iMac 9400m vs GT 120? Need Help!!!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by icemantx, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. icemantx macrumors regular

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    Mar 16, 2009
    #1
    I am undecided on what to buy and I am hoping you can all help me get past this dilema. The two computers I am considering are the iMac 2.66GHz for $1499 vs. iMac 2.93 for $1799. Clearly the main difference is the graphics card and a slightly faster processor.

    What I am trying to determine is which machine is the better choice? I do not play games very much on the computer (XBOX and Wii is what I game with), but am hesitant to get the 9400m iMac model.

    Reason being hesitant is I have an older 3GHz Pentium 4 Dell with a 7600GS video card that from what I can see is as good or better than the 9400m according to 3dMark06. Why does this matter to me? Well, just in general I am concerned about taking a step backwards in the graphics dept for a brand new computer.

    I do want to switch to the iMac, but is the cost premium for the GT120 worth the extra $300 cost? Will it make the computer feel "20% faster" to justify the 20% increase in price? How much do you think the discrete graphics will affect resale down the road?

    Mostly I will use the computer for iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iTunes, MacMail, Web Surfing and iWork... At least for now...

    Any advice will be very welcomed!
     
  2. trip1ex macrumors 68000

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  3. waiwai macrumors regular

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    #3
    take into consideration the CPU's are different. 2.66 to 2.93 is quite the leap.

    from your post u dont sound like a hardcore photo/video editing freak, so the 2.66 will be fine for you.

    resell? its obvious that a 2.93 imac will resell much better than the 2.66 due to the cpu and upgraded gpu.

    is the $300 premium warranted when it comes to the 2.93 IMac in general? Yes. $300 solely for the GPU? Hells no. That card goes for under $100 in the PC market. A prime example of how Apple rips off its customers... just because they can.

    hope that helps. save the money for some games for your wii and xbox.
     
  4. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

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    #4
    Dont be insane, theres a massive difference between the 9400M graphics chip and the GT120 Graphics card, the 9400M is simply an integrated chip so if you have any hopes for serious gaming on it think again, even if you dont game the graphics performance wont be anything special, and the frame rates are disgraceful for a desktop, its actually a laptop graphics chip, its not even a graphics card, the GT120 is a desktop graphics card.
     
  5. waiwai macrumors regular

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    #5
    what part of

    don't you understand?

    he's not looking for anything graphically special in his iMac, for his needs a 9400m will suffice.
     
  6. Le Big Mac macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

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    #6
    Why would it resell for anything more than the $300 premium?
     
  7. waiwai macrumors regular

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    #7
    you missed the point, i never said it would sell more than the $300 premium. the resell value of a 2.93 imac will be greater than that of a 2.66. does that compute with you?
     
  8. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

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    #8
    The bit where it says
    Which means he still does

    We dont want him picking up a copy of COD4 to play with some friends and wondering why it looks like an MS DOS game now do we? :rolleyes:

    Even i notice the difference and i hardly play games at all, its still worth the extra money, plus when Snow Leopard comes out with the hybrid sli and Open CL its going to make a massive overall performance difference. Its worthwhile for future proofing, and takes the edge off the iMac's disgraceful laptop internals.
     
  9. kabunaru Guest

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    Jan 28, 2008
    #9
    I do this stuff even on my older iMac with ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT. Just get the the iMac with 9400M and be happy about it. Anything higher than that is just wasting money for those tasks.
     
  10. waiwai macrumors regular

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    #10
    do you have a mac running under a 9400m? i game on my macbook running on 9400m, although it is not magnificant, it is absolutely playable at low res/low settings. and again, if he games once in a while on a 9400m based machine it will be fine. again going back to his statement, his intent is not to buy a computer for leisure play, his purpose is to run iLife appz which are not hardware intensive applications.
     
  11. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #11
    If you don't play games then the graphics card makes ZERO difference.

    But FPS are better on computers where there is no auto aim or has the dumbed down slower spped.
     
  12. sapota macrumors member

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    Sep 15, 2008
    #12
    save ur money. Buy a macmini. upgrade the RAM to 2GB or 4GB (esp. if u r gonna run virtual machines). upgrade the hard drive.

    if u dont want to worry about the upgrades....the iMac 9400m is ok...but from what I tested at the apple store....the 9400m is not quite powerful enough for the 1900x1600 displays (noted by stuttering expose' on multiple (~30 ) windows.
     
  13. icemantx thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    Decisions, Decisions...

    So the folks at apple.com were not helpful in the sense their answer to my question about editing HD video and if the 9400m or GT120 can handle it was... Buy the 4850 or a Mac Pro! Well, either of those choices are pushing it and I am not so sure that the video card will have much of an impact for watching and editing HD video in iMovie (at least for now).

    If someone can help clear the HD video part up and just how much the video card impacts HD playback and editing, I think I will be able to make a decision then...

    Non Gamer with choices of: 9400m, GT120 or ATI 4850...

    Decisions, decisions...
     
  14. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

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    #14
    Wait...now your telling us you want to do HD Video editing?!?!?
     
  15. icemantx thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    Yes, if I was mistaken in my first post apologies there... I am planning to buy an HD Camcorder also to record our daughter and want to make sure I can manipulate large HD AVCHD files on the iMac.
     
  16. waiwai macrumors regular

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    #16
    ... this would've been helpful information if you had stated in your OP... but yes, if you will be editing HD video you will most likely see the benefit of having a dedicated GPU in your iMac. sounds like u are just going to be doing it casually, so a GT120 should suffice. But a 4850? Now they're just trying to milk you.
     
  17. icemantx thread starter macrumors regular

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    #17
    Yes, I will be a casual user of HD video editing and at least for now using iMovie. I am not looking to win a contests or anything, just want to be sure that when I am working with HD video, it does not look choppy when played back on the iMac and the machine can handle opening and working with a 6-12GB file on average...
     
  18. trip1ex macrumors 68000

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    #18
    Well I can't imagine working with 6-12gb files on either of those machines. Slowdown city! (I doubt your files are that large though?)

    But save your $300. GPU won't matter any for editing video in iMovie afaik. And you don't play games.

    The bigger cpu will help with encoding, but it will be less than 10% faster.

    Really for hd video editing of those large files you're better off using the $300 savings and buying 4gb ram sticks when they become more reasonably priced.

    Or I'd buy a 16gb iPod Touch (or whatever) with my $300 savings instead.
     
  19. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

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    #19
    Wait for Snow Leopard in July then make your decision, a graphics card will make a massive difference to the way Snow Leopard performs compared to a computer with the cruddy 9400chip.
     
  20. icemantx thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    I have thought about waiting, but I am starting to need the computer now so I went ahead and bought the 2.93 with the GT120 & 1 TB! I was able to use the discount my company has with Apple so that helped shave $120 or so off the price which helped.

    If it turns out that the next revision of the iMac makes a huge difference with Snow Leopard, I will cross that bridge then... For now, I am anxious to get my new iMac!

    Thanks for the help!
     
  21. Le Big Mac macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

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    #21
    Yes, of course. I just don't see the logic in paying $300 more so that the resale value will be, say, $200 more. That's a $100 loss right there. There may be other good reasons to buy the more expensive machine, but resale value isn't one of them, since you get back less than you put in.
     
  22. kolax macrumors G3

    kolax

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    Mar 20, 2007
    #22
    Congrads on your purchase! You made the right choice - the dedicated GPU will handle the odd game as well any 3D application you use in the future (if you do that is - nothing wrong with future proofing ;)).
     
  23. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    Oct 21, 2008
    #23
    Where, exactly, are people pulling this argument from? Why in the world would Apple release a new series of machines based on the same graphics chip, and then release an Operating System incompatible with that graphics chip?

    :rolleyes:

    All that's been promised is that Snow Leopard will make greater use of the GPU. If Apple feels the 9400M is good enough for their bread and butter (low end iMacs and MacBooks, Minis), then chances are Snow Leopard will perform flawlessly on that chip. There will not be some massive speed increase SL gives to machines with dedicated graphics that the 9400M will miss out on.
     
  24. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

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    #24
    Where exactly on this planet are you reading this forum? I never said Apple would make Snow Leopard incompatible with the 9400 chip, i simply said that using the Open CL system a dedicated graphics card will speed up every day tasks by acting as another excess core. Try the beta then write your subjective views. :rolleyes: The 9600 chips gives a 100% speed boost, so the 120 should give much more than this.
     

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