iMac - 20inch vs 24inch

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by explicitluser, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. explicitluser macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2009
    I have read all the posts and reviews saying the 24inch is far better than the 20inch, for a multitude of reasons.

    I am a student, and I can get a 24inch iMac from the Education store with everything I want (printer, applecare etc) for £1212 - on top of that I'd need to add MS Office 2008 and a decent external HDD. I can get the 20inch iMac for £850, then I'd need to add all of the extras on (excluding external HDD) - it would only come to about £1000 (or thereabouts).

    Is this worth it, or should I just go for the 24inch. Does anyone have experience with both? My iMac would be used for all my school work, watching DVDs and online movies. Some video editing would occur, and work with photos.

    Thanks for any replies.
  2. ditzy macrumors 68000


    Sep 28, 2007
    The 20" has a lower quality screen, most don't notice the difference though. Also as I'm sure you know the 24" has a bigger hard drive, and more RAM. Only you can decide if the extra money would have more value in your pocket or being spent on the iMac. I'd buy the 24" I think that it is worth it. But the 20" is a great computer too.
  3. kvasir macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2007
    I'm in the same quandary myself. For what you're doing, either one would be great. If you get the 20" and run out of hard drive space, there's always Firewire 800 external drives, or tutorials on how to take your iMac apart to replace the hard drive.

    It comes down to screen quality and physical size for me. I don't mind paying for a higher quality screen and there's no question that the 24" screen is beautiful. I know iamthedudeman believes that there's a higher quality screen in the 20", but I'm almost sure it's a TN panel. However, the problem becomes the fact that I'm sitting about two feet back from the screen, and 24" is HUGE. I almost don't need that much screen sitting in front of me. It all depends on where you are sitting relative to the machine, how long you'll be using it, ect.

    You mentioned buying some extras, I'm in for that too. If I bought the 20" with rebate right now (Microcenter USA), it's $999, no tax. I planned on buying the regular keyboard, an external drive, and 4gb of memory. After all is said and done, that would still be much cheaper than buying a 24". I likely would get the refurb model when it's back in stock (US $1,199 plus tax).

    Have you used both of them before? For what you're doing, either one would be fine. In the US Store, for $300 you get: a 24" screen, 4gb of RAM, and a 640 gb hard disk. So that's 4" more screen(and a sharper, more crisp one at that), 2gb more of RAM, and double the disk space. The processor remains the same at 2.66 ghz. Some may say that's not worth it, but it's all up to you. Think of how long you'll be using it and how much you'll be using it.
  4. AAPLaday Guest


    Aug 6, 2008
    Manchester UK
    One thing you should do is consider where your going to be putting it as you will need a bit more room for the 24 inch as it really is big if your sat up close to it. I have the 20 inch and that is fine for all my needs which included iphoto, aperture and the other iLife suite applications.
  5. explicitluser thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2009
    I'd be sitting fairly close, using it about... 5+ hours a day? It's just the extra ram and hdd that are enticing me. Thanks for your replies!
  6. Canadian Bacon macrumors regular

    Nov 27, 2007
    On the Baltic Sea
    20" works for me

    I went for the 20" iMac and don't regret it size-wise, although I still drool over the 24" screen at the store. The 20" model fits great on my desk unobtrusively to one side while my PC laptop occupies the other corner. My desk is 75cm deep, and when sitting in front of the iMac, the distance to the screen and font size of the letters on the screen is just right. Following open windows on the 24" (at the store) seemed to me like playing tennis - I was constantly looking left and right in case I missed something. But, 24" iMac owners may fundamentally disagree, which is fine.

    BTW, the supposedly new AU Optronics panel (see teardown link) in the 2009 model looks great dead on IMHO.

    Forgot to mention: Another reason why I went for the 20" model was this: This may sound like twisted logic, but I didn't want that huge, beautiful 24" screen tied to only one computer. One day, I will want to upgrade the computer itself, but not necessarily the gorgeous IPS-screen. But, I can always hook up a gorgeous external 24" screen (e.g. Apple LED Cinema Display, or good DELL monitor) to the 20" iMac and dual screen, without it being tied to the computer itself. Upon updating one of my computers, I could still use the external monitor.

    Of course, if the next generation iMac has an insanely better looking screen than the current 24" model, that would be fine by me, too. All the more reason to save money now and splurge later.

    So, I don't know if that helps you at all.
  7. fishcove Guest

    Another thing to consider is the resolution.

    1680 x 1050 vs 1920 x 1200

    Some people care; some don't.

    I bought the previous gen 24" for the better graphics card.

    The screen seemed huge - for about two days. Now I see the 20" and it seems small.

    100% happy with this machine.
  8. explicitluser thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2009
    That really helped, thanks. Does your Mac slow down under any tasks? Are you able to watch DVD's etc comfortably without the screen angle ruining things?

    I'll go into the store and have a play about.

    Is it easy to change RAM on a Mac? How expensive is a 4GB set of RAM for the Mac?
  9. Canadian Bacon macrumors regular

    Nov 27, 2007
    On the Baltic Sea
    I'm not sure if you meant me, or the poster above me, but here goes: as you mention DVDs, I found the playback grainy, BUT after starting a thread "Grainy DVD Playback on 2009 iMac", a poster mentioned that it probably has more to do with computer screen vs. TV screen resolutions than the actual performance of the computer. Can't tell you more than that though - I'm not high-tech by any stretch of the imagination. Viewing angles were okay during DVD playback and I was sitting off to the left of the iMac (2 feet away from the screen) while it was playing. The black border wasn't as black as I might hope, but I probably wouldn't notice after a few times watching videos. Some people have posted pictures of Macbooks and Macbook Pros side-by-side to demonstrate the different levels of blackness of the black borders with screens of different quality. I assume, the 24" model would beat the 20" in this respect, but it's conjecture on my part.

    Also, I went for 4GB RAM and the HD upgrade. Pretty snappy machine all around.
  10. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    I've never noticed any issues with screen angle on my iMac. By the time you're at too steep an angle to see it, it's because you're looking more at the optical drive slot instead of the screen :p
  11. jtgotsjets macrumors 6502


    May 20, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    Just to add to this, the 20" iMac's resolution is just short of standard HD; the 24" qualifies.
    This may matter if you plan on using your computer like a TV at all, like through iTunes HD or eyeTV.
  12. BlizzardBomb macrumors 68030


    Jun 15, 2005
    I thought iTunes HD was 720p. There's more than enough pixels for 720p HD. That and it's not too far off 1080p, just some slight scaling.
    I've used some aluminium iMacs and even though I know the 20" iMac has a technically worse screen, you can't really see the difference in day-to-day use unless you are at a fair angle, comparing side to side, or concentrating on minute differences (which of course pros would not want, but they'd be willing to spend more anyway).

    That said, if you can afford it, the 24" would be a no-brainer, but if you're a little strapped for cash, the 20" has mostly identical specs (bar RAM which can be easily upgraded with only a screwdriver and hard drive which can be upgraded instore/online).
  13. Bye Bye Baby macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Sep 15, 2004
    i(am in the)cloud
    If you can afford it go for the 24 inch. I am in the same position and do not regret for a moment my purchase.

    Mind you I have two 24 inch screens!!!
  14. jtgotsjets macrumors 6502


    May 20, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    I thought iTunes had some 1080 content—I may be wrong.
    And yeah, I'm not saying movies won't still look good or anything, it just still isn't quite HD. I thought it was worth mentioning, who knows who might find it important.
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I know that people love big screens, and consider bigger to always be better, but 20" screens are actually quite large already, so if your desk isn't very deep, and you won't be sitting far away from the iMac (i.e, you'll be 2 feet away rather than 3 feet), then a 20" iMac will still look really big, and really good.

    However, if you can afford the extra £200 ($300 USD), then go ahead and get the bigger screen.
  16. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    I plan to retire my 24" machine in a few years as a small tv for the bedroom, great for watching DVDs or streaming HD content from the web. :D

    The 20" would never be able to handle this end use as its crap viewing angle (and smaller size) would make it unwatchable unless you put the computer in the middle of your bed!:p

    One of the big moans people have about iMacs is that you have to keep upgrading the display with every new purchase; they lack imagination.:rolleyes:

Share This Page