21.5" Imac - 3.06Ghz or 3.2Ghz?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Soupadeeb, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. Soupadeeb macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2010
    I'm looking to buy a new Imac 21.5 inch but I'm undecided on whether to go for the 3.06 Ghz base model or the 3.2 Ghz model. I'd be using it for internet, general office work, a little video and quite a lot of photo editing and cataloguing. Possibly a bit of gaming but not much and nothing too intensive. I think 500GB HDD in the base model would be ample storage space for my needs. My main concern is whether it is worth spending the extra £250 essentially for the 5670 GPU with more graphics memory in the 3.2Ghz model over the 4670 GPU in the base model. I'm hoping to get around 4 years usage out of the machine before I start looking to upgrade. Would it be worth spending the extra for more graphics power or would I be better off buying the base model and possibly adding extra memory?

    Any advice offered would be gratefully received as I'm new to Macs.
  2. MikieMcBikie macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2009
    IMO i don't think you would ever notice £250 worth of difference between the machines. Now, or within the next four years. What are your current system specs?

    my take on it...

    500 Gig extra storage, you say you probably wont need, and external drives are very affordable if you ever did.

    beefier video processor and VRAM. Unless you play a bit of 3d graphical games, and get new ones regularly, i dont think you would notice a difference. Depends on the games you play tho, and how picky you are on the settings.

    200 megahertz per core on the cpu... never know the difference.

    best of luck, and cheers :)
  3. Thermonuclear macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2009
    I went for the 3.2 GHz 21.5 inch model because when compared to the base model, its video RAM is twice as large and is accessed with twice the speed.

    Any application that uses the Mac OS/X frameworks to manage a GUI will hit the graphics processor, not just game applications. The Finder itself is loaded with such calls and the system is written to offload as much work as possible from the main processor to the graphics subsystem. All of that eye candy has a price.
  4. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    For me, I bought the "middle of the pack" - of the 21.5" model. re: I3 with 3.2, larger size 1TB HD and better graphics card. To me, the i3 3.2 was between the "base" i3 and its i5 "power house" CPU. Don't know what our iMac will be doing in 3-4-5-6 years in the future. But if it needs to perform graphic intensive tasks, it has the better video card. And, it will have slightly better then base i3 3.0 CPU under its hood as well. Who knows...

    Our "on order" iMac 21.5" might be a simple "thin client" to access internet (for facebook, twitter, surfing and other easy tasks). Or, it could be used for in-depth movie making and sound mixing tasks. It's where ever my wife and kids want to do with it - during its expected next 5+ years lifespan. For me and not knowing its future usage, "middle of the pack" is a good choice.

  5. Sammy Cat macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2010
    North America
    How much difference is the 512mb video card actually going to make?

    Maybe by year 3 or 4 your 256mb video card will start to feel slow/dated for general use.

    I say go with the base i3 as it will handle basic tasks.

    If you could pay an Apple tax of 250 quid per year, you can sell the base model i3 two years from now for 700 quid easily. Take that 700 quid and then apply it to the middle road iMac, which will have USB 3, Light Peak, a better LCD (and touch screen), possibly an HDMI port, a Sandy Bridge processor, possibly standard SSD storage, and a wider selection of applications that will make use of the multiple processors. On top of that the OS will also be different and a major move towards combining mobile computing with traditional computing.

    I know people will say that you can't future proof or always wait on the sideline. Well that is true to some extent. However it is also true that there are opportune times to invest in technology. 250 quid to upgrade shouldn't break the bank, but it could get you a PS3 with Blu-Ray for the family. That seems like it would have more use and impact than .2 Ghz, 500mb, and 256mb Vram.

    Just my 2 pennies/pence.
  6. lwien macrumors regular

    Jun 19, 2009
    For gaming, quite a bit, I would think.
  7. bigmacman macrumors member


    Jul 16, 2010
    Don't think the extra 250 quid is worth for the 5670 GPU as you only do a bit of gaming and a little video editing. You mentioned a lot of photo editing. Do you shoot raw or jpeg? If you work frequently with raw files, it may then worth the extra money for the 3.2Ghz model. Otherwise, the base model is more than enough for your usage.

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