Imac selection advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Alabaster, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. Alabaster macrumors newbie


    Jan 3, 2007
    Hi Everyone, I need some advice on what mac to buy.

    I am leaning towards a imac but cant afford the 24 inch, I have a few options
    -17 inch imac with x1600 graphics and 2GB of ram.
    -20 inch imac with x1600 (256mb vram and 1GB memory or 128 vram and 2GB of memory)
    -2GHZ macbook with 2GB memory

    I have owned a imac G3 for 6 years now and it is getting slow at internet surfing and streaming video. I would like to try some of these new games like COD and Half life 2 but 60% of the usage will be used for steaming video, light photo editing and web surfing. A portable would be nice but i cant afford the mbp and i am not sure about integrated graphics. I really like the screen size of the 20 inch, but my budget is telling me to go with the 17 and more memory. Would the 256vram be a huge jump over the 128? Is it worth buying apples memory? I am also using the computer to convert movies to ipod video format.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated:)
  2. Tarkovsky macrumors 6502


    Jan 4, 2007
    Half-Life two shouldn't run too badly on any of those! Except of course the cheaper imac which doesn't have as nice architecture as the others. As you said you wanted to try these games. It doesn't make sense for you to max out your videocard if you can't really afford the extra money. You will notice the difference, but its not exactly going to cause you to loose sleep at night...

    About the extra ram... A lot people will tell you to go for as much as you can get when you buy as you'll have to chuck out a dimm if you don't which is all very true. Yet ram is getting cheaper all the time. I went for 2 gig on my 24 " Imac knowing that when I want to upgrade it, which I eventually will, I can chuck a dimm in a macbook or an MBP as as far as I can tell they use the same memory. This could make a resell pretty easy and help cut the cost of a more expensive dim later. A lot of people have moaned about apple's use of laptop ram but it does make reselling a lot easier.
    You could just go for 1 gig ram, 128 vram and save yourself the money...
  3. devman macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2004
    With Macworld less than a week away the best advice is to wait until after the keynote.
  4. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    First off, never buy a new Mac so close to a Macworld event; it's unlikely that the iMac will get an update, but you never know. There may be price cuts, if not changes to the tech itself.

    Assuming there is no movement, I would say you are far better off getting more RAM than video RAM. And the 20" is, for me, a huge step up from the 17".

    I would say, go for the 20", 2GB RAM, 128MB VRAM. If you can swing the 256MB VRAM, then go for it (since you can't upgrade that later). But definitely get the 2GB of RAM. It makes a difference, especially if you plan to run anything that requires Rosetta.
  5. JKitterman macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2006
    I have the C2D 17" 2Ghz model in standard configuration. I mostly play WoW on it and it does fine with 1 Gb. I have had a lot of paging and stuttering with WoW and a large download from Sun Microsystems going on using their download manager (java based). If you may want to run Boot Camp and Windows Vista in the future, you may want to think about the model with more video ram but I don't know if the x1600 in the iMac has all the requirements for Vista Ultimate or whatever it is called. Otherwise, I would say go with more memory. Going with Apples memory may be cheaper because you have to replace the 2x 512 chips to upgrade since there is only two memory slots.
  6. spork183 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2006
    Couple of things. First, I agree that more RAM is important, but consider that you can easily add ram later. You can't easily upgrade the graphics card. I'd go with the 256mb graphics card and 1gb ram. As memory prices come down, you can upgrade the ram at a future time.
  7. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    A valid point. Perhaps my bias comes from the use of my own iMac. I have found that even 1GB is too little for any heavy use (I do audio production). For casual users (email, web, iPhoto, simple iMovie, etc), 1GB should suffice. Anything beyond that: go with more RAM.

    Yes, you can add RAM later, but be careful: you may end up with an extra stick you can't use (e.g. you start with 2x512MB, then buy a 1GB stick can't access the full 2GB, since you only have 2 slots).

    My advice stays the same, go for the 2GB RAM, and eat noodles for dinner for a week to pay for the extra VRAM.
  8. SpookTheHamster macrumors 65816


    Nov 7, 2004
    I have a standard 17¨ 2GHz with 1GB of RAM and it runs HL2 nicely, Vista Ultimate is smooth as well.

    Of course, if you can afford it, go for the extra RAM. There's no point in not doing it.
  9. xyian macrumors 6502


    May 24, 2004
    I would suggest the 20" imac with 128mb vram and 2GB RAM.
    I have a G5 iMac with 128MB VRAM and it's highly sufficient.
    I envy you though as I'd love a new Intel iMac. Alas, I probably
    never will. I'll eventually end up with a MacBook.

    By the way, go for the 20", you'll never regret it! It's worth the extra loot!
  10. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    100% agree. The extra three diagonal inches make a huge difference.
  11. barr08 macrumors 65816


    Aug 9, 2006
    Boston, MA
    20" 2 gig ram 128 x1600 here, and extremely happy with gaming performance. You'll get 60-80 fps in HL2.

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