refurbished imacs: ddr2 vs ddr3

Discussion in 'iMac' started by basement zombie, May 11, 2009.

  1. basement zombie macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    #1
    Hi all,

    I've been browsing the refurbished offerings, and I notice two 2.66ghz 20" iMacs listed at the same price. As far as I can tell, there are two discernable differences between the two:

    Video card: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M vs. ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO

    I don't know much about this. Obviously, the video cards are different. I see there's a big thread in the archives where people discuss the two cards. I believe the gist of what I read in that thread is that the ATI 2600 PRO comes more highly regarded among iMac users. Am I wrong? That said, I'm not a 'power user' and don't play many games, so I'm not sure that I'd even notice the difference.

    RAM: DDR2 vs. DDR3

    I see that the DDR3 memory has the capability of being max'd out at 8gig vs. the DDR2 at 4gig. I assume the DDR2 memory is cheaper, and that the DDR3 is more 'future proof.' Thoughts?

    I've seen many other slight differences in details between various iMac models recently, as well. Any suggestions/tips? Whatever machine I buy will likely be run/used until it croaks. I'm not a 'power user,' though I may upgrade from Garageband to Logic Express. Otherwise, very basic functions that most Mac users enjoy. :)

    Thanks.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    ATI HD 2600 is way better than 9400M.

    The difference between DDR2 and DDR3 is minimal. It's less than 10%. New iMacs can take 8GB of DDR3 but the prices of 4GB DDR3 sticks are ridiculous, upgrading to 8GB costs over $500.

    In my opinion, get the last year's model, its GPU is way better
     
  3. LagunaSol macrumors 601

    LagunaSol

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #3
    True, for now. Prices for 4GB sticks will certainly drop, and dramatically. But if the OP goes for the DDR2 machine, he'll/she'll be forever maxed out at 4GB total. So...since he/she doesn't play games, the iMac with more RAM potential may be the best pick, especially since he/she plans on keeping it long term.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    Of course they will but between what timeline? It takes at least a year for the price to drop for ~200$. Do he really need 8GBs? I'm now using one forth of my memory so there's 3GBs of inactive RAM.

    And when Snow Leopard comes and OP wants/will to upgrade to it 9400M is worthless it can't do OpenCL but 2600 can.

    It's just my opinion...
     
  5. Mugwumper macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Location:
    Palmdale, CA
    #5
    My $.02 . . .

    I picked up a refurb of last year's 24" 3.06GHz iMac a month or so ago, and
    am very happy with total system performance. I, too, am not a gamer, but
    do watch TV (EyeTV Hybrid) and often have many apps open simultaneously.

    This system has the GeForce 8800GS graphics with 512MB, and 2GB RAM.
    The net result is that the system easily handles all I can throw at it (Word,
    Excel, Photoshop Elements, TextEdit, Safari, Firefox simultaneously) without
    a blink. The TV stuff displays with no hiccups (compared to my previous
    G5), and the cooling fans can barely be heard.

    I have added another 2GB DDR2 RAM ($26), but to be honest, I really don't
    notice a lot of improvement (yes, some apps start faster). Someone told me
    this is mostly due to the dual-core CPU, and how Leopard uses the cores.

    "It just works" . . . ;^)
     
  6. LagunaSol macrumors 601

    LagunaSol

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #6
    This is definitely an important point worth considering.

    Perhaps the best option would be to spend the extra $$$ on a new machine that both 1) allows 8 gigs of RAM, and 2) has a video processor that Snow Leopard will fully exploit.
     
  7. basement zombie thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    #7
    It appears that the only options that would provide me with both of those conditions are the 24" 2.93 and the 24" 3.06, and those are out of my price range. All the current iMacs below those have the 9400M video card.

    Taking that into consideration, in your opinion, which do you think is more important to have - the non-9400M or the DDR3?
     
  8. LagunaSol macrumors 601

    LagunaSol

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #8
    Tough call. Depends on your needs. I have to run some Windows-based software for my livelihood. So lots of RAM is essential (virtual machines love RAM).

    But if I had to pick one for general use, I guess I'd probably say go with the non-9400M in one of the older machines.
     
  9. desantii macrumors 6502

    desantii

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
  10. basement zombie thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    #10
    Can someone tell me what an "SR based" iMac is, and how that can be determined? :confused:
     
  11. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #11
    Santa Rosa. It's the chipset
     
  12. basement zombie thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    #12
    Thanks. :)

    And the 2nd part of my previous question, please - how can it be determined that a particular iMac has the Santa Rosa chipset?
     
  13. jtgotsjets macrumors 6502

    jtgotsjets

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    #13
    ... I wasunder the impression that the nvidia chips were actually better supported for opencl, snow leopard tasks.

    Why would apple put a video card in almost all of their machines that wasn't going to be supported by their quickly approaching os update?
     
  14. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #14
    Of course it supports it somehow. OpenCL can use the power of GPUs for normal tasks such as encoding. 9400M isn't just powerful enough to boost your system to get the benefit from OpenCL.
     
  15. BashStreetYouth macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    #15
    You don't have a clue what you are talking about so stop spreading sh*t.
     
  16. jtgotsjets macrumors 6502

    jtgotsjets

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    #16
    i'm with you.
     
  17. JD92 macrumors 6502a

    JD92

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    #17
    I'm fairly sure the 9400M is powerful enough for OpenCL. Sure it won't be as powerful as a GT130 or Radeon 4850, but it's certainly a capable chip.
     
  18. blackhand1001 macrumors 68030

    blackhand1001

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    #18
    No, your thinkning of CUDA. Opencl makes use of the stream processors on the gpus. BTW, ddr2/ddr3 difference is so minor its actually less than 2% difference and thats in benchmarks, in real uses it won't even be noticeable. Expecially since the bottleneck in memory performance on the imac is not the memory itself but the frontside bus itself.
     
  19. track09 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    #20
    This is backwards. The 9400M WILL support openCL. The 2600, however, does not (there was outrage about this earlier this month). Given this, and that Snow Leopard is around the corner, this whole discussion really isn't much of a question. If you really need graphics, neither of these will be suitable (although the 2600 is more powerful of the two). But I suspect openCL will be worth the downgrade in performance.
     
  20. AppleThis&That macrumors regular

    AppleThis&That

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2009
    #21
    Glad that's cleared up. I mean why would Apple put 9400M chips in most of their new computers and say their next operating system won't work.

    Looking forward to snow though. Can't wait. :)
     
  21. zmttoxics macrumors 65816

    zmttoxics

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #22
    I was faced with the same decision by fluke when I went to get my iMac. They had a last gen open box for 400 cheaper. Selling point? I needed the bigger hard drive. I can live on a 320, a 250 I can not.

    I think the 9400m isn't that bad either, can play quake 4 on high which my G5 tower couldn't. :)
     
  22. bajee macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    #23
    get the 9400m, you won't get that much performance out of a ati 2600 gpu anyway, especially on new games.

    If you're aiming for productivity, the 9400m will do, having the ability to get faster and more ram is always a plus.

    for games, just buy a psp or something :D
     
  23. AppleThis&That macrumors regular

    AppleThis&That

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2009
    #24
    True. My use on the computer is Graphic Design, Photography, Email, and Web. Mostly 2D Apps. Works great for that. For gaming, I prefer a PS3 or 360 but I don't play that many games anyway. Mac isn't a real game market anyway.

    I do like COD2 though and it works great on 9400M.
     
  24. reebzor macrumors 6502a

    reebzor

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #25
    Well your opinion is wrong. 9400m IS supported by openCL, 2600 IS NOT.

    Anyway, The newer machine has better, faster processor, ram and video card. Since it is more "future proof" it will last you longer than the other one. Also, the resale value will be more. Basically theres no reason to not buy the best machine you can afford. The older machine might run fine now, but once Snow Leopard comes out, the newer machine will run circles around the older one.
     

Share This Page