New or old iMac - comes down to graphics?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Advance The Man, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. Advance The Man macrumors 6502

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    Apr 6, 2005
    #1
    Is there a big difference between the ATI 4850 and NVIDIA's 8800GS?

    Will use iMac for iPhoto, iMovie for home videos, ripping dvd's/mp4 encoding and will be the iTunes for 2 apple tv's.

    Had created another thread and no one could answer the above question. Posters keep commenting and giving opinions, but what exactly are the differences? Which would be better for what I need, considering what I'll be using the computer for?
     
  2. Grasbak macrumors 6502

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    UK
    #2
    As far as I can tell, with what you say you will use the mac for, the graphics card is not that important.

    However, people seem to say the ATI is better than the NVIDIA but maybe this is over-egging it for what you are doing.

    Seems like gamers are the ones who really need the more powerful graphics.
     
  3. Grasbak macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Just read your other thread.

    Regaring encoding - someone please correct me if I am wrong, but it is a CPU task rather than a GPU task.
     
  4. Igantius macrumors 65816

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    Apr 29, 2007
    #4
    Yup!

    I agree with your above post that with the OP's needs, the choice between the cards is much of a muchness.

    I'm not that knowledgeable about graphics but from what I understand the 8800GS did bump the iMacs performance in 3D OpenGL apps, like games, nicely. But from what I've seen about the 4850's performance at Tom's hardware and a couple of PC mag sites, it's the way to go if you're into gaming etc.
     
  5. waiwai macrumors regular

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    Florida
    #5
    The high-end ATI cards such as 3870, 3870 x2, 4870 and the 4870 x2 beat out the Nvidia equivalents. HOWEVER, ATI still loses to Nvidia when it comes to low-end and mainstream video cards.
     
  6. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #6
    There is no 3870x2, but the GTX 295 beats the 4870x2.
     
  7. Advance The Man thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 6, 2005
    #7
    Below is $1299. What it doesn't have is iLife 2009, which I want - it's another $79. Are the below specs more than sufficient for what I've described I'll use it for?

    The comparable new 2.93 model has 4gb memory, NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 256MB memory, 640GB HD (don't care, use externals) for $1799. For $500 less, the refurb appears to be a good price.

    Any other reasons I should consider the new models?

    Refurbished iMac 24-inch 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme

    24-inch glossy widescreen display
    2GB memory
    500GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory
    Built-in iSight Camera
     
  8. Gioman macrumors newbie

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    Sweden
    #8
    With Snow Leopard and OpenCL, the graphics card will be used to power CPU (or something along those lines), so the 4850 would speed up your system for general use too. I am obviously assuming the 4850 would be OpenCL compatible.

    The new system also gives you 4 GB RAM and the possibility to double it in the future. And the RAM should aid you more with what you are doing than a better GPU.... aand then there are the 4-6 weeks of waiting time.
     
  9. bajee macrumors regular

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    Mar 8, 2009
    #9
    @Gioman

    I really hope that's the case, the one pushing CUDA of OPEN CL is Nvidia. And currently, there are no Ati cards that support CUDA.

    And that's the actually reason why I'll go to the newer system, the ability to get double the ram. 4gb will probably be the minimum requirement in the next years to come.
     
  10. Zortrium macrumors 6502

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    Jun 23, 2003
    #10
    This is a little misleading. OpenCL is just a framework for writing programs that can leverage the GPU for potentially significant speedups. If an app hasn't been written for OpenCL, it won't have any effect. Thus, it's more accurate to say that a powerful graphics card MAY make certain tasks faster, but I think it's unlikely that OpenCL will have much of an impact on 'general use', at least initially.
     
  11. Igantius macrumors 65816

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    Apr 29, 2007
    #11
    Advance The Man, that refurb looks very tempting at that price and from what you've said you'll be using it for, I think would do you nicely.

    The new machines have more RAM as others have said, but $500 is $500 and price does seem to be a factor for you. Personally, I would for a newer model myself - but that's a reflection on me, rather than your needs. I think the older machine would serve you well.

    I'm that way inclined myself - but who knows for sure? ;)

    Given what the OP has said he'll be using the machine for, I think the point you're making about general use is an excellent one.
     
  12. craig1410 macrumors 65816

    craig1410

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    Location:
    Scotland
    #12
    Hi,
    A friend of mine just bought a refurb 3.06G iMac and he got a free drop-in DVD to upgrade from iLife 08 to iLife 09. This was in the UK but I have no reasons to believe this is region specific. Check with Apple if you want to be sure.

    My advice to my friend, who waited since September 2008 to buy his first iMac and was somewhat bemused by the price rise (mainly caused by the weak UK currency to be fair), was to buy a refurb rather than pay the substantial premium for the new iMac (£600+ in fact). I firmly believe this was the correct decision and am only sorry that I didn't push him harder back in September/October to just go ahead and get the refurb 3.06G machine. It comes with the 8800GS graphics card which is plenty fast enough for him.

    I hope the above helps,
    Craig.
    :)
     
  13. waiwai macrumors regular

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Location:
    Florida
    #13
    You were saying?

    In some benchmarks this is true, however in some cases GTX 295 only beats the 4870 x2 (SINGLE not crossfired) when it is in SLI configuration. THAT IS... 2 GTX 295 video cards > 1 single 4870 x2. Its like comparing a stock sports car to a modified sports car... Its not a fair comparison. Let's not forget that the a single GTX 295 costs nearly $150 more than a single 4870 x2 card. For a 5-7% performance boost... that premium is hardly worth the money, don't you agree? I guess I should have reworded it more appropriately... the 4870 x2 is the best bang for the buck when it comes to hardcore gaming. My mistake.

    See benchmarks here.

    :cool:
     
  14. Advance The Man thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 6, 2005
    #14
    Called the Apple 800 number and asked what the differences were between the 2.8 Extreme vs the 2.8 - glad I did. The $1,299 2.8 Extreme versus the $1,199 2.8 is the exact same processor. It's semantics in name based on the time they released each one. Also, iLife 2009 will come on the refurb or they will include upgrade in the box.

    The 2.8 extreme has a 800 frontside bus vs 1066 on the 2.8
    The 2.8 extreme has 4mb L2 cache vs 6mb on the 2.8
    The 2.8 extreme has a larger hard drive (500gb vs 320gb) that is not important to me.

    I'm almost convinced to make the purchase (with applecare). Knowing this, would you think the 2.8 (regular, not extreme) is a better deal for the $100 less? Thanks
     
  15. Igantius macrumors 65816

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    Apr 29, 2007
    #15
    I would say definitely - the only disadvantage is the smaller hard drive, but as you say this isn't an issue. Saving $100 and getting better performance thanks to the cache and FSB sounds a winner to me!
     
  16. bajee macrumors regular

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    Mar 8, 2009
    #16
    Igantius

    you didn't understand what the Advance The Man said. he's saying the machine that's 100$ more, have faster front side bus and has bigger cache. Ofcourse that would be faster :D

    @Advance The Man
    I'm just curious, what's the 2.8ghz in the new iMac lineup?
     
  17. Advance The Man thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5H11 Safari/525.20)

    Actually the $100 more iMac would be slower. The 2.8's I'm referencing are both refurbs.
     
  18. James Cole macrumors 6502

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    San Antonio, Texas
    #18
    Get the new one... what you wont pay now you will pay later... get it? (resale value)
     
  19. bajee macrumors regular

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    Mar 8, 2009
    #19
    @Advance The Man

    oh okay sorry bout that, I was under the impression that you were choosing between the old one and the new one since the title of the tread " New or old iMac - comes down to graphics?

    If you have money to burn, get the highest spec iMac, otherwise, the $1,499 24" iMac is a steal
     

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