Some buying advice please?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jmiles6, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. jmiles6 macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2010

    My girlfriend and I are about to take the plunge and buy an iMac. This will be our first mac machine, and we're pretty excited.

    However about the only thing we have decided on is the 21.5" screen size. We are having trouble deciding what expansion options we should get with our mac as we don't want to overspend but still want the best machine for our buck.

    We are mainly going to use this machine for photo editing (with photoshop), video editing, school work, and normal internet surfing.

    Obviously the biggest drain on resources will be video editing so my dilemma begins with this:

    Is it worth it to spend the extra $180 and upgrade from a 3.2 GHz i3 to a 3.6 GHz i5?

    Is it worth upgrading to 8gb of ram for $180?

    Will the upgraded ram/processor make that big of a difference in performance from the standard model?

    How much would upgrading to the 8gb and i5 affect the 'future proofness' of my machine?

    Thank you in advance for any help you guys can provide!
  2. JHorstmann macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2010
    To try to answer your questions as best in order as I can.

    The jump in CPU from a 3.2 i3 to the 3.6 i5 I think is like 10%. There was a forum awhile back- 3 weeks ago- that had a bunch of great info about it. I'll try to look for it and post the link here. The general consensus was that it wasn't really worth it. I, however, did get the 3.6 i5 and I love the extra speed boost.

    The upgrade to an 8gig, IMHO, should be your first purchase. Video and Photo editing is a memory hog.

    The thing about RAM is that it basically tells you how much your computer can do at once. So if you upgrade just your RAM, you wont get a speed boost, but as far as how much your computer can do will be boosted. If you get the processor boost, the speed will go up, and how much you can do will go up slightly- again like 10%.

    So my final opinion: For sure get the upgraded RAM. I would recommend the upgraded processor but the facts point to about a 10% increase in speed, so for what Apple is asking some deduce that it isn't worth it- I respectfully disagree.

    Best of luck with your computer shopping!
  3. easepease macrumors regular

    Feb 9, 2010
    dont get memory upgrades from apple... waste of money, just get it at microcenter or new egg or owc and install yourself. It does NOT void warranty and is very easy, in fact apple has instructions on how to do it.
  4. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    What's the iMac usage in 4-5 years?

    Processor size should be based on future usage, not today's usage.

    Memory can be added later - as more and more demand is needed. And, "future" memory puchase is a good Christmas present / birthday present excuse.

    Remember system backups as well. I have a My Book Stuido 1 TB connected via FW800 and it works great. This could be a good future Christmas present or future birthday gift as well.

    With all-in-one boxes, remember that processor & video "power" cannot be upgraded. Thus, it might be better to "over buy" in these areas (from a short term perspective), and upgrade its memory later "as needed". Thus, allow more "future years" of usage. And yes, I hear movies and photos (especially in-depth movie editing) loves memory. For this area, 8 GBs of RAM is its sweet spot.

    We all have different styles in life... For me, I buy higher then needed (if its fixed box) and "drive my items into the ground" (like my old Win XP box - that just blew up). For others folks, they buy medium range and replace every 2-3 years. This works better for them.

    Good luck....
  5. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    If photo or video editing is just a hobby, then stick with the low-end iMac and spend the savings on external HD for example. CPU speed ain't that important in Photoshop, especially if it's just for fun. I'm sure you can wait a nanosecond longer when doing something ;) About the RAM, stick with 4GB and upgrade from aftermarket if needed. 4GB is sufficient for the stuff you do but 2x2GB is only ~100 bucks from 3rd party

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