base 21.5 vs base 27 (realistic difference)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mrbrycel, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. mrbrycel macrumors member

    May 18, 2010
    I've heard people say a few different times "not to even consider the base imac for video editing". Why is this? I'm really trying to weigh out the needs vs. wants. I don't really even want a 27" display (I'm satisfied 21.5), but I don't want to get less than I need in the computer itself.

    Processor: 2.7 i5 vs 2.9 i5, how much difference will I really see?

    HDD: 5400rpm vs 7200rpm, does it make much of a difference if I'm editing footage a 7200rpm external drive?

    RAM: Will I really need more than 8GB later? I'm currently making due with 1GB RAM, and although I desperately need more, I don't see myself needing that much more.

    Is there anything else I should compare?

    I'm not looking for a super editing system, but i'd like to get a new iMac as a 2nd machine to my 07 Mac Pro (two 2.66ghz intel xeon). The most strenuous thing I'll be doing is some 1080p FCP 7 editing, a little photoshop, and some occasional 4k/5k RED footage converting to 1080p (although I don't mind how long the exports take).

    Can I really justify shelling out $500 more for the base 27"? Or would I be fine with the base 21.5?
  2. TrboMac macrumors regular


    Aug 8, 2012
    I'll let the more experienced Mac users chime in, but I'm surprised you're getting away w/ 1 GB of RAM for video editing. My PC laptop that just died had that and videos would hardly play.

    The 5400rpm drive may not be as bad as I thought. Apparently, the 2012 21.5" will not let the user upgrade RAM, so if you get that, buy all the RAM you can afford. Or get a 2011 iMac like I did that has a 7200rpm drive, firewire port, OD, etc.
  3. Ddyracer, Nov 1, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012

    Ddyracer macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2009
    Basically, maxing it out lasts longer if you need the horsepower and don't upgrade every year. And the 27 has better specs in every field unfortunately.

    Seems like your fine with what you have. As for updating and maxing out your computer that depends on your workflow which you seem to have a heavy duty one. But, it all comes down to whether or not you care, and your doin alright with what you got as you clearly stated. IMacs tend to have problems with displays most. We have three iMacs in the house and all have some vertical lines or some type of screen burn running down. The displays go fast. Has something to do with heat gettin trapped in the case. Just be prepared to upgrade it frequently.

    I mean, maybe it won't happen. You never know. This part of the post is for the ones who say "I never had any issue with my 5-6 year old iMac since the day I got it".
  4. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    That is not likely true. It is a pain-in-the-butt to upgrade (requiring dis-assembly of the screen to get to motherboard ). For a $500 gap difference it isn't hard to even pay a technician to install it for you and still have hundreds left over.

    Pop the "hood" update RAM and possibly insert a SSD can have bigger bang-for-buck than $500 if really don't need the screen real estate.

    If Apple has crippled the 21.5" with only 2 so-DIMMs slots that would be a downgrade versus the 27" model. Not sure why they would but then not so sure making the memory so hard to get to was good idea either.

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