Getting a new iMac for first mac


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 24, 2009
Looking to buy a new iMac on black friday. I'm still trying to decide which option to get.

It will be a family computer for my wife and I, someday for kids when we have them. My wife has a macbook she bought a year or so ago, one of the entry level white ones. She doesn't care much about tech, just check email, facebook, and look at photos, as long as it works. I'm a very heavy computer user. I've been nursing an old Dell Inspiron 5100 laptop for 6 years now. I'm sick and tired of tapping my fingers waiting for things to happen with it. I mostly do email, web surfing, some photo editing, some web design, and the old games that still run on my old machine (graphics turned to zero of course). Been a windows user since the days of DOS. I'm wanting to see what this Mac fascination is all about. Although I can't say I'm impressed so far with my experience of getting my wife's macbook to work with our linux home server (XP was much nicer to get working).

Been looking and reading about the new iMacs. They look great. I'm sure I'll be happy and blown away with what ever I get, compared to my current computer. I'm sure that a new computer for me will mean doing more than what I've been limited to with my current computer. I love to play games, but haven't been able to buy a new game in years because of my old laptop. I'm sure I'll buy something new now that I will have the capacity to run it. I'm sure I'll be getting either VM Fusion or Parallels to run my old PC stuff on it. Still not sure which of those to get.

So, I was just going to go with the entry iMac, but was told that the ATI card runs games better. So then I started thinking about the next one up that does that. Then my brother pointed out to me that the 27" is just another $500. It has the better processor and an even better graphics card. I think I'm just getting pulled in by marketing or something. But 27", our TV is only 19"! I'm not sure if I am going to even need that much computer. The quad processors sound nice, but what would i need that for sometime down the road?

I would like for this to be a good family computer that will last a while. Is the iMac a viable gaming computer, or should I just go cheaper with it and look towards making a gaming box sometime in the future.

Thanks for any help



macrumors member
Oct 4, 2009
Near London, England
Hi Jason,

Its a good question and one i have been also pondering for some time. In my opinion the 27" is far too big and also for me the old 24" also seemed too large for anything. I use a 17" screen which i find big enough so i would go for the 21.5" one. However also i have noticed that whatever mac you look at, the graphics cards have always been, in my opinion, very poor. They are very low end and can be bought for the kind of money you would have hanging around in your pocket. (alright maybe a slight exageration!) So it probably would be good to buy one of the higher spec ones for the extra graphics. I have also noticed that people have been having problems with the new 27" i7 macs (damage and failure to turn on).

In Conclusion i would either get myself a higher spec 21.5" one (27" is far too big and will probably look stupid because of this) or i would locate a previous generation 20" or 24" one for a lot cheaper.

If you want a big screen/are fine with that then go ahead with the 27" one but it might be an idea to research what the specific issues are with the i7 and maybe go for the i5 or one step lower processor instead.

Also finally regarding gaming my friend who has a previous 2.93ghz 24" imac, plays lots of high memory using games. I have seen him use it and have even watched it. He easily managed to accidently play both World of Warcraft and Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 at the same time without realising it which shows how capable the imacs are depsite the slightly poor graphics cards. (He had left one game running an forgot to shut it down). He was also runnign itunes and safari.

Hope this helps,



macrumors member
Nov 22, 2009
To be quite honest, even the highest quality graphics card on the 27" iMac is just decent when it comes to video games. Sure, you'll be able to play most games that are out right now, but the performance would be better on a PC with a higher end graphics card. If you're looking to use a computer as a gaming rig, you're better off not getting the iMac. You also have to consider the high resolution of a 27" and the output that needs to be put out by a card that isn't the best there is on the market. As wonderful as I think Apple computers are, they always seem to be lacking in the graphics card department.


macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2005
If you want a gaming rig that will last you for more than a year or two, a computer isn't it. Get a PS3. Exceptionally capable hardware, and guaranteed development for years to come. I'd say XBOX, but... ugh, too many drawbacks, such as the 50% failure rate.

As for a computer, the iMac is great - I'm considering getting an i7 myself to replace my ageing hackintosh.


macrumors member
Jun 14, 2009
Go for it! I've got a 24" and although you would think that the screen is huge. it's amazing how quickly you become used to it. It doesn't look bigger (i.e. the text isn't blown up), it just gives you lots of space for putting things next to each other. For example, in iPhoto you can see your photos at a big size without going into slideshow mode. This means you browse quicker, etc.

Overall, I find it hard to go back to a smaller screen. But the 27" might blow you away. You wouldn't regret it, but is it worth the money and only you can answer that.


macrumors member
Mar 22, 2009
You could look at the refurb 24 inch iMacs if the money are problem.9400 nvdia which is in the low end iMac isn't the best card for gaming.I too think that the 27 inch iMac is toooo big for every day use.Yes - movies and video clips looks amazing on that thing, but for everything else it's too big for me.And if the money are not an issue and you'r fine with the 27 inch screen - then go for high end quad core iMac - either i5 or i7

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