iMac 24 with ATI HD2600 Performance.. will I notice the drop?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by panzer06, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. panzer06 macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2006
    I'm thinking about getting a 2nd iMac and wonder how well these older 24" models are holding up. I've found a few at very reasonable prices but am always a bit concerned with buying 2.5 to 3 year old gear. I like that 1920x1200 screen.

    Seeing as I would only use this about 10 days out of the month, how much will I notice the performance drop from my 3.06 ATI 4850 iMac. The older Mac will only need to run Office for Mac 2011, Internet and perhaps VMware with Windows 7 (MS Access, Visio, Project and a few old websites that only work with IE).

    I will upgrade it to 4GB ram and a 1TB HD (both sitting around gathering dust) immediately. Given that will I be fine using it instead of taking out my i5 MBP?

    Thanks for your input.

  2. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    I have the same iMac as you are considering with the HD2600... for daily tasks and Photoshop CS3 it works like a dream, especially with the increased RAM.

    I replaced the internal 500Gb HDD WD Caviar Blue with an OCZ Vertex2 120Gb SSD and the boot speed and wake from sleep speeds are awesome. I have an external FW800 for Time Machine with a WD Caviar Green in it.

    I can play WoW (Cataclysm) on low to mid settings if I avoid the new sunshafts and water.
  3. nOw2 macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2009
    I swap between an iMac 2.8GHz i7 and 2.0GHz C2D 20" (ATI HD 2400). To be honest, I really don't notice the difference in most use cases. For your workload I suspect you'll be fine - perhaps you'll notice the difference in CPU in VMWare but not such that you'll have any difficulty using it.
  4. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    I'm typing this on a late 2007 24" iMac with the first 2.8GHz CPU. Frankly this has been the best computer I've ever owned. 100% reliable, works as well today as the day I got it. It only has a 320GB HD (200GB still free) because I use externals to store my photos, music and movies. I use it mostly for web based work but also use Aperture for managing and editing my 50GB collection. I've upgraded the RAM to 6GB have upgraded from Tiger to Leopard and am currently on SL 10.6.6.
  5. panzer06 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2006
    Interesting, I found one of these for $580. So with 4GB ram it will handle most business apps? How does it handle dual monitors? Can I extend the desktop or just mirror?

  6. nOw2 macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2009
    I find the C2D iMac absolutely fine. US$580 sounds like a bargain. I bought the 27" iMac only for two reasons: I gave the 20" iMac to my mother to replace a WindowsXP machine and I had an itch to upgrade.

    It has a proper discrete graphics chip, the HD 2400, that handles dual monitors with the internal screen at 1680x1050 and an external 1920x1080 screen beautifully.

    For business apps - well, I run heavy weight development environments and VMWare virtual machines. I find it perfectly acceptable, your mileage might vary depending on what exactly you want to do. I'd say you'll be able to run everything, but obviously if you want to open a 5GB image in Photoshop then it's going to start swapping to disk and slowing down.

    I do have some issues with the 20" iMac when compared against my 27" i7:
    * the 128MB graphics chip hits its limit with modern games. e.g. not enough memory to run Civilization 5. Graphics memory isn't a problem for anything except games.
    * the 4GB RAM limit. I only hit this when I want to run multiple virtual machines - Windows Server can suck up a fair chunk of RAM.
    * the screen panel is notably inferior to the 27" iMac.

    The specs for my particular machine are:
  7. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    If you're going to run a VM, get 6GB of RAM, it works. MBA has worse CPU and I've seen plenty of people doing much heavier stuff with their MBAs. The CPU isn't bottlenecking anything in your usage.

    The iMac you're looking at supports up to 1920x1200 resolution in external monitor in both, extended and mirror mode.
  8. panzer06 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2006
    Excellent, I found this one for $679 w/o keyboard or mouse but based on everyone's comments it should do well. I have some 2x2GB DDR2 RAM so I'll upgrade that and put a 1TB drive in and see how it does.

    MFG Part: MA878LL/A
    24" widescreen TFT-LCD display with up to 1920 x 1200 resolution wide 178/176 degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles 380 cd/m brightness 750:1 contrast ratio
    320GB Serial ATA hard drive (7200 rpm)
    8x8x8 DVD+RW 8x6x8 DVD-RW 24x16x24 CD-RW
    ATI RADEON HD 2600 PRO graphics with up to 256MB GDDR3 memory mini DVI output supports DVI, VGA, S-video, and composite video connections via optional adapter (not included)
    2 FireWire ports (one 400 Mbps, one 800 Mbps) and 5 high-speed USB 2.0 ports (3 on display, 2 on keyboard) built-in Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) module
    Built-in high-speed AirPort Extreme wireless LAN card (802.11b/g/n) built-in 10/100/1000Base-T Gigabit Ethernet LAN with RJ-45 connector
    Built-in stereo speakers with 24W digital amplifier
    Built-in, iSight Web camera and built-in microphone for video chatting and Web conferencing

    Processor: Intel Core(TM)2 Duo Desktop
    Processor Speed: 2.4GHz
    System Bus: 800MHz
    Cache Memory: 4MB at die Level 2
    System Memory (RAM): 1GB
    System Memory (RAM) Expandable To: 4GB
    Type of Memory (RAM): DDR2 SDRAM

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