM elsewhere and it's dead simple to install.
  10. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Im with Kroozin (well almost) -- neither.

    Just go with the stock top i5. MORE than enough for your needs and will easily last for many, many years.

    But I would skip the whole "DIY" internal 2 TB drive. Too much trouble.

    You want more storage, add a USB 2 drive. You want more fast storage add a FW800 drive.

    And what everyone else said about the ram. My 7 year daughter old could install it.
  11. Kuron macrumors newbie


    May 3, 2011
    I would buy the i7 over the i5. The i7 that Apple is using supports Hyper-Threading, the i5 doesn't.
  12. archer75 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2005
    handbrake will max out the CPU which is why i'd get the i7. imovie can as well. Any type of video encoding/rendering will push the CPU.
  13. Kuron macrumors newbie


    May 3, 2011
    This is where Hyper Threading will really come into play.

    I can't speak for OS X as I do not have a Mac, I am currently shopping for one. But on Windows, the OS will report an Intel Core i7-2600 processor as having 8 CPUs due to Hyper Threading's processor virtualization.

    As a programmer, I think Hyper Threading is one of the best things to happen to Intel chips in a long time.
  14. dubels, May 4, 2011
    Last edited: May 4, 2011

    dubels macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2006
    It does the same in OSX.

    Get the processor. 4GB of ram is plenty for normal use, if you find later that you need more ram if you are running a lot of virtualizations than get the ram. Ram is constantly dropping in price, and you can do it cheaper than Apple. The only advantage of Apple is that they install it for you and check the ram and the rest of the system before they hand it back to you (Store). If you do it in-store be prepared to wait at least an hour or more.

    One last hint for store purchasers: If you buy an iMac and want a wired keyboard instead of the wireless keyboard, nicely ask the specialist if they can do anything for you. Usually they will credit the price of the wired keyboard to your iMac (deduct it from the iMac price) charge you for the wired keyboard and you basically get the wired keyboard for free (tax has to be paid on the wired keyboard) and you get to keep the wireless.
  15. JReynolds thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2009
    Where the Air Force sends me
    So the obvious answer is if I'm going to upgrade anything, upgrade the processor.

    I didn't know I could get 16GB for that cheap...

    Thanks everyone for the responses.
  16. Lord Appleseed macrumors 6502a

    Lord Appleseed

    Nov 7, 2010
    Apple Manor
    Okay,...NEVER EVER buy Ram from Apple. Its overpriced. 8GB So-Dimm Ram cost 80€ (about 100$) at the moment, while Apple wants +200$ for additional 4GB.

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