New Mac User Debating on Purchasing iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by tomoman, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. tomoman macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2009
    Hey Guys,

    I am looking into purchasing my first Mac. I just graduated college and luckily landed a decent job, and I already have an iPhone 3Gs reserved for this Friday. I was thinking of picking up a new iMac while I am at the Apple Store. There are two features that I know I definitely want, those being the 24'' monitor and the ATI Radeon 4850 HD graphics card. I am currently debating between the 2.93 GHz processor and the 3.06 Ghz, as well as the 640 GB hard drive vs the 1TB hard drive. My current Dell Inspiron 6000 which is almost five years old only has an 80gb hard drive, so both would be a very significant increase for me. I play World of Warcraft and would most likely purchase more PC games if I have the huge monitor and better graphics card. I was really wondering how much of a difference the 3.06 GHz processor is compared to the 2.93 GHz. I think I am currently leaning towards the 24'' monitor, 640 GB Hard Drive, 4GB of ram and the ATI Radeon HD 4850. Wondering if anyone has this configuration and what kind of performance they are getting. Thanks a lot for all of your help and I am excited to make the switch from PC. :D
  2. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    If it were me (and it was, about a year ago), I'd get the biggest hard drive you can. It's not easy to upgrade yourself, and there's no such thing as too much hard drive space.

    On the CPU's, not much difference between the two - but keep in mind it's not upgradeable once you buy it.

    Gaming performance is going to be good, but it still won't match a great gaming PC. I'm sure you'll love it, though. :cool:
  3. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    Well for one thing the 4850 is not "excellent" - it's very tired and is poor in comparison to the cards you will get in a PC tower these days. Apple's systems have never been that great for gaming and the iMac is no exception.

    Due to poor driver support under OS X, even if there is a version of a game for Mac you are almost always best to run it on Windows anyway. I bet that for the price of that iMac you can get a way, way better system from another manufacturer.
  4. tomoman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2009
  5. willie45 macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2007
    Well I'm not a gamer and I'm not a techie, but I would have thought either of these choices would be good. I have heard that there are some issues with the Radeon card mind you. I''m sure there are posts on this forum somewhere, and there certainly are some on Apple's forums. Maybe the Nvida might be a good choice?

    I can understand your excitement to switch. When I made the switch to mac a couple of years ago, I liked it pretty much straight away and over time I just got to like it better and better. I went on a windows machine the other day and was absolutely amazed by how poor it was compared with my mac. I'm not a fanboy and I know Apple has its downside and macs can go wrong too, but I wouldn't switch back now. I hope you enjoy your experience with mac as much as I have whatever machine you get. I'm sure you won't regret it.:)

  6. Winni macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2008
  7. tomoman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2009
    I also own an Xbox 360 so the majority of my gaming will be done on that. I just read a 5 page article about the ATI Radeon HD 4850 benchmarks, and it seems like it is becoming quite respectable. The main game I will be playing on the iMac is World of Warcraft, and the bulk of my gaming will probably still be done on my 360. With this in mind, I don't think it would be a bad idea to make the switch over to Mac.
  8. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    Radeon 4850 is old - it has been available for almost a year now. ATi doesn't have a great successor for it just yet (although the 4890 X2 is far more powerful) but nVidia's newest cards are far, far ahead.

  9. Bookworm88 macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2009
    I'm in a similar situation as you are. I just graduated from college last year and am looking at buying a new computer to replace my Powerbook G4 I used for college. I also have an Xbox 360 and a PS3 so I don't do a ton of gaming on the computer, but I am an on and off again WoW player and will likely get The Sims 3 as well.

    I was really close to pulling the trigger and buying a top of the line Imac, before I realized that it would pretty much be the same machine my Dad had purchased last summer except with a better graphic's card. It seems the Imac's haven't had a real update this year, so I am waiting and hoping for some sort of update this fall.

    I don't proclaim to be a computer expert by any means, but something seems wrong when I'm willing to buy the top of the line Imac and spend $2,500 and I'm getting almost the exact same computer as my Dad purchased in July 2008. An update to the Imac's has to be coming soon I figure, so I will try to be patient and wait.
  10. Syonidism macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2009
    I'd have to disagree on how nvidia is far far ahead. Nvidia is a good brand don't get me wrong, however there has been A LOT of issues regarding Nvidia cards on Mac products.(i.e. 8600' on mbp or 8800 problems in general)

    however the 2xx series seems great. 4870x2 and 4890x2 are monsters compared to nvidia's

    Edit: also did you notice that youre comparing a nvidia 1Gb 2xx with an ati 512 mb 4xxx
  11. thatdarnfish macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2004
    New York
    I too am in the same boat and I agree. The iMacs haven't, in my opinion, seen a significant upgrade in two years. I would wait for the next generation which, I hope, will be soon.
  12. willie45 macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2007
    I don't really get this idea that macs are underpowered, pretty but expensive alongside comparable windows machines. To my mind the machines are in no way comparable. Maybe one has faster processor on some test or other but I know which one i prefer in the real world.

    I didn't buy my mac to be a design item. I bought it because I got sick of pcs not working properly, shutting down, crashing, having to run anti - viruse programs, slowing down because of increasing bloat, and getting loaded with malware and all the weird and wonderful errors and incompatibility with bits of hardware etc etc

    My mac does absolutely everything I want it to do. It does it fast enough and with the minimum of fuss. I don't bother with anti-virus or anti-spyware etc and don't worry about it.

    Neither do I understand why it is inevitable that I will someday have to buy windows to run a program and so obviate the advantage of the mac. I have never missed any program that is windows only. I don't believe that I ever will but who knows I suppose there is a possiblity?

    I really don't get the idea that if something is not the very very fastest by a few milliseconds or something it is not worth it. Maybe it is different for gamers but then I always thought that if you were a gamer you bought a games console which were lots better than pcs for games. I would have said that this puts the pc in a bit of no - mans land. A bit better than mac for games but not as good as a proper game console, and a bit of a liability for day to day working; a sort of jack of all trades but master of none.

    Anyway thats my tuppence worth.

  13. Ticket Eagle macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2009
    I'm not a pc gamer, but my understanding is that an up to date gaming pc will blow away a 360 or ps3.
  14. willie45 macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2007
    you might be right. My understanding was different. If a pc was developed with the game console's capabilities and could still do all the other stuff a pc has to do I thought we would be talking an awful lot of money. Hence the threads above here with fairly powerful computers on their end list but withx-boxes and the like still included

    Ah maybe I'm wrong. I don't usually have the energy to get into debates like this; its not something i care about deeply, but I just hate to see someone making a choice of a machine and then beeing attacked for it. I had similar experiencewhen I bought my iMac but I fortunately stuck out with what I wanted and it went well. Had I listened to the anti-mac advice I was getting, I know I would have been a lot less happier in my computing.

    All the best to everyone. I'm off to bed

  15. 007bond macrumors 6502a


    Dec 12, 2008
    DFW, Texas
    not to mention he is comparing the desktop chip. the laptop version of this chip is used in the iMac and is also a very good laptop card from ati. the mobile is always going to be less than the desktop but the ati isn't that bad if you compare it to other mobile cards
  16. Michael Smith macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2007
    Going back to the original question and ignoring the video card fanboy flamewar...

    I play WoW on a Mac, and have since phase 3 beta. My original WoW machine was a dual 1.0GHz G4 tower, which in conjunction with a tweaked Radeon 9600 performed quite respectably. I've raided 5x5 on a series of machines, including the two predecessors to the iMac you are considering.

    Blizzard's MacOS team are top-notch folks, and the Mac port of WoW has almost always performed exceptionally well. You will not be unhappy with the machine you are considering from that perspective; the game is well tuned, the hardware and drivers are more than up to the task.

    I join other folks in this thread encouraging you to spend your upgrade dollars on disk space and RAM over the CPU; those are the most meaningful upgrades you can make to the system and I believe they are money well spent.

    = Mike
  17. tomoman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2009
    Thank you very much for your input Mike. That was the kind of response I was hoping for.

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