Which iMac for my daughter 2.7ghz or 2.9ghz

Discussion in 'iMac' started by starbramcher, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. starbramcher macrumors newbie

    Jul 7, 2014
    Hi, my daughter is going to be studying A level moving image at college, using final cut pro x and aperture. We want to get an imac but are computer novices, so would appreciate some advice.

    We are looking at the above two models, is there much difference in terms of speed between 2.7 and 2.9ghz?

    We will be getting final cut pro x and aperture installed. And were thinking of increasing memory to 16gb and getting 256gb flash storage (over the 1TB fusion drive) will this be enough to smoothly run the two programmes? or should we get 8gb memory and 512gb flash storage?. The imac will be used for college work, video editing shortish movies, photo editing, internet.

    The only other difference between the two models is the 2.9 has a NV1DIA Geforce GT780m with 1 GB video memory graphics card. Is this worth having when not into gaming?, will it be beneficial to the final cut pro x?

    We looked at the imac over the laptop macbook pro, as she is unlikely to need to take the computer to college. And isnt going to university for 3 years. So we figured an imac to be a better buy as spec is greater?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.:)
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I don't think you'll see too much difference in speed between the two.

    Also check the college and see what they recommend for a configuration, I'm sure they've been through this before and probably have a worksheet of what's best for the students.
  3. thesimplelogic macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2014
    If she's using things like Final Cut Pro X and Aperture, having the iMac with the NVIDIA will help much more rather than just having integrated graphics.

    FCPX can take a lot of room. You may want to get the 512GB, but you could always just get an external drive to help with storage etc.

    I would recommend getting the 16GB as well, since you can't upgrade it later.
  4. Ries macrumors 68020

    Apr 21, 2007
  5. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    FCP X supports GPU acceleration. That alone would make the GT750M in the 21.5" iMac worthwhile.

    I recommend a 3.1GHz i7 /16GB RAM/256GB SSD and 1GB GT750M configuration. I have the exact same configuration and couldn't be happier.

    The i7 upgrade is worth it as FCP X and Aperture are multithreaded apps.

    In multithreaded tasks, the i7 is fairly faster than the i5.

    Comparison between the 2.9GHz i5 and 3.1GHz i7: http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/compare/591026?baseline=611544
  6. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    I went for the 2.9 over the 2.7 for a few reasons.

    First off, having a dedicated GPU means it comes with its own VRAM (in this case 1GB of GDDR5 VRAM). The 2.7Ghz iMac comes with an Integrated card with only 128MB of DRAM and the rest easts in to RAM.

    I game so the Nvidia card is a much better option.

    The processor upgrade is larger than you think though, 2.7 to 2.9 is only 200Mhz but when these machines Turboboost (which they do when video editing), the difference is 400Mhz (3.2 vs 3.6). This makes quite a noticeable difference when it comes to rendering and exporting (as well as transcoding) with video edits and 3D rendering.

    Both iMacs are worth the money and will work just fine for for her needs. The upgrade cost of the 2.9 is easily worth the money, but if you don't want to spend it the 2.7 is still good.
  7. Roller macrumors 68020

    Jun 25, 2003
    Is Aperture required for your daughter's courses? You may already know this, but Apple is discontinuing support for Aperture. The current version will work with the next major update of OS X, Yosemite, but not beyond. Apple will be introducing a new app, Photos, that will combine iPhoto and Aperture, but the extent to which Aperture's advanced features will be supported remains to be seen.

    If Aperture isn't required, your daughter may want to consider Adobe Lightroom to avoid the need to migrate if and when Aperture stops working because of another OS X release. If you look around this site, you'll find tons of opinions about the relative merits of Aperture and Lightroom.
  8. mad3inch1na, Jul 7, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014

    mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013

    Check out this computer. This will be your best bang for your buck. It will be substantially faster than the ones you are looking at, have a nicer display, have user upgradeable RAM, and costs the same amount. It is a refurbished 2012 model, which is exactly the same externally as the 2013 model. The processor is about 25% faster, and the graphics card is 2-3x as powerful. It comes with a fusion drive, which is the only negative. It is still really fast though, and you will most likely not notice any difference between the two. It will also have a lot more storage space. I cannot recommend this model enough. If she cannot have a 27" computer, then get her the 21". Once you go 27" though, you never go back.

  9. crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2011
    Well, on paper it does, but it's largely a joke. Premiere Pro has real GPU-accelerated effects, renders and exports, FCPX does not.

    That said, the OP's daughter will likely learn all these programs and a machine with a discreet GPU is sure to come in handy regardless of what she uses to edit videos.

    Personally, I'd say a 21.5" iMac with the 1 GB Geforce 750M is a solid choice; throw in 16 GB of RAM and a Fusion Drive if you can afford it, that should be more than enough for years to come.

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