PC user seeking advice as to which iMac configuration best suits his needs

Discussion in 'iMac' started by westcoastin, May 3, 2011.

  1. westcoastin, May 3, 2011
    Last edited: May 3, 2011

    westcoastin macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #1
    Hi all,

    Currently I am using a 7+ year old custom built PC (XP) and lately I have been wanting to make the switch to Mac, specifically an iMac. My PC’s specs include an AMD Athlon 64 3000+ CPU, Radeon 9600 128mb GPU, and 1.5 gb of RAM. Since owning the PC, I have had little to no problems save for a blown PSU which is to be expected through years of wear and tear. My reason for considering a switch is that I have been a long time Windows user, and while I’ve had a relatively good experience with it, I would like to make a change. Like mostly everyone, I find the iMac’s design to be minimal, yet strikingly appealing, which makes for quite an attraction to me.

    My PC’s performance is borderline adequate during intensive single-task work, such as running only Photoshop CS4 without any other programs being open, but becomes sluggish, and sometimes freezes temporarily, when multiple programs and multiple PS files are running simultaneously (multiple tabs of Chrome, iTunes, etc). Some might suggest additional RAM, but the motherboard allows only for 2 GB, thus upgrading is not an option unless I replace the motherboard, which is something I have no interest in doing. The bulk of my computer usage is comprised of internet, Word, Photoshop (large RAW’s and JPEGS) iTunes, and eventually videography once I can upgrade my dSLR. I would like for the iMac to be able to perform these tasks simultaneously, with virtually no lag.

    With all things taken into consideration, which iMac configuration would best suit my needs? I am a student, thus my budget does not allow for the high-end iMac. I plan to use my discount and purchase during the back to school promotion, so I figure I can save at the most $250-300 with the $100 discount and by reselling the likely iPod touch, which leaves me around $1300-1400 to spend. Will the base iMac be sufficient for my needs, or should I opt for a higher end spec’d iMac, such as an i7 with a beefier GPU. Also, is there a significant difference in terms of performance between the 6750M and the 6770M? Thanks in advance for any and all help.
     
  2. thedarkhorse macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #2
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8F190 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Honestly any of the configurations is going to scream compared to that old PC system.
     
  3. westcoastin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #3
    Well, I knew all of the listed configurations would outperform my PC, but I am more interested in having my specific concerns addressed. Nonetheless, thanks for your response and maybe someone else can chime in to help answer my questions.
     
  4. xkmxkmxlmx macrumors 6502a

    xkmxkmxlmx

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    #4
    What more do you need to know? Yes, most of the low-end ones should be able to do what you're asking without a problem at all.

    But without knowing exactly how intense your "videogrpahy" will be, it is hard to say. Obviously for anything involving heavy video work, you're going to maybe want to consider the i7 with a better GPU. Especially if you plan on using it for a few years.

    If you're on a budget, why are you looking at Macs? Especially when you're considering making the jump over physical case aesthetics. Just seems like a bad reason to make a switch.

    I probably didn't answer you the way you want, but I don't know what else you need to really know here. You obviously know a bit about computers. It seems all pretty common sense at this point. Stronger = better. There is no significant difference from PC to Mac in how a similar specced rig will perform.
     
  5. westcoastin thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #5

    OK, thanks. Knowing that the low-end iMacs will fit the bill just about answers my question.

    As far as the intensity of video editing, I would say just light work including short clips (~5min) of HD footage.

    But to address your other point, just because I am on a budget does not mean I should exclude Macs from my consideration. I did list a ballpark figure which allows me to consider a few configurations of the iMac.

    Once again, thanks for the help.
     
  6. xkmxkmxlmx macrumors 6502a

    xkmxkmxlmx

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    #6
    Well, honestly, I would say yes, you should probably take them out of consideration. Especially given your reasons for switching. You didn't say anything about having issues with Windows, or preferring OS X, but rather you liked how the case looks. I am not telling you how to spend your money, of course. But it seems strange to pay the "apple tax" when you don't have that much money and could get something like the high end iMac in a Windows machine for the price of a low end iMac, because you like how it looks.

    An analogy would be, I am looking for a hand sander for doing some sanding for paint jobs. Don't have a lot of money, but I want a good tool. Should I spend more money on the one that looks nice while I am sanding? Or fits in with my tool sheds decor? Or one that will get me the performance that I need?

    Anyway, good luck with your purchase. I am sure you'll be happy with the switch either way.
     
  7. thedarkhorse macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #7
    Well OP is still is running XP, so if he upgrades he's going to have to get used to a new OS anyways.

    I say go to a store and test out a couple imacs and see if it rubs off on you right. Base model should do fine for your needs and should be pleasantly snappier than you are used to.
     
  8. Lord Appleseed macrumors 6502a

    Lord Appleseed

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Location:
    Apple Manor
    #8
    Go for the 27" top-base iMac, you will love the size and power.
     
  9. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    One mile up and soaring
    #9
    I would suggest either the 21.5 at $1,499 or the 27 at $1,699 depending on your budget and screen size preference. It doesn't sound like you can afford nor do you really need the $1,999 model or the $2,199 i7 model. The ones I mentioned give your the 2.7 i5, a very decent but not the best graphics card, etc. I think your only decision there is the screen size, which for photo and video editing, if you have the desk space, the $200 is easily well worth it. It doesn't sound like your are a light enough user to feel like the low-end 21.5 will suit your needs. Smallest HDD and lowest end GPU. And the top end model I believe is overkill for your needs as is the BTO i7 variant. With the Student Discount and sale of your iPod, the base 27 should be doable.

    EDIT: BTW, I would also go online to either OWC (macsales.com) or newegg and get 2 more 2GB sticks of RAM at some point to beef the system up to 8 total. Should cost you another $50-60.
     

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