Buying Advice - iMac 24" 2.8?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by cloudnine, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. cloudnine macrumors 6502a

    cloudnine

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #1
    So, I've been searching and reading and searching and reading, and I think I've read about a billion posts trying to find my answer... but I haven't :/

    I think I'm getting myself psyched out about buying a new iMac... I've been using this 12" PB G4 1.5gHz for the past 2.5 years as my main (and only) computer. While it's been an amazingly great companion, I'm in the web design business, and I know that since things are changing so quickly, I definitely need something much faster.

    The thing is, I've read all these people complaining about the graphics card (the HD 2600 Pro), and how it's so underpowered and it's so lame of Apple to keep using that card, yadda yadda yadda. My question is, what is so bad about it, and is it really that bad? I've been to the Apple store, played a couple HD videos, opened Photoshop CS3, applied some filters to a photo pulled from iPhoto, and it seems great.

    I guess what I'm asking is, if I'm going to be using the 2.8ghz 24" iMac with 4GB of ram, am I really going to have a problem with the video card if I'm only using it for Adobe CS3, Aperture, iLife suite, watching movies and maybe playing Sims 2? That and Age of Empires 2 are the only games I play, so gaming isn't really an issue.

    Any help is appreciated... maybe someone can convince me to chill out :p hehe :D
     
  2. viniciusc macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    #2
    Penrym iMacs are rumored to be coming out soon, probably with a new videocard. I'd just wait a few weeks.
     
  3. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #3
    iMac is a computer aimed at home users as well as professionals, meaning that the GPU should be capable of gaming. For the price you pay for an iMac, its 3D performance is pitiful. I could build a PC for about a quarter of the iMac's cost which would absolutely blow it away in terms of gaming or rendering performance.

    You definitely do not need the 2.8GHz model or 4GB RAM to do any of these things. I've never been in a situation where I've maxed out my 2GB RAM.

    Unless you're doing some very serious photo editing, I don't think you need the 24" display either. It's a nice thing to have, but it is very expensive and if you've been using a 12" display up until now, I think 20" will be more than enough of a boost.

    I recommend you look into the 20" models. For what you want to use it for I think the baseline computer will be more than capable and is hundreds of dollars cheaper than the one you're considering.
     
  4. Bengt77 macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2002
    Location:
    Europe
    #4
    First, I'd do what viniciusc says: wait a couple of weeks to see wether the Penryn iMacs come out soon. They're indeed rumoured to be coming soon...

    Having that said, I know the new 24" 2.8GHz iMac is a really good gaming machine. That is, if you stick to games like Half-Life 2 and the like. If you want to go all-out and really want to play Crysis: forget it, you're out of luck. The iMac just can't and won't handle it. Bioshock is okay. Not with full detail, but still very playable.

    So, I'd say, buy if you really want. But, with new iMacs rumoured to be around the corner, wait if you can. A (hopefully) better graphics card will help you way more than a processor upgrade, since the 2.8GHz Merom in the current iMac is more than plenty fast for what you want.
     
  5. Dimwhit macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    #5
    I have the 2.8 24" iMac. Love it. I've never had any problems with the graphics card...from photo editing to video editing to what little gaming I do (I'm not a heavy gamer).

    Given the very marginal performance increase with the Penryn processors, I wouldn't let that keep you from buying now. I, personally, would be very surprised to see much of an improvement in the video card with the next update, but you never know.

    In short, I really don't think you'll be disappointed with the new iMac, even if a new one comes out soon.
     
  6. Bengt77 macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2002
    Location:
    Europe
    #6
    Forgot something. Another thing to consider is that a 24" display will be harder to drive than a 20" model. Of course you can set the game to a lower resolution, but that way the graphics won't be as clear as they could be. So if you just want the 24" display, but don't need it, and if one of your main reasons for wanting a new Mac is playing games, than a 20" model might indeed be something to seriously consider. The 'better' 20" iMac has the same graphics card as the 24" iMac. Think about that...

    EDIT: Darn, I had my own (wrong) interpretation of your question. I was reading the 'Windows on the Mac' forum before I read your question here in the 'Buying Advice' forum. Sorry. For what you're going to do, a bigger screen is always a good thing to have. You buy an iMac expecting to use it for about four to five years (at least, that's how long I expect it to last me). Four years ago, a 17" screen was big. Now, 20" screens are the standard. So do yourself a favour and go for the 24" iMac. Read the forums and you'll see that the 24" screen is also of considerably higher quality than the one in the 20" iMac. A good thing when working with photos. What you won't need, though, is a Penryn update. A better graphics card is also no requirement at all for the things you described you'll be doing.

    All in all, you'll be just fine on today's iMacs.
     
  7. cloudnine thread starter macrumors 6502a

    cloudnine

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #7
    Sweet... that's all I needed to hear (although, I'll probably still wait for a couple weeks to see if they release something by the end of the month).

    Honestly, the price isn't (that much of) an issue... I know, the first question someone would ask is "then why not get a Mac Pro?" Well, a friend of mine is going to buy my 23" Cinema Display from me when I buy a new iMac, so that gives me $500 towards a new computer, but I would have to keep it if I bought a Mac Pro (obviously) ;)

    But yeah, that's why I want to get the 24" iMac... After having 23" for the past 2.5 years, going to the 20" would seem like a downgrade... and I figured I might as well get 4GB of memory since OWC has it for $100 right now :) Never hurts, right? :D

    Thanks so much for your help! Now it's all a matter of having the patience to wait and see if Apple releases updates sometime soon ;)
     
  8. cloudnine thread starter macrumors 6502a

    cloudnine

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #8
    Hrm... yeah, we'll see if the next update does something for the graphics card (just for the heck of it)... if not, oh, well... I'll pick one up anyway :) I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to computer gaming; I'll stick with my PS2 for that ;)
     
  9. Bengt77 macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2002
    Location:
    Europe
    #9
    Ahhhh... Had you said that in your first post, your question could have been answered with one reply. Of course you don't want to downgrade to a smaller screen! But, you really won't need the 2.8GHz processor (although it'd of course be nice to have). If you have to choose between a faster processor and a bigger hard drive, definitely go for the latter.

    All in all, if you can wait, wait. Having a better graphics card is always a good thing. But, if you decide not to wait, no worries. My iMac is a brilliant machine. You'll love it too, I'm sure.
     
  10. cloudnine thread starter macrumors 6502a

    cloudnine

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #10
    Another question... I see in your sig that it says "ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT" instead of "Pro"... am I missing something? I thought that wasn't available as an option. :confused:
     
  11. Bengt77 macrumors 68000

    Bengt77

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2002
    Location:
    Europe
    #11
    :)

    Search the forums. You'll find plenty threads talking about the graphics card in the new iMacs. Both Mac OS X and Windows see a model number that corresponds, if you look it up on AMD's website, to the mobility XT model, which is considerably faster than the desktop PRO model. So yes, you're missing something, but no, it isn't an option. Apple just lied when they said the iMacs come with a 2600 PRO. But in this case, the lie was a good one, as the card is actualle better than they had us believe. They do have the card running at a lower clockspeed than the actual mobility XT card, though. Closer to the speeds of the desktop PRO model. That's why they listed the card as being a PRO. But, even with lower clockspeeds, it's still definitely faster.
     
  12. cloudnine thread starter macrumors 6502a

    cloudnine

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    #12
    Ooh... I like those kinds of lies... hahaha :D
     
  13. elistuy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    #13
    is it possible to overclock the 2600 XT?

    i have seen a lot about the new imac's running on the 2600 XT not the pro and i am wondering if there is any way the re-clock it to run with in more appropriate speeds:confused:
     
  14. blurb23 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    #14
    Windows recognizes it as a 2600XT, if that's what you're talking about.
     
  15. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    #15
    I would consider getting the lesser 24" model. You pay alot for that little extra cpu speed and 180gb more of hard drive space. I would be upgrading my RAM to 4 gigs since it's so cheap nowadays so it doesn't matter if the iMac you're buying comes with 2 gigs or 1.
     
  16. chaosbunny macrumors 68000

    chaosbunny

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Location:
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    #16
    Hm, I've played Bioshock & Medal of Honor Airborne with almost all settings maxed @ 1920x1200 with no problems, and Crysis (Demo) worked excellent at 1400x900 with medium settings.

    Anyway I actually use my machine for print design using CS3 and can definitely recomend it for the ops uses. That said, if you can wait a few weeks the newer iMac will be even better.
     

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