Need help understanding specs before I purchase the new iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by cali shot doc, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. cali shot doc macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Looking to get the new iMac but I need help configuring it because I don't really understand the difference in the specs. I've tried researching online and on the forum but i'm just confusing myself...

    This computer is meant to be my main computer, I have a mid 2010 MBP, iPad, iPhone and Apple TV. I am going to school for medicine, have ton's of music/photos and have been using handbrake to digitize my movie collection. I do some photo editing. I want this computer to satisfy me for the next 3-5 years.

    The 21" better suits my desk (27" would take over my desk) however I want the 3tb fusion drive because of all the movies/music/photos and school related documents that i have, which means i'm forced into getting the 27". Can I hook up an external HD and constantly have it hooked up to the computer and use it like the internal HD(i've only used them for backups..put away between use) If yes, then I can get the 21" yet have more than a TB of HD. I bought a 3tb HD on blackfriday that I could hopefully use then.

    What kind of difference would I see between the intel core i5 & i7? Would the difference be worth +$200?

    What kind of difference would I see between the different processor speeds (ex: 2.5Ghz vs 2.9Ghz)?

    The other down side of the 21" is that you can't upgrade the RAM. Would it be worth it for me to upgrade from 8gb to 16gb for +$200? Would the difference mean much for me?

    Any help would be GREATLY appreciated
    Thanks :)
  2. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    I'd recommend the i7 and 16GB of RAM if you want this computer for 3-5 years. You can upgrade the RAM yourself on the 27 inch model, so you could pick up 2x4GB RAM modules from OWC for $50 and add it your iMac. And if I remember correctly OWC has a lifetime warranty on their RAM.
  3. MisterKeeks macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012
    When I buy a computer, I max out all of the non-upgradable parts- I would grab the 16GB of RAM and the best processor. It might seem pricey compared to what you otherwise would get, but 5 years from now, you'll see that paying off big-time. As for the hard drive, what kind of external drive did you get on Black Friday?
  4. alecmcmahon macrumors regular

    May 18, 2007
    Woodbridge, NJ
    Sorry to hijack, but can anybody explain the pro/con of the fusion drive? i've been out of the loop, but plan on purchasing the base model 27" and it's the only upgrade i am considering
  5. Fried Chicken macrumors 6502

    Fried Chicken

    Jun 11, 2011
    I would say don't upgrade your RAM with apple RAM, do it yourself.
    The new iMac looks relatively easy to pull apart, and the 27" has a dedicated RAM slot.

    As for core i5 vs i7, I don't know if it's worth the upgrade. Th i7 supports multithreading, bu few programs use this capability.
    Something to think about is you might have trouble installing windows under boot camp with the 3TB drive, but I'm not 100% on that. Something about the windows partition needing to be on the first 2TB of the disk.


    PROs: gives you SSD performance with hard drive disk sizes most of the time.
    CONS: price.
  6. mmomega macrumors 68030


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    Yes you can use an external as a main drive but I would recommend a USB3 or Thunderbolt external if you want speed. I've had my Thunderbolt drive connected for 8 months.

    Also the i7 for $200 IMHO is completely worth it IF.... you use the power and if you do lots of video processing it will be much quicker. Hyper-threading on the i7 makes a bit of difference.
    Processor speeds.. you probably will not notice any speed difference especially is normal day to day tasks until, like I mentioned, you are really using the processor to do some work. The computer sees you having 8 cores to process with rather than 4 on the i5.

    Also IMO, 8GB of RAM should be plenty for 95% of users. I'd save that $200 to put towards a quick external or 2nd monitor. Unless you are actually using more than 8GB of RAM or even coming close to it in your daily activities then you won't see any difference with 16GB.
    Just for S&G's when you are doing a lot of different things on your laptop, open Activity Monitor and see how much RAM you are using. If you're close to using all of the RAM in your laptop then double what it has for your desktop.
  7. cali shot doc thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Seagate Backup Plus 3tb 3.0 desktop external hard drive for $99
  8. MisterKeeks macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012
    You could either get an SSD and use the old internal in an enclosure as an external, or just get the Fusion, which is what I would do.

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