Help me choose the right iMac!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by skysounds, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. skysounds macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2012
    So I'm considering waiting until the new iMac is released...but if my impatience takes control, I'll probably just buy the 2011 one.

    I am a music producer who uses multiple programs to create electronic music. I will simultaneously be using Ableton Live, Reason 6, ProTools, and many separate virtual synth plug-ins.

    I was thinking about getting the works...i7 3.4 GHz, 16GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive and probably a 256 GB SSD.

    My question is, does the i7 make a huge difference if I'm using multiple programs for music? I know it will use a ton of ram, and I might even need more than 16 GB. I've been using my 15'' Fall 2009 MacBook Pro for all of this, but now that I'm using more programs simultaneously it is really beginning to slow down. I'm worried that my computer will crash and I will lose all of my work. It's a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4GB of ram.

    So will the specs that I listed for the new iMac suit my needs? Should I get more RAM? Is this overkill? Should I bother waiting for the new iMac?

    I use my computer daily for hours to produce music...the only reason I would wait for the new mac is if it was vastly superior to the one already out and if it has features like USB 3.0 and touch screen...something really new and incredible...

    Let me know what you guys think! Sorry for the very long post.
  2. plucky duck macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2012
    Get your own ram and install your own ssd HD if you don't mind ripping open the iMac, that'll save you a good few hundred dollars. Ram and HD will show you the most significance in performance, I doubt the jump to the 2012 model will give you much in terms of performance bump. I personally would not wait and look for one under used market on apples website.
  3. skysounds thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2012
    Thanks for the response. I have no idea how to install more RAM and the SSD, so I might just have to spend that extra money for them to do it. I don't know if I want a used one, I'd rather have something fresh.
  4. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    Installing RAM is exactly one screw, and the instructions are easy to get. Please don't buy extra RAM from Apple; with the money you save, you can buy a couple shares of AAPL stock and be much better off.

    Installing a SSD is a very involved process and will void the warranty, so I wouldn't recommend that at all. It's for the serious enthusiast, and that's about it.
  5. Razorhog macrumors 65816


    Sep 16, 2006
    Yes, go with "the works" minus the RAM. Buying your own and putting it in is very simple.
  6. adam1080 macrumors regular


    Mar 29, 2012
    Yeah, I have the same setup you are looking at getting, minus the SSD. I do regret not getting the SSD. Now, since i dont want to void my applecare warranty/crack this sucker open, i will have to wait for a good thunderbolt SSD that doesnt cost a fortune.

    I did put in my own RAM, its a cheap and easy upgrade.

    As it sits, the machine screams and handles CPU and RAM heavy tasks like a champ. Any programs that use Hyper Threading run really fast compared to other machines.
    You wont regret buying this machine.
  7. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    1) Please wait. It will make me sad if you buy an iMac now.

    2) Once you look at RAM prices on you'll realize all of these posters were totally right. Treat yourself: Go for the full 16 GB. (Or more, if the new iMacs allow it!) This is what will make your new Mac the happiest. (At the very least, get 8 GB. Anything less than that is just not enough for someone working with media files.)

    3) SSDs are great, but be sure to have other storage space (either internally or externally). The SSDs fill up fast!

    4) Yes, get the i7. It doesn't make a whole lot of difference now, but it's the sort of thing where there will be software in 2015 that runs on the i7 but not the i5. You're giving your iMac a longer life by getting the better processor architecture. This matters more than speed...I'd rather have a slower i7 than a faster i5. (And if the new iMacs offer something better than the i7, go for that. It's the BEST way to future-proof yourself.)
  8. Azzin macrumors 601


    Jun 23, 2010
    London, England.
  9. marzer macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    If this is a business purchase, slurge! 27 inch, SSD + HD, fastest i7 upgrade. Capital investment, you'll write it off anyway. But I agree, get the min RAM and throw the extra sticks in yourself, very cheap and very easy.
  10. skysounds thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2012
    This might be a stupid question...but would buying extra RAM separately from apple be slower than buying the RAM that I could buy from apple? I really just want the quickest computer possible.

    And if it's worth waiting for the new iMac I will do that...but my MacBook Pro is getting old and I need something new to handle all of the CPU I'm using. If there isn't an announcement in at least a month with a release date or at least some specs, then I'll probably go for the one out now.

    Thanks for all of the responses guys! :)

    Edit: Also...does anyone know if they will make the screen bigger in the new one? A 32'' iMac sounds VERY appealing compared to a 27''...the more screen the better!
  11. Spike88, Apr 12, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012

    Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Agree. Being a business, buy highest rated "bundle" and write it off as a business tool. SSD and miniumum 4 GBs Apple Ram, then upgrade to minimum 16 GBs (4 x 4s) or 32 GBs (4 x 8 GBs) afterwards is a great idea as well. Memory upgrades as DIY install items can be purchased using Business Expense dollars. Great info at

    I wasn't a fan of SSD (due to their current high costs) but after viewing a few You-Tube clips (comparing 2 identify machines but one with SSD and other without SSD), their speed comparison difference is amazing. Today, I'm a firm believer in SSD. Especially if speed, reliability (due to NO moving parts) and long time usage is high priority. And, now understand why MAC Air laptops don't have internal drives either. They use fixed SSD (formally called "flash storage") - which makes them super fast as well.

    If business money (or person money has high limits), I'd recommend a fully loaded iMac (with high video card, high CPU with SSD inclusion) as well...

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