Buying iMac for my son need advice please!!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by rocknblogger, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. rocknblogger macrumors 68020

    rocknblogger

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2011
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #1
    I'm going to buy a 27" iMac for my son who does video editing, Photoshop, and he's also a musician so he'll be sung it to edit and compose and whatever else can be done on a computer as it relates to music..

    I want to keep it to $2300 or less. Macmall has this:

    3.1GHz Intel Core i5 Quad-Core
    4GB (2x2GB) RAM
    1TB 7200rpm Hard Drive
    8x SuperDrive DVD Burner, SDXC Card Slot
    AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB GPU
    27" LED Backlit Widescreen Display

    Price is $1870. If I upgrade to 3.4 i7 and a 2GB video card it brings the price to $2294

    Or they have this one:

    2.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
    4GB DDR3 SDRAM
    1TB hard drive
    2560 x 1440 resolution
    AMD Radeon HD 6770M graphics

    If I upgrade this one to the 256GB SSD + 1TB HD the price comes out to be exact, $2294

    So, NO SSD but faster processor with hyper threading on the first option or slower processor with no hyper threading but SSD on the second option.

    What do you think will be better in the long run?

    Thanks :)

    B.
     
  2. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a

    Pharmscott

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    #2
    Unless he's doing a lot of processor intensive stuff, the SSD will more than make up the speed difference. For just web browsing and email, my MacBook Air seems quicker than my MacBook Pro even though the Pro has a substantially better processor.
     
  3. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

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    Omaha, NE, USA
    #3
    I would also suggest that you need at least 8gb of RAM
     
  4. Moof1904 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    #4
    I'd go with the faster processor and better video card. Those are not user upgradable so once you get home you're stuck with that choice for the life of the computer.
    You can always add an SSD and more ram later, as your sons needs demand.
     
  5. prss14 macrumors regular

    prss14

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    Location:
    Kentucky
    #5
    Upgrade the ram yourself. Super easy and much cheaper than apple ram. No computer experience needed. But you do need more than 4 gb of ram.
     
  6. rocknblogger thread starter macrumors 68020

    rocknblogger

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    #6
    Thank you I'm well aware of the RAM situation and didn't mention it because it doesn't factor into the price of the two iMacs I'm looking at.

    I'm only concerned in the performance of these two options for what they will be used for.
    As I already said:

    Video editing with FCP and iMovie.
    Photoshop and illustrator.
    Music production
     
  7. SlugBlanket macrumors regular

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    Mar 5, 2011
    #7
    I'm not sure he would see any great benefit to upgrading to 2GB on the graphics chip but the i7 and additional RAM would definitely help.
     
  8. And1ss macrumors 6502a

    And1ss

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    #8
    I'd go for the faster processor upgrade and 2gb vid card. I think he'll benefit from it more than the other option.

    Though he can add an SSD later, doing it on the mac is a bit more tedious than say on the macbooks.
     
  9. rocknblogger thread starter macrumors 68020

    rocknblogger

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    Location:
    New Jersey
    #9
    Yeah this is what I'm thinking. While its nice to have an SSD I think for him the processor and the better vid card is more important and as you said I can install an SSD for his birthday or Hanukkah :)

    It'll give me another reason to go down to Florida for a week ;)
     
  10. nostylluan, Mar 23, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012

    nostylluan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2012
    #10
    2GB video card option is from the imac isn't it? imacs are supposed to be upgraded soon... i know its his birth day but you could always tell him you're delaying his present out in the open. it's been over a year since they've been upgraded.

    if he plays games, the latest card is better than how much vram it has, video editing doesn't require 2gb, you'll need 8gb ram minimum for that.

    GPU is mostly for 3d editing/gaming its not really for video editing. you can video edit on an ipad...

    get the latest GPU (highest number in the name) for the processing, get 8gb of ram or 16gb and i5/i7 won't matter except for gaming. make sure the hard drive is 7200 not 5400.

    you don't need SSD, no one does. SSD only improves load times, it would be great for video editing but the price isn't worth it, nor is getting rid of 1TB of space. all an SSD will do is boot your computer faster and load apps faster, it also transfers files faster. if your son has patience, an SSD will be the least of his concerns. wait until SSD prices go down.

    PS. best choice is to wait for imacs to be upgraded. (sometime soonish) since its been over a year. its usually upgraded in 280 days so most people are going "wtf?" the rumors are apple is waiting on new intel chips... the new nvidia graphic cards are already out...
     
  11. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #11
    I don't think it's worth paying what Apple asks on the ssds, but keep in mind imacs are quite annoying to open. You might want to take a look at ifixit. With the HDD in the imac, those are not replaceable by anyone but Apple or an authorized retailer due to proprietary parts. I just wished to mention this so that you don't find out in a bad way later on. Addressing another comment, the HDD is a 3.5" 7200 RPM HDD. There is no 5400 RPM drive for the imac.

    This is an anandtech cpu test comparing the 2500k and 2600k used in the 3.1 and 3.4ghz imacs. I'm not sure why it says 3.3 on the 2500k model. Perhaps they overclocked it slightly so they could make the test just about hyperthreading.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083

    This is from barefeats testing the imacs.

    http://barefeats.com/imac11f.html

    I will say it's a bigger difference than I would have expected.

    Usually when people experience an overall performance increase with an SSD, it's because their disk is kind of full, file system has corruption or other issues, or they're low on ram relative to their needs and the ssd shows fewer signs of slowing. It gets overly hyped quite a lot. The buyer's guide thing is kind of ridiculous. Intel is going to an annual update on chips. This means expect a once a year update on imacs. Computers (especially desktop computers) do not move in suitable volume to justify biannual updates.

    You're right that an update is coming, but it could be a very flat one. Laptops are supposed to see 10-20% gains and gpu improvements. The desktops won't see much, but the cpus could be significantly cooler due to topping out at 73W instead of 95. On gpus, you should look at AMD. Ignore the NVidia rumors. Apple's results with AMD have been decent and NVidia drivers are significantly better under Windows than OSX. I haven't checked the entirety of what AMD is shipping, but I know they've released a few new cards.

    Anyway I wouldn't expect an update before May. History doesn't matter here. It matters when everything is shipping, and the imacs are not a massive priority for Apple.
     
  12. SlugBlanket macrumors regular

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    Mar 5, 2011
    #12
    Sigh, I'll say it again ... you will not see any performance gains by getting the extra GB of video RAM. Fast video editing and encoding depends on the CPU and NOT the graphics card. That extra GB of video RAM is questionable even if your son were a gamer since the chip used in the graphics card is a mobile chip and not a desktop one. Still, it's your money.
     
  13. rocknblogger thread starter macrumors 68020

    rocknblogger

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    #13
    I know that. You don't have to repeat yourself. I was going to upgrade the VRAM because he does game sometimes and I only mentioned here as to the total price comparison between the two I'm looking at.
     
  14. SlugBlanket, Mar 25, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012

    SlugBlanket macrumors regular

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    Mar 5, 2011
    #14
    Oh I'm sorry, It's just that you never mentioned it before and in your second post you repeated what the machine would be used for; you seemed to be quite adamant and you never once mentioned gaming. It's only after I re-iterated that going on the information that YOU posted here asking four OUR advice that you mentioned gaming.
     
  15. rocknblogger thread starter macrumors 68020

    rocknblogger

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    #15
    I figured it'd be a given that a 23 year old kid would play some games whether I specifically mentioned it or not.
     
  16. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    #16
    The best advice for buying a computer is to buy the best non user replaceable parts. For Mac or PC, this usually includes CPU, GPU and display size/resolution/panel type. You can always add more RAM later on. It's quite cheap and it doesn't void warranty on any Mac. The HD is a bit tricky especially regarding the iMacs. But if I were given an option of SSD vs. CPU/GPU upgrades, I'd choose CPU/GPU upgrades. You can't replace them. Period.

    On the other hand, the iMacs are due for a refresh. Maybe the new models will somehow work out to be getting the same CPU/GPU performance of today + SSD instead of just choosing one or the other currently. Talk to your son, if he "needs" it right now, then buy it. If he can wait for something "better", then wait. No harm in delaying spending money, it won't rot or anything.
     
  17. LaWally macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 24, 2012
    #17
    Some gaming might be a given as you claim, but in fairness to SlugBlanket, nowhere in your original post did you mention your son's age. In point of fact, your original post identified him as your son, while now you identify him as a 23 year old "kid". Those conjure up completely different images for me.
     
  18. doktordoris macrumors 6502a

    doktordoris

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    Mar 14, 2009
    #18
    don't forget to include the cost of software in your budget. photoshop is around 3 or 4 hundred dollars, and I daren't think what quality video editing software costs. several hundred dollars I imagine.
     
  19. cocky jeremy macrumors 68040

    cocky jeremy

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    Columbus, OH
    #19
    Same. Go with the SSD one and upgrade the RAM. (Extra $100 to get it up to 16 GB)
     
  20. JSchwartz15 macrumors regular

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    Mar 21, 2012
    #20
    Final Cut Pro X is $300 with the two accessory softwares (Motion and Compressor) each costing $50
     
  21. rocknblogger thread starter macrumors 68020

    rocknblogger

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    #21
    To me he'll be a kid even when he's forty :)
    I still remember holding him with one arm. They grow too fast:(
     
  22. rocknblogger thread starter macrumors 68020

    rocknblogger

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    #22
    Fortunately he's a student and he's getting his software free with some titles at a minimum cost. At least that's a huge savings:)
     
  23. rocknblogger thread starter macrumors 68020

    rocknblogger

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    New Jersey
    #23
    I was actually going to buy one for myself today. I ended up walking out and straight to micro center and bought a bunch of stuff to upgrade my Windows gaming machine to the latest greatest. For me I'll wait but for my sone I'm not sure now. I wanted to surprise him but I may have to discuss it with him to see if he could wait. Ah hell, we'll see.
     
  24. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    Pa
    #24
    He'll want the hard drive space. An SSD is great, but limiting. 1 photoshop files can easily hit 1gb of data, and music production is worse. HD video is a few minutes/gig, uncompressed.
     
  25. iMacca macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    #25
    I think your son wants both the i7 processor and SSD and can probably live without the 2 GB video card.

    Soooo... what to do? You could either decide to lift your budget a little bit (you didn't say how you got to your number :p), or if you absolutely must stick to it do this:

    Buy the iMac with i7 processor from the refurb store for $1869 and then have a 128 GB SSD + 16 GB of RAM added by an authorized shop. -> happy wallet and happy son with awesome computer!
     

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