Ordering iMAC today 2.7 & 16 GB OR 2.9 & 8 GB

a4est42

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 16, 2009
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Decision time. limited budget. What makes more sense?

Given:
No gaming
Few hours a week of Photo Editing with Aperture
Internet & Web surfing

Choice:

21.5 iMAC with slower processor and More RAM(2.7 and 16 GB)
OR
21.5 iMAC with faster processor and Less RAM(2.9 and 8 GB ram)
 

Nov 28, 2010
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The 16 GB RAM will help you more in the long run than the extra 200 MHz for your stated computational needs, though even 8 GB will be fine for that.
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
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Decision time. limited budget. What makes more sense?

Given:
No gaming
Few hours a week of Photo Editing with Aperture
Internet & Web surfing

Choice:

21.5 iMAC with slower processor and More RAM(2.7 and 16 GB)
OR
21.5 iMAC with faster processor and Less RAM(2.9 and 8 GB ram)
For your usage, the 2.7GHz + 16GB will do you fine.

Whatever you do, don't ever order a 5400rpm HDD. Go for at least a Fusion or 256GB SSD.

I went for a 256GB SSD in my 21.5" because I need pure speed and most of what I do is stored in a Thunderbolt drive (RAID 10, so it's a fast array).

Here's my SSD speed (attached screenshot).

Boot up time: 8 seconds.

If you were starting up with a 5400rpm drive, you'd need to wait about 45 seconds to 1 minute for it to boot up.
 

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RCAFBrat

macrumors 6502
Jul 10, 2013
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Montreal, QC
The 16 GB RAM will help you more in the long run than the extra 200 MHz for your stated computational needs, though even 8 GB will be fine for that.
This.

If you are planning on the base HDD then a better upgrade for you would probably be the fusion drive unless you are planning on having a couple of external HDD (need one for backup regardless of which storage option you choose and any other would be for storage), in which case an SSD could be an option.
 

a4est42

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Original poster
Jul 16, 2009
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Thanks for the responses

I was planning on the Fusion I do have 3 HDD 1T back up drives. I also have a 3 yr carbonite sub. that only backs up whats on the main computer. i maxed out my laptop HDD at 256 and it would sure be so convenient to have the larger drive but I am torn. All drives can fail even the SSD....What difference in speed and noise would the SSD over the Fusion be? Also plan on ext. apple care.
 
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yjchua95

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Apr 23, 2011
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I was planning on the Fusion I do have 3 HDD 1T back up drives. I also have a 3 yr carbonite sub. that only backs up whats on the main computer. i maxed out my laptop HDD at 256 and it would sure be so convenient to have the larger drive but I am torn. All drives can fail even the SSD....What difference in speed and noise would the SSD over the Fusion be? Also plan on ext. apple care.
The Fusion, in real life, wouldn't be noticeably slower. However, it's undeniable that an SSD is far more reliable and less likely to fail than a HDD/Fusion, and it's silent.

Fusion read/writes: 500MB/s / 350MB/s.
SSD read/writes: 710MB/s / 670MB/s (refer to my screenshot in an earlier post)
 

a4est42

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Original poster
Jul 16, 2009
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Would this be better?

The Fusion, in real life, wouldn't be noticeably slower. However, it's undeniable that an SSD is far more reliable and less likely to fail than a HDD/Fusion, and it's silent.

Fusion read/writes: 500MB/s / 350MB/s.
SSD read/writes: 710MB/s / 670MB/s (refer to my screenshot in an earlier post)
So if you were me would this be my best bet? $100 more than I intended)

2.7
8GB RAM
512 Flash

It would be enough for my photo library by a factor of 2 and some can be stored.

I so appreciate the help.
 

GovtLawyer

macrumors 6502
Sep 6, 2008
294
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Refurb

If you go right now - 10:35 AM EST to the Apple Store and go to the refurbished, you can get a 21.5 2.9 with 8GB and a fusion drive - $1439. Excellent choice. If you're lucky, like I was, they will send you one with better specs. They sent me a 3.1 i7 with 16GB and a fusion drive.

You only need 8GB for your photo needs, but a fusion drive or at least an SSD with an external drive is a must. I boot up in seconds and have never even heard my drive working - probably hardly ever does.
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
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GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
So if you were me would this be my best bet? $100 more than I intended)

2.7
8GB RAM
512 Flash

It would be enough for my photo library by a factor of 2 and some can be stored.

I so appreciate the help.
Hmm... Well if the extra $100 is too much, I suggest going for the 256GB (like I did) and save your images in an external drive instead.
 

a4est42

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Original poster
Jul 16, 2009
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If you go right now - 10:35 AM EST to the Apple Store and go to the refurbished, you can get a 21.5 2.9 with 8GB and a fusion drive - $1439. Excellent choice. If you're lucky, like I was, they will send you one with better specs. They sent me a 3.1 i7 with 16GB and a fusion drive.

You only need 8GB for your photo needs, but a fusion drive or at least an SSD with an external drive is a must. I boot up in seconds and have never even heard my drive working - probably hardly ever does.
That's tempting. i do have a friends and family discount so that's a consideration because it only works on new.
I am adding in the Apple care cost so:
$1609 better processor vs $1587 new or with the 512 flash $1672 So really only $85 for the Flash not $100

I have about 4 hours to make the decision. (until my friend arrives) For $85 I am thinking
2.7
8GB
512 Flash

With the additional external storage and back ups this sounds like my most cost effective solution.
Still open to opposing or additional viewpoints until 12:30 PST
 
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MartinAppleGuy

macrumors 68020
Sep 27, 2013
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For your usage, the 2.7GHz + 16GB will do you fine.

Whatever you do, don't ever order a 5400rpm HDD. Go for at least a Fusion or 256GB SSD.

I went for a 256GB SSD in my 21.5" because I need pure speed and most of what I do is stored in a Thunderbolt drive (RAID 10, so it's a fast array).

Here's my SSD speed (attached screenshot).

Boot up time: 8 seconds.

If you were starting up with a 5400rpm drive, you'd need to wait about 45 seconds to 1 minute for it to boot up.
My HDD is a 5400RPM HDD and it is 30 seconds almost on the dot. And after a fresh restart, applications open in an instant.

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The 16 GB RAM will help you more in the long run than the extra 200 MHz for your stated computational needs, though even 8 GB will be fine for that.
Note that that 200Mhz difference is much more noticeable when turbo boosting (difference of 400Mhz). Plus, for me, I found it a must for the dedicated GPU. Having 1Gb of GDDR5 VRAM is just great! The Intel Iris Pro is really quite amazing when I look at the figures. Maybe next year, Intel will have an iGPU that is powerful enough to still hold strong when pushed.
 

Nov 28, 2010
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My HDD is a 5400RPM HDD and it is 30 seconds almost on the dot. And after a fresh restart, applications open in an instant.

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Note that that 200Mhz difference is much more noticeable when turbo boosting (difference of 400Mhz). Plus, for me, I found it a must for the dedicated GPU. Having 1Gb of GDDR5 VRAM is just great! The Intel Iris Pro is really quite amazing when I look at the figures. Maybe next year, Intel will have an iGPU that is powerful enough to still hold strong when pushed.
How is the extra 200 MHz helping the GPU?
And for the stated needs of the OP, the 40 MHz more Turbo Boost will hardly be noticeable, unless s/he needs to save a minute or two every day.
 

a4est42

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Original poster
Jul 16, 2009
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Getting close to the wire and you guys are making it tough.

How is the extra 200 MHz helping the GPU?
And for the stated needs of the OP, the 40 MHz more Turbo Boost will hardly be noticeable, unless s/he needs to save a minute or two every day.
I am not adverse to a few milliseconds here and there. I want a system that will serve me well now and 4 years down the road when I may be looking at another upgrade. Think Honda or Subaru versus Porsche or Mercedes :p
 

MartinAppleGuy

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Sep 27, 2013
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How is the extra 200 MHz helping the GPU?
And for the stated needs of the OP, the 40 MHz more Turbo Boost will hardly be noticeable, unless s/he needs to save a minute or two every day.
I was moving along to talking about the GPU. Do you need me to put it in a new paragraph :p

----------

Decision time. limited budget. What makes more sense?

Given:
No gaming
Few hours a week of Photo Editing with Aperture
Internet & Web surfing

Choice:

21.5 iMAC with slower processor and More RAM(2.7 and 16 GB)
OR
21.5 iMAC with faster processor and Less RAM(2.9 and 8 GB ram)
If you are not gaming, just go for the 2.7Ghz with Iris Pro. I decided to get the high end 21.5" iMac with the 2.9Ghz processor and NVidia GeForce GT 750m with 1Gb of GDDR5 VRAM. A couple of things to note, the 200Mhz difference is much more noticeable when the computer is Turboboosting where this figure changes to 400Mhz difference. The main reason for the price increase though between the two models is the GPU. I have always seen it that if I am graphically pushing my iMac, the 750m can handle it, where as the Intel Iris Pro would be using 1Gb of system RAM as it is an integrated GPU (1Gb is the largest amount of system memory an iGPU can use in OSX). So with me getting the model with the GPU which has 1Gb of VRAM, I am inversely getting 1Gb of more RAM (or not using 1Gb for pushing the iMac graphically, which the Iris Pro would do).

I'd say you would be fine with the base model completely. HDD's are fine in the new iMacs, people who have FD's or SSD's say they take a minute to boot, but my iMac is 30 seconds on the dot. Applications launch in an instant (even after a restart, so App Cache is not taking effect). And that is another thing, Apps that have been previously opened leave parts behind in RAM (called App Caching). This makes app's launch instant if they have been opened before even on a HDD. It is up to you though if you wish to get a FD or SSD though.

As for RAM, 8Gb is more than enough. Here is a great read - http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1686227

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How is the extra 200 MHz helping the GPU?
And for the stated needs of the OP, the 40 MHz more Turbo Boost will hardly be noticeable, unless s/he needs to save a minute or two every day.
And I was just noting to you that the 200Mhz increase does have a much larger effect when turboboosting (indicated by the use of the word "Note"). I in no way said that the OP should go for the 2.9Ghz in his/her circumstances.
 

a4est42

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Original poster
Jul 16, 2009
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I'd say you would be fine with the base model completely. HDD's are fine in the new iMacs, people who have FD's or SSD's say they take a minute to boot, but my iMac is 30 seconds on the dot. Applications launch in an instant (even after a restart, so App Cache is not taking effect). And that is another thing, Apps that have been previously opened leave parts behind in RAM (called App Caching). This makes app's launch instant if they have been opened before even on a HDD. It is up to you though if you wish to get a FD or SSD though.

As for RAM, 8Gb is more than enough. Here is a great read - http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1686227
Thanks for the link I had looked at it before and that is why I was initially considering 16GB RAM since I was anticipating the need for more in the future.

Option 1 So I could go with the base (your vote)
Option 2 The basic 2.7 plus upgrade to 16GB RAM (+200)
Option 3 The basic plus Fusion (+200)
Option 4 The basic plus Fusion and 16GB RAM (+400)
Option 5 The basic plus 512 SSD (+500)

Vote now.
 

tom vilsack

macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2010
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Base 2.7=$1299
16 gig mem ug=$200
256 flash ug=$200
applecare=$169

total=$1868

Now go to the store!

edit: base is more then enough cpu power,16 mem because upgrading on these is a pain,256 ssd because for future resale, people will only want ssd as that's all future computers will come with! (512 is unneeded as you can use external storage for music,videos ect),applecare because stuff does break and better safe then sorry.
 
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MartinAppleGuy

macrumors 68020
Sep 27, 2013
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888
Thanks for the link I had looked at it before and that is why I was initially considering 16GB RAM since I was anticipating the need for more in the future.

Option 1 So I could go with the base (your vote)
Option 2 The basic 2.7 plus upgrade to 16GB RAM (+200)
Option 3 The basic plus Fusion (+200)
Option 4 The basic plus Fusion and 16GB RAM (+400)
Option 5 The basic plus 512 SSD (+500)

Vote now.
Option 1 is all you need and want. Option 3 if you feel like spilling some extra cash.
 

a4est42

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Original poster
Jul 16, 2009
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Done

With the advice from everyone and my friend who is quite knowledgeable and has quite a bit of experience this is what I went for but as a couple of you said the base model would have been fine.

21.5 2.7
16 MB RAM (unnecessary but with disc. cost was $170 and is insurance against future Memory intensive Aperture or OS upgrades)
1T Fusion (He had a lot of experience with them and he has that in his rMBP which he uses with programming development. And has them in his iMACs at home and at work. He said the reliability has been good and he likes speed and they suffice for him so that's good enough for me. And it came down to wanting the extra capacity for me to be backed up to Carbonite as well as Time capsule
Apple care

Total with discount was $1592 + tax

I feel happy to have made a decision even if it isn't the perfect one and I got a good deal.

Thanks to everyone for their help. i'll let you know how it goes once its up and running. :)
 

tom vilsack

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Nov 20, 2010
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Good choice...I would have gone with the pure ssd option and external storage but can understand people not wanting extra external hd lying around.
 

a4est42

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Original poster
Jul 16, 2009
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Good choice...I would have gone with the pure ssd option and external storage but can understand people not wanting extra external hd lying around.
Thanks! I needed the 512 and i just couldn't get myself to that price point. With the 3 year apple care i am good for 3 years and then after that its all a lottery any way. I do have 2 external HDDs just wanted all on the main drive for the convenience factor and in a massive failure (like the house burns down) carbonite is backing up all my photos and files constantly. My exterior drives are not backed up to carbonite so in a catastrophe not covered. yes i have periodic backups stored off site but that doesn't happen as often as it should....

I think I would have been happy with any of the options. The friend may not be living here in a few years so just went for what I could and thought would ultimately serve me well.
 

GovtLawyer

macrumors 6502
Sep 6, 2008
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Good Choice

You're going to love it. The fusion drive is really sweet. 90% of the time you'll be working off the SSD portion.

I use Lightroom for my photos and they reside on the HD. It is still very responsive. Enjoy.
 

a4est42

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Original poster
Jul 16, 2009
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You're going to love it. The fusion drive is really sweet. 90% of the time you'll be working off the SSD portion.

I use Lightroom for my photos and they reside on the HD. It is still very responsive. Enjoy.
Thanks. I figure if its good enough for someone well up in the Itunes chain then its good enough for me. :)
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
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GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
Thanks. I figure if its good enough for someone well up in the Itunes chain then its good enough for me. :)
It's good enough. You get the performance that's way faster than a HDD (although not as fast as an SSD) minus the price tag of a pure SSD :)

In real-world usage, I doubt you'd see the difference in performance between a Fusion and an SSD.
 

a4est42

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Original poster
Jul 16, 2009
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It's good enough. You get the performance that's way faster than a HDD (although not as fast as an SSD) minus the price tag of a pure SSD :)

In real-world usage, I doubt you'd see the difference in performance between a Fusion and an SSD.
Thank you and all the folks that help us less knowlegeable folks. Its very thoughtful and I appreciate it. I do the same in my world of expertise. :)
 
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