Which iMac should I get? Please advise! (2009 i5 or 2010 i3)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by kl323, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. kl323 macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2010
    Hey all,

    So I've narrowed down my choices to the following:

    Late 2009 - 27" - i5 2.66Ghz w/ ATI 4850 ($1512 NEW)

    Mid 2010 - 21.5" - i3 3.2Ghz w/ ATI 5670 ($1433 NEW/$1382 Apple Refurb)

    Mid 2010 - 21.5" - i3 3.06Ghz w ATI 4670 ($1146 NEW/$1110 Apple Refurb)

    So all of these prices are the best that I can find. The i5 refurb from Apple actually cost more than a new one. These prices include tax and shipping already.

    Anyway, I intend on using my Mac for media (Hulu-ing), internet, and word processing purposes. Oh yes, I also plan on running Boot Camp and Parallels. I intend on playing an occassional game or two. I'm a FPS person (CoD, MoH, etc).

    I've tried playing CoD MW2 on my Macbook unibody w/ the Nvidia 9400.. it wasn't bad at all. I'm guessing any dedicated graphics card will beat my Macbook.. So my questions are:

    1) Which gives me the biggest bang for the buck?
    2) Does the faster memory in the 2010 models make a big difference?
    3) My impression is that I'm more future proof with the i5. But given my needs, maybe an i5 is overkill for me?
    4) I guess the consensus is the ATI 4850 is better than the 5670, but how drastic is the difference?

    My heart was always leaning on the 2010 i3 3.2Ghz...but seeing how the 2009 i5 is only a tad more expensive... is it worthwhile to purchase an older system (although the main diff are memory speed, CPU, and Gfx card)?

    However, after seeing some benchmarks and being rational with what I need...I think I can get by w/ the cheapest iMac without a problem... The dilemma.....

    I'm seeking some advice before I buy... I missed out of a recent eBay promo so I'm trying to hang on until at least Black Friday.. Fielding advice and suggestions!

    Thanks for reading this post!!!
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Well, I think the first thing you should decide is whether you want 21.5" or 27". If you want 27", then get the refurb i5, it's the biggest bang for buck. If you prefer the 21.5", then go for 2010 model. If the size isn't that important, then go for the 27". The bigger the better
  3. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Having a quad-core (the 27" i5) is great for using Parallels along with Mac apps. Otherwise you don't need the quad-core. I'd personally get the 27" for the display alone. If you analyze the performance, you would find that the best bang-for-the-buck is the the low end 21.5". Least buck, least bang, but best ratio between the two.
  4. kl323 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2010
    Size isn't a big problem to me. I also go by, the bigger the better.

    But ultimately, it comes down to which one is worth it..

    If the cheapest iMac gives me more bang for the buck, then I'm perfectly content w/ the 21.5". If not, I'm down for the 27" too.

    Thanks for the input though, it definitely makes me feel better with going to the 2009 model if I decide to go that route..

  5. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    the 27 inch one with the i5 is your best bang for your buck.

    That display alone goes fro 1000usd from both apple and dell. You're basically getting that display with a high end computer for just 500.

    4850 is also the best gpu of the three, and you will enjoy your gaming quite nicely on it.

    The 5670 is roughly 60% of the performance of 4850.

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