Help with configuring 21.5" iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by AdrainSingapore, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. AdrainSingapore, Dec 17, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012

    AdrainSingapore macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    #1
    I recently fried my pc so I'm very urgent in getting a new computer. I have never used Mac so I decided to give apple a try. The first thing I want from it that lasts at least 2 years. And get the most out of it yet spending the least. I have decided to go for the higher end iMac with fusion drive and a 2.9 GHz processor, since I won't be running too many CPU intensive apps. Now what I haven't decided is the ram, whether to go for 8GB or 16GB.
    These are the apps that I might run simultaneously:
    Chrome/Safari- Facebook, youtube, some information on other websites (5 tabs open at maximum)
    Minecraft
    Some movie streaming
    Maybe some gaming from the Mac AppStore

    I will also run windows through bootcamp and run some games like call of duty, gta (newer versions), Battlefield and Team fortress 2.

    I know that the 21.5" model iMac doesn't have any user accessible ram slots so I want to be very sure before I buy and not regret. The 16GB ram upgrade costs a lot in my country but I would like to spend money that is worth.
     
  2. MisterKeeks macrumors 68000

    MisterKeeks

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    #2
    All your uses only require 8GB, unless you need high end games far down the road. Those might tax older hardware with 8 gigs. Still, I would stick with 8.
     
  3. MagicThief83 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    Location:
    NYC
    #3
    For your uses, the i5 2.9 GHz is fine. Definitely go with the Fusion Drive. As far as the ram is concerned, I would definitely up it to 16GB, as it's non-user upgradeable. That's the configuration I went with.
     
  4. Johnf1285 macrumors 6502a

    Johnf1285

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #4
    If 2 years is your desired usage timeframe until the next upgrade, then I believe that 8gb will be fine based upon your usage.
     
  5. AdrainSingapore thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    #5
    What is the advantage of having more ram besides running more apps simultaneously?
     
  6. AdrainSingapore thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    #6
    Forgot to mention the price difference in my country is a lot. But as I said I don't mind spending that amount if its going to make it lasts at least 2 years
     
  7. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #7
    Up until a few years ago, it was true that adding more RAM would allow you to run more apps simultaneously without having to swap to disk (slow performance and constant hard drive crunching). 2GB was good and 4GB was ideal. But now RAM is really cheap and people think if you keep adding RAM things will keep improving. But in almost all cases, having more than 4GB of RAM is basically pointless. There are exceptions--if you are running VMs (virtual machines) or doing heavy Photoshop or video editing work, then you will likely benefit from a lot more RAM. But otherwise 4GB will be enough and 8GB will certainly be more than enough. Don't listen to people who tell you that you need more unless they can prove their case with hard numbers.

    Right now I'm using a Mac Mini with 4GB of RAM and Activity Monitor is reporting that I'm only using 2.5GB of swap and my page-outs are only 1.15GB over the past several days. I have a dozen apps open and at least two dozen web sites. In other words, I would hardly notice it if I had more RAM.

    On the other hand, the Fusion drive upgrade, or upgrade to pure SSD, will give you a very noticeable improvement in performance.
     
  8. AdrainSingapore thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    #8
    What about those people in the other thread saying that their Mac only has 1-2 GB of memory free despite them having 8GB and no apps running? And what will happen if you happen to run out of ram and try to run another app?
     
  9. Johnf1285 macrumors 6502a

    Johnf1285

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #9
    I have the 21.5" with Fusion and 8gb of ram and I attempted to use as much ram as possible last night with the following:

    Safari with 4 or so tabs open, Mail open with all 2000 some odd messages indexed and ready to be viewed, Messages open with multiple messages going, iPhoto open with some minor photo editing, Pixelmator open (think adobe Photoshop like program, but less intense on ram) with 5 or so high res photos with a few layers on each getting worked on, and that was about it. I should've turned on iTunes and played some music. This above scenario would be my MAX usage. I do game too, mostly Blizzard titles, but I wouldn't be gaming with the above going on - so I didn't include that either.

    With all of this happening my system hit around 4gb used. I am unsure how people are using up all of their free memory. I know OS X will keep recently opened programs "cached" and label that memory that is being used as Inactive, but it should use that before resulting in writes to the disk/drive for memory. Maybe those people are using programs that have a memory leak?
     
  10. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #10
    I went for the high end 21" with Fusion Drive and 16 GB of Ram. More than enough for my needs but I'm looking at keeping this baby for more like 5 years. If you are looking to ditch it after 2 then go with 8 GB. If you think spending more now could save you money in the long run (by having another 2 years out of the machine) then go for it. This is my first Mac and I love the speed of the thing and the silent running. It's whisper quite. I can have as many things open as I like and it makes no difference. As well as dossing on here I am also working from home today, with a remote desk top connection to work, iTunes and about 6 tabs running. Not even noticing. In the few weeks since I've had it I ave seen the beach ball thing about twice for about a second each time. My old PC would just hang and hang. If I could have upgraded the RAM myself I would have stuck with the 8 GB. But as apple decided to seal the 21" that decided for me. I'm not sure how saleable BTO options are though. What I mean is I don't think you would get back much for what you put in when it's time to sell it on.
     
  11. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #11
    OS X attempts to use as much physical memory as possible by allocating it to all the programs you're running. That doesn't mean those programs are actually using the memory. Activity Monitor might say that you're using all your memory on a 16GB system but if you did the same stuff on a 2GB MacBook Air it might run just as smoothly.

    As for running out of RAM, you can't. OS X uses virtual memory, so it can use hard drive/SSD space as RAM if it runs out of physical RAM. In general this will be barely noticeable since it puts the infrequently used data on the hard drive, but if you are really doing something that requires more RAM than you have, you can get into a state where your computer runs unbearably slow because it is constantly "paging in" and "paging out" data from the hard drive.
     
  12. MagicThief83 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    Location:
    NYC
    #12
    Went for the same exact build as yours. I too opted for 16GB given the inability for user upgrade. I hope this machine does last me a long time. This is also my first iMac. It just went to preparing for shipment, and is expected to be delivered between the 21st-27th...any chance I'll get it on the 21st? I also opted for expedited shipping!
     
  13. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #13
    I didn't bother with express shipping, but it still turned up earlier than I expected. With this being the week before Christmas it could be anytime!

    I'm still learning stuff on it all the time. My trouble is I use a PC all day at work, so when I do get home I have to remember what I learnt last time. I keep dropping hints to my line manager how Windows PC is a bit ancient now and I'd be more efficient on a nice Mac mini.
     
  14. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #14
    I do not know of any games that use more than 4 GBs of RAM. Not even "high-end" ones. But as you said, it might happen some day in the future. Although, I would suspect that by that time the other components in the iMac will be too obsolete to play those games anyway. 8 GBs is enough for the op's needs, but I would find it difficult myself to not upgrade to 16 GBs when the RAM is not user upgradeable.
     
  15. MagicThief83 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    Location:
    NYC
    #15
    Great news! iMac finished processing, went to preparing for shipment, and shipped today, with an expected delivery for the 20th! I'm stoked! Can't wait to set it up and also play some games in Bootcamp!
     
  16. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Location:
    ladner cdn
    #16
    I'm gonna use U.S prices

    -21" with fusion=$1749
    -21" with fusion and 16mb ram=$1949

    at these prices you might be better off with

    -27" with 7200rpm sata and upgrade ram yourself (easy on 27")
    =$1799

    the 27" seems like a better value...
     

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