Buying Advice - iMac 21.5" or 27" Refurb

Discussion in 'iMac' started by doomnote, May 27, 2011.

  1. doomnote, May 27, 2011
    Last edited: May 27, 2011

    doomnote macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2007
    I need some advice with an iMac purchase.

    If I go brand new, the 21.5" with the 6770M is in my price range. However, a refurbished 27", i7, with the HD 5750 card is about the same price.

    So basically, the refurbished has a bigger screen, a faster processor, and more graphics memory (1 gig vs. 512mb). However the graphics card is an older one.

    The other major difference is no Thunderbolt, which I'm not sure is a deal breaker.

    My main use of the computer will be Audio production which I know either will be totally fine for - I'm mostly concerned with gaming. Does the 5750 suck or will it be fine for basic gaming like CS:Source, Portal 2, BF etc.

    I'm usually annoyed by these kind of posts because they are so relative - but I'm really torn at what to do here...

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Loot at the games you're interested in. See what they have for minimum requirements. Make sure the video cards you're looking at are not near those minimums.

    And also find game benchmarks for both systems.

    And if all else fails, flip a coin. :D
  3. caughtintheweb macrumors regular

    May 17, 2011
    I was in the same boat as you are a few days back and I got the refurbished i7. My budget was around 1500 and I think its a great machine for that price. I topped it up with 8gb more ram from gskill and it works much better than i expected.

    The 5750 card is as good as 6770 card if not better. And this is not even considering the fact that you get an additional 512 mb of ram which is a lot. The i7 has a better processor and 2MB more of L3 cache, so its going to be much faster than 21.5 inch model. If you check the benchmark the 2010 i7 is second only to current top end 2011 model. The 27 inch screen is a great asset while doing multiple tasks.

    Main advantage of having thunderbolt port is you can easily add an external ssd in the future without sacrificing speed. With a 2010 model you can still add an external ssd, but it would have to be connected with a firewire 800 port which is a huge bottleneck. There are lot of forums which discuss this and they conclude that adding an external ssd via firewire does not dampen performance of the drive by a great extent as compared to internal ssd.

    You can also rip apart the imac and add the ssd as the second disk. OWC does that for you for a small price and you can find a lot of third party vendors in craigslist to do that. Whether thats a deal breaker or not depends on your personal preference. I did not feel the need for a ssd currently and I will probably buy one after 2-3 years when they become reasonably priced.

    FYI ... I use my imac mainly for some gaming, photography, garageband and running mathematical simulations. Hope that helps.

Share This Page