Need Assistance in iMac 21.5 purchase

Discussion in 'iMac' started by nklcreative, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. nklcreative macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2015
    Hello everyone,

    First time iMac buyer here. Looking to get the new 21.5 model at 2.9GHz but I plan to upgrade on some other parts for better performance. My budget is $2000 and can't afford the 27 inch model unfortunately.

    Should I get more Processor speed, RAM or the 1TB Fusion Storage drive? Is Fusion worth it over the other two upgrades? Probably can only upgrade 2 parts, maybe all three if convinced I need it.

    Here's what I need my new iMac for (I multi-task a LOT doing these things):

    1.) Lots of Adobe Creative Suite CC - Design, Photo Editing, Wireframing etc.

    2.) Web Development tools and software - I also design/Develop websites.

    3.) VMWare - Need this to install Windows 8.1 and other PC programs/software I can't get on a Mac.

    4.) MS Office - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

    5.) Lots of video watching and web surfing.

    6.) PC gaming - ala Steam - plan to purchase a few games in the future.

    7.) Music file management with iTunes though this is not extremely important.

    8.) Maybe some 3D modeling (3DsMax, AutoCAD, Unity3D) but this isn't really something I do a whole lot of...more like a try it/hobby thing.

    Thanks in advance for your help, everyone!
  2. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    Since you cannot upgrade the RAM on the 21.5 inch iMac, I would recommend BOTH the RAM upgrade and the Fusion drive upgrade.

    The CPU should be fast enough for all the tasks you want to perform.
  3. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    You don't look like you need the i7.

    16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD would do you fine, plus external storage. Personally I'd never recommend Fusion Drive, I'd go SSD all the way for pure reliability. I'd rather have an external part break.

    Myself, my own 21.5" iMac is an i7/16/256/750M config and it flies. Thanks to the i7, it really runs several VMs together well, plus 16GB of RAM. The hyper threading capabilities of the i7 really help.

    256GB SSD (or at least an FD) is a complete must for speed. Having 1TB of 5400rpm HDD is just like using a Ferrari permanently jammed in 1st gear.
  4. colodane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2012
    You are getting good advice in the above posts. Go with 16 GB RAM and the i5 processor. Definitely consider the SSD. Size your present and future memory needs. If it is over 400 GB or so, go with the 256GB SSD plus an external drive. If less than 400 GB, the 512 GB SSD would be a good choice.
  5. nklcreative thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2015

    Thanks matreya, yjchua95 (especially yours...), colodane for your great advice. Much appreciated.

    Here's a monkey wrench though...did some more research and couldn't believe I overlooked the 27inch 3.2GHz for $1799.00. So I've actually decided on getting the 27inch and it having 16GB RAM at the LEAST.....

    BUT....I'm trying to still decide on the speed now that this model provides 1TB ATI Drive @7200 RPM. It's not as fast as an SSD obviously...but is this a decent speed upgrade compared to the 5400 RPM speed for the 21.5 model? Giving me a numbers comparison or even percentages will give me a better idea on what to expect.

    If it's good enough, I'll start with that as I really want some storage from the start and I'm actually leaning towards 3TB ATI Drive @7200 RPM. External is very important because I will definitely being doing some graphic work but it's not in my budget until at least the next three to 4 months at least.

    Then again...if 7200 RPM still is lacking, give me a few reasons to consider SSD again, lol.

    Your thoughts?
  6. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    The 7200rpm drive can be pretty noisy. Since its a 3.5" desktop HDD, it can be fairly faster than a 5400rpm 2.5", but it's still not SSD, and the noise from that drive is a turnoff for me.

    If you want storage from the start, use external HDDs. They work just as well. And it's also better to have an external part break than an internal part break. DIY repairs and iMacs don't go hand in hand together.

    The 21.5" i7/16GB config is still going to be far more powerful than the base 27", because of the i7 processor. It's almost identical to the 3.5GHz i7 in the non retina 27".

    For your needs, hyperthreading could come in useful.
  7. mlody macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2012
    Windy City
    If you need to run multiple VMs, I would say SSD is a must.

    If you use educational pricing, you can get i7 3.1Ghz 16gb and 256GB SSD for $1939 which I think will be a great machine for all your needs. if you could push the price a bit more, you could always get the one with 512GB that way you could keep a lot of files on the same drive.

    Apple is also running a promo for Barclaycard Visa - 18 months interest free if paid in full. If you willing to sign up for this, this might give you some other options and flexibility in building the exact system you want.
  8. nklcreative thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2015
    Will keep this in mind when considering my purchase. Thanks everyone!

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7 February 14, 2015