Advice needed - Graphics card for new iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by s1m, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. s1m macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2008
    Hi all

    Now that Apple has finally released new iMacs I am planning to upgrade from my 2005 iMac G5 with 2GB of ram and the base level graphics card.

    I plan to use my iMac for basic video editing, torrent downloading, real time/turn based strategy games and general home office type stuff.

    I am planning to get the 2.93GHz 24in with 4GB of RAM. I don't plan to upgrade the HDD as I prefer to use external storage.

    So it comes to the question of the graphics card. As above I think most of my intense graphics usage will be video editing (home videos mostly) and RTS/Turn based gaming - possibly running XP to play them (not online) and the disappointment I had with the bottom end graphic card in the original iMac I am weighing up the value proposition of upgrading the graphics card and am looking for advice on whether to go mid level or top end.

    The options (as I am sure many of you know) are:

    # NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 256MB
    # NVIDIA GeForce GT 130 512MB [Add A$ 270.00]
    # ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB [Add A$ 380.00]

    So any guidance on whether there is real value in going top end (in reality only an extra $110 from what I plan to pay anyway) would be really helpful.


  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    You're Aussie, right?

    Listen, you're already paying a lot for a (VERY nice) computer, and you don't seem to suggest that AUD $110 more is that big a deal, so if I were you, I'd get the best video card and forget about it rather than going for the GT 120 or GT 130 and worrying about whether it'll play this or that.

  3. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    Putting it another way, you're buying into a paean to style over function. Since any card you pick will be compromised especially in the form factor of the iMac, just pick the least compromised of the lot (i.e. the ATI) to lengthen it's effective life. That is if it doesn't break down first.
  4. Mr. Giver '94 macrumors 68000

    Mr. Giver '94

    Jun 2, 2008

    others=meh (shared memory)
  5. MasterNile macrumors 65816


    Apr 9, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    Have you considered getting a refurbished older top of the line?

    EDIT: nevermind if you're from Aussie I believe they don't have any iMacs on their refurb store
  6. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    Hi s1m - if you can stretch to it, I think you should get the ATI card, too. You're never going to be changing it once you've bought it, so it'll give you maximum headroom for the future, hopefully making your fantastic new iMac be useful for longer.

    Sesshi - do you have some sort of documentation that suggests the new iMac's or the ATI card are going to break down with some sort of alarming regularity? Or was that just an opinionated slur just for the hell of it?
  7. Mr. Giver '94 macrumors 68000

    Mr. Giver '94

    Jun 2, 2008
    That's a good option too. I love my setup. The NVIDIA 8800 GeForce doesn't suffer from the problems the new integrated ones do.

    edit nevermind ^^^^^ same deal with refurbs
  8. s1m thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2008
    Thanks all (well some). I think I will go top of the line. Thankfully half the cost is funded by some free vouchers :)

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