Just about how much processing power do I really need for my next 2011 iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by doxavita, May 4, 2011.

  1. doxavita macrumors 6502a

    Jul 6, 2010
    I need some help figuring out which tech specs and processing power I really/truly need for my upcoming 2011 iMac buy.

    First of all, I would like a 27" model, As I could use a big screen for multitasking.

    Second, I would like to future-proof it a bit. This is what has me undecided, as I don't know by how much I should improve RAM and Processor in a build-to-order. Would 8GB be a good amount? 12GB?, What about processor? should I try to get a 3.4Ghz core i7? And those extra $100 for 2GB in the 6970M GPU? I don't think I'll be able to afford a SSD.
    My budget cannot exceed a $2000-$2400 range.

    I'll be using my Mac for Internet browsing, word-processing, music, movies, plenty of chess software and maybe some light gaming. I'll run CrossOver and Parallels too.

    Perhaps a BTO for that is a bit of an overkill, but like I said I would like to future proof it a bit, as this buy must last me at least 6-10 years.
    How will technology change in the upcoming years? Which specs will be most important?

  2. Amnesiac1 macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2010
    I also want to future proof by buying 16GB of RAM from Apple for my next iMac but anytime someone mentions doing such a thing, a few posters always rush in and argue that it is an absolutely unnecessary expenditure, etc.

    However, if buying RAM outside of Apple voids one's warranty, then why not just buy the 16GB directly from Apple? I've had an MVP with 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM and, of course, it really brings my computer down whenever I have too many windows open. Even iPhoto doesn't work smoothly.
  3. reclusive46 macrumors 65816


    Apr 14, 2011
    Installing none apple ram does not void your warranty.
  4. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8H7 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Edit: reclusive beat me to it.
  5. Amnesiac1 macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2010
    Apple Care would not apply to any problems arising from the use of non-Apple RAM, though.
  6. jeremiah256 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2008
    Southern California
    Don't Worry, Be Happy!

    By what you describe in how you will be using your computer, plus assuming over 5 years you'll grow to want to do some consumer to prosumer level video editing, Adobe photo editing and keeping up with the latest gaming, you'll be fine. If you go to YouTube and search for MacBook Air gaming, you'll see that a decent graphics card (and the 27" iMacs have great cards that blow away anthing in the MBAs) and fast storage (you'll have a nice speed of 7200 RPMs) can go a long way. The MBAs shown are C2D CPUs which is several generations behind the CPUs you'll have and they (the C2Ds) do fine. The iMac has the ability to upgrade both the RAM (to 32 GBs which puts you in George Lucas territory with regards to video) and the internal storage (to lightning quick SSDs when you can afford them), plus you'll have two Thunderbolt ports where you should start seeing consumer level products in 6-18 months. In other words, relax my friend, you are future proofed.:D

  7. archer75 macrumors 65816

    Jan 26, 2005
    For what you use it for the stock 4gb of ram is plenty.

    For future proofing i'd get the i7 and the 2gb video card.

    You can always add more ram later, and for cheaper than what apple sells it for.
  8. Kuron macrumors newbie


    May 3, 2011
    Get the i7, The Hyper Threading will help with CrossOver and Parallels and help future proof the system in general.

    You can always add more RAM yourself and I would recommend upgrading it to at least 8GB for what you are wanting to use it for.
  9. alust2013, May 4, 2011
    Last edited: May 4, 2011

    alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    Swapping RAM can't cause any issues with other hardware, meaning the only thing AppleCare wouldn't cover is the RAM itself. Any decent brand will cover its RAM with a lifetime warranty, as it is exceedingly rare that RAM actually fails. There is zero benefit to buying from apple.

    As for OP, I'd get the i7 if you plan to keep it for a long time, and probably pass on the 2GB video card unless you want to game hard. I'd upgrade RAM 3rd party with an additional 8GB for a total of 12GB for now. That will be more than you'll need for quite a while. If you ever need more RAM, you can upgrade to a max of 32GB, or basically anywhere in between.
  10. JeepGuy, May 4, 2011
    Last edited: May 4, 2011

    JeepGuy macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2008
    so you yank it out put the original back in and see if the problem goes away. It's your money, and if you want to buy apple ram go ahead, it's no one's business but your own.

    But personally I would never buy ram from apple.
  11. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 6, 2010
    Kind of tight on my budget. Am I going to be just fine with the i5 that comes with the 27" (the 3.1Ghz one)? (not upgrading to the i7)

    And I think I'll be buying and installing the RAM myself.
  12. daneoni macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    Buy as much processor as you can from Apple and upgrade RAM on your own later.
  13. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 6, 2010
    I really hope so. I may not be able to afford the i7 :(
  14. TallManNY macrumors 601


    Nov 5, 2007
    If you have any financial constraints, you shouldn't buy your ram from Apple. Swapping in new ram from third party sources is easy on an iMac and since you don't need more ram right now, you can hold off on that purchase for a few years. Two years from now, ram prices should drop like they always have and they will be much cheaper than what you would have paid buying from Apple.

    I don't know if the i7 is worth the extra price since hyperthreading is only useful in the most processor intensive tasks.

    However, I don't think it is reasonable to expect this computer to last you six years though. Four years is what I typically expect out of a Mac, six years would be more of a hope. Anything longer than that is unrealistic.
  15. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Honestly, if you are looking to multi-task you might look into the 21" and buy another monitor. I'm a big fan of the dual monitor set up vs. one big monitor. A big monitor is great for games and movies, but when it comes doing real work it's great to have one program one one monitor and another on the 2nd, or when editing video to have the editing panel on one monitor and the preview on the 2nd.

    So, for example if you bought the top end 21" and then another decent 21-23" monitor, bump up your RAM, you'd still be at the low end of your price range.
  16. Amnesiac1 macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2010

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