Below is a transcript from a chat I had with someone over at the apple online store. Im trying to decide between the $1199 imac, and the $1499 imac. The larger hard drive is of no relevance to me, since I have 2TB of external storage already and I only keep current projects on my machine. So the question I had is about the graphics card. As a graphic designer and web developer, this is obviously important. Im trying to figure out if its worth the upgrade to the radeon HD model. A few things to note, here. This machine will not be used for gaming. Nor will it be used for watching movies - purely a work machine. My idea is to get the $1199 model - without the dedicated graphics card, and upgrade to 8GB of RAM. Photoshop, Illustrator, Firefox, Safari, WDT and CODA are always open on my machine. The question is, is a dedicated graphics card even necessary or are they simply trying to sell me a more expensive option? My argument was that if any of my applications are struggling to render graphics, they have an ample memory pool to pull resources from, therefore making the extra 256MB dedicated to the card somewhat irrelevant. Im not sure if this is how works, but I struggled to get an answer. APPLE You are chatting with XXXXXX, an Apple Expert APPLE Hi, my name is XXXXX. Welcome to Apple! APPLE Good evening. APPLE How may I assist you today? ME hi, i have a question about imacs APPLE I'm happy to assist. ME i am looking at the 3.06 21.5 inch imac listed at $1199 versus the one at $1499, what advantages would the HD graphics card have for someone who would use the machine solely for graphic design and web development? APPLE The NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics is an integrated graphics card for everyday graphics. The ATI Radeon HD 4670 is a dedicated graphics card for high-end graphics card for gaming, graphic design, video editing, etc. APPLE It will give you better performance for graphic design. ME performance how? ME if you could give me an example of the difference in photoshop, for instance. APPLE With integrated graphics (ie. no separate graphics card), the system has to dedicate some of its memory to graphics generation. Dedicated graphics cards have their own memory to drive the graphics, leaving the system memory to handle the computation. Dedicated graphics cards are superior in almost every aspect. APPLE By taking this task away from the main processor, a dedicated graphics processor also makes the entire system faster and more responsive. ME would it be more viable to install more ram, 8 gig, versus the standard 4? this would mean a larger memory pool to run graphics and eliminate the need for a self driven card? APPLE I would still recommend dedicated graphics card. It won't be the same with 8GB. APPLE When are you planning to place your order? We do have some great promotions you can take advantage of right now. ME When i figure out what the best option is. Im trying to understand why a dedicated card would be better if the graphics have 8GB of memory to pool whatever the program needs from, versus 256 dedicated. ME Also, i dont see any promotions on the site. ME apart from the credit card offer APPLE Thanks for waiting. I'll be right with you. APPLE Getting a dedicated graphics card means it has its own RAM and doesn’t share with the main system. This will make graphic design software run much faster. ME but if the main system has more ram anyways, whats the difference? APPLE I'm happy to explain... APPLE When the dedicated card has its own ram, it processes the information faster and easier. It helps your processor run at optimal speed At this point I had to leave my desk, so I ended the conversation. Although informative, I didnt get a specific answer and felt like he danced around the point. Also, since CS4 doesnt render in HD (print colors would be unreliable for a start) what is the true advantage to me (if any) of this card? my apologies for the long post!! any help is appreciated!!