21.5-inch: 2.9GHz - Better to upgrade Ram or Processor?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by SpudyTheChamp, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. SpudyTheChamp macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2014
    I'm looking to get the 21.5-inch: 2.9GHz and then upgrade the ram to 16gb or get the 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor. I do a lot of work on Final Cut X as well as on Photoshop. Which one would help me with things running smoothly, help with exporting of videos etc and just overall performance?

    I'm going to upgrade to the 256gb Flash Storage.

  2. lcseds macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2006
    NC, USA
    Ram is not upgradeable in the 21" iMac. I would get the memory and the processor upgrade.
  3. iBook_Clamshell macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2013
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    The performance difference between the desktop i5 and i7 is massive, because the i7 supports hyper threading.

    In laptops, the difference between dual core i5s and dual core i7s is almost nonexistent.

    Since RAM isn't upgradeable, it's best to go 16GB straight away.
  5. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    If you are going to max out the 21.5" model, you should probably just get a 27" model. If you don't have the office space then get the 21.5", but you can get a much more powerful 27" with user upgradeable RAM and a much better screen for the same price. If you use those programs 10+ hours a week then both of the upgrades would really benefit you. Again, a 27" is a better purchase if you can fit it on your desk.

  6. jg321 macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2012
    Not quite true. It *is* upgradable, it's just not easy, and you void your warranty.
  7. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    The 3.1GHz i7-4770S in the 21.5" iMac is still more powerful than the 3.4GHz i5-4670 in the 27".
  8. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    I agree with that. I never said the baseline processor was more powerful. The GPUs in the 27" are much more powerful though, and the i7-4771 is still more powerful than the i7-4770s. You can get a refurbished 27" iMac with an i7/770M/1TB Fusion for about $2100. That just seems like a better deal to me, and I can upgrade to 32GB of RAM if I really needed it, at about the same price of 16GB in the 21".
  9. bambooshots macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2013
    Between the two, RAM would probably make a more noticeable difference in performance.

    That, and the SSD or Fusion Drive, of course!
  10. iamthedudeman macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2007
    Actually the i7 in the 21.5 and the 27 are the same processor just that the base clock starts lower on the 21.5. They turbo up to the same frequency.

    The difference between as far as bench marks go is basically non issue. Not enough difference to matter. Saying that the 4771 is more powerful is actually not entirely accurate. They run benchmarks in virtually the same time. Seconds between the two. Literally.

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