New iMac worth it for my purposes?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by 3fingerbrown, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. 3fingerbrown macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2008
    I'm not a gamer, but I edit home movies, and often run Word while I surf and download stuff from the web, so a decent processor speed would be nice, but I'm not doing anything too crazy.

    I can get the refurbished 24" 2.8GHz iMac for $1199.

    or I can get the new 24" 2.6GHz iMac for $1399 with educ. discount.

    It seems like the new iMac is a slower, somewhat inferior machine for more money, the only advantages being the bigger hard drive (nice) and improved graphics card (not sure I need that).

    Any thoughts?
  2. RemarkabLee macrumors 6502a

    Nov 14, 2007
    Don't believe a lot of the whiners on this forum. The current iMacs are great machines and any of the 24" models will be fine for home movie editing.

    I say the 24" models as I'm not sure if you are editing High Def source? Maybe you will in the future if you don't now. The latest 20" iMac may struggle with HD, it may not, but the 24" models are perhaps better suited. If your editing in standard definition, the 20" will be more than adequate. The savings could be put towards extra memory and a larger HDD.

    That refurbished 2.8 looks like a good deal, but I'd seriously recommend at least 750Gb for anything you decide on.

    Your priority for editing video is lots of hard disk space and to a lesser degree, memory. I assume again you'll be using either iMovie or at most, Final Cut Express? More memory (i.e. 4Gb) would be sensible if your thinking of using Final Cut Pro, but that is unlikely.
  3. 3fingerbrown thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2008
    I just use iMovie, nothing fancy for me.

    The potential 8GB memory for the new iMac is nice, but 4GB would probably be enough, don't you think? The refurbished 2.8Ghz iMac comes with 2GB, but you can upgrade with OWC memory for just $48.

    As for hard drive space, I already have a 1TB external drive that I would use for the long term storage, plus I back up my files on my work server, so hard drive space is nice but not going to tip this one way.

    I'm mainly asking is there some great feature I'm missing about the new iMacs? It seems like I'm better off getting the $1100 refurbished 2.8GHz with the 24" screen rather than the newer 2.66GHz. I just hate paying more for a slower processor. Thoughts on this?
  4. txnoob macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2009
    I think either would be fine. And it has been shown in a few posts and by OWC that the prev. gen iMacs can actually take 6gb of Ram (4+2).

    For what you plan on doing with the machine, I would think that a refurb or prev. gen would be worth looking at to save some $$.

    Best of luck in your decision making. :D
  5. Redbeastmage macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2009
    The new models have a different screen, (different model, mabye manufacturer) that may or may not be good. From the one detailed post I had read about it, the new one is nicer.

    The 09 model comes with 4gb DDR3-1066mhz ram (expandable to 8), the 08' only comes with 2gb DDR2-800mhz (expandable to 4). The upgrade to 4gb on the older model would only be about $50 from most places online. So consider the speed of the memory, the upgradability of the memory, and the cost to have the same in each.

    As you said, there's the 320GB of hard disc loss, but you can make up for that with an external if you need it (about $80)

    As for the video, I don't know how to compare the 'ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB of GDDR3 memory' in the refurb with the 'NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB of shared DDR3 memory' in the new. I'll let someone else field that comparison (i think barefeats might have done it).

    So to get the matching amount of (slower memory), and the matching disc space, you're talking about only a $70 difference. Figure in the graphics difference, and the processor difference, and value of new vs refurb, and it's a very close call.

    I'd go with the new, but thats just me.
  6. NRose8989 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2008

    ATI 2600 Pro > nVidia 9400

    The ATI 2600 is comparable to the previous MBP 8600GT. When the new graphics chips were introduced. The Apple supplied benchmark put the 8600GT between the 9400 and the 9600, So 9400 < 8600 < 9600.

    So in theory is would be safe to say.....

    9400 < 8600 || 2600 < 9600

    Personally I think paying more money for a slower processor and weaker GPU would be a poor choice. Sure you could weight in the more included ram and HD space but really your only taking about an extra $50 for 4GB of DDR2.

    The RAM and HD are user replaceable, the processor and GPU are not. With the extra $200 you would saves from buying the refurb, You could easily upgrade the ram, and either buy a external 1TB drive or replace the internal (which is easy, you just have to pay attention). That way you still come out on top with a faster computer for less money than if you bought new.
  7. RemarkabLee macrumors 6502a

    Nov 14, 2007
    Only the RAM is easily replaceable mind you, replacing the HD is not for the feint of heart. Search on YouTube for a demonstration :eek:

    I stress a decent internal hard disk, not necessarily for storage, but you'd be surprised how quickly it gets used up - especially when messing about with video editing. Ideally you'll want lots of free 'working space' when working on video projects.

    The 320 drive has a smaller buffer then the others, so again it's not the best performer. Buyer beware!
  8. NRose8989 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2008
    I don't need to search for a video on it, I've already replaced my HD in my iMac. Really it's not any harder than replacing the ram or HD in a Mac Mini. Replacing the HD in my non-unibody MBP was way harder than the iMac.

    Really all you need is (2) shower suction cups things, a T6, and a T8 screw driver. If you can keep accountability of 20 screws, then there really is not reason not to replace your internal HD. There are no "void if broken" stickers or anything.

    BTW You should not be using your boot drive as a scratch disk when editing video. If your using you internal drive as your scratch disk, you going to be more prone to a HD failure. Apple even recommends using a different drive other than your boot drive as a scratch disk.
  9. RemarkabLee macrumors 6502a

    Nov 14, 2007
    My recommendation was really aimed at the OP as it is they who will need to decide if an HDD upgrade is for them or not. And I don't agree with the fact that it's as easy as a Mac mini upgrade. The sheer size makes it much more awkward in my opinion.

    There is a reasonable chance that you could damage the screen, connecting ribbons, cables and fans etc. Apple will not honour a warranty if you do this and break something. Is that a risk the OP is willing to take? Only they can say...

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