some questions about 21.5 imac with purchase in mind...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by heliocentric, May 8, 2010.

  1. heliocentric Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    thinking of getting one of these (upgrading from a macbook)

    is it worth getting the 3.33 cpu instead of the stock 3.06

    i will be doing alot of video encoding on it...and using parrells.

    is it worth getting 8gb ram? i assume its cheaper to upgrade the ram yourself...

    also i will not be gaming on it but maybe i would like to play the odd little game on occasions maybe should i get the 9400m or ati model (will i notice any difference in day to day use?)

    also i used to have a 24 inch 2.66 imac and it was practically silent even under full load (no change in fan speed from normal use to 100% cpu use) is it the same with these 21.5 models?

  2. nuckinfutz macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    I'm not sure how difficult the RAM is to install. You might want to source from from a good source for the 8GB of RAM and then have the Apple store install.

    Rather than upgrade the processor you might want to think about going with an SSD drive. If you're doing video encodes you may already be planning to have an external drive.
  3. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    dont you just install the ram in easily accessible slots in the bottom of the imac?

    how would a ssd drive help? where would i install it?

  4. rnelan7 macrumors 6502


    Nov 9, 2009
    That is correct that you install the ram at the bottom of the iMac. The SSD hoverer, is another story. You will have to take the screen out in order to reach the internals. If you search the forums you will find a guide.
  5. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    yeah found the guide to install the memory

    seems simple and i assume it doesn't void the warranty?

    im not sure i need a ssd...but i would love to install a slot loading bluray burner in it...

    is that possible?
  6. nuckinfutz macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    I wish I could tell you. I heard that in past iMacs installation involved removing a bunch of screws. That may not be the case anymore.

    Here's what I'm toying with.

    I don't know what iMac 21.5 you're looking at but they either come with a 500GB HD or a 1TB.

    I might take the internal drive and pop it into a FW 800 case (bunch of sources for these)

    San Digital TS1CT

    And then install in the SSD

    If 80 -128GB isn't enough for you entire system then you move your ~user folder (Documents, Pics, Movies, Library etc) to an external drive.

    Why move you home folder to another drive?

    If I don't need the external drive for my home folder then it makes a good Time Machine backup drive.

    Now you say you want to video encode and run a virtual machine with Parallels. Video encoding is primarily CPU based so a SSD won't make an impact here but virtual machines want RAM (you're going to have 8GB which is good) and fast storage (SSD will help here)

    Here's a Macbook Pro (C2D, Santa Rosa) booting from a Corsair 128MB SSD into Leopard and then Windows VM in roughly 60 seconds.

    The only issue is the size of the SSD and how large your VM needs to be but there's no doubt that SSD makes your VM sing far more than moving up slightly in Ghz.
  7. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    i really don't see an ssd as an option because i don't want an external hard drive creating more heat and noise as the computer will be in my bedroom.

    i really dont know wether to go for the 9400m or ati gpu version? will i notice any difference apart from in gaming?

    i think whatever happens i will get the 3.33 cpu option though...

    bearing in mind i get around 15% student discount it makes the price more justifiable
  8. nuckinfutz macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    Yup the ATI graphics are definitely faster

    Though it depends on how much you game.
  9. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    gaming would be very low if any due to the fact I have a ps3 to game on...

    So my original question stands

    Also some info to my fan question I asked in my original question would be great :)

  10. ledocol macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2010
    New York
    I saw reference to SSD in this thread. I was exploring to have my iMac upgraded with one... However, for video encoding you might want to do more research using SSD. While they have fastest read speed - write speeds are lagging spinning HDs. Hust my two cents.
  11. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    Yeah I really don't think I will be getting an sdd . They cost to much basically and the capacity is to small
  12. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
  13. rotobadger macrumors 65816


    Sep 18, 2007
    Well, I just purchased my first iMac yesterday. My first Mac ever in fact. I got the 3.06GHz with 4GB of RAM and the ATI 4670. Obviously, after 24 hours I don't have a ton of feedback to give on performance but I can tell you my thinking/reasoning for getting this configuration.

    Originally I was going to purchase a Mac Mini and a nice monitor but, after adding everything up (cost of Mini, monitor, peripherals etc) I was well into iMac territory. I labored over whether I should get the base model or bump up a few hundred dollars and get the discreet video card. Obviously, I chose the latter. I think the slightly higher processor speed will not give you as much "bang for your buck" as the better graphics speed. I looked at a fair number of benchmarks and found that the faster processor gave only a slight increase in speed when it came to things like rendering or application responsiveness but there was a significant difference in speeds directly related to the graphics GPU (like game frame rates). If you can, you should probably squeeze the extra $300 into your budget for the ATI card. I did (even though it hurt a bit).

    I have not put any real stress on the iMac yet but, at this point, it is very quiet. Nice change from my old Windows desktop with its fans blasting.

    All in all I am very happy with my iMac so far. BEAUTIFUL screen. I used my new iMac for about 3 hours and then had to turn my HP laptop on (17 inch screen) and the difference in brightness and clarity was depressing. Now I have to go buy a 17 inch Macbook Pro! :p

    I hope that helps a little. Feel free to ask any more questions and, if I can, I'll answer them.
  14. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008
    im glad your are happy with it! :)

    i'd be interested to know if the fans stay at the same rpm under 100% as with the old 20" Imac i had...

    would a better video card with video encoding speeds i wonder?

    at the moment im just leaning towards the base model...
  15. rypaca macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2009
    I purchased a 21.5" iMac in December 2009, and in all honesty, I love it. Prior to this, I've always used PCs in daily life, but fiddled with Macs on and off, and, for lack of a better word, was intrigued by them.

    I have a 3.06ghz with 8gb RAM (the factory was 4gb, but I purchased an additional 4gb and installed it myself -- very simple) and also run Parallels 5.0.9220 with Windows 7 and Ubuntu. I have Windows 7 restricted to only 2gb RAM and it still runs seamlessly; albeit, I never run it full screen, and I don't have the Coherence integration function enabled. I run Mac apps in OSX and PC apps in Windows 7 -- no mixing here. Running Ubuntu and Windows 7 simultaneously causes no hiccups in the Mac side performance, with the 8gb RAM.

    Overall, I'm quite pleased with the Mac: the display is tantalizing! I'm in the market for a Cinema display to make even more beauty in the office. While I do not do any heavy video or audio rendering, and would consider myself an "average load" user... The only issue I have is the lag of my 2TB external USB spinning up when I attempt to access the drive -- this, however, is only a 3 second delay and nothing more.

    The noise level of the iMac is quite respectable. I have SMCfancontrol installed (as the temperature in the summer in my un-air-conditioned townhome gets pretty high) and at normal operation, the fan is silent -- my external USB drive is the only noise producer in the area. At full blast for all hard drive, CPU, and optical drive fans, the noise is noticeable, but quite effective in keeping the temperatures to a low level. The noise factor under normal operation exceeded my expectations. In terms of CPU use, the fan speed change does not produce a louder noise in my circumstances, but when the fan speed is manually bumped up, it is noticeable.

    I don't play a ton of games, but I play Civ 3 and the graphics capabilities on the standard video card are great. No lags, no skipped frames. It's wonderful.

    Hope this helps! :)

  16. heliocentric thread starter Guest

    Nov 26, 2008

    That's a glowing review!

    I'm very close to getting the 9400m iMac with the 3.33 CPU and 8gb mem...

    But should I wait till wwdc ?
  17. Apple... macrumors 68020


    May 6, 2010
    The United States
    That's what I was thinking... should I wait and see if there's an iMac refresh in the next few weeks or buy a customized 21.5-inch now?
  18. tac22 macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2009
    I personally have a feeling that there will be an update at wwdc early june, just a month a way, and no latter than august there will be an update... But depends on how bad you need it. :cool:

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