buying new 20" imac 128 or 256 Graphics memory?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by bob53, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. bob53 macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2007
    Hi all,

    I've been lurking for several weeks and am on the brink of buying a new 20" imac... I've read the graphics card is sort of the weak point in this computer being more of a mobile GPU and not terrific for 3D rendering. This computer wil not be for (much) gaming, but there may be some in my "free" time... I plan to use it for Aperture, PS, iPhoto, etc for photography (I'm an amateur, so I do not need a Mac Pro) MS office for work, some UNIX based apps (work), and perhaps a few programs using parallels (some games).

    My question: How "bad" is 128 Mb of GPU ram for my needs? I ask b/c buying the 256 Mb GPU ram costs quite a bit more, even with an academic discount, as the std 128 can be had from MacMall with a rebate, free shipping, and no taxes. All said, the 256 costs 150.00 more as MacMall does not stock it and so it is no different than myself buying from apple. The 256 gives 5% better performance, but I suspect there must be a few things like Aperture that might benefit from the extra GPU memory. Also, it sounds like core anamaiton may be more graphics intensive and this may favor the 256 model.



  2. Jasonbot macrumors 68020


    Aug 15, 2006
    The Rainbow Nation RSA
    I have a 128. It rocks, its even good for the occasional game or two! I play FEAR with it and thats quite graphic intensive. never on high but I do play and tahts all that counts.
  3. phungy macrumors 68020


    Dec 5, 2006
    Go for the 256. You won't be able to upgrade it in the future.
  4. Roy Hobbs macrumors 68000

    Roy Hobbs

    Apr 29, 2005
    Cost quite a bit more??? With Education discount the difference is $68
  5. bob53 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2007
    No... I have to pay tax on the order from mac, and if I order from MacMall, they only give the rebate if it is in stock. The upgrade is a not stocked. The difference comes out to be well over 100 dollars.

  6. McGarvels macrumors 6502


    Nov 10, 2006
    Irvine, CA
    I would go with the 256MB. I have it on my 20" iMac and I absolutely love it. I bought my machine refurbished and was going to be content just getting the 128MB card, but luckily the refurb had a 256MB card in it (gotta love the surprises that come with refurbs). Anyways, with intensive games the 256MB card is great, I get a solid 60fps with Doom3 on the highest settings (through Bootcamp + WinXp of course). I dunno, I do agree with Phungy in the fact that it is not upgradeable later. This way you won't have any regrets not getting the 256MB card.

  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    If you intend to play 3D games the larger VRAM can cache more texture maps and can play smother in some case. But the larger VRAM is not any better if the programs you run don't need to load in a ton of texure map data.
  8. BlizzardBomb macrumors 68030


    Jun 15, 2005
    I think I've said before that the upgrade from 128 MB to 256 MB on an X1600 a relatively weak graphics card compared to what's out today will only be noticeable on head-to-head direct comparisons (it's only a few % faster). I personally don't think it's worth the money. I guess you should get some of your money back when it comes to selling and I think it may be offer a benefit psychologically in that you know you've got the best you could afford. OK, maybe this wasn't a very helpful post as it didn't offer an clear answer :p
  9. bob909bob macrumors member

    Oct 20, 2005
    Yeah I have to agree with this. Upgrade if you can afford it. If not I think the 128 is good enough for you, but always buy the best you can afford.

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