I need your help to decide between these two Macs

Discussion in 'iMac' started by rkitect, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. rkitect macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2009
    Hi all,

    I am a PC using architect and I am looking to change my battered old HP for a spankin' new Apple iMac. However, I have a slight dilemma in choosing between a new 21.5in standard model or a 24in model which is on sale at my local PCWorld.

    Now, I am not much of a techie for want of a better word so I would really appreciate your input on the specifications as shown below and the screen quality etc. I will mostly be using Autocad 2010, 3D Viz and Photoshop.

    New 21.5in Standard Model Specs:-
    * 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
    * MAC OS X Snow Leopard v10.6 Operating system
    * 4GB Memory
    * 500GB/1TB Hard Drive
    * iLife 09 pre installed
    * NVIDIA GeForce 9400M Graphics Card/ATI Radeon HD graphics
    * LED backlit display
    * Built in iSight camera
    * Slot loading SuperDrive
    * Wireless Keyboard & mouse included

    24in Model Specs:-
    * 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
    * Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard - Operating system
    * 4GB Memory - Run more applications
    * 640GB Hard Drive - Load up on photos,videos
    * 24'' Widescreen display - Vivid colours
    * NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics
    * iLife 09 Software - Includes iPhoto, iMovie
    * 8x double layer superdrive - DVDs slide in
    * Built-in Wi-Fi - High-speed wireless
    * iSight camera - iChat,iMovie or Photo Booth

    Any comments you can give me will be massively appreciated!!

    Cheers, Rkitect.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Using AutoCAD myself on a semi-regular basis, I like the larger screen. The newer model will be noticeably faster though.
  3. xSPRINTERx macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2009
    Both nice machines, Personally I would go for the 21.5" as its the more up to date model and has a faster processor. Are you planning on running windows on it ?? My uni body mac book is a slightly lower spec than the 24" above 2.4 C2D same amount of memory and the 9400m and its great for day to day stuff. It does hang for a while if using large applications.
  4. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2009
    Among the starlings
    I agree, get the faster computer. You can always add a second monitor; you can't upgrade the CPU or graphics card on an iMac. Plus the newer iMac has more memory slots, so you'll be able to add more RAM as you need it at lower cost and with a higher max amount.
  5. iMatthew macrumors member


    Dec 3, 2009
    I would say the 21.5 iMac is the better value for you and the new screens are an amazing sight to see. The faster core processors should also help with performance.
  6. 929406 macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2009
    Looked at the same two units myself and ordered the base model 21.5, it should be more than what I need. In the end it was a decision between the 21.5 and i5 but I thought the i5 would be a bit too big and show offish for my desk at work!
  7. macfrik macrumors 6502


    Mar 21, 2009
    Like the others stated before, I have to agree with them as well. Go with the 21.5 inch iMac. It also has better screen than the 24 inch iMac. LED vs CCFL. The 21.5 inch also provides 16:9 ratio widescreen makes movies and animation at their best!
  8. rkitect thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2009
    Thanks everyone, your replies are very much appreciated! Just out of interest, do apple sell seperate 21.5in screens in order to run dual monitors or would I just have to pick up a normal 21in monitor?

    I have a 19in LCD monitor from my current PC which is quite a nice sleep one, will this work ok?
  9. rtrt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    no 21.5 apple monitors today, only 24 and 30.

    not sure you'd get a good match with another vendors 21 ie led backlit and same resolution and so on. altho i haven't looked around to be sure
  10. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2009
    Among the starlings
    If you just need more real estate, your existing LCD should run fine (though you may need an adapter). If color matching is important to you, it's more complicated.

    The Apple 24" might be a decent match, but I think it may not be an identical panel; the 30" is definitely not the same. For a third-party monitor that matches you'll have to figure out the panel type and manufacturer and what other companies are making screens using that exact panel -- which may be none at this point, since it's an unusual dimension plus Apple may have a temporary exclusivity agreement.

    And then even once you've found a matching panel, getting them to match properly without a hardware calibrator is extremely difficult. For example... I have a Cinema Display and a Dell monitor at the same size and resolution made with the exact same panel. The Dell by default is set to use a much darker gamma setting, and I had to push the gamma up to ridiculous levels to match the ACD's default. Since the color adjustments are made before the gamma adjustments using Apple's calibration wizard, you can't match the colors without going forwards and backwards through the wizard several times.

    After hours of wrangling, I've gotten them close enough that at most brightness levels I don't notice a difference moving a browser window from one to the other, and don't mind using one for palettes and the other for the main work, but can still see subtle differences in photos or the desktop background, or an area of solid color that spans both monitors. (A Spyder or something could probably get these two to match flawlessly.)

    So.... yeah, if you need perfect color matching between your monitors you might have some trouble.... unless you plan to get a second iMac and use it in display mode! ;)
  11. danistyping macrumors regular

    Dec 8, 2009
    Boston, MA
    I'm just gonna throw this out there....

    If you're going to buy the 21.5" w/ ati graphics, and you end up buying a second monitor, you should just spend that monitor money upgrading to the 27". You won't be disappointed with the type of work that you do and you'll consolidate your workspace.
  12. rkitect thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2009
    I really wish I could but the budget just wont stretch the extra £400 it would cost, especially given the amount of outlay I have on the software licences I need!

    Does anyone know of whether Apple are planning any bumper deals for the january sales?
  13. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Deals are a no go.

    Doesnt matter what kind of second monitor you run with your iMac.

    I run a 24" iMac with a 20" matte display, its fine. Also run a 20" iMac as the secondary to a 24" matte display. Works fine too.
  14. rkitect thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2009
    Thanks everyone for your help, I am gonna go and try to get a deal off of my local PCWorld in the next couple of days. I am thinking that I will spend the little extra to get the 1TB 21.5in with the ATI Radeon HD graphics card.

    I am gonna try to negotiate a deal so I will ask for an upgrade to 8gb ram and the applecare thrown in, in the hope that they will say no to the 8gb ram and yes to the free applecare!

    Wish me luck!!:)
  15. DarwinOSX macrumors 65816

    Nov 3, 2009
    Check out the Arcitosh site. It's for Mac using architects and has been around for awhile.


    I would ask the same question on their forums.


    Apple also has a site for architects.


    I would recommend the newer Mac and your secondary LCD screen to plug into it. The newer Mac has a fantastic screen, is faster, and most importantly is cheaper to upgrade to 8GB of ram which you will want to do.

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