What's the difference in Graphic's in new iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by marcdds, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. marcdds macrumors newbie

    marcdds

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    #1
    Hi,

    I want to upgrade from a Mac Mini to an iMac. I don't play many games, I mostly use my Mac for iTunes, music Videos, Movies, DVD's, Quicken, Pages, eMail, and Internet.

    What would be the big difference for someone like me between the standard integrated graphics vs. a dedicated graphics card like the Nvidia GT 120?

    Also, as far as the processor, I do multi-tasking by running a lot of programs at once. How much faster in opening several standard programs mentioned above, would a 2.93 GHz be over the 2.66?

    My Mac Mini was quick at first, but now with a lot of programs loaded, using VM Fusion with Windows XP, and having two Users opened, it is starting to run very slow. I have a "need for speed".

    Thanks,

    Marc
     
  2. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

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  3. marcdds thread starter macrumors newbie

    marcdds

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    #3
    I upgraded my Mini to 2 GB Ram when I got it, I think that helps alot, cause I check the Activity Monitor and I'm alway's using 1.5 or more of my Ram.

    The new iMac's come with 4 Gig of RAM, I think that would be enough.

    But won't the 2.93 run faster than the 2.66?

    And will it matter what Graphics card I get for the type of programs I use.?
     
  4. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #4
    Hard drive will be the biggest speed boost on the iMac. You won't really notice the speed diff between 2.66 and 2.93.
     
  5. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

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  6. marcdds thread starter macrumors newbie

    marcdds

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    #6
    Yea,

    The Mac Mini only had an 80 GB hard drive, so I had to put all of my music files and old documents on the iomega external hard drive. I also use that for Time Machine. Then to make matters worse, I have a 15 GB Boot Camp partition that is almost full now that I loaded VM Fusion and downloaded some music to Windows Media Player from Music Giant HD store.
     
  7. marcdds thread starter macrumors newbie

    marcdds

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    #7
    so you're saying by having a bigger hard drive on an iMac, that will speed up the performance, more so than the faster processor?
     
  8. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #8
    Not just the size but the iMac has a 7200 RPM drive vs the 5400 or even 4200 RPM drive on the mini.
     
  9. macmee Suspended

    macmee

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    #9
    And if I'm not mistaken 800mhz over 667mhz ram too. I found VMware, iTunes and Safari opened at the same time with 1GB of ram (regardless of the minor processor differences) to run painfully slow. I upgraded to 3GB of ram as soon as my local electronics shop got stock in (which isn't very often I'm afraid. I wish I had a local Apple store:eek:).
     
  10. marcdds thread starter macrumors newbie

    marcdds

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    #10
    I see. Yeah, I can see how that would make it faster accesses info on the drive. I also thought a big difference in performance and running multiple programs would be in the processor and Ram.

    But does anyone have an opinion on the performance of the standard integrated graphics card vs. upgrading to a dedicated video card, if I am only watching DVD's and music videos for the most part, and a few simple games.
     
  11. marcdds thread starter macrumors newbie

    marcdds

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    #11
    Thanks, I am not very knowledgeable (sp?) about the different types of Ram memory and Bus speeds, etc. But I'm sure that also can make a big difference. When I was at an Apple store, I checked out the floor computers by starting a lot of programs and checking the Activity Monitor, and you're right; 1 GB ram is used up immediately! You need at least 2 MGs and nowadays, 4 is even better.
     
  12. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #12
    Depends on the games. As for videos, I can watch 720p videos on my mini with no issues using Plex. Even most 1080p videos behave themselves. Obviously the newer graphics cards will be worlds better, even the new 9400m integrated ones, and Snow Leopard will probably be able to use them to boost general processing.
     
  13. smartalic34 macrumors 6502a

    smartalic34

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    #13
    for the tasks you describe, the integrated graphics are just fine. if you're playing Crysis or CoD4, then I'd spring for discrete, but not in your case...
     
  14. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

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    #14
    iMac= 3.5" 7200 RPM larger capacity HDD and more RAM
    Mac Mini= 2.5" 5400 RPM smaller capacity HDD and less RAM

    Your problem goes beyond the HDD itself. When you have less RAM the computer has to use virtual memory and the HDD has to page out and slow things down tremendously. When you have low free space on the HDD the problem amplifies and things slow to a crawl.

    Either way, integrated graphics is fine, but keep in mind that the memory is shared so you will want plenty of RAM. (Shared RAM sets the system memory aside for VRAM so you can't use it for normal things). FYI the 9400 M G in the low end iMacs is an improvement over the ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT dedicated GPU with 128MB of GDDR3 SDRAM in the old low end iMacs.

    Then talking about the CPU, the iMacs start out with far faster speeds than the high end Mac Mini but as with all thing unless you max out the machine in regular use you won't be able to tell much of a difference. Things like games, watching high end video, encoding, and flash you will start to notice a difference in heat because the lower end CPU will be taxed under instances where a faster CPU wouldn't be running to capacity.
     
  15. marcdds thread starter macrumors newbie

    marcdds

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    #15
    the answer

    Thanks,

    That seems to totally answer my questions! I can see the problems I'm having with the mini a combination of the processor, the size and type of Ram, the size and speed of the HDD, and a little bit of the integrated old video card with shared memory. Also my habit of opening too many programs at once and occasionally having two Users signed in.

    I think for my needs and my budget, I will be upgrading this summer to a 24" iMac, with the 2.66 GHz chip and new integrated video card. Comes with 4 GB RAM, and a large/fast HDD. Hopefully I'll be able to run all of my programs, videos, and VM Fusion on it without any problems.

    Thanks everyone!:)
     

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