the 21.5 inch iMac - read the awesome truth :-)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by marusc, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. marusc macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2010
    Hi everybody! I am a long time reader, first time poster. I thought it was time to give something back to the community :)

    Short disclaimer: This is all my personal opinion. But I am trying to be as balanced as possible.

    I bought the 21.5 inch 3.2 Ghz, RadeonHD5670 iMac 3 days ago and I wanted to share my impressions because I think this will bring peace of mind to many and save you money.

    I was obsessing over whether or not to buy the 27 inch version, mainly because of the better graphics card. Now that I have the 21.5 inch iMac I am very, very happy with my choice.

    Now, let me tell you about my computing needs: Office, TeX, internet, email, skype, iphoneSDK, Handbrake, rarely some Matlab (when not in the office or working remotely), Photoshop (to work on my DSLR photos) and some gaming. Everything runs perfectly, snappy, fast! As expected.

    The screen's 1920x1080 resolution is more than enough. Reading news online or documents is a pleasure. The color and viewing angle are amazing. HD movies (tried some trailers) look great. You can still sit at a reasonable distance and watch a movie with your friends. the 21.5 inched suffice. In addition, personally I believe that in a smaller room on a regular desk the 27" iMac is just too big.

    My machine has an i3 3.2 Ghz processor and 4 GB of RAM. All the programs above run great, even with internet, email and skype open all the time. No i5 or i7 needed! I guess the only thing justifying an i5 or i7 would be hadr-core video encoding. But I am not an expert on this. For the occasional home movie form the holidays my machine should still cut it.

    And now about gaming. I know this is a big deal to most. I used to play a lot of games when I was at school but at uni and now that I work I don't have the time to play everything. My priorities are Starcraft2, Civilzation5 and Diablo3. Now, chances are that there are a lot of likeminded people out there. People who like games but prioritize because they don't have so much time, other hobbies, a wife or girl/boy friend, work etc - you name it.

    Rest assured! This machine is all you need. I run Starcraft2 in bootcamp under win XP. It runs very smooth in the 1920x1080 native resolution and everything set to HIGH exept the postprocessing (which is un medium). I haven't even tried out higher settings yet because the game looks so awesome. I will play it for years to come. Civilization 5 is coming out tomorrow and my iMac matches (or is above) the recommended system requirements, so no problem there. And judging from the gameplay videos of Diablo 3 - making an educated guess - it will run more than adequately on medium settings, maybe even on high.

    So to sum up. If you have similar gaming requirements as me, then go ahead and buy the i3 - 3.2 Ghz iMac. You will not regret it. Don't fall for the marketing hype. One does not always need the high-end machine. Get this machine, save the extra money and enjoy the peace of mind :)

    Hope this settles the 21 vs 27 issue for some of you.
  2. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010

    For my family, I bought the mid-2010 "21.5 inch 3.2 Ghz" system as well. See my signature for more details.
    And for a picture, surf: iMac system/After-1.jpg

    If wondering, we do typical home user tasks with NO gaming (we have proper gaming machines for this task). For my family members, common tasks are: Internet surfing, Internet downloads, Word processing, spreadsheets, presentation, File/Print, Email, photos, movie playing etc. For me, I find the 3.2 GHZ is a good choice as well. It's between low end i3 and upper i5 (in 21.5" model). As some say, "in the middle of the pack". Thus, allowing more future proofing time as well.

    Currently, we're running the factory default of 4 GBs of RAM. Within 1-1.5 years, we'll be upgrading to 8 GBs of RAM. Thus, reducing HDD Paging and in theory, speeding it up - as future programs get larger and larger.

    Only negative about my new iMac 21.5" (and more so with larger 27") is the lack to change font and menu sizes at a global level. Yes. I've used Tinkertool to try and increase font sizes in many different locations but it won't change its default menu size. Within Win xx systems, one simply goes into Control panel or Screen Resolution panel and selects "use large fonts". Both font and menus are instantly larger. NO other tweaking is needed. I heard previous Mac OS had this "global font / menu sizing" ability. Hopefully Mac OS X will have a future update - that includes this "font & menu" enlarging feature. Only time will tell....

    Other then the above negative (and lack of Jumbo Frame sizing on its internal Ethernet card), the new iMac 21.5" machines are sweet. It should fit our family's needs for the next 3-4-5 years as well... Especally since we use its FW800 port of external HDD (for backups).

  3. Iamthinking Suspended

    Jul 31, 2010
    You guys are lucky. I really just wanted the low-end 21.5" iMac for casual home family use, but after 3 units - all with defective displays, I had to either give up on owning an iMac or get the bigger 27". I elected to get the 27", and while the screen is orders of magnitude better, the machine itself is noisier (probably 2x noisier, but still very quiet) and it is in serious danger of overpowering the living room (where the machine is located). Also, I was not really thrilled about tying up close to $2k on a family web browser/ms-word light duty computer.

    All we really needed was a 21.5", but alas, it did not seem to me at the time that Apple puts very good displays in them.

    ...perhaps they have finally got them sorted? Hope so.

  4. macorado macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2010
    Have iMac 21.5 w/3.60 GHZ ... Best Deal .. Dumped Dell & Windows XP

    I purchased a 21.5 iMac with the optional ($200) 3.60 GHZ i5 processor, 1TB drive and 4 GB Ram. Figured I could always add more memory but not easily upgrade the processor.

    This thing really FLIES!

    The 21.5 display is fine, as I've heard the 27 is overkill and has issues with users viewing the ultra high res.

    I dumped my not too old Dell workstation with dual 3.6 CPUs and loads of RAM. Windows Registry just degrades any Windows machine rapidly and MS has NO answers. The Dell devolved to take 12-15 minutes (yes, "minutes") to Boot up.

    Will replace my wife's Dell laptop with either (a) a 15 or 17 macBook Pro or (b) a Mac Mini with large monitor and also an iPad with keyboard and mouse for travel.

    Still debating A or B.
  5. macorado macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2010
    Purchase the 3.60 GHZ version, it really screams!

    Go online and order the 3.60 GHZ version, it really screams! Usually not available at Apple stores.

    Best $200 bucks you'll ever spend!
  6. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Thanks for these testimonials.

    I'm currently having 21.5" vs. 27" nightmares, myself! I consider the former too small and the latter too large, so it's gonna take some adjustment no matter which side of the line I come down on.
  7. Tigerman82 macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2010
    I had the same problem but realized that in the store the 21.5" looks small partly because you are looking at it standing up. When you actually sit down in front of it, it immediately looks bigger.
  8. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
  9. stonemann macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2009
    Happy 21.5" owner

    I've also recently purchased a 21.5" 3.2 iMac. Great machine. Screen is a perfect size. Can't imagine why anyone would need anything bigger. Also, can't find any faults: no yellow tinge, dead pixels or screen artifacts. Guess that problem has been nailed in this revision. This thing is also lightning fast. I'm sure that for the majority of users this is all the computer they'll need.

    Just one word on the build quality: this is one solid, beautifully engineered piece of kit. For all the talk of iphones and ipads, it's good to see Apple haven't been neglecting their desktop machines...
  10. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
  11. MonkeySee.... macrumors 68040


    Sep 24, 2010
    Thanks for the review! I'm definatly going for the 21.5" but should i go for the i5. I don't need it now but its not everyday you by a MAC so i'm torn. :confused:
  12. MassMacFan macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2010
    If you are near a store, go for the i3 and buy in person. I had 2 21" i5 BTOs that had sufficiently annoying yellow screen issues and it was such a *huge* pain to get them both returned. Save that extra 10-15% and put towards your next Mac :) Go to a store when it's quiet, buy it, have them set it up, check it out and then go home happy :)
  13. Mars2010 macrumors member

    Aug 19, 2010
    We chose the 27" because we were accustomed to a 24" display with our old PC and didn't want to go smaller. If you watch any tv shows or movies on your computer, especially with the family, the larger size would be better, imo.
  14. SiMBa37 macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2010
    New York
    I also have a BTO 3.6 i5 21.5 inch. It has the slightest hint of warmth/yellowing at the bottom of the screen but I don't notice it at all and it doesn't bother me. Everything else is perfect.

    I'm a first time Mac owner and it's a relief not to use a windows machine. That being said, I have windows 7 installed via bootcamp that I access via parallels 6 for my work remote desktop.

    I bought the dual core i5 to "future proof" it for the next 4 to 5 years.
  15. PhoenixMac macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2010
    I originally planned on getting a refurb imac i7 but after reading this thread I'm not so sure if i want the 21 i5 now.

    I'm doing heavy photoshop, lightroom, handbrake, web browsing and online school..

    I think the 27 might overpower my kitchen because that's where the home office is going, but at the same time i want to use my imac as my gaming tv also since the wife does'nt want me to overpower the 60in in the living room anymore.

    Decisions, decisions.
  16. Evo-L macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2008
    I have the same size, I enjoy it as well. Sometimes I think about pulling the trigger on the 27" though :D

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