4GB Quad Core Imac or 8GB Dual Core Imac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by JoEw, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. JoEw macrumors 68000


    Nov 29, 2009
    Hey people,
    This is my first post on this forum and i need some advice. This Christmas i plan on getting my very first mac (i could never afford one before) but i finally saved enough to get one and i was wondering what was the better thing to get for my price range i can not spend more than at most $2000. So should i get quad core i5 with just 4GB ram or dual core with 8GB ram.

    iMac 27inch
    # 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    # 8GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x2GB
    # 1TB Serial ATA Drive
    # ATI Radeon HD 4670 256MB

    iMac 27inch
    # 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
    # 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    # 1TB Serial ATA Drive
    # ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB

    Thanks for your advice.
  2. CJS7070 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 10, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    Do you plan on upgrading the RAM through Apple or on your own?
  3. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    Get the i5. 4GB of RAM is probably enough, and if not, you can upgrade it yourself later relatively inexpensively. Conversely, if you buy the Core 2 Duo, you're not going to be upgrading the processor until you buy a new computer...
  4. JoEw thread starter macrumors 68000


    Nov 29, 2009
    I would upgrade to 8GB ram through apple online.
  5. MrCheeto macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    Your memory (ram) is almost negligable in your case. Ram can help add a little speed in some cases but it's mostly to allow more applications to run at the same time. I'm a pro user and 4gb is more than enough for me!

    The number 1 factor is the CPU! The i series blows the Core series away! The i5 will smoke that Core 2 Duo.

    Now with that established, the only question is what you want. Do you want power or do you want to save a little money? The Core 2 Duo is powerful enough for most people, even my main/only machine is less powerful than the iMac and I never complain about the performance. Again I'm using heavy applications and a lot of them, even at the same time.

    So it's your choice, great performance at a great price or crazy super-computer power. You wouldn't want the second option if it's for email, internet and iLife :p it would be like using a '78 Trans Am in only first gear haha.
  6. willmtaylor macrumors G3


    Oct 31, 2009
    A Natural State
    Don't sacrifice and buy yesterday's processor. Go w/the i5.

    As previous responders have said, 4 GB of RAM should be more than sufficient, and you can upgrade the memory later relatively inexpensively (right now you can buy 4 GB for $100 from OWC w/a lifetime warranty), and heck, the Apple manual that comes w/your iMac even explains how to do it.
  7. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    You cannot upgrade the CPU to i5 later.

    You can however buy another 4GB of RAM for $99 or likely a lot less on sale later.

    Just buy from one of the sites saying that the memory will work forever in the machine they say it will work in... like

    http://www.macsales.com/ and there are quite a few others


    Basically later as software improves, you will get a boost of speed with the quad ... you get nothing on the memory.

    Worse, if you really do need that memory for those hoggy apps, you are likely going to remove the memory you paid $200 for and replace it with a 4GBx2 kit. So that $200 memory may collect dust in a drawer rather soon.
  8. MrCheeto macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    Yeah let's get the most powerful machine we can afford that way after we try it out for a few weeks and realize it doesn't suit our needs we're out hundred of dollars! :D Nothing more fun than that! No way!
  9. JoEw thread starter macrumors 68000


    Nov 29, 2009
    I would not be using this computer for just email and ilife applications. So it looks like i am jumping for quad core then getting some memory later when i get some extra cash. Also kinda a plus after rebate i get a free hp printer with my imac :) Thanks for all your guys advice.

    One more thing, I have an iPhone 3G is it worth getting mobileme? Since i do get 30 bucks off it when i get it with a mac. thanks again.
  10. MrCheeto macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    Again MobileMe depends on your needs, research the features and decide if it's worth it to you.

    Ok, so you're getting a super computer <8O now I recommend that when you use it you regularly check the amount of memory that is being used. If you QUIT your applications rather than just closing the window (something that most newbies forget to do) then you can gauge how much ram your frequent applications need. If you never top out then 4gb should be good for a time. My ram usage never goes over about 80% so I've never even considered upgrading, until the time comes when applications become heavier :p

    My recommendations:

    Install iStat, it puts your fan speed, CPU temperature, CPU usage, memory usage and even amount of disk usage right into your menu bar!

    Then, when you're running your applications just keep an eye on the ram. If your computer ever feels a little slow the first thing you want to look at is the memory usage as that is the usual culprit. This will let you gauge you're hardware needs ;)
  11. JoEw thread starter macrumors 68000


    Nov 29, 2009
  12. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    another i5 vote

    But why buy from apple?

    Brand new i5 is $1820 after rebate, no tax, free shipping


    When you get your rebate back, pop for the ram if you want. OWC is my vote on that as well. Two 2 gig chips @ $99 = 4 gigs + current 4 gigs gives you 8. (and sorry to break this news, but ram $$ is on the way up, not down =(

    Installing ram takes 2 screws, its so easy theres even a diagram on the foot of the iMac to show you how.

    I do waaaaaaaay more than most, full Adobe Creative Suite, Quark 8 + three browsers + Office + everything else on top of that all day with my iMac -- and its a Core 2 Duo 2.4 with 4 gigs of ram. Zips right along happy as can be.

    An i5 will be more than enough.

    Oh, and the HP printer is the cheapest thing ever.

    Mobileme is always $30 off, or more. I paid $65 for it last year from Amazon. $70 right now. http://www.amazon.com/MobileMe-Indi..._1_1?ie=UTF8&s=software&qid=1259575709&sr=8-1
  13. MrCheeto macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    I always buy HP, it works so well with MacOS.

    I use a wireless photosmart, never had a hangup and you can add an ink level widget do your dashboard :D
  14. mgridgaway macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2006
    Yep. I was about to mention that. I'm pretty sure HP's sub-$150 printers are designed to break pretty quickly.

    With that being said I have a cheap HP printer, and it hasn't died for 2 years. Then again, I barely use it.
  15. Mycatisbigfoot macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2009
    get the i7, I am planning on getting it as it is going to be faster, I am running on a mac book at the moment and need the power for vm fusion I am hoping to get one after the holidays are over as they are the worst time to buy stuff. I am planing on get 16gb of ram and 2tb of hdd) All apple

    as I run lots of vms, so i need that ram yea...
  16. willmtaylor macrumors G3


    Oct 31, 2009
    A Natural State
    I don't want to turn this thread into a printer debate, but I've got to add my 2 cents.

    I used to work at a major office supply/electronics retailer, and the printers that people again & again brought back and had problems w/were HP. This has been my personal experience as well.

    W/Apple cpu's, my first pref. is Canon, and my second is Epson. I haven't had any problems w/either and many comparable to HP's have much better reviews online.

    Hope this helps,
  17. panthro macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2009
    Depends in what you do or have plans to do...

    Hello there:

    I faced a similar comparation. To me, boils down to some factors:

    -Raw processor power: Mac Pro
    -Costs: iMac
    -Expandability: Mac Pro
    -Graphics: Even, because the Pro go to a niche and the iMac is a consumer computer
    -As per my subject
    -Trend: Do you want to be in the top of the food chain? (ajaja, joke there!)
  18. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Personally I'd get the quad-core; more future ready. Just bought the quad core i5 myself, and upgraded the RAM to 8GB by buying a 2x2GB kit for $90. I know I don't need 16GB on an iMac, so spending $400 on a 2x4GB kit is kind of pointless to me.
  19. maclook macrumors 65816

    Nov 2, 2008
    Does the iMac come with 2x2gb or 4x1gb? It would be great if it's 2x2 so it is way cheaper to upgrade

    edit: nvm i saw on the apple website that it is 2x2 phew
  20. yadmonkey macrumors 65816


    Aug 13, 2002
    Western Spiral
    No question go with the quad. When you run any single-thread task, that 2.66 GHz proc will automatically overclock itself to 3.2 GHz. And then there is the multi-thread power... no comparison between these procs.

    Then there's the better video card in the i5, which will come in handy for OpenCL down the road. You can up the RAM yourself on the aftermarket on the cheap later and as someone else noted, the best deals are on macconnection.com, where you won't pay tax like you do with Apple.

Share This Page