Base 21.5 and High End 27 best value in iMac lineup?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by JS77, May 20, 2011.

  1. JS77 macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2008
    I've yet to pull the trigger on a new iMac and the main reason is that Apples pricing structure seems to make either the base 21.5 or the high end 27 the better value machines, when compared to the 2 "in the middle".

    I feel like the 27 is just too big, but everytime I view a 21.5 in store it looks so tiny compared to everything else! I'm also drawn to the 1gb video card in the high 27, but I'm not sure if the premium in price is worth paying for the extra video oomph (I do plan on gaming via bootcamp, but that's not a primary requirement).

    I'm leaning towards the base 21.5 (which I'll upgrade to 8/12gb myself) as it just seems the better value...

    ....but my god that 27 screen is sexy... :eek::confused:
  2. sinser macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2003
    Yesterday i was talking about that with a friend of mine. We both agreed that maybe Apple produces the 21.5 and shows it side by side with the 27" just to make it look much smaller than how it really is, thus driving the purchase towards the bigger one :D
  3. iSayuSay macrumors 68030


    Feb 6, 2011
    What??? 21.5" iMac is almost the biggest screen on apple store

    Bigger than 21.5" iMac: 27" iMac, 27" & 30" Apple Cinema Display

    Smaller than 21.5" iMac: everything else (all macbooks, iPods, iPhone)

    21.5" is tiny compared to anything else?? ... U must be joking, right? :D
  4. smiddlehurst macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2007
    Honestly I think that the base 21 and base 27 are the best value for money options. The high end 27 is a really nice machine but £250 extra for a slight processor bump and a better graphics card really is taking the mickey a tad.

    Of those two the base 27 is ridiculously good value considering the screen you get but, after brielfy having one (faulty screen on a BTO... not impressed Apple) there are definately some compromises. I'm used to high def screens but certain things weren't comfortable on the 27" iMac. Most obvious was Gmail, ridiculously small font and had to increase size a couple of times in the browser before I was comfortable. As aways though your mileage may vary, I'd say make sure you try before you buy on the bigger screen though.
  5. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Its all a bit subjective, anyway. What's the best value mostly depends on your preferences and intended uses of the machine. The mac business unit of my local apple store suggested the base 27" rather than the high end one.

    Rather says a lot, that they didn't try to steer me towards the more expensive option.
  6. JS77 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2008
    HeHe... sorry, what I meant was that the 21.5 is always put next to a 27 or 30 display, making it feel so small and cramped compared to the bigger screens :)

    Exactly! And it's starting to work on me... !

    Hmmm, my concern with the base 27 is that it has the same graphics card as the higher 21.5. As it has more pixels to push at native res in gaming etc, it makes sense (in my head at least but I could be wrong) to get the better graphics card IF you do go for a 27...

    Damn you Apple for making me think so hard!
  7. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    A couple of years back I went to a Conn's looking for a tv for the bedroom. Found a good deal on a 720 32" inch LCD on the phone, and looked at it in the showroom. Sitting on a shelf beside ones twice it's size, I thought it looked tiny, but I was determined not to spend $2K on a TV. Brought it home, and it looked ginormous in the TV hutch.

    It was clear apple was doing the same thing with the iMacs, but I went in wanting the bigger display for its ability to have two documents side by side at 200%.
  8. jborko macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2011
    This conversation is right on spot for me too. Same story here...
    Yesterday I went to the store with a friend and played a bit with both 21.5 and 27. And I noticed the same. Side by side 21.5 seems so small that I am leaning towards 27.

    But then I started to take into consideration multiple factors, like store size, desk size, empty space, crowd inside outside.

    So I asked a question how will this look like on my small desk at home?
    Will it be really a huge gain to have large screen in a small room?
    What about the lighting and the ambient?

    Then what is most important is the workspace you gain with 27...
    Is it really required? If yes for what? Will I do Video, Photo (cause these are the most space consuming activities)

    Both screens look very nice, and details are really outstanding.
    My friend was overwhelmed with the 27 and he was pushing my decision towards the bigger screen, I on the other side want to choose good value and perhaps spend the rest of the money on something else.

    I personally still have not made the choice...

    According to benchmarks the performance gain between models is not that significant and I am sure I will be OK with the base model (I will mostly work with Photos and some minor Video Editing, no gaming, no intensive 3D or graphics work). Only decision for me is 21.5 vs 27? What to choose. It's hard earned money, so I do not really like to give them to Apple without realizing the benefit I personally will gain from the 27.

    Beauty, resolution, quality, size, workspace for 500 bucks? Worth it? Not convinced even after playing with it yesterday for 30 min.

    Second factor to which I am still expecting an answer is if 21.5 has place inside for an SSD that I might consider putting there in the future. So this is pro towards 27.

    I know my self and at the end I think I will buy the 27 but still I have to try to be reasonable and justify the need... and I am not convinced yet...
  9. MACza macrumors member

    May 10, 2011
    I have the 21.5" and very happy with it it does look bigger when at home and not standing next to the 27", hahahaha! :D

    I had a spare Samsung 23" monitor from my retired PC and I am running that as well, so have the 2 displays side-by-side - so I have a heck of a lot of screen real-estate for much cheaper. And the fonts are not miniscule ;)
  10. smiddlehurst macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2007
    Heh, at least you're thinking carefully about your next computer purchase :D As for the graphics card thing, yes the upgraded one is helpful in the 27" but you do pay WAY too much for it all things considered. Comes down to how much gaming you're gonna be doing on the thing as to how much the extra grunt is worth to you personaly.

    Gotta say after spending a fair bit of time on this decision over the last couple of weeks I do think Apple have been stingy on the high end 27". For the money you're paying it really ought to be the core i7 CPU as standard, the 3.1Ghz i5 just isn't a major boost for most people in regular use.
  11. Kerel macrumors member

    May 19, 2011
    Weimar Germany
    I still think the base 21" is the best value overall and the high end 21" as the worst.
    I really don´t see the point of buying the high end 21" unless you need/want other upgrades.
    If Apple would have made the base model a dual core i3 2100 it would have made sense.
    I still don´t understand why they put a quad core in the base model?
    The base Macbook pro is also still a dual core and the i3 2100 is a good processor.

    I would say both 27" are equally good value.
    The Base 27" just because of the screen.
    And if you like games the high end is the one to get!
    They really have put a nice videocard in that one.
  12. Lankyman macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2011
    I had this conundrum and solved it this way. In the UK we have DSR (Distance Selling Regulations) which gives the consumer the right to return a product for any reason and get a full refund including postage etc. providing you notify within 7 days that this is what you want to do.

    I therefore decided to order both the 21.5" and the 27" models. When they arrived I set them both up. My immediate thoughts on the 21.5" was that whilst it looked OK it was a tad small. However, the 27" was a different story as it looked huge on my not insignificant sized desk. It was in fact way to big in my opinion and I sent it back. I still think the 21.5" is to small and would have loved Apple to include a 24" in their line up which I consider to be the sweet spot.

    It is one of the reasons I have never been 100% happy with my iMac.
  13. laurenr macrumors 6502a

    Jan 9, 2008
    My thoughts exactly. I presently have a Mac Pro with. 23" Cinema Display that is 3 years old and am looking to replace it with an iMac. The 27" just seems way too large for my desk, and the 21" woukd be going down in size from my present configuration.:(
  14. JS77 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2008
    Actually, when you put it like that it really does make the base 21.5 the best value for money in this case...

    Instead of thinking "why doesn't the high end 27 have more etc", I should be thinking "wow, look at what the base 21.5 DOES have!" :p

    Yep, I'm thinking I'm leaning towards the base 21.5 again...
  15. Icy1007 macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    I've been using a 24" monitor for the last 2 years and I couldn't use anything smaller for desktop purposes. So by that logic, I HAVE to get the 27" :D
  16. JS77 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2008
    Good post, and now you've got me thinking about the 27 again lol
  17. Kerel macrumors member

    May 19, 2011
    Weimar Germany
    I´m having the same problem as you have. I want to buy my first imac in the next few days. The base model looks best value but is just a bit to small especially compared next to the 27" model.

    If i buy the 27" i really want and need the HD6970m just for the casual gaming!
    But i really don´t need the real estate. My screen would look "empty" most of the time and it would look like i wasted my money.

    choices, choices, choices....

    But i´m pretty much shore i´ll buy the 21".
    It would hurt less if i made the wrong choice with the 21" then the 27".
    And it´s always easy´er to upgrade then to downgrade.
  18. jborko macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2011
    At the end it will all be personal decision. I talk to friends about my decision but deep down I know what I WANT (not need), and I think that I will work to get that. As for the money... They come and go, and if you have no other priorities, then what the hell... Why not treat your self something extra ordinary once in 5 years ;)
  19. Clint007 macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2011
    Montréal, PQ.
    In for 21" here is why:

    Because aging, I have to wear glasses.
    I'm in my lap iBook 13" since years. Now, it's time to upgrade.
    But I saw the 21 & 27" and it is the same size of letter on Internet top information where you put your visible favorites (with Safari or Firefox) on top.

    I mean the information is the same size in letters on all format!!

    So no use to get a bigger 27" mainly we have to put the monitor farther because of the giant screen and the informations are not bigger; if I go for a big 27", I will have to have a new pair of glasses $$$$ adapted to the farther distance of the screen.
    N.B. If I do Apple+ it is the text i'm enlarging but not the title of the Internet.:mad:
  20. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    I'm getting the high end 21.5. I prefer the smaller screen size, but I wanted the faster graphics card and SSD option. Honestly, all I really want with the 27"er is the high end graphics card, but it's not worth it to upgrade just for that (I'm a pretty casual gamer).
  21. laurenr macrumors 6502a

    Jan 9, 2008
    Reading all the posts in this thread, where for some the 27" screen might be too large, the 21" too small, and the quandary that comes with this in making the right choice, makes me wonder WHAT was Apple thinking in not offering an iMac in the 23/24" range?? I was at the Apple Store a few days ago, looking at the iMacs. Just in the few minutes I was standing there, 3 people asked if there was a size "in the middle" of their two units.:confused:

    If I wait another 6 months or so, I wonder what the chances are of a mid-sized iMac???:rolleyes:
  22. jborko macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-gb) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Yeah. Absolutely. I would have so bought the 24"
  23. jborko macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2011
    Update from me...

    I pulled the plug today and bought the 27" 2.7
    It is great thing to have. It is huge at home on a small desk, and I feel that it is difficult for my eyes... I am sitting approximately 70 cm away, and still I think its huge... I have no regrets at this stage, but I have still much to explore.

    But for photos + videos definitely this is the model you want. 21.5 would have been small.

    I still have not tried too many things but benchmarks are more/less accurate.
    Like time for mp3 conversion, movie conversion photo import etc.
  24. jrasero23 macrumors newbie

    Jun 2, 2011

    Not that Macworld is be all end all way to judge a purchase but they declared the 21.5" to be one of the best values. Macworld has stated, "The $1199 entry-level 21.5-inch 2.5GHz Core i5 iMac offers the most bang for the buck, keeping up with its more expensive siblings in most tasks." Just Because the entry level iMac doesn't have an i7 don't think it's not fast. Macworld found it was nearly 24 percent faster overall than last year's entry-level 21.5-inch iMac, which had a 3.06GHz Core i3 dual core processor. Furthermore, this years entry level beat out the last year's high end configuration, a 27-inch 2.8GHz Core i5 quad core iMac by nearly 10 percent. In this case. Additionally Macworld noted that performance wise the entry level performs fairly well compared to the higher end iMacs by stating: "Surprisingly, when compared to each other, the new iMacs logged similar performance numbers. In fact, only 12 Speedmark points separate the entry-level $1199 21.5-inch 2.5GHz Core i5 iMac and the top-of-the-line $1999 27-inch 3.1GHz Core i5 iMac." I would have to agree because I bought one lol Performance wise the base model is only a few points off the higher end models. I thought Apple would have put an i3 in the entry level iMac but instead they put a powerful i5. The only downside about the entry level would be the meager 500GB but you can get around that by external hardrives, living in the cloud, or changing the hard drive.

    The 27" is simply an awesome size and stunning but I keep on reading complaints about screen defects. 21.5" back in the day used to be big but now a days the average all in one is at least 22"+

    People say the 27" makes a great multimedia PC but in my opinion why do you want to watch a movie on a 27" screen when you have a home theatre PC or why would you want to listen to music on the iMacs weak speakers? I hooked up my 23" samsung HD monitor to my iMac 21.5" screen which in theory is way bigger than the 27" iMac, but yet again you could hook up two 30" monitors to the 27" iMac.

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