2009 iMac: Why pick 20" over 24"?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by taxdad, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. taxdad macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2009
    It seems the conventional wisdom on these forums and many review sites is that the 2009 24 inch iMacs are better than the 2009 20 inch iMacs in every way except cost.

    Anyone out there feel otherwise: you picked the 20 over the 24 for some reason? I'd like to know what advantages you saw in the 20 over the 24.

    What reasons might there be to reject the 24 (specifically referring to the base-level 2.66 24" for $1499).

    Side note: Currently the 20 vs. 24 decision is driving me a little crazy. The 24" display is awesome, but I'd like to convince myself the 20 is ok, simply because I come from the sub-$1k pc world so even the $1199 (20 inch price) seems like a lot to pay.
  2. fleshman03 macrumors 68000


    May 27, 2008
    Sioux City, IA
    Maybe for some space would be a consideration?

    The reason why I'd say to get the mid-line 24" iMac is two fold.

    The Screen. You already said this, but is actually is of a higher quality.

    GPU. Simply put having a discrete graphics processor is going to make your system more happy. The upcoming update to the OS is supposed to make greater use of this hardware.

    I know $1800 is a heck of a lot of money. If you feel you'd be happy with a 20" iMac, then go for it. The only real difference between that model and the low-end 24" is more HD space and a bigger/better screen.

    If you are a college student, you get a discount...
  3. Sambo110 macrumors 68000

    Mar 12, 2007
    The 20" is for people like my mum, she plays a few puzzle games, but mainly checks her emails and browses the web a bit. She has no use for all the extra stuff, and the huge screen.
  4. iNew2Macs macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2009
    You're in the same position as I am ;)

    Don't want to spend a lot over 1K

    The reasons why I picked 20":

    1. Cheaper than the 24" model
    2. I really only need a 20" (screen size doesn't really matter, to me)
    3. They are gonna get updated like what, once a year? No need to pay for an overkill model now if they are gonna get cheaper in the future. Only get what you need for now.
    4. I don't do major programs like PhotoShop. I am basically only getting a Mac for my iTunes and Internet. So a 20" is the best cheap way to go ;)

    If you aren't going to do simple stuff like PhotoShop and others that require a higher GPU for better performance then I would say the 24" model.

    Other than that to me the 20" is worth it. 24" is a big difference but again, you aren't going to be using this comp forever.
  5. trevpimp macrumors regular


    Apr 16, 2009
    Inside A Mac Box
    Yep, the 20" model is the way to go.

    Save the extra hundreds for your next updated iMac in the future.
  6. rev.b macrumors regular


    May 1, 2009
    Hi there. First post here from a recent mac convert - I bought a Macbook air last year, and I replaced my desktop with a iMac 20" a few weeks ago.

    Why the 20"? Well, it is cheaper, the LCD is also very good quality (except viewing angles), but mainly because I'm used to work with dual monitor, and pairing the iMac with a Samsung 20" LCD gives much much more desktop real estate than a single 1920x1200 display.

    It's a very wise option if you plan to use dual-monitor.
  7. hector macrumors regular

    Sep 18, 2006
    Cheltenham, UK
    I would look into the refurb store. I keep reading of people's experiences on here being very positive, with some machines being indistinguishable from new.

    I have a 20" 2.4 which I got off ebay for a good price, and am tempted to flog it and treat myself to the 24" 2.8 which often comes up in the refurb store. I use it mainly for photography (lightroom) but am actually concerned that the 24" screen would be too big - ie that I would have to sit further away to see the whole thing...
  8. nph macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2005
    go for 24" -08 almost same price as 20" -09

    I looked at and compared screen quality in two stores that had the 20 and 24 and to me it was a lot more than viewing angle. Contrast, colors etc.
    The 24 was in a different league completely.

    Although I bought the 24" -08 version for 1229 online so I got a discrete graphic card, remote and a full size keyboard with the same speed or higher than the 20". Once I got it I was really happy I went this route even though initially I was skeptical due to size if it would be too big compared to my old 17" imac. It wasn't after a few minutes:D

    I highly recommend looking around online to see if there are any left.
  9. taxdad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2009
    Yes, the 24 is great. I get that. Anyone else out there, though, for whom the 20 was the better choice? Why?
  10. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    The problem with the 2009 20" is you have to play the panel lottery. You end up with either a mediocre TN panel or a much higher quality TN panel according to the owners who have the latter panel.
  11. rjp macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2008
    I think the 20" imac is great. The smaller size does have a certain appeal to it. The LCD contrast shifts a bit if you aren't looking at it straight on, but no more than most other TN monitors out there. I think it is pretty much the best darn TN display I've ever seen actually. Clearly the 24" is a superior display, and since it's only about 200 more in refurbs, lots of people are taking that path.

    I think both are great choices in different ways.

    One thing that is better about the 20" is that is has a greater pixel density than the 24 so images appear a little sharper (as long as you're not looking off-axis).

    They are both great (or in macrumors terms, they suck equally ;-) )
  12. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I'd get a refurb 24" if you have the space. You can get one for almost the same price ('08) or even cheaper (late '07). I just bought a late 2007 24" for $1049 and I love it! I already had the exact same machine at work for almost a year (company owned) and now I have one at home too. I actually bought a 20" refurb first and sent it back because of the lackluster lcd panel.
  13. Moriarty macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2008
    My mum doesn't even play puzzle games, and I convinced her to get a 24-inch. (We were already going to upgrade the HD to 640GB to fit my dads music, and probably the RAM to 4GB as well, which made the upgrade to 24-inch very cheap) I agree it's a ludicrously massive screen, but she loves it and is glad she got the 24.

    Only problem it makes every other computer you use feel really pokey.

    IMO the only way to justify getting the 20 inch iMac is if it won't physically fit wherever you wanted to put it. The 24-inch may cost a little bit more, but it is so worth it. Even if you get the best TN panel in the 20-inch lottery, the 24-inch IPS screen is far better.

    Is it really big? Yes. Is it too big? No! :D The only screen that is really "too big" for most people is a 30" LCD.
  14. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    I got the new 20" and sold my old 24" refurb.


    Wife wanted to go back to the smaller screen. Believe it or not. And you know, I halfway can see the appeal. The 24" can seem a bit overwhelming. You have to move your mouse farther too.

    And I've now mostly agreed with my wife and say that 20" is really big enough. I do wish it had the same quality screen, but the screen on the 20" is still very good. Just not excellent.

    24" just meant more wasted space. I also had one webpage open and saw all this space to the side that was wasted. Hell the amount of space I didn't use regularly was bigger than the monitors I used back in the day.

    It is also true on the 20" of course, but of course the amount of wasted space is much smaller. (Really Apple should work to use the widescreen better in their software. Or maybe I'm the one who needs to stretch the windows more.)

    And 24" just meant I could see a few more lines of a webpage at the same time and I had to put the computer back farther on my desk. I heard the pixel density of the 20" is actually greater. 24" wasn't quite big enough to fit 2 webpages side by side.

    Price is difference too. I wanted the new model because I figured the new one would have a better design and be quiet. And getting a new 24" is a bit much. Also figured the 9400M would run less well on a 1920x1200 screen than a 1600x1000 screen.

    The 20" has a lower minimum brightness level. I thought the 24" was too bright at lowest settings at night. This is a nice bonus.

    I always liked the fact the new iMac is the most energy efficient yet. The 20" using much less energy than the 24". 20" uses 1 watt is sleep mode too. I'm not even sure I'll turn mine off anymore.

    I do miss the 24" for movies, but I don't watch too many movies on my computer. I had this plan to use the 24" more for that, but it seems the wife or I or my son was always on the computer and so it's not usually free for movie watching.

    That's about it.
  15. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Sounds like you made the right choice for you. There will always be a need for the smaller screen, whether it be 20" vs. 24", 17" vs. 20", or whatever. When I got my wife a new iMac a while back (before the aluminum ones came out) I wanted to get her a 20" or 24" but she preferred the 17" since that is what she was used to. I tried to talk her into a larger screen but she simply did not want the extra space. I currently have a 24" both at home and at work and think it is just right for me. That is why that make different models I guess.
  16. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    Sounds like you regularly full-screen your webpages, a major faux pas for Mac users.
  17. queshy macrumors 68040


    Apr 2, 2005
    The 24" iMac is a big machine. Many people don't want such a big display. Cost is probably the most important factor.

    if it means anything the 24" screen is supposedly way better (in more ways than just resolution) than the 20". I think the 24" is an S-IPS panel and the 20" is a TN panel, the former being far superior.
  18. WoodNUFC macrumors 6502a


    Apr 30, 2009
    A Library
    I've been wondering this same thing. I want the 20" because of the size and the price, but I don't want a screen that has a record of contrast issues.
  19. rjp macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2008
    My experience has been that the 20" imac screen is as good or better than any other TN 20" screens you will see. This includes most common monitors you see by Dell, Acer, Samsug, etc. All the monitors in the less than 300.00 range are almost guaranteed to be TN.
  20. bikalpapaudel macrumors member


    Apr 7, 2009
    Dharan, Nepal
    AFAIK both of them are TN panels. S-IPS panels are still not that popular, expensive, thicker and produce a lot more heat, AT the expense of quality though.

    The difference probably is that 24" iMac panels are 24-bit whereas 20" iMac panels are 18-bit.

    Don't you know about that scandal, when Apple was sued for mentioning that it's 20" supports millions of colors, when technically it does not? Actually that happened twice, one with MacBook screens and second time with 20" iMacs.
  21. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    No, the 24" does have H-IPS panel. Do a search around here or google it and you'll see for yourself.

    And that's a result of Apple downgrading the panel from 8-bit S-IPS or S-PVA in the white 20" to 6-bit TN film in the mid-2007 Alu 20".
  22. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I wish I could say the same, and I would probably still have the 20" that I ordered and sent back for a 24". Previous to that I had been using a Macbook and a 24" Gateway FHD2400 monitor which, even though it is a TN panel, had absolutely marvelous colors and depth. Sorry to say that the 20" iMac didn't even come close, so I sent it back for the 24" iMac. Even the 24" doesn't have the depth of color of the Gateway, but since it is an IPS panel it of course has far better off-angle viewing and color accuracy.
  23. taxdad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2009
    Looked at the 20 and 24 side by side at Best Buy again yesterday, with the exact same photo from iPhoto on each screen. No question the 24 display is better. That wasn't really a surprise.

    I did note something interesting in favor of the 20, though. The back and sides of the 24 felt much warmer than the 20. Another plus for the 20 - when I sit in front of the 20, my eyes can take in the screen. With the 24, my eyes sort of move around to take it all in. My kids, who are only 5 and 7, will sit lower than I do, so if I get the 24 they will be looking UPWARDS so much, like in the front row of a movie theater.

    So in the end there are pros and cons to each. If only Apple would've made the screen type and technology the same, just different sizes, I would get the 20 in a heartbeat. Consider right now as I type this, I'm using a 15" monitor.
  24. queshy macrumors 68040


    Apr 2, 2005
    You will get used to the 24 very quickly. The resolution is much higher and once you get it, you won't ever want to go back to a smaller screen. If oyu have the money and space, get the 24.

    Regarding the heat, it could be due to a variety of reasons. The 24" might have been on longer or might have been doing video editing before you got there! In my experience both machines run at the same temperature, and besides, the temp. it runs at is highly dependent on what you're doing with it at the moment.
  25. robotartfashion macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    I still have my white 2007 20" and I thought that was huge when I bought it (my first mac was my 12" powerbook)

    My friend just got a 24" Imac and its simply beautiful

    I would do what others have said and consider buying the 2008 24" refurb for 1199.00 if cost is an issue

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