difference between two 21.5" imac models

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by pedrodonkey, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. pedrodonkey macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    #1
    Hi,

    We're looking to purchase one of the new 21.5" iMac's as a primary production machine used for web and graphic design (running adobe CS4 applications mainly).

    Here are the basic specs of the two models that are offered by an apple re-seller based where we are:

    21.5-inch iMac 3.06Ghz nVidia
    Processor: 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    L2 cache: 3MB shared L2 cache
    Frontside bus: 1066MHz
    Memory: 4GB (two 2GB SO-DIMMs) of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; supports up to 16GB
    Hard drive: 500GB Serial ATA; 7200 rpm
    Optical drive: Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive with 4x double-layer burning (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Display: 21.5-inch (viewable) LED-backlit glossy 16:9 widescreen TFT active-matrix display; 1920 by 1080 pixels; millions of colors; IPS technology
    Video: Built-in iSight camera; Mini DisplayPort output with support for DVI, dual-link DVI, and VGA video (requires adapters, sold separately)
    Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory

    21.5-inch iMac 3.06Ghz ATi
    Processor: 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    L2 cache: 3MB shared L2 cache
    Frontside bus: 1066MHz
    Memory: 4GB (two 2GB SO-DIMMs) of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM; supports up to 16GB
    Hard drive: 1TB Serial ATA; 7200 rpm
    Optical drive: Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive with 4x double-layer burning (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Display: 21.5-inch (viewable) LED-backlit glossy 16:9 widescreen TFT active-matrix display; 1920 by 1080 pixels; millions of colors; IPS technology
    Video: Built-in iSight camera; Mini DisplayPort output with support for DVI, dual-link DVI, and VGA video (requires adapters, sold separately)
    Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 4670 with 256MB of GDDR3 memory

    Apart from the extra 500GB HD found of the higher end model the only other difference we noticed was the graphics card and were wondering if someone could explain the difference, pros & cons etc of the integrated nvidia card compared to the ATI HD card.

    We're not looking for a gaming machine so that can be scratched as a use, all we are looking for is something that will be able to handle 3-4+ adobe applications opened concurrenty and preferably not have any issues.

    Any advice is appreciated
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    Get the base model. You won't need GPU in Adobe apps so save your money towards AppleCare or something
     
  3. XxEjGxX macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2009
    #3
    basically apart from the HDD the graphics is the only difference and the graphics are only there for those who do intensive CAD work and gaming, so in my eyes, get the 21.5 base and then use the extra money for some other stuff for it [​IMG]
     
  4. angemon89 macrumors 68000

    angemon89

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    The place where Apple designs stuff
    #4
    I would also advise you to get the base model, but up the memory to 8GB. But don't do it through Apple. Just buy yourself 2x2GB sticks of RAM and pop them in. You can find this RAM online for <$100.

    8GB will be necessary for working with multiple adobe apps at once if you don't want any slowdowns.
     
  5. ecualegacy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Des Moines, IA
    #5
    A note of caution on the low end 21.5". I've had mine about 6 weeks now. Overloading the graphics has crashed my computer a few times already. I did a stress test on it by toggling rapid fire for several seconds between the iTunes Visualizer and Spaces and Expose. It *crashed* my mac. Haven't tried this on the upper tier 21.5". I am not certain that this isn't just a problem with my particular unit and am taking it into the Apple shop this week. But it may point to a weakness on the low end iMac. Anyone else seen this?
     
  6. pedrodonkey thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    #6
    Thanks for the responses so far. It seems we're still a bit confused as to which model to get especially with the last answer given.

    Am i correct in assuming that the low end 21.5" has an integrated graphics card so it's memory is shared with the main memory? And the higher end one has it's own dedicated memory correct?

    If that's the case then for the 250 euro difference between the two would it not just be safer to get the higher end model instead?

    And as of CS4 isn't is possible to run some of the applications faster or at least smoother if your set up has a graphics card installed?

    http://apcmag.com/adobes_new_cs4__finally_exploits_the_true_power_of_graphics_cards.htm

    The one thing they mention that's gotten us a bit confused is the "256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory"
     
  7. peskaa macrumors 68020

    peskaa

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    Yes, the 9400M is integrated and takes its memory from the system RAM. This is bad for anything needing large amounts of memory...such as the Creative Suite.

    I would buy the higher end 21.5. You won't lose RAM to the GPU, and some CS4 applications use the GPU for processing.
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #8
    Only few CS4 apps can really take advantage of GPU.. After Effects being the most important. Photoshop can't and that's the most popular one.

    9400M uses RAM memory so if you have 4GB installed, it'll use 256MB of it leaving you 3840MB (4096-256). As angemon89 said, more RAM will be more crucial in Adobe apps than a GPU so I'd get at least 8GB or RAM

    Why don't you just jump for the base 27" as it's only 150€ more than high-end 21.5"? If you have the money, buy the one you can afford
     

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