About to dive in, which iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by andejp12, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. andejp12 macrumors member

    Oct 3, 2007
    Hello all,

    I've wanted a Mac for years now but held off since I was in school as a computer science major and needed windows to make my homework life easier. I finished school this past spring and now I have a lovely work laptop which can take care of my windows needs. So now I'm looking at buying an iMac since I've been jealous of my girlfriends iBook for years now :p

    That being said I'm trying to decide if the extra $250 dollars is really worth the cost to jump up to the 2.8Ghz version. I know that I'm buying extra RAM after market due to the dramatic price difference and that $250 could more than pay for 4 GB of RAM.

    I'm a fairly demanding user of a computer being that I'm a programmer and I love the things :). I will be using Handbrake for converting my DVD's to a lovely iPod compatible format. I will be running emulators to play my old game collection. I will be using the computer for just about anything but image work since I really don't bother with it. That being said I might also have to pick up Command & Conquer 3 since I love that game. Please help someone who's wanted to switch for many years now as I'd greatly appreciate some opinions :)

    P.S. If you don't think it's worth the cost of the processor jump then what are the opinions on the screen size since I could go either way then?
  2. Eric Lewis macrumors 68020

    Eric Lewis

    Feb 4, 2007
    CANADA? eh?
    id say...use the money from the upgrade to 2.8 and get 4gb of ram
  3. basesloaded190 macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    i honestly think that you should just stick with the 2.4 and max out the ram and you should be fairly satisfied. i think that set up will handle whatever you throw at it. you are saving yourself a lot of money as well, so your wallet will be more happy
  4. andejp12 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 3, 2007
    Thanks for the replies so far. Anyone out there have experience with both clockspeeds?

    I used to think that I should just get the best since it'll last me a while but in reality I'll probably end up buying another computer within 2 years (that's just the way I am, and besides none of my PCs have lasted that long :p).
  5. brn2ski00 macrumors 68020


    Aug 16, 2007
    I like your style -- I am the same way. Three months ago I bought the 20" Aluminum iMac and upgraded the RAM to 2GB (Crucial.com). I couldn't be happier.

    My theory is that I only keep the mac for less than 2 years before I flip it for the next newest thing. So I don't feel that buying the top of the line model is the best route for me.
  6. crazycat macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2005
    Extra RAM will have more of an effect on performance then more CPU power. I would say get the extra CPU and then buy the extra RAM when you can afford it.
  7. NewbieNerd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 22, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I'm pretty sure the OP intends to max the RAM (non-Apple) either way. He is just trying to get a feel for whether the 2.8 upgrade justifies $250 more or not for himself.

    I'm in pretty much the exact same boat. I had thought about upgrading to 2.8, but I know I'll probably upgrade to something better in a year or two anyway, so I think I'll pass on the 2.8 upgrade also. Plenty more toys on the wishlist to move onto. :D
  8. crazycat macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2005
    I understood that and what i was trying to say is that he will not see much of a difference between a 2.4 and a 2.8 as much as he would see in extra RAM. It is only worth it if you will be running multiple apps at the same time, you will find it useful then.
  9. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    I agree. Just get the extra RAM and forget about about the processor increase; it isn't worth the price jump.
  10. DesignerOnMac macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2007
    Since your not doing graphics then go with the 2.4 iMac. Max out the RAM. AS for monitor size, the 24" has a better monitor than the 20".
  11. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    The $250 for the CPU upgrade generally isn't a extreme winner, since it doesn't come with a cache bump.

    More like $250 to stroke your ego for 30-90 days until the next generation CPU comes along and blows it away. :p

    And that 50% cache bump in the next gen CPU would definitely be worth $250.
  12. je1ani macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2007
    Stick with the 2.4.. i've had both and can't notice a difference
  13. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    This is precisely why it's never worth buying The Fastest Machine Available. You pay an exorbitant fee to be king of the hill for three months until something better comes along, and your resell value drops in half immediately. In contrast, if you buy something just shy of TFMA, you pay a Lot Less for Nearly The Same Performance. So many people don't get this, and spend hours complaining about Apple's frequent updates.
  14. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

    Feb 2, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    I say if you have the money then go for it. 2.8ghz all the way!
  15. djejrejk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 3, 2007
    Many graphics programs are very CPU intensive. You can always max out the ram, but it would be very difficult (if not impossible) to upgrade the processor. Once again, if you are using programs that are very cpu intensive (photoshop, after effects, etc*), the speed bump will be noticeable.

    That being said, you will not see much of a performance increase (if any) using regular "day to day" apps such as mail, safari, etc*. Many people who complain that they don't notice a speed bump between the 2.0 & 2.8 models are clearly just using those machines to surf the web, write papers and check email.

    The speed increase will be very noticeable when rendering, processing and editing photos and video, especially when using automation to complete large batches.
  16. Woochifer macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2007
    Regardless of the CPU and RAM configuration, you should opt for the 24" LCD panel. This is not so much for the size, but rather because Apple uses a TN panel on the 20" model and a H-IPS panel with the 24" model. H-IPS LCD panels represent the current state-of-the-art among LCD panel designs. They have very wide viewing angles, and true 8-bit color depth. TN panels have more limited viewing angles, color inconsistencies, and are generally used on lower end monitors. This is a step down and a disappointing way for Apple to cut costs on the aluminum iMacs, since the previous 20" white G5 and Intel iMac models used the more expensive S-IPS and S-PVA LCD panels.
  17. matttrick macrumors 6502

    Aug 28, 2006
    CPU without a doubt. you can always add the ram down the line, but that cpu is your cpu, get the most you can afford.
  18. andejp12 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 3, 2007
    Thank you very much Woochifer for really touching on the monitor. I really had no clue about the difference and this has made me justify that increase :).

    As for what I'm doing typically, I'll have an IDE (writing fun programs for myself and others :p), itunes (have to have my tunes on), a text editor (always nice to have a nice pad to throw some random code on), at least one instance of a web browser, and various other things. This is why I will be maxing out my RAM pretty much right away ;)

    I greatly appreciate all of the comments from everyone though, I have heard many great arguments for going with my jut about not seeing the real advantage of having the 2.8 over the 2.4 but I haven't heard a great argument (other then the obvious that I won't be opening my iMac to upgrade the processor (even though I've hacked enough that I'm fairly certain I could pull this off) ) for going with the 2.8 yet so at the moment that's out unless I can be shown otherwise.

    Once again thanks to everyone and if you have anything else to add please do :)

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