iMac 24" or iMac 21.5"? Please help me choose

Discussion in 'iMac' started by EliteF50, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. EliteF50 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    #1
    Well, I'm going to buy my first Mac soon, and I'm confused as to which model I should get. I don't know if the 24" will be too outdated in a year or two. These are my options:

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    iMac 21.5"

    3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM
    500GB Serial ATA Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M
    Apple Wireless Keyboard
    8x double-layer SuperDrive
    Apple Magic Mouse

    $1,299

    Refurbished iMac 24"

    Intel Core 2 Dou 3.06GHz
    2GB memory
    500GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS with 512MB memory

    $1,249

    Refurbished iMac 24"

    Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz
    24-inch glossy widescreen display
    4GB memory
    640GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB memory

    $1,199

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I will be using the Mac for video editing, light gaming, word processing, etc. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. avihappy macrumors 6502

    avihappy

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    #2
    I'd go with the $1,249 (second in the list with the GeForce 8800) over the others. It is probably the best machine in the pack and you can always add more RAM. The best and worst thing about it is the 8800 GS. It is discrete card (unlike the integrated video in the other two), but it is unable to use OpenCL (unlike the other two).
     
  3. Blue Sun macrumors 6502a

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    Australia
    #3
    Incorrect, the 8800GS is a supported GPU when it comes to OpenCL.
     
  4. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

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    #4
  5. zedsdead macrumors 68040

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    #5
    Out of those choices I would go with the 24" refurbished with the 8800 card. MUCH better than the 9400 M.
     
  6. EliteF50 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
  7. dagamer34 macrumors 65816

    dagamer34

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    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #7
    One thing you may not notice immediately from the specs is the screen quality. The newer Macs have an LED backlit LCD screen with an IPS panel. That's about as high quality as you can get without getting into photo production quality screens (think, thousands of dollars). It's extremely bright and the colors really pop. It's the same kind of technology used in an HDTV. If you've ever watched the same video on an older MacBook (before the unibody) or MacBook Pro (before 2007) as well as an HDTV, you immediately notice the difference in quality in the panel.
     
  8. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

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    Sep 27, 2008
    #8
    If screen quality is not important to you, then I would go with option #2.

    Bryan
     
  9. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

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    #9
    What kind of video editing will you be doing? A GPU may not be necessary, meaning the 21.5" would probably be the best choice for you.

    The new screens are better than the previous 24" screen was, but that 24" screen was still pretty damn good.
     
  10. EliteF50 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 28, 2009
    #10
    I edit trailers, use Adobe After Effects, Sony Vegas, create home movies, use it for school, etc.
     
  11. Blue Sun macrumors 6502a

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    Australia
    #11
    Ditto. Great price for that particular iMac.
     
  12. avihappy macrumors 6502

    avihappy

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    Nov 15, 2006
    #12
    Oh, my mistake. Screen quality is also important. All the models
    have IPS displays, but only the 21.5 inch has it LED backlit. It think for color critical video editing, the LED backlight might just give the 21.5 inch an edge.
     
  13. eloh macrumors member

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    Oct 31, 2009
    #13
    EliteF50 if you want to play video games on this box then go with the old 24. It has a better video card for playing games.

    However the new iMac 21.5 is better than the 24 in every other way. So if you are doing other stuff and not gaming, or gaming is a very low priority, I would by the new 21.5. That 24" screen is not as nice as the 21.5" check out the Cnet video review.

    If you want to game I suggest you either buy a PC, a Playstation 3 or an XBOX 360. Otherwise MACs are for doing real work, ie: audio production, video production, photography, or Mac Application development, not playing games. IMHO. This is why paying the price is justified...oh yeah i guess there is a "cool" thing too but that's not why you by it, that's why you show it off after you buy it. hehe :cool:
     
  14. EliteF50 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 28, 2009
    #14
    Which card is better, the 8800 or the ATI 4670?

    I've got a PC and a PS3, but my PC can barely play Minesweeper. I always wanted to play Crysis. Do you think any of those video cards can play it on high or medium settings?
     
  15. fhall1 macrumors 68040

    fhall1

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    #15
    Definitely rule out the 24" with 9400 graphics....

    How is the 21.5 better "in every other way"?
     
  16. sfroom macrumors regular

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    Apr 30, 2008
    #16
    Between those three, I think the 8800 GS model definitely gives you the most bang for your buck. If you're lucky enough to catch it in refurb, the GT 130 model gives you a little more performance, 4GB of RAM, and a bigger hard drive for about $100.

    The 8800 CAN take advantage of openCL, so I think it will be the best performer between the three you've identified. The screen isn't quite as nice as the 21.5", but you get a little more vertical resolution, and a little more size.

    As far as I know, the ATI 4670 is a little less powerful than the 8800 or GT 130, but we'll have to wait for some barefeats benchmarks to see just how much.

    If you can wait, I'd wait to see how the 4670 21.5" compares to the 8800GS and GT130. The best value would definitely be the 8800GS model, but if you want an improved screen and more ram (and you can stretch your budget a little), you might want to wait for the benchmarks.
     
  17. Jiten macrumors 6502a

    Jiten

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    Jul 16, 2008
    #17
    Correct me if I'm wrong but the 21.5 has 4 ram slots.
     
  18. EliteF50 thread starter macrumors regular

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  19. eloh macrumors member

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    Oct 31, 2009
    #19
    I don't really know. I have been out of the PC gamming hardware loop for a good while with the playstaion 3 and all. The card with the most RAM is generally better for models created around the same time but not always.

    My comments were based on you getting the base 21.5" model with the Nvidia 9400M in your post above. The ATI 4670 is a 256MB card and it comes in upgraded 21.5 model.

    So if you are asking about 24" vs 21.5" with ATI upgrade you can still go either way...the 24" video card I think had 512 MB and the 21.5" is 256MB. Personally the 21.5 would be on my desk because I am a dick and I want the new model. This difference here would be about $250 - $300. I don't think you can go wrong either way. I feel like trying to keep a computer up to par for gamming can lead to wasting money so I use consoles for that.
     
  20. eloh macrumors member

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    Oct 31, 2009
    #20
    better = 24" sucky monitor - 21.5" LED-backlit glossy 16:9 widescreen with IPS technology dope monitor
    wash = Intel Core 2 Dou 3.06GHz - 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo ( I am going to make this better with the 3.33 upgrade)
    better = 2GB memory - 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM
    wash = 500GB hard drive - 500GB Serial ATA Drive
    wash = 8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) - 8x double-layer SuperDrive
    not better = NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS with 512MB memory - NVIDIA GeForce 9400M
    better = Wired - Apple Wireless Keyboard
    better = Mighty - Apple Magic Mouse
    better = 24" sucky monitor - 21.5" LED-backlit glossy 16:9 widescreen with IPS technology dope monitor ( did I mention this yet)
    better = old - new <--- I think this one pretty much puts it over the top becaue I'm a dick.
     
  21. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

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    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #21
    ^^^^ and some of your facts are wrong

    24" iMacs had great SPVA panels @ 1920 X 1200
    21.5 iMacs have great SIPS panels @ 1920 X 1080 -- its smaller

    8800GS was one of the fastest video chips ever put in an iMac, 9400 is a dog compared to it -- much, much, much better

    keyboards and mice are personal:
    wireless keyboard thats missing a number pad, no thanks
    wireless mouse with heavy ass batteries, no thanks

    http://www.macworld.com/article/143636/2009/11/imacs_late2009_benchmarks.html
     
  22. eloh macrumors member

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    Oct 31, 2009
    #22
    Wow! great article. I'll take my lumps with tea next time...lol.

    From article - "Down the road, when more applications take advantage of GPU processing power through OpenCL, the performance differences might become more apparent, but for now, the $1199 iMac looks like a super deal."

    This makes me wondr if the separate GPU might actually be worth it's salt. I wonder, with more programs being written with Open CL, if the ATI 4670 GPU would benefit me more than the 3.33 CPU. (I guess this would be a different thread...you can ignore me I'm just typing my thoughts.)
     
  23. eelpout macrumors regular

    eelpout

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    Oct 30, 2007
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #23
    The 8800 is much better than the 4670, which is sad. Why does Apple continue to play with GPU's??
    http://www.guru3d.com/article/ati-radeon-hd-4670-review/8
    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Powercolor/HD_4670/26.html
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=811033

    While the 21.5" screen might have slightly increased contrast and LED backlighting, the 24" is hardly "sucky" as some put it. It's also IPS and you actually get more screen real estate (it's 1920x1200), with far less dense PPI. The only real disadvantage I'd see to the 24" is two less RAM slots and an 8 GB cap.
     
  24. topmounter macrumors 68020

    topmounter

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    Location:
    FEMA Region VIII
    #24
    I bought the 24" iMac with 4GB RAM, 640GB HDD and the Nvidia GT 120 w/ 256MB. It has the MDP so I can add the 24" LED CDP.
     
  25. sfroom macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    #25
    Personally, I'd take the 21.5" with a ATI 4670 over the 24" with the Nvidia GT 120, not that it was an option presented by the OP.

    It's a tough call, but I'd lean towards the 24" with the 8800GS. Throw 4GB of ram in there and it'll be VERY fast.
     

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