which imac? advice please

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by br9ian, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. br9ian macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2010
    #1
    This is my first post on here, so hello everyone!

    Like many others i have a dilemma on which imac i should purchase!

    Its between getting the 21.5 inch imac 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1TB hard drive at £1,077.48 (education pricing)

    or

    the 27 inch imac with i5 processor at £1,438.20 (education pricing)

    I am a graphic design student coming to the end of my course and I will be installing cs3 or cs4 and be using illustrator, photoshop, indesign mostly.
    As well, as doing the usual everyday things like internet, itunes, etc.

    What i really want to know is will i really notice the difference when performing these tasks between the two different processors? or is the difference only really significant when doing more processor demanding tasks such as video editing, etc?

    Should i just purchase the 21.5 inch model now (which i can just afford just now) or will i come to regret it?
    The answer seems logical to purchase the 27 inch, but it is the price difference between the two models which is my stumbling block!
    It has taken me all my time to save up to where i am now.

    i am currently using a 3.5 year old packard bell PC with 1.86Ghz Intel core 2 Duo and 1gb ram. Which tbh is becoming a pain the arse as it freezes often when i am doing work on it.
    Im thinking purchasing any of the two imacs will be a significant improvement but i just want to make sure i am getting the right one as it is such a substantial financial outlay for myself!

    if you can help me decide, thanks! as i have been thinking about this for too long!
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    You don't need quad core for Photoshop but the 27" screen is VERY nice for PS. I have dual 24"s and it still ain't enough when doing some photoshopping so for that purpose I'd get 27". i5 would be more "future-proof" but many people including me don't like that word because there is no such a thing as "future-proof". If you're going to do video editing with e.g. After Effects, then i5 is definitely worth it.

    No need for i5 but if you want 27", why not pay some more and get twice as fast CPU
     
  3. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #3
    Photoshop, at the moment, is more RAM intensive than CPU intensive and does not make use of multiple cores, especially for opening and saving files. The weak link in the chain is the speed of the faster core and the amount of avialable RAM. As such a 3.3 C2D is faster than an i5. Also, photoshop can only use a max of 3GB ram because it is only 32-bits for mac. When CS5 comes out, in a month or two, it will be 64 bit and therefore be able to take advantage of additional RAM and just fly. Bottom line is a 3.3 C2D will beat the i5 so it might be better to take that $100 difference and add another 4GB of RAM to a 3.3. This will give you better performance for the money. When CS5 comes out a C2D 3.3 w/8gigs of ram should beat the socks off a i5 with 4GB ram.

    Check out these benchmark tests for the imac - keep in mind that the minimal speed improvements for 8Gb ram in this chart are due to the current 32-bit (3gb) limitation of CS4

    http://eshop.macsales.com/Reviews/Framework.cfm?page=/Benchmarks/iMacSnowBench.html
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    Ummhh.. Remember that Nehalem is per core, clock-for-clock, 15-20% faster than C2Ds. i5 also has Turbo Boost which will overclock it to up to 3.2GHz making it faster than 3.33GHz C2D.

    It won't make difference for OP though but just wanted to "correct" you and let you know :cool: Don't take it personally, I'm just obsessed correcting CPU related posts :p
     
  5. Igantius macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    #5
    As Hellhammer said, that larger screen would be very nice (plus, I would rather have the i5) – and my vote would be for the 27” model.

    However, how likely do you think you can get the rest of the money whilst you’re still a student and entitled to the discount? Also, is this something that you could do with getting sooner rather than later? If it’s going to be a while and your current machine is becoming less reliable, then I think I’d recommend going for what you can buy now.

    You could always get a second monitor to increase your screen estate in the future – doing this is heresy to some and wouldn’t be my preferred route – but you wouldn’t be stuck with the small screen.
     
  6. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #6
    Thanks. Don't mind being corrected when I am wrong and you are correct about the overclock. I was basing my comments on the benchmark tests linked above which showed better performance for a 3.3 C2D.

    This topic is of interest to me because I am going through the same thing as I make the move to mac from PC for photography. IMO I can't go wrong with either CPU. My personal conundrum is which size for a monitor to get. I was looking to get a fast 2010 15" MBP and hook it to a larger 24" external. But now I am thinking imac instead and MP for travel (about 10-15% of the year). The 21.5" is a pinch small and the 27" a pinch too large but a 24" (1900 x 1200) would be just right with a pixel density of 94ppi. The 27" imac has a pixel density of 110 ppi and would have to be further back on my desk. The problem is this puts strain on my old eyes for reading text. Personally I just wish Apple would offer a middle ground 24" imac (16:10 ratio) and a low end Mac Pro with a i7 so I can select my own non-glare wider gamut monitor to image editing but Apple. For a photographer the right monitor (size, glare, resolution and color gamut) dictate the experience
     
  7. Journojulz macrumors 65816

    Journojulz

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    #7
    I will leave the tech specs to the tech specialists, I would simply advise the following:

    If you sat in front of the 21" and put a quid in a pot every day you said 'i wish i had bought the 27"', than after about 18 months you would have saved up the extra cash.

    Anything you are sat in, on or in front of for more than an hour a day is not worth skimping on.

    As for more powerful processors - Unless you are regularly working on files over 1Gb, you are not going to be noticing the extra speed.
     

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