Which configuration fits what I need best?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Jack Parker, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. Jack Parker macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    #1
    In another thread, folks were kind enough to help educate me in terms of what specs are and what they do. I'm still struggling with the functionality part, though. I know what things do, but I don't know how, as in how much space/storage is needed to do them effectively. So, I'm still not sure which iMac configuration fits my needs the best, without being overkill or "just enough." I'd like to have a little wiggle room to grow.

    I mainly need it for browsing, watching videos, making a few YouTube videos using iMovie (which loves to lag and drop on my mid-2007 iMac), and storing a lot of large podcasts (mostly audio) and photos in iPhoto. The most important feature for me is speed. It doesn't have to be the fastest thing on the market but I don't want "just enough" either.

    For these purposes, which of the following configurations would you choose? (Screen size isn't an issue.)

    1. 21” iMac - $1299 Base Model
    2. 21” iMac - $1299 Base Model, upgraded with 1TB Fusion Drive (+$200) for $1,499.
    3. 21” iMac - $1499 Base Model
    4. 21” iMac - $1499 Base Model, upgraded with 1TB Fusion Drive (+$200), and the 3.1GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz (+$200) for $1,899.

      -Or is this processor boost even necessary? The other option here is the base model, plus the 1TB Fusion Drive for $1,699.

    5. 27” iMac - $1799 Base Model
    6. 27” iMac - $1799 Base Model, upgraded with 1TB Fusion Drive (+$200) for $1,999.
    7. 27” iMac - $1999 Base Model
     
  2. Natzoo macrumors 65816

    Natzoo

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Location:
    Not sure where i am
    #2
    Before i help you make a decision, are you considering getting a 15" retina?
     
  3. Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    #3
    No, I'm strictly an iMac kind of guy. No notebooks for me.
     
  4. Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    #4
    I just want to clarify why this is so difficult for me to decide on. I'm not an idiot by any means. Technology just isn't my area of expertise since my needs for it are so basic.

    What makes this so hard for me is that you can get as many different opinions as the number of people you ask. That's fine, I understand why that's the case. It's the same with my areas of expertise. It just makes it more difficult for the rest of us who aren't educated enough on technology to vet everyone's opinions to what works best for you.

    For example, I just had someone tell me:

    That's a new one to me. What's wrong with the fusion drive? I'd go for the 256 flash storage for the speed, but I still don't understand how memory works on a computer. When I download my podcasts and photos, and save documents, is that part of the 8GB memory or the 256 flash storage? What's the difference?

    Then, when you get into creating partitions for this and that, that's where you lose me and it gets more complicated than I need a computer to be.
     
  5. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #5
    Any fusion model will be upto your basic needs plus add the speed you need for your podcasts
     
  6. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #6
    The i7 processor will only really benefit you with certain apps. I'd it doesn't make everything faster, just those designed to take advantage.
    I have a 1tb fusion drive, and can't recommend it enough. Yes I'd prefer a 1tb SSD, but I'm not made of money. 16gb of RAM is a no brainier.
    Screen size is really a personal choice. I have the 21.5" but also have a NEC Spectraview 241 connected as well.
     
  7. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #7
    For browsing, watching videos and iMovie even 4gb RAM are overkill. Incredible overkill!

    The only difference for the OP will be the ssd.
    cpu would help for rendering imovies projects, but imo the dualcore should do fine, too.

    ----------

    Good choice. For homeuse, iMac is the way to go :)
     
  8. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #8
    Future proofing. Better overkill than struggle 2 years down the road.
     
  9. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #9
    That is one bad prediction.
    With that logic you have to buy everything fully maxed out very time.

    Browsing, streaming and imovie will not require 4gb, let alone 16gb of RAM in two, three or even five years.

    I can browse, stream HD movies and even use the mobile version of imovie (not that well) on my original iPad with glorious 256mb of RAM.
     
  10. Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    #10
    @Gav2k - Thanks. How does Fusion help with listening to podcasts? I've never had an issue listening to them before, but, I'm hardly an expert.


    @Apple fanboy - Good to know about the i7 processor. I've heard raves about it, but, without knowing what it benefits, I don't want to buy it blindly. As far as "future proofing" goes, that's what my mid-2007 iMac was. I over-bought on purpose. I thought I'd either grow into it, or give myself plenty of specs so that the computer would suit what I do for many years. I didn't grow into it, but it supported everything I did without any issues until now. See pictures in my next post


    @Meister - So, there's a difference in the speed the computer uses to run itself and the speed that applications use to run themselves? If so, I need to learn the difference.

    Give me a second to post some pictures...
     
  11. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #11
    Different apps depend on different specs.

    An ssd will make most common operations (Bootup, opening applications, ...) noticeably faster.

    Streaming and browsing speed depends on your internet connection and software optimization.

    iMovie can depend on different specs, depending on the files you are working with.
    It is however a very rudimentary video editing app and at least from my experience does not require a high end configuration. Rendering your movie however will be much, much faster with a quadcore cpu.

    I recommend monitoring your activity monitor during use and especially during times when your system appears sluggish. Then buy specs according to your individual needs. Who knows, maybe :apple:fanboy is right and you can in fact profit from a RAM upgrade for your iMovie workflow. Or maybe a quadcore would help more.
     
  12. Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    #12
    Here's my current, mid-2007 iMac info. (4GB RAM) It used to be quick when going page to page and opening applications. Now, it's not. What's changed?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I don't know why my movie storage is so high. I only have one movie on my iMac and it's only 104.8MB. I don't even have any of my YouTube videos on my iMac anymore.
     
  13. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #13
    Look into your iMovie projects, maybe that is what is taking up all that space.
     
  14. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #14
    That does not help.
    You need to monitor the activity monitor app during your usage.
    I also recommend a Time Machine backup and fresh OS install, to eliminate possible software problems. Also repair disk permissions in disk utilities.
     
  15. Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    #15
    Did that. I have nothing in iMovies at the moment. Oh, wait. It could be a few iPhone videos that I have waaay back when I had my iPhone 5, before I got rid of it. (It was overkill.) I'll check on that.

    ----------

    Did all that, actually, minus the Time Machine backup (because I have nothing of importance to back up.

    Still, I'm looking to get a new iMac. If for no other reason, my display is starting to streak.

    I just thought those pictures would help folks understand how much of my storage I actually use, and that info might help in making a good decision for which iMac to buy.
     
  16. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #16
    Storage is the last thing to consider. You can always plug in an external if you ever need to.

    What does the activity mointor show? CpU and memory pressure?
     
  17. Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    #17
    Is this what you're looking for?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #18
    If that is your peak workload, then get the base 21" and don't think twice about it :)
     
  19. Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    #19
    Thanks. But if my peak workload is so small, why is my current iMac so painfully slow?
     
  20. Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    #20
    I've narrowed my choices down to three models. I just don't know what the real differences between them are:

    1. 21” iMac - $1499 Base Model, upgraded with 1TB Fusion Drive (+$200), and the 3.1GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz (+$200) for $1,899.
    2. 27” iMac - $1799 Base Model
    3. 27” iMac - $1799 Base Model, upgraded with 1TB Fusion Drive (+$200) for $1,999.


    Other than screen size, what's the performance difference between these? I'm mostly considering 1 and 2 because 3 could be overkill for me, but I don't know. Again, I'm looking for speed in powering up the computer, going page to page and opening applications (including iMovie).

    I'm a certified teacher of English as a foreign language (although not actively at the moment) so, if that gets me a $200 educator discount, I'm all for it.
     
  21. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #21
    A slow CPU (by today's standards), no SSD (HDD are painfully slow), and six years of OS X updates (each version takes more system resources).

    As Meister said, assuming your memory usage screenshot is representative of your typical working session, then RAM is not the bottleneck.

    p.s. your screenshot of your memory usage is helpful, but it would be more helpful if you sorted the memory usage by apps using the most memory rather than the least memory - i.e. click the memory field (highlighted in blue in your screenshot) so the triangle arrow is down (like the CPU usage screenshot), not up. That way we could see whats apps are using the most RAM. ;)
     
  22. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #22
    If you're primary interest/concern is overall zippy system performance, you need a Fusion Drive at the very least, and I'd strongly favor getting a 256GB SSD (or 512GB SSD if you think your storage needs are going to greatly increase). So between those three options, that leaves only the first one.

    My opinion is that the SSD is more important than CPU for your usage requirements.
     
  23. Jack Parker, Jan 24, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015

    Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    #23
    Thanks for your patience. In all my years using this machine, I've never had a reason to look at any of this!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  24. Jack Parker thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2015
    #24
    I would have no problem going with the 256 SSD instead of the Fusion Drive. The only concern I have with that is that I have no idea how fast that would fill up. I don't know how much memory podcasts or photos use. And I don't know how many MB make up a GB, make up a TB, etc., I'm putting the effort in to learn, though.
     
  25. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #25
    For every 1024 units, it goes to the next level up.

    1024MB = 1GB

    1024GB = 1TB.

    You'll get by with 256GB plus external storage.

    I have a late-2013 21.5" with i7/16GB RAM/256GB SSD/1GB GT 750M and it really flies. I got it around October 2013 and it's still got 204GB free. I keep all my photos, videos and music in external storage.

    I only keep whatever software I need inside.

    The i7 is almost as powerful as the i7 in the non-retina 27".

    It's more reliable to go for pure SSD, because there's no HDD to worry about. In a FD setup, if the HDD side fails, the entire setup is toast.

    It's also faster (although I doubt you'll notice this) and quieter (more noticeable).
     

Share This Page