Help specifying 2013 iMac pragmatically

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Chipstix, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. Chipstix macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    Location:
    Brighton, England, UK
    #1
    Hi all,

    I planning on buying a 2013 21.5" iMac when Mavericks is released. My current iMac (details in signature) that has served me exceptionally well since 2006 will be staying in the household and taking up a new position in the kitchen/diner.

    The hardware has moved on a lot since 2006 and I've been able to sample the delights of faster processors, faster and more RAM and an SSD disk in my 2012 13" Macbook Air - hence its time to upgrade my 'central' machine.

    I would be grateful for some advice in specifying the new iMac. It's easy for the price to start shooting up without understanding the true value/need of the upgrades. I want to avoid this, but I also recognise upgrading a 2013 iMac later on is basically not worth even contemplating.

    I will be using the iMac for
    - Main storage location for my digital life: photos, music, documents (backed-up to several clones of course - in fact new USB3.0 1TB drive is on the way :)
    - My current iMac (after a good clean out) is at 460GB
    - Photo organising in iPhoto, editing in Pixelmator or CS5.
    - Occasional minor video editing (just fun clips of my 1yr old daughter, nothing too serious I lack the patience for large amounts of video editing)
    - >50% of the time probably for web browsing
    - Haven't played games for years, I think I would like to but don't seem to have the time these days.
    - I also plan to use iTunes homesharing to the other iMac, plus the MBA and 2x iphone4's - but sharing and backing up I will cover in a different thread.


    So, considering the 21.5" model, there are 3 basic 'upgrades' I could consider
    1) 1TB fusion drive (+£160)
    2) increase from 8 to 16 GB RAM (+£160)
    3) increase from base model processor 2.7GHz / IRIS graphics to 2.9GHz with NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M & 1GB video memory (+£150)

    Based on my useage if I could only have one of these upgrades I am fairly certain it will be the fusion drive. Do you agree?

    But if I were to add a 2nd, would it be 2) or 3)? Or, in fact am I unlikely to really 'need' either?

    I have budgeted to add one of these upgrades, if I push it, I could add a second one (given that I am 'saving' [that's a man-maths term :)] by not going for the 27"!

    Comments, thoughts, suggestions welcome,

    Thanks, Chipstix.

    (Current iMac: late 2006 20" iMac core2duo 2.16GHz 3GB 667 DDR 500GB HDD)
     
  2. macs4nw macrumors 601

    macs4nw

    #2
    Based on your planned usage, after the Fusion drive, I would suggest that graphics update (#3) before considering the 16GB RAM option. The Fusion and graphics upgrades are where your most noticeable performance improvements will be.
     
  3. Chipstix, Oct 7, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013

    Chipstix thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    Location:
    Brighton, England, UK
    #3
    thanks

    Hi, thanks for your reply.

    Having resisted massive temptation to upsell myself through Apple's highly attractive upgrades and steep but cleverly devised pricing strategy...I'm going to stick with the base model with just the fusion drive option.

    I think this will serve my needs well. I've been using my MacBook Air for the kind of use I would expect and with 4GB of 1333 DDR3 RAM I have had 0bytes page outs. I'm also anticipating that the refinements that are expected with Mavericks will be more efficient with RAM (rather than getting more and more RAM hungry which seems to be the normal trend). Finally, I think having the SSD in the fusion means that if in say 3-4 years time the RAM requirements are near to exceeding the 8GB limit, it should be able to page out efficiently to the SSD.

    In terms of the processor and graphics, I thought about it in the context of a) my current 2006 iMac (which is an easy comparison as it looks highly favourable!) and b) an upgraded 21.5" iMac from say 2010 or 2011. Based on this and that fact that I don't game or do any real video editing as such I think the i5 and the IRIS should serve me now and for a few years. Again, my MBA is 1.7GHz i5 with SSD and it feels very quick and nice to use.

    Now all I need is for Apple to release Mavericks! (I know I could buy and upgrade the OS later, and in fact I will need to buy Mavericks for my MBA anyway and I think this single purchase can apply to both machines but I think its cleaner to buy the new iMac with Mavericks factory installed?

    Chipstix
     
  4. macs4nw, Oct 7, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013

    macs4nw macrumors 601

    macs4nw

    #4
    Yeah, unless you're in a huge rush, I would give it a couple of weeks.
     
  5. buster84 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    #5
    Just buy it now. Apple always gives free updates when you purchase a computer right before the release of a new operating system. By the time your system is ordered and built Mavericks could come out right around then or a week or two later. Then when its out just contact them for the free upgrade. This way you get the disc sent to you in the mail (or pick up at the apple store). Then you can also use it on your laptop.

    If you wait to buy it until its installed on a new system, you'll have to buy it for your laptop either way. I also have a feeling that when Mavericks does come out, production will slow down alot since they will be sending most units to apple store for sales and displays. This also means that it will take even longer for your custom orders to get full filled. Just something else to think about.

    I just ordered me a nice 27" 3.5 I7, 256 SSD, GTX 780M, and 8gb Ram last night. Before ordering I called apple they said to call back and ask for a free disc to update to mavericks when its released. I'm just hoping that the imac arrives on time lol. I choose the 8gig ram because I plan to upgrade to 32gig on my own and take the current 2 4gb sticks and put them in my macbook pro (if their compatible, if not they will stay backups)

    When it comes to upgrades. I would pay for what you cant upgrade later now. If you can't afford to upgrade everything at once, pick the items that are not upgradable. Get the better processor and Video Card. Then when you can afford an SSD and upgraded RAM, either pay an apple certified shop to do it or do it yourself.

    At least you always have the option to add more ram and SSD hard drive, but you'll never have the option to upgrade the video card or processor since its built into the board. That requires a new computer. If you don't want to open up the computer while your in warranty or pay someone, you can get a thunderbolt external hard drive case and stick an SSD drive in it and make the computer boot from their.
     
  6. AaronM5670 macrumors 6502

    AaronM5670

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    Location:
    London
    #6
    My 27" arrived 5 days early so don't be surprised if your's does too! :D
     
  7. bluescale macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #7
    How strange, considering your new computer won't have a drive to insert the free disc into ;)
     
  8. buster84 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    #8
    LOL, well i have an external usb drive already but thats a valid point. I guess i should ask them for the download version to be added to my account as purchased instead :)

    I could also use an imaging software to make an iso of the disc on my windows computer or macbook pro, then copy it to my external hard drive and install it that way as well.
     
  9. AaronM5670 macrumors 6502

    AaronM5670

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    Location:
    London
    #9
    There's still Remote Disc though, I haven't used a CD drive on a computer in about 5 years and I see no need to have something on there permanently that 99% of regular users will only use once a year.
     
  10. Krevnik macrumors 68040

    Krevnik

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    #10
    I wonder how long it has been since they updated those CSR scripts...
     
  11. Chipstix, Oct 13, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013

    Chipstix thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    Location:
    Brighton, England, UK
    #11
    Tempting!

    But my thinking, although having to wait a few weeks, it will be cleaner to have an OS that was factory installed rather than an upgrade over a previous OS. I'm probably imagining the benefit, but it feels like a better option considering the time in between (remember my existing Mac is 7 years old and I've been hankering after a new one for 2-3 years!)

    I am presuming Mavericks won't be distributed by disc? I can use remote disc from the current iMac, but expect to buy/download all software from the Mac store.

    I'm inclined to agree with you. Problem is, that means everything on the new iMac since nothing can be sensibly upgraded later. Very clever up-selling by Apple means its easy to add 20-40% onto the purchase price. This is the whole reason I started this thread. The REAL question is what do I need, now and for the estimated ownership period of the iMac. Based on my useage, I feel the fusion drive gives me what I need. 8GB of RAM should keep me OK for say 5 years (especially as Mavericks is supposed to optimise memory useage). The processor options seem broadly irrelevant/unnoticeable and I don't play games so I think the IRIS graphics should be more than adequate (again, crucially now and for the next few years).

    It will be easier for me to stomach replacing a £1300 iMac in 5 years than a £1700 iMac in 7 years I suspect. (I'm not sure of the exact figures but I presume like most things we get ripped off in the UK for Apple kit and upgrades compared to in the US - maybe the economics are therefore a little different)

    In the meantime, I'm excited about the prospect of a new central computer for the household and the faithfull core2duo iMac taking up a new position in the kitchen/diner!
     

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