Questions before i buy an iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by kixx, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. kixx macrumors member

    Aug 16, 2010
    Hi there, i am considering to buy a refurbished 2009 i5 iMac 27".

    Firstly would the 2009 iMac, sporting a HD4850 play compressed 1080p movies (of size about 4G) smoothly? My concern is that 4850 is very outdated and unlike the 5000 series, does not natively support GPU rendering of high definition movies.

    Secondly, i have heard rumors of a new iMac coming soon. From past observations, does this mean that once the new generation hits the market, the price of a refurbished 2010 i5 iMac 27" will be pushed down to the today's price of a refurbished 2009 i5 iMac 27"?

    Lastly, Apple says Lion will be available in summer, does this mean the Apple will start shipping new orders with Lion immediately after the WWDC in June or would we have to wait until September or October? Also how much does it cost to upgrade for major OS change (eg. from Tiger to Leopard)?

    Thank you!
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    My 2007 iMac is capable of playing 1080p content, even 14GB files are no problem for it, if "4G" is alluding to 4GB.
    Summer is a very broad time frame. We don't know when. It can be June, July, August or September, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard came out at the end of August 2009.
    There is no upgrade pricing with Apple, unless you buy a Mac within a certain time frame (30 days before the release of the new OS).
    10.7 can cost from 29 to 129 USD, but will likely be around 75 USD this time. Or not.
  3. kixx thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 16, 2010
    Thank you for your reply.

    My 4G indeed means 4GB compressed 1080p movies. May i ask what hardware do you have on your 2007 iMac and was the 1080p movie in MKV file?
  4. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    I also have a 2007 iMac (24" Core 2 Duo 2.8 GHz with 6GB RAM and 320GB HD) and it plays HD content beautifully. For your need the machine you are intended to get will handle HD without even breathing hard.

    As far as pricing don't expect anything dramatic when new products are released. Just don't do it otherwise you will never buy. Look at it from the point of view of how much are you enjoying your machine.

    When Lion is released Apple will begin shipping new (and refurbished) machines with it.

    Bottom line, if you have a need or want for a computer then go buy it. The people that wait are always chasing the tails, it's a losing game with any computer system whether it's a Mac, PC, or anything else.
  5. kixx thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 16, 2010
    Thanks for your information.

    Just out of interest, HD4850 is in the same line as the ancient 8800GTX i had on my PC. While i still remember having a lot of difficulties playing full 1080p videos on my 8800GTX back in the days, what is it that makes it work in the iMac, is it the CPU?

    Actually i am not in a desperate need for iMac, and i would only use it for light purposes like surfing, watching videos, viewing photos etc. Thats why i am not willing to spend so much on a brand new machine. If the price of 2010 refurbished iMac would not drop at all, i will just get the 2009 refurbished now, as i have no need for cutting edge technologies and there is no point in waiting.
  6. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    For reference, my 2008 MacBook with 9400m GPU can play 10GB blu ray rips without a problem
  7. archer75 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2005
    Both the 4850 and 8800GTX support GPU offloading for HD video. I used a 8500gt in my first HTPC and have a 8800gt in my secondary HTPC now. My buddy uses a Radeon 4350 in his and it works fine. I'm using a Radeon 5570 in my main HTPC now.

    It's just a matter of using the right codecs/players that support it.
  8. kixx thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 16, 2010
    Thanks for the reference, now i think 2009 iMac should do the job with no problem.

    I think its more of a matter how much the GPU supports rendering of HD videos. I use HD5450 for my HTPC, while pretty much being useless for gaming, it has a chip specially designed to renders full Bluray rips at 40GB effortlessly and allows my CPU to stay under 5% usage.

    I believe ATI introduced such chip in the 5000 series and 4850 does not equip with one.
  9. archer75, Apr 21, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2011

    archer75 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2005
    You have to have the software that supports it in conjunction with your hardware. If you aren't using the right codecs or players it won't offload the processing to the video card. The VLC player only recently got this. Most people in the community will use MPC-HC as it's supported DXVA for years. Many Nvidia cards also support DXVA but can also work with codecs that support CUDA such as coreavc.

    The 4850 can indeed do it. The entire 4000 series can. The Radeon 2000 and 3000 series can as well. Off-loading video to the GPU is nothing new and has been around for years. Hell, I have a Intel motherboard with onboard HD4500 video that can do it.
    The list of Radeon support cards:

    Though the 5450 does have it's own set of issues. It can't do Vector Adaptive Deinterlacing.

    However if your CPU is fast enough you don't even need to worry if you have GPU offloading. I believe a 2.2ghz Core 2 Duo is the bare minimum to be able to handle the entire load from the video. I've used a 2.4ghz core 2 duo that had no problem and I use a 2ghz C2D in my 2nd HTPC that can mostly do it without issue.

    I built a server specifically to store my BD rips and I have over 500 movies on it. My movies vary from 3gb up to 30gb. Some have DD or DTS audio. Some lossless FLAC. Many now have TrueHD/DTS-MA HD. I've been doing this for quite awhile.
  10. kixx thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 16, 2010
    Thanks for the clarification. I think no doubt the i5 2.66Ghz quad core CPU in iMac can handle the video rendering even if it is not fully offloaded to the GPU.

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