21.5 vs 27

Discussion in 'iMac' started by wjlee91, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. wjlee91 macrumors member

    May 6, 2006
    Currently deciding whether to get the 21.5 or the 27 inch iMac...
    Either I'll get the High end 21.5 or the base 27
    I plan to use it for normal school work and some moderate gaming aka Battlefield 3, Assassin's creed 3 and so on.
    Will the 650M handle ok? Or should I go for the 660 in the 27?
    I'm hoping that the 21.5 has user upgradeable ram as well.. From what I saw in the teardowns it looks possible.
    Any opinions?
  2. Spink10 Suspended


    Nov 3, 2011
    27 is gorgeous - we thought the 21.5 would not have user upgradable RAM - I have read different opinions on that after tear-downs.
  3. darkanddivine macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2007
    Same boat (except I don't game), I think if you are not bothered about Fusion then grab the base 27". You can upgrade the RAM and the overall specs still look amazing, plus for the gaming side you have a massive gorgeous screen.
  4. Mikey86uk macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2010

    myn is the 2011 27" and i wasn't sure which one to get back in May 2011, and decided to go into the Apple Store and have a look. as soon as i had a go on both, there was only 1 winner and that was the 27"

    Although the 27" isnt classed as Retina, in my eyes it looks just as good, its gorgeous!

    my Mum has the 21.5" and every time i go to use it, i just find it weird to look at :p

    So i would say, if you have an Apple store near by, go have a look, if not, defo go with the 27" if you can justify the extra cost.
  5. OlegPasko macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2012
    But GTX 660M with 512MB isn't good for playing on native 27" resolution. 650M on 21,5 native resolution will be much smoothly.

    But I have the same choice problem :)
  6. wjlee91 thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2006
    I don't really need the Fusion because I have 6GB in external storage and a Samsung 830 256Gb SSD that i've installed onto my MBP, which i'll sell to cover costs.. and plop the SSD into a thunderbolt enclosure and use that as a boot drive.

    It's just the graphics that's worrying me. I'm really tempted to go for the highend 27inch but that's sort of overkill.. and way over my budget..
  7. MagicThief83 macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2012
    I had a similar dilemma to yours. I wanted the high-end 21.5" maxed out, but was worried about the graphics because I want to game on the iMac (it replaced all of my consoles). I also don't really have a need for the 27" screen. However, I ended up getting the 27" with the 680MX, because I know that card will destroy any games that come its way. Since you're worried about budget, get the high-end 21.5" with the 650M. Do not get the 27" with the 660M, it'll be a waste of money. You'll get better performance on the 21.5" with the 650M, as it's a capable card and can handle today's games at medium-high settings in decent resolutions. You'll get worse performance with the 660M on the 27", than you would with the 650M in the 21.5".
  8. DelMac macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2012
    This is the eternal question for every new iMac buyer. I think most iMac 27'' owners would tell you that they've never regretted picking the 27" over the 21". I'm certain if I had chosen the 21" I'd always be regretting not having spent a few hundred dollars more for the 27".

    I personally don't upgrade every year so I wanted to make sure I'd be 100% happy with my purchase and I am. The downside to having a 27" iMac is that I don't want anything smaller now. Go 27", you'll love it.
  9. MagicThief83 macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2012
    Well put and I agree, hence my decision to pick the 27" over the 21.5". However, in reference to gaming, if the OP doesn't get the high-end 27" with at least the 1GB video card, then it would lead to a sub-optimal gaming experience, and I think he's better with the high-end 21.5" then.
  10. DelMac macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2012
    Oh yea, no doubt. Totally agree. In this case he should get the 21.5" over the 27" if he doesn't want to spend on the high end. I bought my iMac 27" base (not for gaming) so it was an easier choice for me. Hope we haven't made his decision even harder, lol. I'll step aside from this convo now:)
  11. wjlee91 thread starter macrumors member

    May 6, 2006
    I think... I'm just going to wait for benchmarks of games on the 21.5. If it's good enough I think i'll just go for the high end 21.5. The ram is killing me though.. I want 16 but Apple's bto is too expensive.. I'd rather buy 3rd party but if I can't install it in the 21.5...
  12. CaptMike macrumors regular


    Mar 27, 2012

    Just remember as of right now you cannot get everything in the low end 27" as you can with the high end 21.5


    Yes, you can update the RAM but you cannot upgrade the CPU above i5
  13. jedolley macrumors 68000

    Sep 18, 2009
    27" for multi-tasking

    I have used both the 2011 27" and 21.5" (sold 27" and currently using a temp 21.5" while waiting for 2012). I like to use MooM to arrange the windows for various apps. For example, I run safari on half the screen, and other apps on the other (i.e. watching a video). On 21.5" iMac you cannot fit a full browser screen on half the screen, it still requires side scrolling if you want to see all the content. On a 27", half the screen is large enough to display an entire browser page.

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