which 21.5" iMac


macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 13, 2006
I am thinking about getting a new iMac and for now I have no need/space for the 27" one so that leaves only two options.

The only difference I see is that the $1499 one has a larger internal hard drive (500gb is a lot) and the better (I assume) graphics card.

So basically it comes down the graphics card.

Can anyone here inform me more about the difference between the two?

thanks in advance


macrumors newbie
Nov 4, 2009
I am in a similar situation - trying to decide between the two 21.5 model. I am also looking at a refurb - 24", 4gb, video card varies, hd usual 600 GB. Given that my uses will be normal family computing (web, itunes, school projects), older daughter is getting into photograhpy and video, and some gaming, what do you guys recommend (I am leaning towards the ATI / 1TB model)

Sorry - didn't mean to hijack the thread.



macrumors member
Jul 9, 2008
I was in the same boat as you two a few weeks ago. I decided on the higher end 21.5 iMac with the 1TB drive and dedicated video card. It really comes down to what you will be using the computer for. If you only use it for the very very basics...i would imagine the base model is fine.

I have a saying for myself of "if you don't buy nice, you're gonna buy twice". So basically, I always try to get as much as I can for what i can currently afford. This helps me from telling myself I need a replacement much sooner than I really do.

Anyways, some of the other reasons I decided the higher end 21.5 iMac are: 1) more future proofed purchase with the dedicated video card. I use the Adobe CS4 suite and lightroom alot and I hear future versions of these programs will make more use of the video card. I also like to do video editing. 2) I wanted to hook my iMac up to a secondary 26" monitor and I figured the upgraded video card will be able to handle all the pixels from the two monitors more smoothly, 3) I liked the idea of having the bigger hard drive so I dont need to have too many externals lying around...it keeps things cleaner, 4) I eventually want to run Windows 7 on it either through boot camp or parallels or something and i thought the video card would help with that too.

Now with that said, i was able to get it for $1399 before tax because of the student discount. The base model would have been $1149. The $250 price difference was something I could handle.

I believe Best Buy is running a promotion right now where you get $100 off an iMac. So that makes the higher end $1399 and the lower end $1099. Maybe that helps your decision a bit. They also offer 18 months no interest financing if you want to go that route.

Hope this helps!


macrumors member
Jul 9, 2008
Sorry for another post...

But i should also have added that I liked the idea of the bigger hard drive because I do amateur photography and graphic design as well. So I can fill up a hard drive fast.

I also thought about a refurb but ultimately decided on the new ones because its nice to have the latest and greatest :). Also, its nice the new ones come with the wireless mouse, wireless keyboard, and SD card slot.


macrumors 6502
Aug 18, 2009
my friend has the base model, and i will be getting the base model, we both play a lot of call of duty on it, and we have no problems at all especially graphics-wise, so i suggest the base model

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