Aluminum iMac v. White iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Woochifer, Nov 14, 2007.

  1. Woochifer macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2007
    Given that I bought a white iMac back in March, I was a tad envious (and miffed) when the aluminum iMacs were announced over the summer, sporting those eyecatching metallic finishes, glossy screens (yes, I prefer glossy screens), and ~$300 price cut for comparably configured models. But, that's life in the tech world, and at that time my wife and I needed a new computer. Plus, we'd already been very happily using our iMac for 5 months before the aluminum iMacs arrived in stores.

    Now, I'm wondering if I should count my blessings. Seems that among the Intel iMacs, the aluminum models have more issues with Leopard than the white ones. Also, the aluminum iMacs have the ongoing freezing issues with both Tiger and Leopard. I've also noticed that several retailers still have the 24" white iMacs available for around $1,500 (and they now come with a Leopard upgrade DVD).

    For anyone in the market for an iMac, does it make sense to go with the older models? Here's how I see the pros and cons lining up for each version. (Keep in mind that I'm not assessing the Pros and Cons for design features that the aluminum and white iMacs might have in common -- i.e., the Mighty Mouse, the expansion options or lack thereof, the basic all-in-one design, etc.)

    White Intel iMac


    - matte LCD screen (for those who prefer this option)
    - reportedly higher quality 20" LCD screen
    - sleep indicator (can't imagine not knowing the power status)
    - magnetic remote mount (nice convenience feature that shows attention to detail)
    - proven reliability
    - seemingly fewer reported problems with Leopard than other Mac models
    - 24" iMac uses Nvidia GeForce 7300 GPU (gamers seem to prefer the Nvidia chipsets)

    - slower benchmark performance (800 MHz v. 667 MHz bus speed)
    - USB 1.1 ports in the keyboard
    - horrible keyboard (bad key feel, poorly designed function keys, shows dirt, difficult to clean)
    - plastic case scratches easily
    - 24" iMac still cannot run Boot Camp (a fix is supposedly in the works)

    Aluminum Intel iMac


    - faster benchmark performance with comparable CPUs
    - glossy LCD screen (which I would prefer)
    - improved keyboard (controversial design, but I find it much better than the keyboard that came with the white iMacs)
    - more unified look overall (no big chin, iSight camera nicely hidden)
    - solid feel to the case
    - USB 2.0 ports in the keyboard
    - 256 MB video memory now standard with 2.4 GHz 20" and 24" models
    - option for 2.8 GHz CPU

    - reportedly mediocre 20" LCD quality with narrower viewing angle than previous model
    - no sleep indicator
    - no place to hang the remote
    - random freezes common (purportedly an issue with the GPU)
    - seems to have more issues with Leopard
  2. Mindflux macrumors 68000


    Oct 20, 2007

    Sleep indicator? My sleep indicator is when I mash the keyboard and it either a) wakes up or b) does not. Do we need more dummy lights? Do you prefer a manual transmission vehicle with a shift indicator?

    Remote needs a place to hang? last I checked there is a 6" wide aluminum stand base that fits the remote quite adequately.

    No freezes here.
  3. itsmeok macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2007
    4-th row, 9-th from left
    Based on your categorization of Pros and Cons, and picking the ones that matter, the Aluminium iMac's postives outweigh those of the white one's. However, are these positives worth the $300 increase in price? Well, for me, an outright yes!
  4. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    My advice is keep your white 20" unless you're upgrading to the 24", especially if glossy screen is that important to you. White 20" to Alu 20" is too much of a downgrade.

    I for one am extremely glad the sleep indicator is gone in the Alu iMac, given that it sits in my bedroom. Who wants to watch the blinking light throughout the night? Display off means something is sleeping.
  5. valdore macrumors 65816


    Jan 9, 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri. USA
    Save your money and buy the Alum, and keep the white one.
  6. Woochifer thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2007
    Having gotten used to the sleep indicator light, I would refer to that as a useful feature (and it's especially useful when performing a firmware update). Besides, it's the only indicator on the front panel (aside from the iSight indicator) -- it's not like the iMac looks like some DIY tower PC festooned with LED indicators galore.

    Nope. Would you prefer a car without an oil indicator?

    The stand base is where I tuck the keyboard away -- no room there for the remote. Before I discovered the magnetic remote mount, the remote got knocked off my desk numerous times. It's not a make or break feature, but it's definitely nice to have for people whose desk is as crowded and cluttered as mine gets.

    Actually, the aluminum iMacs cost about $300 less than equivalently configured white iMacs, AND they have the higher benchmark scores, although the $1,500 price on the discontinued 24" white iMac is $500 off. Generally, the aluminum iMacs are a major overall improvement, but these reports of freezing problems (and the apparent downgrade on the 20" LCD panel) make them less of a no brainer than they would otherwise be.
  7. Mindflux macrumors 68000


    Oct 20, 2007
    Considering I've never ever had to rely on my oil indicator I wouldn't miss it if it were gone.
  8. plumosa macrumors regular


    Mar 17, 2007
    I bought an AlumiMac the very first day. I have had no screen issues or freezing. The keyboard is an absolute DREAM! When I'm using the old white iMacs at school I constantly cringe from the gross keyboard and all the extra weight I have to press on the keys.

    I haven't upgraded to leopard yet, but I sincerely doubt I'll have any problems.

    My computer is SO quiet, especially when its sleeping and a simple touch of the keys wakes it up. (however wiggling the mouse does not) The only time I turn off my computer is to restart for an application or if there's a thunderstorm. Not having a power indicator light does not bother me. In fact, I'm glad there isn't one because it would be distracting while watching a movie.

    As for the remote not having a home, well I really don't see the point. There isn't anything the remote can do that your keyboard or mouse can't just as easily. I leave the remote on my nightstand so I can control the settings without having to get up. I mean that's the whole point of a remote right?

    Now for buying a new computer in general, I would wait simply because your computer is still so new. You're not going to get a major update buying either the 24" white or a 20" alumiMac. Obviously if you are dead set on buying a new computer, I'd go with aluminum...
  9. Woochifer thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2007
    Glossy screen's nice, but obviously the matte LCD screen wasn't a dealbreaker when I bought my iMac! :D At that time (and now still), I wish that Apple had a matte or glossy screen option for the iMacs, like they do for the MacBooks.

    I brought up this subject because some Apple resellers still have factory new 24" white iMacs in stock, and they are selling for the same price as the 20" aluminum iMacs (w/ 2.4 GHz CPU). For anyone in the market right now, that's an intriguing choice, since there are tradeoffs on both sides.

    No upgrade plans are in the offing for me. My only short term plans are to trade in my Dell WinXP laptop for a Macbook Pro when I scrape enough funds together. :cool:
  10. je1ani macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2007
    wait 24" C2D white iMacs can't run bootcamp?! WTF!
  11. ryannel2003 macrumors 68000


    Jan 30, 2005
    Greenville, NC
    I love the new aluminum iMac's! They are simply stunning and for me, the pros outweigh the cons. The freezing issue is quite rare and while it looks to be a huge deal, alot of people are just reposting on how they hate their new iMac; it freezes, screen is crappy, blah, blah, blah. It's overhyped to the point of boringness. Had my finances been a little better, i would have ordered myself a 20" 2GHz iMac. However, I struck deal on the Apple refurb page with a 17" White Core 2 Duo iMac and am extremely happy. Waiting until Christmas to open her up, so the anticipation will kill me. One huge improvement over the white models: the damn keyboard. My eMac had the same keyboard and at the time I thought it was great; now, I can't stand it. I'm ordering an Apple bluetooth keyboard and mighty mouse. That will solve that problem. Other than that, the new iMac's are just better machines. Period.

    However, I do like the white sensor on the front of the white iMac's. When I checked out the Al-iMac's, I noticed they didn't have that. Kinda weird. My old eMac had the same light, and after awhile it actually helped put me to sleep. Another great feature is the magnet on the side. However, that would definitely not deter me from purchasing the new model.
  12. rfrankl macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2006
    Some people like one or the other. I think they both look sharp. I have a 24" white iMac and love it. I do think the new Aluminum ones look awesome though, and if I didn't already have a machine, I wouldn't hesitate to get it. For what I do, no need to upgrade at this time. I was concerned with all the freezing posts, etc with the new ones I read about, but I still think those are a small number of machines versus the overall number sold. Usually only people with a problem post, while the large number without a problem don't.
  13. rfrankl macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2006
    Mine does!
  14. jstad macrumors regular


    Jun 13, 2007
    Having just comtemplated a white 24" imac or the the new alum. ones. Here is what I have found. Be the white iMac is cheaper and all that, it has the matte screen which I do not perfer (the only valid reason to perfer it is if you are dealing with print graphics where true color matters, no the enhanced look you get from glossy screens). The video card on the new 24" models (ATi card) is DirectX 10 compatible which is a big plus for longevity of the product (in the windows market). Also the 256MB of video RAM is a plus since you do not have to pay extra for it. One thing I did note is that the card appears as the XT model in Windows Vista, not the Pro model listed on the website.

    For me the big selling point was the 1GB only using 1 slot which makes for a cheaper upgrade to 2GB or 3GB, the 7300GT was always just a sub-average card, where as the 2600 HD XT is (one of) the midrange gaming champs at the moment for budget gamers. The 7300 never had that title, but the 7600GT did but that was a premium upgrade.

    The graphics and RAM configuration was the two big selling points for me, the fact it was Aluminum was just a plus, and the other "features" are a wash for me. The $300 difference I will regain whenever I decide to resell the computer anyway, thanks to Apple's high resale value :)
  15. Woochifer thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2007
    Totally agreed. I'd always hated the keyboard that came with my iMac (and plenty of visible crud had already accumulated inside the transparent keyboard after just two months of use), and was actually very happy when my wife spilled coffee on it and fried it. The aluminum keyboard has great touch feel, and I like the spacing much better.

    The only keyboards that I like better are the more tactile keyboards like the old IBM Model M, Apple Extended, or Northgate Omnikey keyboards. (The Matias Tactile Pro is the equivalent model currently available for Macs)

    It's not a power indicator, but a sleep indicator. It only turns on when the computer's asleep or the screen powers down ("pulsing" indicator means it's asleep, solid indicator means that the system's on with either a screen saver or blank screen). It's also used during firmware updates. Apple actually obsessed quite a bit over this seemingly inocuous feature, using a firmware update to dim the indicator on the original G5 iMacs, and later on installing a light sensor to dim the sleep indicator whenever the room is dark. Personally, I find it handy because it tells me right there whether the computer's on, asleep, or off whenever the screen's blank.

    Like I said earlier, if your desk is as cluttered as mine gets, it's very easy to lose that remote or knock it onto the floor considering how small it is (I've lost some other keyfob/credit card sized remotes). I don't always use Front Row, but whenever I do, it's nice to know that the remote will always be mounted on the lower right side of the computer. As I indicated, it's a convenience feature, nothing make or break but yet another detail that Apple thought about and nobody else did.
  16. psychofreak Retired


    May 16, 2006
    Thats just not true - all Macs with Intel processors can run Boot Camp :)
  17. Woochifer thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2007
  18. Cybergypsy macrumors 68040


    May 16, 2006
    Central Florida!
    Still love the G4 imacs but if i had to pick one the white would be it,,,,the alum. one is fugly!
  19. Killyp macrumors 68040


    Jun 14, 2006
    I'd wait and then upgrade. Wait for the mk2 version of the alu iMac to come out, it'll be far more reliable.

    Other than the reliability, the new iMacs have no disadvantage over the older ones IMO, the lack of a sleep light is an advantage to me (stops my whole room pulsating at night like with my MBP).

    I also don't keep my remote control right next to my computer, as that defeats the point in a remote control ;)
  20. GSMiller macrumors 68000


    Dec 2, 2006
    I know, I'm confused :confused: Why not?

    Anyway, I love my white 20" iMac. I was a bit envious too when the new aluminum ones were released but I dunno I just think the white looks better. The aluminum keyboard is much improved though and it looks great alongside my white iMac. :)

    If I had the money I'd snap up one of the discounted 24" white ones in an instant!
  21. Woochifer thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2007
    I would tend to agree with you on that, as my upgrade to Leopard went relatively smoothly with none of the installation issues being reported on this and other sites (my installation had other issues, but nothing fatal ... well, nothing that couldn't be recovered from my backup drive). Aside from the very commonly reported Disk Utility bug and occasional beachball hangups, my system with Leopard is running faster and more responsively than before. That said, there are still enough bugs in Leopard to necessitate the upcoming 10.5.1 update, and apparently these freezing complaints have also warranted software updates from Apple.
  22. je1ani macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2007
    the thing I like about the white ones is the big "iMac" behind the screen ;)
  23. gorby macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2007
    Here's how I compared the two-- I only switched to Apple about 2 weeks ago.

    Initially, I was going to get the 20" Alu (I'm on somewhat of a budget)-- but the bad press (on the forums got to me). So that plan was nixed. On to the 24".

    While the 24" screens were acknowledged as better, they still had too many reported problems. So I took a long and hard look between an Alu 24 vs. White 24:

    And after owning it for 2 weeks, I do think there are a few minor CONS to the white.... mainly I think the ability to have more RAM on the Alu is the one think I'd want. Other than that....nothing really. I mean, faster proc is a faster proc. But I'm not experiencing any performance issues. Wireless n? ...honestly have no use for it.

    And best of all, I have no screen issues and it hasn't froze on me once, and I'm loving the matte screen.

    OH WOW, I just realized I must've gotten an upgrade video card? It's supposed to come with the nvidia 7300, but I got the 7600GT. Gosh, I love this thing.
  24. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2007
    I have a white 24" Core 2 Duo iMac, and it's been running bootcamp just fine since October of 2006. (when I purchased it)

    I think this comes down to personal preference - the performance boosts among the "common" models, is relatively negligible. Yes, the increased bus speed, and 4GB memory addressing is obviously more powerful - but 90% of imac users likely would be hard pressed to find it a gap too wide.

    The white imac has grown on me, every other appliance I own looks like the current imac. (black, metal and shiny)

    My imac stands out on my desk - which is nice change.

    If I'm not mistaken - every 24" imac made, has a wireless N wifi radio. Just with the older white imacs - you need to pay Apple 5 dollars or some stupid amount - to "enable" it. Which, I have yet to do - because I'm running hardline anyhow.
  25. gorby macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2007
    BTW, to the OP - if you actually prefer a glossy screen, I think that should put you right over.

    You can go back and forth on a lot of things, but hell, if you prefer glossy, looks like Alu is it.

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