2011 21.5" Base iMac vs. 2010 27" Base iMac i3

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kailanmoore, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. kailanmoore macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2011
    Hey guys,

    I am about to purchase my first mac and have this current dilemma. At my Apple store (Australia) the store has the 2010 27" iMac with 3.2gHz i3, 4gb ram, 1tb HDD and 512mb graphics. This is only $100 more than this years base 2.5gHz i5 21.5" model with 500gb HDD, 4gb ram & 512mb graphics.

    I was wondering if the dual core processor would still meet my needs. I am a university student who predominately uses office suites, frequent web surfing and media viewing.

    I will also starting graphic design courses at university next year and will be using my computer for more graphic intensive uses, and was wondering if the 2010 model will cope with the work, with the benefit of the larger screen or, or go for the 21.5" 2010 model with less display and a faster processor.

    Any help would be great :)
  2. Sackvillenb macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2011
    Canada! \m/
    Depends on the details on what you're doing

    In general, I would say either one would be fine, but it does depend a bit on the details.

    The i3 is a great processor for everything you've mentioned (general use, office software, media, etc.). It will also be fine for a lot of graphic design, but this depends on exactly what you will be doing. It will work fine for most photoshop uses, for example, unless you're dealing with really huge and complex projects.

    The newer 2011 imac has a better processor, the i5, but you'll only notice the difference in certain types of tasks. Also, it has a better graphics card, so this will be a factor if you want to play games (but you didn't mention that, so I'm assuming that's not a big deal). However, will you be doing much 3d graphic design? If so, that will play a role.

    Really, the main trade off here is you get a huge screen in a very capable computer with the 2010 version, and a smaller screen but more "power" in the 2011 version. But you'll need to clarify your graphic design (and possibly gaming) use to see if that type of power is useful to you or not. The better graphics card in the 2011 will help you with 3d work. The "better" i5 processor will only make an appreciable difference for certain types of tasks. For me, the large screen size difference is also a big factor. I suppose you do get more internal storage with the older model, but external storage is really quite cheap these days.

    They are both solid machines. The deciding factors I think will be screen size, and the exact nature of your graphic design work. :)
  3. kailanmoore thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2011

    Thanks for that man :) Yeah i wont be using it for gaming at all, (apart from maybe linking the 27" to my xbox if i decide to go for that model). As for graphic design, the majority of my projects will be 2d based, with maybe one (unlikely) 3d based projects over the next couple years.

    Will the graphics card in the 2010 model be good for watching movies and streaming tv? since i look for it to also be used as a tv in my room

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