Purchasing an iMac, Advice please!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mabbs, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. mabbs macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2013

    My wife and I have two MacBooks Circa late 2008 and whilst mine at least is still going strong we are looking at getting a computer just for the home and so are thinking of the IMac 21'. The questions I have, and would be grateful for any advice is firstly, 8gb Ram or 16gb? We use the computer for internet, skype, emails, word processing, excel, music and photos. We would look at getting some photo editing software to play around with, but nothing serious. I use my MacBook for most of these things except photo editing and when I am working with a lot of the applications running I am using just under the 4gb of RAM I now have. So I'm thinking that the 8gb will be fine, more than enough. My concern is that you cannot upgrade the 21' so should I be looking to future proof it, just in case applications suddenly get a lot more RAM intensive?

    Secondly, fusion drive? Is it needed when it is just for home use?

    BuyersGuide indicates a new release might be around the corner, presumably this is going to be a speed bump as opposed to anything particularly significant?

    Any views/thoughts on the above or the IMac in general would be much appreciated!!

    Thank you!
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    I would recommend getting the 16gb of RAM and the 1TB Fusion drive if you have the money. I guess from the age of the MacBooks your replacing you would be keeping this for a long time. 8gb is plenty for your needs now, but my not be in 2 years time. The Fusion gives you the speed of a SSD (almost) for a fraction of the cost. It should last longer than a standard HD as well because the things you use most are stored on the SSD not the mechanical spinning HD which are prone to failure at some point.
    As for the refresh, I suspect it will just be a minor speed bump when it comes, as it had a redesign at the end of last year. I doubt it will be updated for months so if you need one now I wouldn't wait. I spent most of last year waiting for the soon to be released iMac.
  3. oldhifi macrumors 65816


    Jan 12, 2013

    I would get a Mac Mini, easy to upgrade, less problems
  4. mabbs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2013
    Thanks very much. Apart from the Fusion drive lasting longer is the speed noticeably different? £200 extra is a fair amount. Are applications really likely to double their need for RAM in five years, or am I overlooking something?
  5. Chabba macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2011
    I'd consider the 27" refurbished unit.

    Same warranty as the 21" and available with Apple Care if you're interested.
    Also, you can upgrade the RAM on the 27" and it has a better video card available, which will help future proof it more so than what options are available with the 21".
  6. smokeyrabbit macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2005
    Escape from New England
    OS X Minimum RAM Year Released
    10.5 512 MB 2007
    10.6 1 GB 2009
    10.7 2 GB 2011
    10.8 2 GB 2012

    Mac OS X Ram requirements have quadrupled over 5 years. Will that continue? Nobody knows!
  7. BA Baracus macrumors member

    Mar 28, 2009
    I am in a similar position to the OP. Looking to replace my 2005 iMac with the base 21.5 2012 iMac. But what do you choose for the factory options?

    - If money is tight do not get the extra RAM or fusion drive
    - If money is no object, then get both!
    - If you can stretch to one extra factory upgrade I think the fusion drive gives more bang for buck. The speed increase of fusion will be noticeable from day one and will continue throughout the life of the iMac. 16GB of ram is no use if you never use anything near that limit. For day to day use 4GB is enough ram for the average punter so with the stock 8GB that should last a good number of years. In my opinion, other pieces of hardware will start to show its age (processor, graphics card etc etc) well before you need 16GB ram to perform daily os x functions.

    (Having more RAM in my 2005 iMac will not make it any more speedy, flash doesn't work well on PPC and some websites are getting unusable due to the version of JavaScript)

    So, you can guess that the sweet spot for me right now is base model plus fusion drive.

    If you can and qualify, order through an academic network, get 14%-ish discount and free three years applecare (without the phone support), will make the purchase as cheap as possible. (PS Back to school promo will start in the next few days also so watch out for this!).

    All the best.
  8. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    I wouldn't even consider 2GB on ML - my Mini with 8GB tends to stay around 4-5GB used; I just wish my 2009 supported 16GB. Personally, if I were buying a new machine, 16GB would be the minimum (unless I could upgrade it myself, of course).
  9. smokeyrabbit macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2005
    Escape from New England
    Exactly! I don't know how it would work, and almost everyone that upgrades from 4 to 8 GB on ML notices a big improvement. At this time, with ML due (?) to be replaced within 2013, I'd say 16 GB would be the minimum to stay comfortable for a year or 18 months and then you'll soon be upgrading to 32 GB. However on the macs that have non-replaceable RAM you may as well get as much as it takes now.
  10. mabbs thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2013
    Thanks for the thoughts! Very helpful. Sorry for the ignorance, but what is ML?
  11. firedept macrumors 603


    Jul 8, 2011
    ML stands Mountain Lion. It is the most current operating system for Macs.
  12. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    Go for the 16gb ram even though for now the 8gb seems adequate for your needs. You never know in the future as your needs grow and you'll be having larger files or upgraded to a bigger storage.

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