Confused about RAM and speed

Discussion in 'iMac' started by wolfers, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. wolfers macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2011
    My three year old iMac is dying: the fans come on almost all the time, sometimes it puts itself to sleep without warning, the screen has a big blotch on the left-hand side that suffers very badly from persistent image problems and it's really slow.

    So I think I should buy a new one before it dies.

    My instinct is to go for the entry level iMac. But how much RAM should I get? And should I worry about 3.2GHz vs 3.08GHz?

    I mostly use it for browsing the web and doing spreadsheets. I'll need to install Windows 7 as I'm taking a course that uses a Windows application (GenStat). I download a lot of movies and often encode them from WMV to mp4. I have an iPad and encode movies to work on that. I sometimes use InDesign.

    I don't play games or use FinalCut.

    I'd be grateful for any advice. I'd like to order before the VAT goes up.
  2. Kaulitz macrumors member

    Dec 31, 2010
    I bought the entry level iMac just after last refresh. I too was also tempted to pony up the extra 200 or so pounds in order to the get the small bump in specification, but decided against.
    I use my iMac mainly as an admin machine for my business so it needed to be reliable and handle everything that I throw at it without downtime or slowdown.
    All elements of the CS5 suite have ran flawlessly and I have never encountered a situation where I felt that I was waiting for my machine to catch up. Out of the suite I mainly use Photoshop, Dreamweaver and on occasions Indesign.
    Office 2011 also runs smoothly as expected also. I have XP installed as a virtual machine and also installed is Windows 7 via bootcamp. The only hitch that i have ever encountered is just after the Windows 7 installation finishes. The screen goes black however there is a very simple solution to this requiring you to boot in to your Mac partition and delete a file relating to the ATI driver on the windows partition.
    You really do not need the extra bump in specification considering your needs, the entry level iMac is still an incredibly able machine. Also I would recommend purchasing it from John Lewis since they give a two year warranty as standard.
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    4GB should be fine but if you're going to use Parallels or Fusion for Windows 7, then I recommend getting an extra 2x2GB from aftermarket. Costs only 50 bucks nowadays.

    The CPU bump is so small so I wouldn't worry about that. Faster CPU would be few seconds faster in HandBrake but it's still not worth it.

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