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Sync Or Swim

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 3, 2013
Hello Macrumors

I have been a long time lurker and this is my first post. This will be my first iMac. :) I just need some help on deciding which iMac to purchase.

I used to have a 2010 13" MBP. It ran Starcraft 2 fine on low/med settings and it was too slow for FCP X. The fans would scream after running SC after 30 minutes and it couldn't even handle FCP X.

My 2010 13" MBP specs was

MBP 13" 2010
2.4GHz Inel core 2 duo
8GB of RAM
250GB 5400RPm HD
Nvidia GeForce 320M (256MB)

Can the 21 iMac run SC2 on max settings? SC2 is the only game I play on the computer. With heart of the swarm coming out on March, I want to be able to play it at least on high settings at the native resolution.

Here is a list of what I'll spend most of time on.
Web browsing > Starcraft 2 > Final Cut Pro X > Minor photo editing and music production.

iMac 21.5"
2.9Ghz i5
16GB of Ram
1TB Fusion Drive
Nvidia GT 650M (512MB)


iMac 27"
3.2Ghz i5
8GB of Ram
1TB Fusion Drive
Nvidia GTX 680MX (2GB)

Also I'll be ordering it through Mac Mall. Has anyone order from Mac Mall? If so how was your experience?
Will I benefit from the i7 CPU?
I plan on keeping the computer for a very long time and I have no intention of reselling it. I'll be keeping it until it dies.
I'm a college student and budget is tight. Altough, I can afford the 27 iMac.
Any advice would be great. Thank you.


macrumors member
Apr 7, 2011
Vienna, Austria

First things first: Welcome to the board ;)

As for your questions there are some considerations to be made:

For gaming on high settings it would be best to use the much more advanced graphics card of the 27'' model. This will give you a huge improvement in performance, though you should remember its still a mobile card.

As for the i5 vs i7 I think you would have a good performance impact especially when editing high res video. Then the power of the i7 really starts to kick in. So it might be a good choice.

As for running with the 27'' model you also have the possibility to upgrade RAM later (aftermarket) for a cheaper price. This is not possible for the small iMac. And RAM will also have a great impact when handling large files, like when you edit video.

Hope this helps,


macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2008
If you only play SC2, it doesn't matter much. If you also intend to play more resource-intensive games, I strongly recommend the 680MX.

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
If you want a future proof gaming machine, then the 680M, hands down.

With the 27" iMac you can also change RAM yourself and get it quite cheap anyway.

Fried Chicken

Jun 11, 2011
27" iMac.

Nothing else to say.
If you had said web browsing and watching pornography I would have said go ahead and use the 21".
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