Is the base model 21.5 (2013) worth buying if I have enough money for a top level 27"

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Shift Option K, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. Shift Option K macrumors regular

    Shift Option K

    Nov 26, 2013
    I have 2 iMacs right now, a 20" iSight G5 and a 17" Late 2006 1.83GHz C2D, but both of them are old and slow so I want to upgrade to the latest model. Although I have enough money to buy the top config 27" 2013 model and the employee discount I want to get the most basic 21.5" model (with employee discount). Should I get it? I plan on using it for internet, iWork, and music and video editing. For the music/video editing is this good enough or should I go as high as possible, maybe even buying a Mac Pro?
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #2 should be good enough for some casual video editing and music. Don't expect great results with FCP X though.

    Other than that, it can handle the other tasks you mentioned very well.

    I'd recommend a Fusion Drive upgrade though.
  3. azure247 macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2008
    If you are not a professional video editor, I would go with the 21.5 but with the 750M.

    I actually own a 27 and 21.5. In terms of screen comfortless, I prefer the 21.5. My eyes feel relieved now since I can see the entire screen with one glance.

    I do think the 27 is perfect if you place it in a large room like the living room. But for bedrooms, 21.5 is perfect.
  4. comatory macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012

    What are you smoking? I edit videos professionally on 2011 13" MBP w dualcore CPU in FCP X and it flies. With at least 8gigs of RAM whole system is responsive.

    Base 21.5" iMac will be sufficient for everything you say you need. If you can, upgrade to 16gigs of RAM rignt away and maybe even Fusion drive.
  5. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    I'm talking about rendering and exporting times. But anyway if time isn't a problem, then go for it.
  6. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
    Depending on what type video and music editing software your planning on using (can you tell us)....If it's just basic stuff why not just sell the G5 and buy a ssd drive and using ifixit web site upgrade your 2006 Imac.Do a clean install of snow leopard and you'll save $$$.

    ps: I put a ssd into a older 2006 a year or so ago and makes a Hugh difference!
  7. Shift Option K thread starter macrumors regular

    Shift Option K

    Nov 26, 2013
    I don't want to use these old things, I want to keep them original to comemorate Steve Jobs, so for daily use why not buy a Tim Cook mac? Anyways, the apps I want to use are Final Cut and Logic, yes, that expensive, but I have enough $ in my credit card
  8. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    I will do the job well, just spending more money gets the jobs done faster. Not better, just faster. Can you justify the money increase for the speed increase?
  9. Mcdevidr macrumors 6502a

    Nov 27, 2013
    I recently ran through a couple mac's to find one I really liked. First I had the 27 inch refurb with 775M. I got rid of that for the Base 15 inch retina Macbook Pro. Both machines performed great but once I realized that my computing needs were not that extensive it all seemed like a waste of money.

    I recently settled on the base iMac 21.5 inch. Only problem is I wish I could have gotten 16GB RAM and possibly a SSD. I needed a computer right away and did an exchange at the store though so I had to take what was offered. Only thing I added was a plug able USB 3 dock and Samsung Evo 128gb SSD which gets me around 400MB/s read and write speeds.

    Recently I tried to max the machine (for my uses) and here is what I was doing.

    I had Civ V 1080p running full screen largest map game on the other desktop in mission control I had two safari windows side by side one with Gmail open and the chat window. On my external 23 inch 1080p I had parallels installing windows 8.1, activity monitor and New Jack City (1080p) playing. Memory pressure shot up once the VM finished installing but it stayed green the whole time and there was no slowdowns. It did use about 150MB in swap and Virtual memory increased to 12GB but no slow downs. I also noticed that CIV ram usage went from 1.75GB to 500MB mavericks compressed about 2GB in ram total at this point. Cpu usage was around 40-45% when processing a turn while doing all this. So I am impressed and happy with this model and have about 650 more dollars in my pocket to put towards the next gen model with 16GB RAM next year.
  10. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    I do professional video editing on my 2013 iMac 27 i7@3.5Ghz, 32GB RAM, GTX-780M and 3TB Fusion Drive. It works fine.

    The 21.5" is capable also, your main issue is physical size. The first impression is the 27 is big and over-large for many desks and work areas. My wife almost got a 2012 21.5" for that reason -- she has a small desk (39" wide and 24" deep).

    She finally got a 2012 27", which fit just fine and looks great. It is so thin and aesthetically well designed it visually blends in much better than the 27" size would indicate. The extra screen real estate and resolution is very useful.

    While video editing is possible on a much smaller screen or a laptop, the extra screen real estate is handy, since you often have multiple windows open.

    Re Fusion Drive vs SSD, I am happy with FD but SSD is faster -- provided all your material fits on it. Get either FD or SSD, don't get a plain HDD.

    Re performance in FCP X, the 2013 iMacs have a Haswell CPU with Quick Sync instructions (which FCP uses). This allows high-speed, hardware-assisted rendering for certain commonly-used codecs. Exporting to single-pass 1080p H.264, you might see 5x performance increase (or more) over your current system. Other export types using Compressor will not be similarly accelerated but the most commonly-used ones are.

Share This Page