Advice for new iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by capn00, Aug 10, 2007.

  1. capn00 macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2007
    I am debating which iMac configuration I should go for, I would be getting the educational discount, so software may figure in. Here is the realistic set of functions I will be performing (we have our first child on the way so it is family focused but obviously the budget is a concern). Also, main reason for switch to Mac is for ease of use. I really want my wife to feel comfortable editing video and updating a webpage:

    - 40% Photo editing (jpeg and RAW) considering Aperture due to 50% edu. discount. Shooting with DSLR.
    - 20% Video Editing (HD home movies from a Canon HV20). Would iMovie and iDVD suffice for this work? Nothing fancy, just nice home movies that can be burned to DVD,shared online, sent to IPOD, etc. No professional films here.
    - 25% Web browsing and SIMPLE web design. Would like to put together a small website with movies and pictures of the family. Thought iWeb would be a perfect fit here.
    - 5% Simple music editing. Wife is a dance teacher so she is always performing simple mixing and cutting functions for dances (is there a good simple music editing program for Mac for this funtion? She currently uses SoundForge on the PC).
    - 10% general use

    My main question relates to the video card and processor. Is the upgraded 20" needed for the Video editing described above? This would be our first mac (since a MacPlus in elementary school) and I am trying to make a budget decision. I don't need the 24" model because we have a ViewSonic LCD that will match if more real estate is needed.

    Should we go for the low-end model with Aperture and a larger hard drive, or the upgraded 20" for increased processor speed and better video card?

    What say you Macrumors?
    - 20" at 2.4, 320GB, 2600Pro, no extra software - $1,399 (w/ edu disc.)
    - 20" at 2.0, 500GB, 2400XT, Aperture - $1,432 (w/ edu disc)

    Thanks ahead for any replies. Sorry for the length of this post...
  2. pianoman macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2006
    i'm not sure the extra .4GHz justifies the extra cost of the first configuration. the configuration that includes Aperture seems to be the better deal because (a) it's comparatively cheaper and (b) it includes the application you said you need. if you need Aperture, how can you even consider the first option if it doesn't include that app?

    i'm no expert on graphics cards but whatever is in my Core Duo MBP works fine for light movie editing in iMovie (similar to what you described) and other graphic-related tasks. i know people who use a MacBook and do video editing just fine.

    i think all the iMacs come with 1GB RAM standard now; i suggest upgrading to 2GB.
  3. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    I second the 2GB of RAM. NOT THROUGH APPLE!!!

    As for the hard drive you could get a 500GB external (Firewire) through for that $134 and keep your internal 250GB or swap them around.

    As for the Photo editing I would suggest Photoshop since you can purchase educational discounted items you can find Photoshop for far less than normal retail price. It just isn't discounted in the Apple Store but there are numerous educational retailers online. Or just go to your college bookstore.

    This last point really depends on your intentions for photo editing. As each program has its own distinct functions. Photoshop is designed for thorough editing and manipulation of individual files. While the impression I have gotten for Aperture is that it is designed for batch processing and organization.

    Though I am sure other forum members whom are professional image editors can give a much more thorough comparison of Photoshop's and Aperture's functions.
  4. capn00 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2007
    After a little more reading, it sounds like I should just use the included iPhoto '08 for photo organization, and then I could just pickup Photoshop Essentials for RAW editing cheaper than Aperture.

    I guess I just want to make sure that the included video card with the lower end model is adequate for HD Movie editing. It seems like it should be but I will most likely have this machine for years, and I can just open the thing up and switch out cards...

    Cheaper is better, I just don't want to short change myself here. But, if I can get the lower end model, purchase the additional RAM through MacSales, and an additional hard drive for the same cost of the next model alone, I should go that way.

    Still looking for more opinions though, don't be shy.
  5. Muncher macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2007
    velocityg4 is completely right. Aperture is much closer to Adobe's Lightroom than Photoshop. If I were you, I wouldn't rule out the free programs out there, and you might want to keep an eye on Pixelmator's progress. As for now, the best free photo editor is the GIMP.

    Oh, and one other thing. If you're looking for an upgradable machine, the new imac is NOT your friend. memory you can upgrade, you can get an external hard drive, but you'll have to take the screen off to get to the logic board, and even then, the video card might be soldered on.
  6. capn00 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2007

    Wow, I just read my last post, one t can make all the difference in the world behind the tone of a post.

    I meant to say that I can't open the case and switch the card out, so I need to make the correct decision now...

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