iMac 3.06GHz vs. 3.33GHz, upgrades?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bejeff, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. bejeff macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2009
    Hello everyone, I am looking to buy my first Mac after years of waiting for my old PC to die and the day has come!

    My question is, in terms of the 21.5" iMac what upgrades should I be considering. I will be mostly doing everyday stuff with the odd game thrown in but no video editing. Is it worth $200 to upgrade to the 3.33 GHz processor? I know I want more RAM which I won't be buying from Apple. Anything else worth looking at?

    Thanks for the responses and the patience, I'm new to all of this stuff!
  2. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    Not worth it to upgrade. Also for game playing, you might feel pretty limited by the GPU, although it isn't *terrrrrible* it just isn't super spiffy.
  3. Unprocessed1 macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2008
    Not for just the processor, but the LED screen could justify the upgrade. Take a look at an Apple store and see if it's worth the extra $200 for yourself
  4. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Don't ask "is the faster processor worth $200", ask "what is the best I can get for $200". For about $200 you should be able to get another 4GB RAM from Crucial and a 1.5TB external hard drive for Time Machine backups. If you do things that really make that iMac work hard then the RAM might be more useful than a bit faster CPU, and a backup drive is an absolute must.
  5. bejeff thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2009
    Thanks for all the input folks!

    I didn't think the difference in processors would make to much of a difference but wanted to confirm anyways. RAM always seemed to be the most worthwhile upgrade to consider.

    I was already considering some form of backup and debating between the 1 TB Time Capsule or an Extreme Base Station with a different external harddrive. After reading other threads the Time Capsule seems to be having issues that's for sure so I might avoid it! What brand of harddrive should I look for???
  6. MacKiddyWiddy macrumors 6502

    Aug 18, 2009
    Your right, the cpu wont make maJor noticeable differences, ram however will[​IMG] as for hdd brand, i always go with western digital or lacey
  7. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    One thing to consider (just playing Devil's Advocate here...) - you can always upgrade RAM and buy an external HD. You can't upgrade the processor (without major surgery, voiding warranty, etc.). So you alone have to make that decision.
  8. Fiete5401 macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2009
    Keep in mind that the Intel C2D E8600 3.33 GHz is a beast of processor. That processor even slaps the i5 when it comes to gaming because games don't profit from more than 2 cores.
  9. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    the only model i would consider is the $1500 one...

    With the Radeon 4670.

    Its not the 3.06 vs 3.33 thats gonna matter, but the wimpy built in 9400M vs the dedicated 4670.

    And I would skip getting it from Apple even.

    $1399 after rebate:

    4 gigs of ram should be plenty. Besides, 8 gigs of ram is $400... need to wait for that to come way, way, down.
  10. Nokeeo macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2009
    Hello Everyone I'm planning of purchasing my first mac which is going to be the 21.5 inch imac with the ATI Radeon HD 4670 256MB. I want to play games on my computer such as Fallout 3, oblivion, Sims 3, and Assassins' Creed. I'm on somewhat of a budget and really cannot go past $1,750 and I was just curious if it is worth it to get the 3.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo upgrade through apple or should I upgrade the memory through Apple or do it myself?
  11. klrobinson999 macrumors 6502

    Dec 28, 2008
    if it's increased processor speed vs. more RAM, then RAM wins every time.

    if you are willing to pay $200 for a slightly faster processor, you might as well pay another hundred for a dedicated graphics card.

    at $1750 limit, I would save the money and take advantage of the education discount or the Black Friday sale and get a 27".
  12. Drago89 macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2009

    Processor and memory
    21.5-inch and 27-inch models, one of the following:
    3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB shared L2 cache
    3.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB shared L2 cache

    so, the 3.33 ghz cpu is A LOT better cpu.

    is it worth the 200$ ? i don't know - if u need it - buy it.

    right now if it was me i'd buy one of the refurbs 24 inch iMacs

    24 inch 3.06 ghz with 8800 GS or the previous 2.93 ghz with Gt120

    the first one is better in every aspect except the ram which can be easily upgraded and the second one is better in everything.Both models are better if u can live without that LED display and give you more for your money :). Also you don't need more memory for everyday stuff and gaming.4 Gb is more then you need for these things.
  13. stonemann macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2009
    The difference in CPU speed is relatively minor. The combination of more L2 cache and faster FSB in the 3.33 GHz might provide a modest performance increase. But nothing you'd notice in everyday usage.

    If you're going to upgrade from the base iMac then consider getting the ATI 4670 card - which is a considerably better card for gaming. Otherwise the 9400M matches the ATI 4670 in most other aspects.
  14. Nokeeo macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2009
    Thank you everyone for the helpful comments !
  15. Ripmax2000 macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2005
    I would say the $200 is worth it.

    The 3.06 in the current iMacs is slower than the 3.06 in the newer ones, because the old ones had 6mb L2 cache, the new ones have only 3mb.

    For the extra $200 you're not only getting a faster clock speed, but you're back up to 6mb L2 cache.

    And as someone else said, RAM can always be upgraded later (at much cheaper prices than Apple charge).

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