21.5" iMac Which One?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ScottNWDW, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. ScottNWDW macrumors 65816

    ScottNWDW

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    #1
    Within the next week or two I am planning on getting a new iMac. I have been using a 13" MacBook Pro for the past 3 years and now want to "upgrade" to a desktop Mac since the MacBook Pro is primarily being used as one since the iPad.

    If you were buying a new iMac would you get the one that is priced at $1299 with the Intel Iris graphics and the 2.7ghz quad core i5 or would you spend the extra $200 and get the one that has the NVIDiA GeForce graphics card and the 2.9ghz quad core i5?

    I am not a huge gamer, but I do enjoy a few games here and there like Roller Coaster Tycoon and Sim City, maybe a solitaire game once in awhile. Both Sim City and Roller Coaster Tycoon have run OK on my 2011 MacBook Pro although seemed a little slow. I really only play games on a computer maybe about 5% of the time so gaming isn't the main use of the computer for me. Aside from that I use the Mac primarily for general everyday stuff using apps like Numbers, Pages, (and for work...Excel, Word), BusyCal, OmniFocus, DayOne. Quicken, One Note, iPhoto, Aperature, Safari, Evernote.

    Since the iMac does not have a disc drive, I may be interested in a SuperDrive and possibly the Magic Trackpad, so either way I plan on spending at least $1499.

    The 21.5" size seems the right size over the 27" size so if you were getting a new Mac would you get the one at $1299 and get the Super Drive and Trackpad at the same time, or the one at $1499 and get the accessories at a later date.
     
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #2
    Are you planning on getting Applecare? If you do and buy all the accessories at the same time, they will all be covered. Also you might want to consider a RAM upgrade as it is not user friendly to upgrade on the 21".
     
  3. GovtLawyer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    #3
    Get a Refurb

    You should look into getting a refurbished from the Apple store. You can check on a number of threads on this forum regarding refurbs and how reliable they are. You will get more for your money. Also, I, and several other posters have gotten machines with better specs than ordered - a gift bonus of sorts.
     
  4. ScottNWDW thread starter macrumors 65816

    ScottNWDW

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    #4
    I was not planning on getting AppleCare. I have bought many Apple products since the Apple Iic and never bought appleCare. I have never had any issues with any Apple product.

    I did think about the RAM upgrade, but considering I am going from A MacBook Pro with 4GB of RAM to an iMac with 8GB of RAM that should be a sufficient enough upgrade right from the start. There can't be that much of a difference in the amping of RAM usage between an iMac and MacBook pro that would eat up twice the RAM.

    ----------

    Whenever I buy a Tech item, I never buy refurbished, I always buy brand new. In fact I rarely if ever buy anything at all refurbished, used, slightly owned or however pretty you want to call it. Refurbished to me just sounds like it's been broken and fixed at least once already, even though that may not be the actual case.

    When I am spending my money, I prefer to buy things "new".
     
  5. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #5
    If you are editing a video, the 2.9Ghz processor with the GT 750m will help you get work done more smoothly and will be more responsive than the entry level iMac. When it comes to rendering and exporting the video, the rendering will be noticeably faster (the longer the video, the more noticeable it would be) with a higher end CPU (as well as the much larger difference between the 2.7 and the 2.9 when turboboosting) and a dedicated GPU (as the GPU is used for certain jobs, and the 1Gb of GDDR5 VRAM will help a lot when compared to the Iris Pro using DDR3 RAM as VRAM (coupled along with 128Mb of DRAM)). Then when it comes to the exporting part, the SSD will be able to write the video to disk at a rate of 650Mbps. A Fusion Drive on the other hand would right at around the 300-350Mbps mark. So exporting with the SSD will be around 2X the speed.

    I have found gaming on the 750m great, I max out Dirt 2 in OSX, and get 74-89FPS.

    One other thing to note, Apple appear to be moving to pushing more CPU tasks and reconstructing them to be computed on the GPU. This has great affects, as tasks that have been reconstructed to be done on the GPU yield 5 to 10 X speed increases. This is the reason the Mac Pro comes standard with dual GPU's. And because the data transfer speeds between the 750m and it's 1Gb of GDDR5 VRAM is much faster then the Iris Pro getting data from DDR3 RAM, this would be hugely helpful in the future. There are already a few programs out there on Mac that use such techniques, but it appears the future of computing is have very power GPU's, not CPU's. In the future, powerful GPU's will make up for weaker CPU's, so buying the most powerful GPU now means in the future (when both the 2.7 and 2.9GHz) processors are seen as slow, the 750m would be what really makes the machine pull away from the 2.7Ghz and could get you some extra time before an upgrade.

    When it comes to RAM, there has been a lot real-world-tests carried out that shown the speed increase (in games, rendering and exporting a video, importing/exporting files in Photoshop...) between 4Gb of RAM and 8Gb of RAM was very big. But when it came to trying the same tests on the 8Gb of RAM vs 16Gb, there was next to no difference. 16Gb of RAM will only improve system performance over heavy load (and from my one of my earlier comments, the "heavy load" would have to be very heavy seeing as I can run 23 heavy applications at the same time and only push the 8Gb of system RAM 40%). Unless you plan to render a video in OSX, play a game, and run a Virtual Machine or two all at the same time (like running Windows 7 and 8 while running OSX at the same time), the 8Gb of RAM will defiantly be enough to last you through the lifetime of the computer.

    I was really in the same position as you, as I too do a lot of video editing (nothing too professional though) for college. I have the 2.9Ghz 21.5" iMac with 8Gb of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT 750m, and a 1Tb HDD and am very pleased with my decision. If you are wondering why I went for the Hard Drive, I needed 1Tb of space, I couldn't afford the 1Tb SSD, and the 1Tb FD was not worth £160 for the small benefits it brings.
     
  6. ScottNWDW thread starter macrumors 65816

    ScottNWDW

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    #6
    Thanks for the insight MartinAppleGuy. Although I do not do a lot of video editing at all. I do play a few games. I am leaning towards the higher end 21.5 iMac just because all but the entry level iMac have the NVIDIA graphics card. And with the extra graphics power that card gives to any performance of the Mac itself will be great.
     
  7. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #7
    Your welcome :) When playing a heavy game, the CPU would be turboboosting to 3.6Ghz on the high end, where as on the low end, it would max out at 3.2Ghz. This 400Mhz would differently help in gaming, but it is the GPU that will have the biggest difference. From what I have used of the Iris Pro, I get around 80% higher FPS with my 750m in Dirt 2 (Iris Pro got around 30-40, 750m got 74-89fps on same settings). I's defiantly say that this is worth the money, and I am happy that I bought it over the entry, as it has helped with my gaming needs :)

    Hope you enjoy your purchase :)
     
  8. Gianlusp macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    #8
    Just bought Imac 21,5 i5, 16 gb 512 ssd.....I hope it will be fine ....:)
     
  9. TheGeneralLee86 macrumors member

    TheGeneralLee86

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2014
    Location:
    West Topsham, VT
    #9
    I chose the one with the 3.1Ghz i7 and it has just entered preparing for shipment! Can't wait!
     
  10. ScottNWDW thread starter macrumors 65816

    ScottNWDW

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    #10
    After stopping by the Apple Store today I think I am leaning to the 21.5" iMac that has the NVIDIA graphics card. The salesperson did say that the iNtel Iris graphics would be just fine for what I need it for. The one with the NVIDIA does have a performance boost and is quicker in the graphics arena. If I get into more graphics stuff in the future I think I would really be happy I went with the more expensive model to start with.

    I was also going to pick up a touchpad, but they said that when I buy it I can get with either the trackpad or the mouse. Since I already have a mouse so I was looking to get the trackpad. That alone will save me $70 and combined with the inshore corporate discount I am eligible for, the more expensive model at $1499 suddenly becomes more attractive.

    Also considering an 2TB external drive for $149 for backing up.
     
  11. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #11
    I agree :)
     
  12. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #12
    I would never get the 21 inch. It is totally locked, it has a crampy screen and more expensive than alternatives.
    A speedier Mini with Dell U2412M costs less and allows many options to improve your system the next years.
    And don't buy the superdrive. A BluRay player/DVD burner costs 20 bucks, so why spend 5-fold on dated tech.
     
  13. ScottNWDW thread starter macrumors 65816

    ScottNWDW

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    #13
    When I decided I wanted an iMac, that is what I want. There is NOTHING wrong with the 21" screen. There are only 2 choices, 21" and 27". The 27" was, in my opinion, too big for my needs. I am currently using a MacBook Pro with 13" so the 21" is a HUGE difference to me. The iMac screen itself is really beautiful. Secondly if I wanted something cheaper I would have bought a Windows machine.

    I like the style of the iMac and if I buy your solution I have a bunch of little boxes taking up spaces on the desk and causes a lot of clutter, The iMac takes up 1 small footprint. Speaking of dated, the iMac was just updated a few months ago, the Mac Mini was updated a few years ago - to me the MacMini is the dated machine. If I wanted crappy plastic Dell stuff I would have bought it.
     
  14. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #14
    Oh and by the way, consider getting a Fusion drive or an SSD upgrade. It will really make a HUGE difference over the regular HDD, such as instant boot ups and instant app launching.

    Personally I'm leaning towards the SSD upgrade because the FD still has a HDD sector, so if that breaks, the entire FD is toast.
     
  15. Gianlusp macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    #15
     
  16. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #16
    I'd say stick with the HDD, or go full SSD. The places the FD will help are boot up and launching Applications for the first time. You only boot up once every 3 months, and Applications load instantly on a HDD with App Caching in Mavericks. And if one portion of the drive fails, the whole thing fails. Pro's of an SSD is much faster import/exporting, reliability, and quietness.

    There is still a few heavy duty apps that can take a second or two to launch, but one I have launched them once, until I do a restart (which I rarely rarely do), App Caching makes them open instantly (due to RAM access speed being around 100X faster than an SSD, and only a few things need to be read from the HDD to launch - I'd say you would't know the difference between the HDD and the SSD after App Cache has taken affect [i.e - you have opened the application before and then closed it]).

    Fusion Drive gives me faster boot times, and fast initial app launching. Can fail just as easy as a HDD.

    SSD gives great performance all round (boot up, importing, exporting, app launching...). More reliable.

    Seeing as I only boot up once every software update requires me to (and also the fact that it is only after the restart where I would have to reboot the applications before App Cache takes affect), the Fusion Drive is not worth the extra £160 for me. If it was 2 difference drives (1 SSD, 1 HDD), it would have been more appealing.

    I just ran the launch all apps test. All apps (around 80 were launched) taken around 30 seconds to launch from the HDD. I then closed them all. Now that they are all cached in the RAM, I opened them all up again and they taken around 6-7 seconds to launch. It was like watching them all open on an SSD!
     

Share This Page