Shopping for a new iMac at this time - best options?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by C Fitzgerald, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. C Fitzgerald macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2010
    Louisville, KY
    Hi folks, I'm a newbie to the forums here, and have an untimely (unfortunately, it would seem) question.

    Long story short: For the past many years, I've been using an iMac 20" "iLamp" G4 model that has performed flawlessly and that I have loved dearly. Just yesterday, it failed to start up, and when I got it diagnosed at the local mac repair shop, the message was that it needed a new power supply and logic board, which would come to about $600 + the diagnostic can see where this is going. For the price of the repair, I should just shop for a new iMac and get a newer faster machine. Which isn't a terrible thing in the end, as already the old one was having trouble running some of my larger programs (like Sibelius 5 & 6), and I hoped to also use it for Logic Express at some point.

    So, I start looking around, only to find that the gorgeous new 27" iMacs are having all sorts of problems reported with them, and the other machines, while nice, are not that much bigger screenwise than the one I had. Everyone i know advises me to buy as powerful a machine as I can so it can last as long as possible with the new upgraded software coming out, which points me to a quadcore iMac... except for the problems being reported.

    So, if you were shopping for a new iMac at the moment, what would you do?

    1) Wait until the new 27" quadcores seem to have stabilized, then order one.
    2) buy one anyway and hope for the best.
    3) buy one of the dualcore 27" machines and live with the slower processor
    4) Buy one of the smaller, more proven 21.5" machines with the slower processors
    5) Say "to hell with it' and go buy a PC that I'll hate from the moment I open the box

    A couple of specific questions along the way:

    * Is it only the quadcore 27" machines that seem to be having problems?
    * If so, are both the i5 and i7 chips reporting equal problems, or is it mostly the i7 equipped models?
    * Since I don't do much in the way of video editing at all, am i worrying unnecessarily about processor speed?

  2. FearlessFreep macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2008
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Buy what you want and can afford. There have been less reported problems with the 21.5" iMacs, however they have not been free of problems either. Could be that the quad-core purchasers tend to squawk more about things than others, but it does appear that the larger panels are having more issues.

    It may be overkill if you've been getting along with your old machine to this point. Any of the current models will be strong for many years to come, particularly with the additional ease of memory expansion in the new units.

    Bottom line, when all this dies down and is over you'll have to be happy with the machine you have, particularly since you hold onto machines for a long time. Will you kick yourself for not getting the 27" or could you be happy with the 21.5? Only you can answer that.
  3. sparkie1984 macrumors 68020

    Dec 20, 2009
    a small village near London
    dont forget the 27" C2D imacs are having the same issues with screens flickering, yellowing arriving doa etc etc etc.......

    id personally go at least i5 (like i did)
  4. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Get the best you can and hope for the best. If it's defective, get a replacement or return it and get your money back
  5. Yakuza macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2007
    Lisbon, Portugal
    lolol, i'm on that ship! :rolleyes:
  6. Libertine Lush macrumors 6502a

    Nov 23, 2009
    Answer to your question at this great site which has culled a lot of the problems into some informal data. All user submitted. According to the site, the answer to your question is "no":
  7. Milty77 macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2009
    I can understand your concerns as I was in the same boat up until this morning. I too asked the question about the defects and also asked if there was any good news coming from owners. Long story short is that purchase the one you can afford or want and as more people are saying if its faulty get it replaced and worse case get a refund. I bit the bullet and ordered the 27" iMac i7 this morning. Will take two weeks so hopefully most of the problems have been sorted bye now. If not it will go back and i hear that apple's customer service is excellent. Best of luck with your decission.
  8. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    Ordered my i7 on Monday despite reading about the various problems some users are experiencing. I, too, am not in a position to wait, but I'm not sure I would anyway.

    If there's a problem it'll have to go back.
  9. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

    Aug 28, 2009
    Probably your best bet is a refurbished 27". Each mac is gone over with a fine tooth comb when refurbed.
  10. Fishrrman macrumors Pentium


    Feb 20, 2009
    Then again, you could always pick up a refurbished 24" (previous version) iMac from the Apple Store....
  11. ABG macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2003
    United Kingdom
    2) plus buy Applecare

    or 1) if you can hang on.

    or 6) wait until the end of January to see what Apple has up their sleeve next?:D
  12. danistyping macrumors regular

    Dec 8, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Go to an apple store and get a 27" i5. You won't wait, the comp will be fast, and if there is a problem, apple will take care of it.
  13. joeeey macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2009
    I am in the same boat. I'm going to wait until the end of January and see if the problems with the 27" i7 are resolved before I pull the trigger.
  14. definitive macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    don't waste your time on the current imacs. wait for the next refresh, and then look into getting those. you don't get much for what you pay with the current ones.
  15. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Lol?!?! Last update was the BIGGEST iMac update for years. Next update will just be a minor spec bump and it won't come for months.
  16. definitive macrumors 68000


    Aug 4, 2008
    using outdated radeon video cards and c2d cpus, and charging close to two grand for the system isn't really considered as the biggest imac update for years.

    sorry, i've been a pc user for about 15 years before i bought a mac, and where i come from, charging an arm and a leg for hardware that's close to two years old is considered highway robbery.
  17. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    There is no newer hardware other than nVidia GPUs that suits for iMac, so I wouldn't call them outdated.

    If the only thing you care about is hardware, then you should go back to PC.
  18. tigereat macrumors regular

    Dec 23, 2009

    I have the same situation. I have been using my new iMac 21.5 with C2D 3.33ghz with ATI GPU about 13 days for my daily software jobs () I'm software engineer) and I feel I still need more performance (I thought C2D 3.33 one would be enough for my job, but it's not). So I returned it and tell the Apple rep that I wanted to upgrade to i7 model. It's worth upgrading since I only paid $500 for the upgrade ;)

    However, the initial reason I had to return my iMac was because the yellow tinge problem. So I asked them to get a replacement with i7 model instead. To be honest, if 21.5 has an i7 option, i would go for it because I have a limited space on my desk. I'm living on university's apartment (I'm a graduate student at GA Tech)

    I hope my 27 imac will be alright
  19. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    27" i5 for $1899 after rebate, no tax, free shipping

    Thats close to 2 grand with an i5 chip, not a C2D

    Oh, and the Radeon 4850 is one of the fastest mobile video cards ATI makes. (the iMac doesnt use a desktop style video card or it could have the ATI 5900 series).

    You should add a nice backup drive. =)
  20. tigereat macrumors regular

    Dec 23, 2009

    They have i5 and i7 options, which are quad cores, don't they? I can buy i5 $1899 after rebate, no tax, free shipping, which is a Quad core not a C2D

    I'm a software engineer who has a limited spac and whose daily jobs depend on a very powerful computers. So, the All-in-one computer will be suitable. I have done reserching for a while before deciding to buy this iMac.and found that there is noAll-in-one PCs that offer the same performance as iMac For example, HP, DELL, LENOVO and SONY's All-in-one PCs dont have any quad core i5 or i7 CPU and only have a limited 8GB of Ram and limited HDD. More importantly, when I tried to configure the PC to match up with the specs of iMac's C2D model, those PCs only have lower clock speed C2D options or C2 quad core option, which is inferior to core i7, and lower GPU but cost the same or more.

    Can you find one for me if you think i'm wrong?

    Dont get me wrong. Actually, my dalily software works are under Windows-based environment. So I bought another i7 laptop form Dell. I didnt buy Macbook Pro because its specs is inferior than Dell i7 SXPS laptop at the moment.

    iMac is the best value (performance/ money) of All-in-one computer, in my point of view. Prove me wrong if you can.

    Here are some examples (You will see what I'm talking)

    HP All-in-one 23 inch Retail price $2449, with discount = $1904

    Operating system Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
    Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo processor T9800 [2.93GHz, 6MB L2, 1066 FSB]
    Memory 6GB DDR3-1066MHz SDRAM [2 DIMMs]
    Hard drive 1TB 5400 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive
    Graphics card 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT230M,
    Primary optical drive Slot-load SuperMulti DVD Burner

    Sony All-in-one PC 24 inch $ 1799

    Core™ 2 Quad Q8400S processor (2.66GHz1)
    6GB DDR2.
    Genuine Microsoft® Windows® 7 Home Premium6.
    500GB (7200rpm) hard disk drive.
    NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 240M GPU

    DELL Studio one 19 inch $1359

    Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 (3.16GHz, 1333, 6MB) PE8500
    4GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz- 2DIMMs 4GB82 Monitors 18.5” W LCD , 16:9 Aspect Ratio, WXGA (1366x768) ILCD [320-8015]
    nVidia GeForce 9400
    640GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive

    Apple iMac 27 inch $1899 after rebate, no tax, free shipping


    2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
    4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    1TB Serial ATA Drive
    ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB

    See? You should have done the research like this before saying something :D I'm a big fan of best performance/money computers after all
  21. C Fitzgerald thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2010
    Louisville, KY
    Interesting discussion! I'd be getting an educational (faculty) discount, and I just stopped into the place that was diagnosing the old G4. They could do the migration under the already paid diagnosis charge, and I could walk home with a core 2 3.06 machine tomorrow evening. Or, I could wait a while and have them do the migration on a quad core. They don't know how long it would take to get the quad core, but will call me later. I can afford either, and have marital permission for either.

    The advice I'm getting from friends/colleagues is mixed on whether to go for the quad core, or to go with the core 2. Most people say that unless I'm gaming or doing a lot of HD video editing, there should be no need for me to have the quad core. Does that information at least sound correct?
  22. C Fitzgerald thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2010
    Louisville, KY
    I suppose I should clarify what it is that I actually do with the machines I use:

    1) Music notation: using Sibelius, would like to upgrade to Sib 6 but the G4 was too slow to keep up with the size of the program.

    2) Audio editing: have been using Digital Performer for real audio only (I don't use VI's and don't have much use for them at the moment), 8 tracks max, a few native plugs on each track. Most common is 2 channel audio cleanup and mastering of live recordings using Peak LE and Ozone.

    3) I'd like to be able to make a few short instructional videos, but don't think I'll be doing this too often.

    4) No gaming at all, no real movie creation or editing as yet.

    So the real question I'm pondering is whether I'm even the kind of user who would be using the power of a quadcore or not. Opinions on this issue very welcome, as I'm sort of a luddite about video/gaming issues and would just like to get back to having a machine at home to continue doing my university class preps on now that the semester has started back up!
  23. sparkie1984 macrumors 68020

    Dec 20, 2009
    a small village near London
    if you can afford it future proof to quad core mate

    if you cant then dont
  24. MacMojo1 macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2006
    That's what I did and could not be happier
  25. tigereat macrumors regular

    Dec 23, 2009

    Like everyone said. It depends on your daily uses. If your daily uses and jobs require a very powerful computer, go with i7, otherwise, core 2 duo.

    I often run mutiple servers and required-decent-computers software applications at the same time for my jobs. So, C2D is a little bit lacking in my case.

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