iMac Advice-top 21" vs low 27"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by erickj, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. erickj macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #1
    So, my 2009 21" iMac went down a few months back. Bought a rmbp 13" but really not happy with it. It's just too small, after 4 months the form factor and more importantly screen real estate is just not working for me. As well, 256 gb hard drive is a constant issue with file management.

    Therefore I'm going back to an iMac. I'm not going to play the will they or won't they release something new in 2-4 months game. I need to get it now, as I really don't like using this rmbp.

    My option is the 21.5-inch iMac 2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M graphics or the 27-inch iMac 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 also with NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M graphics. The only real difference is screen size and a minor processor jump. I'll buy refurb, so it's about 1269.00 versus 1489.00. Cost is a little bit of a factor, but doable. Primary uses are email, web, office, iTunes, movie/tv watching, photos (lightroom and/or photoshop), etc. No video games or intense editing stuff.

    ----------

    And the fact that the 27" has user serviceable ram upgrade option.
     
  2. RCAFBrat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #2
    I would suggest the 27" in your case for the following reasons in order of importance:

    (1) Extra real estate - my son has the 21.5" and is very happy with it but I recently built him a new PC (Linux based with GTX 970 for rendering) and he really likes the extra desktop when using the new monitor with his iMac - I suspect that you will quickly feel the same about the extra room on the desktop of the 27"

    (2) Better HDD - spins at 7200 vs 5400 RPM and I expect it is 3.5 vs 2.5 inches

    (3) Better graphics card - always a benefit

    (4) Possibility to add extra RAM - great for photo editing

    I think that the HDD upgrade is the sleeper and for day to day computing it may be the one thing you notice - I don't think anyone would necessarily pay for this difference and many would dispute the importance of (2), (3) and (4), but the fact of the matter is for tasks that are not demanding a lot from the GPU you will probably notice some difference vs your old iMac.

    I also think that you are going to really miss having an SSD and there is no way that a modest improvement in HDD will compare to the responsiveness and speed of that SSD.

    Have you considered a dock, external storage and monitor in lieu of a new iMac or is the plan to get rid of the rMBP to pay for the iMac?

    Best of luck.

    Cheers
     
  3. erickj thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #3
    I have thought about getting an external monitor (this one: http://www.amazon.com/HP-24-Inch-Screen-LED-Lit-Monitor/dp/B00KBLIVPO ) and dock to use with wireless keyboard, etc. I've got a 4 tb external drive with most of my stuff on it now. But it seems like a lot of 'extra' stuff to have versus just having it all in one via the iMac (aesthetically speaking that is). However, I'm not totally against it. If I buy an iMac again, the rmbp is being sold to cover 85% of the cost of the iMac.

    I didn't notice the speed differences in the HD's and my eye also didn't catch the speed bump in graphics of the 27 vs the 21. I think monitor size of 27 vs 21 would be my biggest plus, as I do watch tv/movies and will be doing more photo editing for classes. I think screen real-estate is probably my biggest concern actually, I frankly can't seem to focus on this little 13" screen and I certainly can't do more than 1 thing at a time, which is very frustrating. I didn't realize how much that would affect my experience. I'm not sure, as a casual user that the SSD of the 13" versus the HDD of the iMac would make that much difference to me. But perhaps?

    I've waffled between buying the external monitor and keyboard for this rmbp or just getting an iMac for about 3 weeks. And I really can't seem to make up my mind about it.
     
  4. RCAFBrat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #4
    Two questions then:

    (1) why did you buy the rMBP in the first place?

    (2) do you plan on keeping the rMBP?

    If you bought it for the mobility it offers vs an iMac and will not be keeping it, then you need to decide if you are okay going back to desktop only. You would lose the mobility but have a nice clutter free workspace with the iMac. On the other hand, if you plan on keeping it then the iMac means small inconvenience keeping files sync'd and substantial cost over new monitor & dock, assuming you kept your old keyboard & mouse, but that 27" iMac would be a sweet desktop to have and use.

    I still think the 27" is the better choice but it is less clear that you want or need an iMac at all!

    Cheers
     
  5. eRondeau macrumors 6502a

    eRondeau

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Location:
    Canada's South Coast
    #5
    Get the 27". The difference in performance will be negligible for all practical purposes. I thought my 27" would be unwieldy-big but now I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's got the real estate to display Safari on the left half of my screen, plus Mail + Messages + Twitter on the right half. And still with a 2" strip of desktop on the right side for the Dock and temporary drag-and-drop icons. And it looks absolutely beautiful together. Go big!
     
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #6
    Either will do you fine by the sounds of it, I would say get a fusion drive in whatever you get that will make all the difference in how snappy it feels in general use.

    You could just get a monitor and set you rMBP as a desktop replacement then have the best of both worlds when you need portability, many people run their macbooks like this with no trouble at all and extra storage can be attached....
     
  7. erickj thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #7
    Bought the rmbp because I thought a laptop made more sense (portable, etc.), but in reality, my iPad mini is fine for all of that. And yes, selling the rmbp for the iMac.

    Ordered the 27" iMac last night. Just figured it was a smarter move, screen size, performance, and cleaner workspace versus having all external peripherals. No to set it all up, transfer goods and sell the rmbp.

    Thanks for thoughts everyone.
     

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