The "I didn't get an i7 or upgraded graphics card" thread

Discussion in 'iMac' started by page3, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. page3 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2003
    Vicar of Dibley-land, UK
    This could be a short thread ;) Seems like everyone here is maxing out on CPU/graphics/SSD - perhaps this is simply because of the sort of people who frequent Mac Rumours, or are the base models really that unpopular?!

    Base 27" with 1Tb Fusion for me :D

    I'm upgrading from a 2006 iMac (Core2Due, 3Gb ram, 128Mb GFX) so expecting it to be a great machine for the next 3-5 years.

    The money saved will go towards a new iPad, as my generation 1 is getting on a bit.
  2. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    No, its mostly because people severely overestimate their needs. While the SSD is always nice, the CPU upgrade is a waste of money for most users and the GPU upgrade only makes sense for gamers and people who heavily utilise GPGPU.

    You made a good, reasonable choice.
  3. in4fun macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2012
    I think leman is absolutely right. You made a very good choice. The base 27" with 1 TB fusion drive is definitely a terrific machine for home use that will serve you well for the next couple years.

    I agree that especially in mac forums we have a lot of buyers who either use their iMacs professionally or are total fan boys who buy anything Apple at any price.

    Personally I wouldn't have maxed out my CPU and GPU if I only wanted to play some high end games. I would have rather saved these upgrades and instead buy a PS4 for gaming on the side. But since I need it to generate my income for the next couple years, which includes editing HD material with final cut (one of the few benefits of the i7) it's a different story.

    It also seems frustrating to the average Joe when you read all the "just ordered" posts with maxed out configs incl. the way overpriced 32 GB RAM update as if people can just throw around money as if it's nothing.
    I saved a very long time for a new machine. Since I also have a family to feed I can't afford to upgrade my rig every 2 years and I think there's also no need for that.

    I also believe you won't notice any difference compared to the high end model if you're not into anything extremely fancy.
  4. AXs macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009

    Exactly. It's like for some people it is COMPLETELY necessary to buy a Mac for gaming, any by that I mean buy a mac to run windows on bootcamp and play games.
    It's ridiculous. Like you said, they'd be better off buying a ps4/xbox setup.

    Completely understand scenarios where people use their iMacs professionally. Basically it's the source of income, it's worth maxing it out to your needs.

    But really, some people are buying it just to use as an iPad replacement basically.
    My friend just ordered the 27" iMac 3TB Fusion with 32GB RAM and i7 and nvidia 780.
    And here it costs about 20% more than in the US for an iMac with upgrades.

    But it's going to be his mail checking device. Not really even MS Office because he has people typing **** up for him. Just to check emails, check the stock market rates, use skype of business conferences...

    Yea, 3000usd for that.

    I wonder how many people are like that.
  5. Hamburger macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2011
    not me! my base 21.5" has just arrived and my data is being migrated from my late 2010 MBA 11". but coming from an mba, i stuck with ssd only and chose the 256gb for the imac. more than enough power and storage for me. i don't game, need no vm, just office work and a little photo editing apart from fb, mail etc. and all that was actually handled pretty well by the 2gb ram dual core mba. so even this base imac is a huge leap (and maybe overkill) for me. i just wanted a proper desktop again after my 24" acd gave up a few months ago.
  6. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    I'm quite happily using my 21" base model 2011 (GASP, how old?!?) iMac - 2.5GHz i5, 500GB HDD, Radeon HD 6750M. I got the 2011 because while I do not normally do terribly CPU-intensive things, I keep a ton of projects going at any given time, so I wanted a smaller iMac with tons of RAM. I have 26GB in it right now, can can bump it again up to 32 :)

    About the most intensive things that I do on this iMac are hobbyist-level iOS development and WoW, both of which it handles with aplomb. I'm sure that the day will come that it can't handle Xcode any longer, or the game or two that I play on it won't run well, but I fully expect to get at least another four years or so out of it. It's a great little computer :)
  7. thehustleman macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2013
    Great thread.

    I have the 2012 27" imac and my only regret is that I didn't get a fusion drive. I merely got the model in the store.

    Anyway to send it to apple and get that Fusion Drive put in?

    I know it'll cost me but I'll pay it
  8. dpace32 macrumors regular

    Aug 24, 2008
    I think I am going baseline 27" plus FD, would love to see benchmarks comparing that model to the upgraded i7 with 4GB GPU.
  9. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
  10. NCWildcat macrumors member


    Oct 12, 2011
    I ordered the same configuration you did (although mine won't arrive until 10/3 and the wait is killing me).

    I have a SSD on my work laptop but my current set up at home has a platter-based HD, so getting the fusion was a no-brainer for me after experiencing both.

    I probably only play a couple of games (if that) a year on my PC, so I don't need a faster graphics card or faster processor. My wife does most of the photo editing and we've been using a Intel Core Duo 2 PC since 2009 so this will be a massive step in computer power for us.

    To add anything else besides the fusion drive just didn't make any sense, would have been complete overkill for my needs. The money I saved equals my PS4 preorder.

    Also, since I got the 27" if I do want to upgrade the RAM, I can at least do that on my own. That pushed me over the edge from the 21.5" model.
  11. Sam Spade macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2007
    After much thought and deliberation, I did not order the i7 or 780m in my 27" iMac. I work on my machine, but I don't think I do anything that would utilize the i7 or upgraded graphics card. I primarily do a lot of multi-tasking. For example, I almost always have Adobe, MS Office, iPhoto, Mail, and a browser open with about 20 tabs going. All of that really seems to slow down my current iMac to a snail's pace.

    If I thought the i7 or 780m would help with multi-tasking, I would probably bite the bullet and order, but I really wanted to keep this machine under $2,500. I mean, $3,000+ for an iMac is crazy.

    I ordered the i5, 8GB, with 512GB SSD. I felt like the SSD would help me the most.
  12. X-Ravin macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2008
    Since I do some gaming the 780m was a no brainer, I think it's a small cost for the extra performance and given the 1440p resolution the extra VRAM will make a difference. The i7 is waste for most I think. I looked at the benchmarks between the i5 and i7 (not on an iMac), and the difference was pretty small aside from massively threaded media encoding.

    I also opted for the 256gb SSD over a fusion. I currently only have 120gb of SSD space and it has suited me just fine. All of our media is on a NAS anyways, and random big files and temp files I'll keep on an external HDD.

    The base iMac is a pretty beefy machine, no reason to feel bad about configuring it that way.
  13. jabalczar macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2011
    For those with access to the Apple HE Education Store (esp. in the UK) it can make a lot of sense to buy the base model. Hence my upcoming order for a *gasp* base 21.5-inch with *just* 8 GB RAM *and* a 5400 rpm spinning hard drive.

    Price with discount = £1011. (Normal Price is £1149)

    But Apple gives us 3 years AppleCare worth £199 for free.

    Meaning I get system, even if base, which is better than many many people have, which is effectively worth £1348, but for which I've paid £1011. That's a £300 / $500 discount which comes into play below:

    Then simply upgrade with HE discount (for those within HE) every year when the new model comes out to the next base model.

    Because most used buyers are viewing my machine (which will still have 2 years AppleCare on) as originally a £1348 machine. I can usually get around £900 for resale. Then upgrade again for just £100 or so.

    Sure it's the base model, but after a certain period the current base model becomes more powerful than a previous high end model, and for most of our use fulfills our modest needs just fine.
  14. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I selected the i7 because I can make use of it, however I went with the standard GPU as I have no need for the higher end model.
  15. jaybar macrumors 6502a


    Dec 11, 2008
    I just purchased a 27 inch iMac at the Apple store in NYC. Base model with 16GB of RAM. At first I felt I was stupid not to get a more maxed out machine as most people seem to do on this forum. The Apple staff were great in holding my feet to reality. We use it for basic stuff like email, Internet, photo viewing, playing songs etc. In a good year, I might edit 20 photos in a year. SSD or Fusion did not seem very compelling, given our basic use.

    For me the biggest adjustment is going from the 21.5 to the 27. I sit close due to impaired vision.

    Again. my compliments to Apple staff.

  16. Ashapalan, Oct 1, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013

    Ashapalan macrumors 6502a

    Apr 17, 2005

    Just an upgrade to fusion drive on the 27" 3.4 :)

    Coming 10th 14th - checking order status 10 times a day

    Edit: Status check 12 - switched to Preparing for Dispatch!
  17. NCWildcat macrumors member


    Oct 12, 2011
    Interesting. They recommended the RAM upgrade over the fusion drive? Would you mind sharing their train of thought?
  18. lordjonny macrumors regular


    Sep 18, 2006
    I haven't bought a new computer since 2007, and I got the best I could afford then and have upgraded it to an SSD since. Point is that its 7 years and its still running smooth. If I bought a new one, I would max it out so it lasts another decade. Cheaper to go all out now than have to buy a new one sooner. I also get the pleasure of having an insane computer for a while.
  19. orangezorki macrumors 6502a

    Aug 30, 2006
    Sounds just like me! Only, umm, I don't have people to type stuff up for me, don't have a business, do have a mortgage etc...

    The problem is that I still tend to max out all apple products I buy. I think it's a combination of the following:

    1. Little is easily upgradeable (or even possible nowadays)
    2. Ooh, shiny shiny!
    3. It seems so expensive already that you might as well...
    4. We all dream that one day we will pull out our collective fingers and design that killer app or render the next Toy Story.
  20. jaybar macrumors 6502a


    Dec 11, 2008

    The response from staff was that I really needed neither a better drive nor more memory. However, a few suggested that if I wanted to do something, than more memory would facilitate more programs being open simultaneously.

    There were other issues too. I just had a birthday and received more Apple Store gift cards than the on-line limit, which meant in store purchase and memory upgrade was easily handled in the store. I might have considered the fusion drive as well, had the store been selling iMacs with the pre-installed.

    Lastly, more memory leaves open the possibility of running virtual machines, should my needs require that as they have in years past.

    I hope this helps.

  21. RoryO macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2013
    I ordered the base 27" and just upgraded to the 3TB fusion drive.

    I was tempted to max out the GPU and CPU as well as it's only an extra £150, then only an extra £200, and then only an extra £130.....

    In the end I decided that the extra money will be better spent on a new iPad, iPhone, or perhaps a new Sony RX100 camera.

    One other reason I resisted the upgrades was a review I read, the reviewer had maxed out the previous iMac model (Late 2012) but found that the extra heat meant the fans ran much more often than his previous iMac. I'll be moving from a MacBook Air so I've come to appreciate silent computing so I decided to avoid adding lots of potentially hot upgrades to the machine.
  22. Sam Spade macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2007
    That's something I did not think of when making my decision, but it's a valid point.
  23. rittchard macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2007
    Ridiculous? Clearly you're not a gamer or you'd understand the distinction between PC and console gaming. There are many games that simply play better on a PC with mouse and keyboard. Most gamers have both a PC AND a console setup, and use whichever is more suitable to the game.

    A few years ago, I switched over from buying and upgrading PCs to running bootcamp on an iMac for my gaming needs. Some performance sacrifices were made, but overall I think it's an excellent way to go. I have far fewer issues with Windows on my iMac than I did on my various PCs. I can play every new game that comes out on a beautiful screen at a great resolution. The iMac lasts longer and retains much better resale value. It's just damn good hardware design, whether being used as a PC or not. It's not "necessary" for me - it's just smart.

    Why max it out? For gaming, I want every last bit of performance on the key hardware that I have no way to upgrade myself. And I don't want to regret not getting the best I could down the line.
  24. RoryO macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2013
    The TDP goes from 115W on the base model CPU+GPU to 184W on the maxed out CPU+GPU.

    I wasn't actually sure if it would make any difference; if you have a higher TDP but aren't normally utilising the full power of the components. But the reviewer seemed to think it was the cause of their excessive fan activity and regretted the upgrades.
  25. nissan.gtp macrumors 6502

    Aug 22, 2007
    I'll likely max out the CPU based on benchmark results. The i7 3.5 is 50% faster than the i5 3.2. But I keep my systems a LONG time (see sig for the iMac I'm using now). The ability to add memory to the 27 is a big plus. I don't game at all, so the graphics doesn't matter until Apple starts using the GPU for non-graphics tasks (why else would the Mac Pro have 2 graphics cards??).

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