Not sure which iMac I should buy...differences between 1.6 and 2.8 ghz for me?

Lov2teach

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 1, 2017
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I am looking to get an iMac. I am looking at the entry level one 21.5", 1.6 ghz. My main interest is to use it for browsing, photo storage and some photo editing on Lightroom. I am no photographer but do take lots of pictures of my kiddos. Would this computer suffice for my needs or should I spend the extra $300 on the 2.8 ghz 21.5" one?

I would like to add that if I later find myself getting better at photography then I would want a better computer, obviously. I would likely want a 27" iMac or a Pro. This most likely won't be for a couple more years since I have a baby at home and not a lot of time to learn. This computer would then become one for my kids for school and such.

So, help!! Which one should I spend the money on?
 

danielwsmithee

macrumors 65816
Mar 12, 2005
1,117
397
I am looking to get an iMac. I am looking at the entry level one 21.5", 1.6 ghz. My main interest is to use it for browsing, photo storage and some photo editing on Lightroom. I am no photographer but do take lots of pictures of my kiddos. Would this computer suffice for my needs or should I spend the extra $300 on the 2.8 ghz 21.5" one?

I would like to add that if I later find myself getting better at photography then I would want a better computer, obviously. I would likely want a 27" iMac or a Pro. This most likely won't be for a couple more years since I have a baby at home and not a lot of time to learn. This computer would then become one for my kids for school and such.

So, help!! Which one should I spend the money on?
I'd just get a refurbished or used 27" now. You can likely find one for a similar cost and get better performance and screen etc. I wouldn't want to run Lightroom from the slow hard drives in the base 21" iMacs.
 

flat five

macrumors 603
Feb 6, 2007
5,568
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newyorkcity
using that type of software, you'll more likely than not encounter noticeable differences between the 1.6 and 2.8ghz CPUs.

the slower chip will fulfill (what i understand to be) your needs.. just a better chance a beach balling here&there.

----
ditto about the drives.. things like importing photos is going to be considerably slower on the 5400 spinner compared to more modern drives being used.
 

nambuccaheadsau

macrumors 68000
Oct 19, 2007
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Nambucca Heads Australia
With the 21.5" models only having 5200rpm hard drives, suggest you go to a 27" as others have suggested. Look for one with an SSD fitted, or a 2/3TB Fusion Drive. These both have a 128GB FlashStorage component, but the 1TB since 2015 has a miserable 24 GB of Flash.

Also the memory is able to be increased on the 27", not the 21.5" without breaking them open.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,179
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Here's one more recommendation for the 27" instead of the 21" -- especially for photo editing.
 

kschendel

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
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The 1.6 Ghz model will work and will probably be fast enough to not make you crazy. If cash flow is an issue, I'd either look for a 27 inch refurb, or buy the low end model and expect that you'll want to trade up in a couple years. If you can afford the extra money now, I agree with the others that the 27 inch with SSD or 2 Tb Fusion is the best way to go overall.
 

Lov2teach

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 1, 2017
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Thanks everyone. Is the 27" iMac low end model good? Does this one have SSD?
 

dwfaust

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2011
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Thanks everyone. Is the 27" iMac low end model good? Does this one have SSD?
The "low end" 27" iMac has a 1TB, spinning (5400 RPM) hard drive. Upgrade to either an SSD or the 2TB Fusion drive. Stay away from the spinning drives and from the 1TB Fusion drive (the 1TB fusion drive has a 24GB SSD, which will do very little to improve the performance over the 1TB spinning drive.)

There is, however, an SSD option for this (and all iMac) models.
 

Lov2teach

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 1, 2017
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0
The "low end" 27" iMac has a 1TB, spinning (5400 RPM) hard drive. Upgrade to either an SSD or the 2TB Fusion drive. Stay away from the spinning drives and from the 1TB Fusion drive (the 1TB fusion drive has a 24GB SSD, which will do very little to improve the performance over the 1TB spinning drive.)

There is, however, an SSD option for this (and all iMac) models.
Thanks for the info! I'm learning a lot
 

dwfaust

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2011
5,482
6,178
27" iMacs actually have a 7200rpm hard drive, only the 21" have the 5200.

Suggest getting the 2/3TB Fusion Drive, or if the readies run to it, at least a 512GB SSD
Yeah, the 27" iMac uses 7200 rpm drives... the 21.5" iMac uses 5400 rpm drives.
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
For some people the 27" screen is simply too big (and the machine itself too heavy to carry around; even after setup on a desk or workstation, there may be times when the thing needs to be moved). As already pointed out, the smaller, lighter weight 21.5" iMac has definite limitations. Here's another suggestion -- rather than buying the 21.5" iMac with its very slow HD or the larger iMac which, while it has a 7200 rpm HD for the base model still isn't all that speedy -- choose something else, an option which offers more flexibility and and speed, too. Take a good look at either the 13.3" or the 15" MacBook Pro, both of which come with a speedy SSD right out of the box, and set it up as a desktop substitute with an external keyboard and mouse and/or trackpad.....and if a larger monitor is needed, pick up whatever configuration and size works best for your needs. Going on a family trip? No problem -- just grab that laptop and take it with you, too! There is a lot of flexibility built into this choice, beyond what is available when one goes with an iMac.

Capacity of SSDs in the current line of rMBPs varies -- 512 GB is a good capacity, but even with a smaller SSD (256 GB), space doesn't have to be a problem with the purchase of one or two external HDs to store all the stuff you really don't need to keep on the computer itself all the time. Just a suggestion to consider.....
 
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johannnn

macrumors 65816
Nov 20, 2009
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Find the cheapest computer, and buy it with the SSD upgrade.
Trust me, SSD makes way more difference than any processor or graphics card.