27" iMac GPU: 256MB vs 512MB???

Discussion in 'iMac' started by GadgetAddicted, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. GadgetAddicted macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2009
    Hey guys,

    I am about to place my order for the new 27" iMac and I need your advice. I cannot decide between the 256 MB or the 512 MB graphics card. It is an upgrade of a bit over $150. Is the upgrade worth it?

    Actually, will I even notice a difference. If I would, where and when would I notice a difference.

    I do prorgamming, photoshop, imovie, possibly final cut, videos, pictures etc... What do you guys suggest???/:confused:
  2. GadgetAddicted thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2009
  3. ogc macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2009
    I think the main difference is seen in gaming. someone correct me
  4. GadgetAddicted thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2009
    Hmm...well I'm im glad I'm not much of a gamer on computers then :p Other than that??
  5. uuaschbaer macrumors regular


    Aug 31, 2009
    Other than that it is the case that, because of OpenCL, your graphics card could function, with probably a select but growing number of applications, as an auxiliary processor. It can probably not or hardly be upgraded, which could become a problem. Who knows how long the 256 Mb card will suffice? Although the same could be said of the 512 Mb card.
    Whether or not this is reason enough to choose the 512 Mb card I don't know.
  6. Meriana macrumors member

    Aug 31, 2009
    the 512MB is also faster, which with opencl support might speed up video editing more than the 256.

    It depends on how often you do things that require a lot of computing power and how important it's to you how fast things get done.
  7. andalusia macrumors 68030


    Apr 10, 2009
    Manchester, UK
    Wow. You were patient. 10 minutes of no replies and you couldn't stand the silence?!
  8. GadgetAddicted thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2009
    My bad...I was on the phone with the Sales Representative at the time. Now I took his contact information down so we can communicate via email :)
  9. GadgetAddicted thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2009
    Thanks for the reply. OpenCL is my main concern. I know it would function and the only reason that I would upgrade was if I were a hardcore gamer. If I want a gaming machine, I'd build a PC with 2gb of graphics mem lol.

    I just want to know whether every day applications would run faster on the 512 than the 256.
  10. GadgetAddicted thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2009
    Exactly how much faster is it? So you are saying that every day computing would be relatively faster with the 512? I do video editing on a weekly basis.
  11. rrijkers macrumors 6502


    Jun 6, 2007
    The Netherlands
    My experience is that you should always get the big gfx card with the middle model. Best value for money, you can't go back later and upgrade it so.
  12. Cycom macrumors 6502


    Mar 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    if you're not going to do any gaming then don't bother. save your $$
  13. southerndoc macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    Wow, 10 mins. That's a new record for being impatient on a message board.
  14. Cycom macrumors 6502


    Mar 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA

    256 vs. 512: a life or death situation :D
  15. Jiten macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2008
    This or you need to attach a really big second monitor to your Mac and you want the UI to be silky smooth. :)
  16. Zortrium macrumors 6502

    Jun 23, 2003
    Lots of people on this board like to go on about OpenCL like it's something that magically turns your GPU into an extra CPU. Most of it is incredibly overblown. OpenCL requires specific developer effort to do anything and most likely is only applicable in certain situations anyways. At present, it does nothing for you. In a year, maybe it'll be used in one or two applications you use (and I wouldn't even bet on that). But in my estimation, for a machine you're buying right now, it's not something anyone should be making a buying decision over. If you're not planning to play games and have no other specific need for a good GPU, save your money. As for video editing, I believe there's a proof-of-concept OpenCL demo for that, but I don't recall for sure, so you might want to look into that if speeding up video editing is a major concern.
  17. GadgetAddicted thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2009
    Thank you so much for your replies guys! Lol n sorry for being impatient :p. I think I will go with the 256 MB; I am not a gamer and I dont mind waiting a little longer for videos to process. I do use a Dual Display setup but I hope that would not be affected. I am excited! Who here is getting the 27" iMac??
  18. lasuther macrumors 6502a

    Feb 13, 2004
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    I recommend buying a quad core. For $300 you'll get the better processor and graphics card. And while it might not seem like such a big deal now, 3 years from now you'll be glad you did. And if you sell the system in the future have the quad core will make a big difference. I think the i5 is the best bang for your buck.
  19. GadgetAddicted thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2009
    Great now I'm even more confused lol. Here are the premiums that I would have to pay on top of my budget:

    iMac 27" w/ 256mb GPU - $145
    iMac 27" w/ 512mb GPU - $297
    iMac 27" w/ corei7 - $447

    I am NOT a gamer, I do video editing, photoshop, programming, videos pictures etc...I also like changing computers a lot. I sell my computers on a yearly basis and there is a chance that I will sell the 27" iMac in a year n half or so to get a newer better model. What would you guys pick??
  20. Maven1975 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    Somethings fishy about the 4850 this time around. The upgrade price is much higher than previous generations. Could it be a desktop version?

    We shall see in November.
  21. Jubijub macrumors newbie

    Oct 4, 2009
    Lyon, France
    I was wondering the same, so I made some research on the topic :

    On the CPU side, we have C2D (Core2 Duo) 3.06 and 3.33, Core i5, and Core i7.

    Benchmarks shows that Core i5 is definitely the best value for money, beeing much faster than any Core 2 Duo

    The Core i7 is good, but I don't think it brings much more speed for its cost.

    Regarding GPU, the 4850 is also faster, and seems to be mandatory for beeing able to play on the 27".

    As a result, given your usage (power, no gaming required), I would still go for a Core i5...because taking the 3.06 and getting the 3.33 upgrade will be marginally cheaper than the Core i5, while bringing noticiably lower power.

    Benchmarks for you to read :
    GPU :
    http://www.guru3d.com/article/ati-radeon-hd-4670-review/1 (this one is interresting because it shows perfs at very high resolution, similar to the 27's)

  22. GadgetAddicted thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2009
    Thanks for the detailed response. You guys are making me lean more towards the i5 but I do not know when in November they will ship it out. Any ideas?

    I currently have a 24" iMac that I have to return within the next 9 days (got it the day before new ones were released lol) so that is why I am stalling and wanting the 3.06 so at least I can return this 24" iMac.

    From the links, the i5 defenitely seems like the best bang for the buck. I WILL be running 2 screens so the 512 mb might be a plus. I could cheap out now or spend the extra $447 and get the core i5 which would hopefully have a decent resale value down the road.

    As you stated...going core i7 is NOT worth it right?
  23. harmonica01 macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2007
    larger memory in gpu tends to minimize latency between card and larger screens
  24. GadgetAddicted thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2009
    I have a dual display setup. What difference will I notice between the 256 and the 512?? I mean will there be an apparent lag or something?
  25. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    get the 27" with core i7. it's only $150 more than the 27" with just the graphics upgraded. you will get it back when you sell it and performance is not an issue.

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