Choosing an iMac and Add-Ons

Discussion in 'iMac' started by revrun, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. revrun macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2012
    So I'm looking to get an iMac, and just have a couple of questions on whether the different add-ons are worth the money. I'm looking to get a 21.5" for the price and because I just don't need such a big screen in my small apartment. Also, I'm going to be primarily using it for gaming with Starcraft II among others, and I'm going to upgrade the RAM to 8 GB or 16 GB on my own. With that being said, here are the questions I have:

    1. Should I upgrade to the i7 processor or is there no noticeable difference?

    2. Since, I'm going with the cheaper one (21.5"), should I upgrade the harddrive to include an SSD or, for what I'm planning with it, is the 1 TB hardrive sufficient?

    3. Or would it be worth it to go up to the 27" iMac?

  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    1. No difference
    2. An SSD won't make any difference.
    3. Worth is a subjective term. Decide for yourself.

    16 GB RAM isn't going to make a difference in performance either, FYI.
  3. angusmcfisher macrumors member

    Dec 18, 2009
    I have to disagree.

    1. The i7s have Hyper Threading.
    2. SSD is arguably the biggest improvement you can make, close to RAM.
    3. I've just bought the 27" 3.4Ghz fwiw
  4. SR20DETDOG macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2011
    Queensland Australia
    For the uses he mentions (gaming) I'm going to have to agree with Miles.

    1. Yes the i7 has hyperthreading but as far as I know games barely take advantage of it.

    2. SSD would make general activities a bit faster but again very minimal gain with games.

    3. Personal opinion I guess.
  5. nagareru macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2012
    Lima, Peru
    That does not count when playing games.
  6. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    The SSD would improve boot time, and probably the launch time of SCII. It wouldn't help with the frame rate once you were in, unless you forgot to upgrade the RAM and you were paging.

    The SSD's sold by Apple in the 2011 iMacs also aren't worth anywhere near what they're charging for them. You can get much better for much less aftermarket (with the problem of needing giant suction cups to install them, or shipping the computer to an authorized repair facility to do it for you).

    For SCII none of the things you mentioned make a bigger difference at native resolution than ensuring you got the 6970m with 2 GB VRAM (not the stock 1 GB).
  7. angusmcfisher macrumors member

    Dec 18, 2009
    My bad... I missed where he said about gaming, sorry Miles.
  8. Mister Bumbo macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2012
    On SSD's and gaming:

    Yes the biggest difference will be initial loading times, but depending on the game and how it's designed to work under the hood it can in some cases affect gameplay experience, though not necessarily FPS. For example if a game loads alot of textures into the RAM during play that could result in small, small lagspikes.

    Not that this would be distinguishable regularly so that it's a problem, but an SSD disk could due to reasons like this be better than a HDD. So if the choice stands between a HDD and SSD and we pretend that pricing and volume isn't relevant, an SSD would be preferable due to this.
  9. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    The real advantage of the i7 is with CPU-intensive and thread-intensive tasks. Converting a DVD to an :apple:TV file, for example, really benefits from an i7's extra cores and extra threads compared to an i5.

    Most productivity applications, on the other hand, are neither CPU-intensive nor thread-intensive, though applications are starting to take advantage of multiple threads since most modern CPUs support it.

    While it will do little to nothing for a game once it is loaded, an SSD can have a significant impact on day-to-day use of a machine. Having moved from HDD to SSD on both my iMac and MacBook Air, I will never again go back to an HDD as my primary storage. As such, if you intend to keep this iMac for many years, I would seriously consider the SSD, even though it is very expensive as an upgrade option.

    That is a personal decision. My current iMac (mid-2011) is a 27", as was my last one, as will be my next one. But I like large screens (I also have a 27" Apple Thunderbolt Display connected to it).
  10. Razorhog macrumors 65816


    Sep 16, 2006
    If you're primarily going to be using it for gaming, I'd suggest getting the best video card you can. Not sure of the options for the 21.5" iMac. It also might be in your interest to wait until the new model is released.
  11. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    The 21" have the 6770m with 512MB. Or, in other words, a half-dead hamster.
  12. corkscrew macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2007
    Indio, CA
    Wait for new iMac release

    Personally I would wait for new iMacs hopefully rumored release this Sept-Oct. if there are any performance enhancements you can evaluate them and then either take advantage of them OR save money on what you would be buying today since prices on older models usually are reduced.
  13. snow blind macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2011
    I spit coffee on my keyboard... thanks! :D
  14. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    Damn I'm on a roll today.. coffee on keyboard in this forum, vomit in mouth on another forum.. wonder what other havoc I can wreak :eek:

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