Advice Wanted: 21in or 27in

Dezlboy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 10, 2008
227
47
Hi....I could use some advice. Choice is between 21in or 27in. Decision depends on required RAM, RAM upgradability, and monitor readability.

My uses are non-professional. Web browsing (ten tabs simultaneously at most), email, Word, Excel. No Photoshop, video graphics, games, or number crunching.

Choices are (only difference is amount of RAM) (not concerned with different specs for video card/vram).

21 inch
  • 3.4GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz
  • 16GB 2400MHz DDR4
  • 256GB SSD
27 inch
  • 3.4GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz
  • 8GB 2400MHz DDR4
  • 256GB SSD

Question 1: For my uses and for "future proofing" is 16GB adequate? My guess is 8GB is currently adequate, thus the 27 inch allows me to purchase 8GB and upgrade to 16GB and above, if ever required. The 21 inch "forces" me to "future proof" to 16GB with no easy option to increase further. Some say "future proof", maybe it's "peace of mind proof"

Question 2: For my uses (web pages, email, Word) is the screen presentation between the 21 inch and 27 inch that much different? Am I correct that the text on the 27 inch (5120‑by‑2880 resolution) will be smaller than the 21 inch (4096-by-2304 resolution); and both smaller than the 19 inch i use now? I use two 19 inch monitors now, because sometimes I am doing web research while typing a Word doc on the other screen. So, after buying the iMac I always have the option of adding an old 19 inch monitor and having two monitors. (But, this second monitor option is not an absolute necessity).

Thus, the question is....is the 27 inch while great for graphics and photography, etc, not the best option for my uses?

Finally, ....The cost of either option is about the same, and price isn't the deciding factor. Thus I think the deciding factor may be the visual differences as to which is easier to read web pages, words, etc. Also, I considered the Mac Mini. But, prefer to have computer AND monitor covered by Applecare for three years, and prefer the all in one design.

Thanks for reading this....!
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
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6,962
Yes, the 8 GB should be adequate for your use case now, and can be upgraded later on. I recommend the 27" (21.5" is a bit on the small side for a desktop), but wait until 2019 if you can (expecting a refresh which could be major).
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
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Apple has given no reason to expect one anytime soon.
The reason is that the current iMac is still using last year's processors, which are outperformed by the i5 / i7 Mac mini and 15" MacBook Pro, and is also missing the T2 coprocessor found in both those Macs.

But I too wish Apple would refresh Macs in a timely manner, instead of selling outdated hardware for months or sometimes even years between refreshes. The current iMac is outdated hardware.
 

mreg376

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2008
1,120
309
Brooklyn, NY
The reason is that the current iMac is still using last year's processors, which are outperformed by the i5 / i7 Mac mini and 15" MacBook Pro, and is also missing the T2 coprocessor found in both those Macs.

But I too wish Apple would refresh Macs in a timely manner, instead of selling outdated hardware for months or sometimes even years between refreshes. The current iMac is outdated hardware.
I think you missed the point. #mikehalloran did not say there was no reason to update the iMac. He said APPLE has given no reason why the iMac has not been updated. He is correct.
 

jerwin

macrumors 68020
Jun 13, 2015
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The optimum screen size does depend on what sort of writing you'll be doing. For me, writing is a sort of a collating process, and I need to look at several sources simultaneously. (source documents, maps, tables, computer models...)
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,395
6,962
I think you missed the point. #mikehalloran did not say there was no reason to update the iMac. He said APPLE has given no reason why the iMac has not been updated. He is correct.
Apple has given us a reason to expect one soon, which I wanted to clarify. Two, actually: T2 coprocessor and Coffee Lake Intel as featured in the new Mac mini.

Apple has not given us a reason for why the iMac hasn't been refreshed, but that is irrelevant to the discussion. It could be they're working on a redesign to bring iMac Pro features to the consumer iMac (such as going SSD-only with improved cooling), but at this point it's only speculation.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,160
5,520
OP wrote:
"Choice is between 21in or 27in."

The LAST THING you'll ever hear an owner of a 27" iMac say:
"Gee, I wish I'd bought the 21" model instead...."
 
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Dezlboy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 10, 2008
227
47
As to the original question: How old are you? Eyes get old. Old eyes like larger screens.
Thanks for getting back to original question. Eyes are fine. :)

On the larger screen (27" vs 21")....is the text (web page use mostly) different size?
 

Dezlboy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 10, 2008
227
47
27 for sure.
psymac....is the text on web pages smaller on the larger monitor? I have no issues with my vision. So, asking just for the normal comfort level. I'm used to 1920 x 1800 at work on 21 inch screen.
 

Dezlboy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 10, 2008
227
47
Larger for me, as I don't use the default 2560x1440 but scale to the larger text version of 2048x1152.
Duh! on me! Didn't know it was so easy to change resolutions. Thanks for the picture! It's looking more and more like the 27" inch w/8 RAM (with easy upgrade if needed).

thanks all!
 

Mikeske

macrumors newbie
Jan 14, 2012
24
2
Washington
For me it was the 27" iMac and I am also a light user with 8GB Ram upgrade. Since I already had a 2nd 27" Apple Cinema Display I got a adapter for it and use it as a 2nd monitor. I am older and having the larger size makes it much easier to read and see details that the smaller screen size would be more difficult. No matter if you are younger you will still appreciate the larger size.
 

Tor Eckman

macrumors regular
Jul 15, 2010
106
344
If you have the desk size and the money, get the 27. For your stated use, any current iMac will work great for the next 10 years.
 

LaloG

macrumors regular
Mar 29, 2013
100
26
I ordered the base model 3.4 i5 with a 512 SSD. Now I’m thinking twice after speaking with the wife. She’s a photographer and she worries about storage space. The price for this set up is about $2300 with tax from Apple. I can order the top i5 3.8 option from Apple with 2 TB fusion drive for $2150 from B and H. It’s a tough choice but I’m leaning towards the fusion drive. Less fights with the wife about using an external drive :)
 

jerwin

macrumors 68020
Jun 13, 2015
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It rather depends on how much speed she actually needs. Photographers do shoot video, after all.

A Fusion drive however, is inferior to a 512 GB SSD plus external storage.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,160
5,520
Lalo worte:
"I can order the top i5 3.8 option from Apple with 2 TB fusion drive for $2150 from B and H. It’s a tough choice but I’m leaning towards the fusion drive."

No, no NO, you do not want to do this!
DO NOT buy an iMac with a fusion drive at this point in time.
Get a "straight SSD" instead!

If you need more storage, get an EXTERNAL USB3 drive (either HDD or SSD).
Your wife can store her photo library on the external drive.
Boot and run from the SSD. Her photo editing app will work fine while accessing originals from the external.

Of course, make sure that if you buy an external that will serve as a "primary storage drive" for data, that you buy A SECOND DRIVE and use that for backup.
 
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LaloG

macrumors regular
Mar 29, 2013
100
26
I think I’ve convinced her. Keeping the 512 SSD base iMac 27”. Ordered a Samsung T5 1TB external for storage.
 
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