Which iMac should I get

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Muttley1900, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. Muttley1900 macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2010

    First time poster, so apologies for any newbie mistakes and as I know very little about iMacs any glaringly stupid things I may ask here.

    I am very close to changing my pc (running Vista with MS Office, Hand-break, DVDfab, playing WOW from time to time and other minor applications).

    My problem is that as I am a child of "windows" I am not sure how to work out what I should get as the iMac replacement.

    I went to my local Apple store this morning, mainly to try out using iWorks with my documents (word/excel/powerpoint) to see if they were okay, or if I should go for Microsoft Office for Mac (looks like Microsoft Office because of some of the functions / layout etc).

    I had sort of decided that the machine I would get would be:-

    27-inch iMac
    2.93ghz Quad Core Intel Core I7
    8gb SDRAM
    2TB Hard Drive

    Talking to the guy in the shop though, and he was more, no, the starter entry iMac would be better for you, i.e.

    21.5-inch iMac
    3.06GHz Intel Core i3
    4gb SDRAM
    500GB Hard Drive
    + 2TB Time Capsule

    And with the "Apple care" and the "one to one" training / support that is a lot better than buying the "biggest" machine.

    So I'm confused... My old Windows teaching was to buy the biggest/fastest machine you can afford... But the Apple store seems to be going down the line of "well all of the iMacs are so much better than a PC (and they very well maybe) that you just have to worry about what you want to use it for and for general 'Home use' with a little video editing the "starter" machine is more than good enough for you.". But he did seem to be pushing both the "applecare" and "one to one" (mentioned them a good half a dozen times in our 20 minute chat).

    I thought I'd be better off talking to people who have iMacs and what their experience / suggestions are.

    So here I am and any advice or comments would be more than appreciated.

    Thank you.

  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    The base iMac would be adequate for your needs but HandBreak will be a lot faster on i7 iMac and WoW will also be nicer on the 27". If you have the $ for i7, then go for it. Get the RAM from after market though, much cheaper.

    I would get AppleCare but not straightaway as that can be purchased at anytime during the first year. One to One looks waste of money to me.
  3. yearofthe, Dec 27, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2010

    yearofthe macrumors regular


    May 23, 2010
    Get the high end 21.5" iMac. I asked for the 27" one for Christmas, but I got the 21.5" one ,because my parents don't know anything of technology. I was bummed, but when I hooked it up, the screen was the perfect size. I now go to the Apple store saying the 27" is way too big now. 21.5" is still perfect for watching movies and playing games.
  4. Winni macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2008

    Speak for yourself. For me, the 27" screen is the minimum acceptable size, everything else is too small. Also, for me a quad core CPU is a must-have.

    So my recommendation to the OP is awfully simple: Don't change your "Windows thinking". If you can afford it, go for the 27" Quad Core iMac. Everything else is a compromise. And since Mac OS X is at least as resource hungry as Windows, you also want to aim for the higher configurations in Mac land - whoever tells you otherwise hardly uses anything beyond Safari and iTunes and doesn't use his computer for actual work.

    iWorks, by the way, is just a nice looking suite of toy applications. If you need compatibility with Microsoft Office, then there is NO WAY around buying Microsoft Office.

    And to be honest, maybe you should just buy the Apple hardware and exclusively run Windows and Microsoft Office for Windows on it. That would get you one of the best designed Windows machines on the market and you wouldn't have to worry about compatibility at all. With Mac OS X, rather sooner than later compatibility inevitably --WILL-- become an issue.
  5. Muttley1900 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2010
    Thank you all

    Thank you, all of your comments have been very helpful.

    I took on the point about the physical size of the I7 so ended up mocking up a cardboard screen, just to see how it sits on the desk - yes big, but I do a lot on this machine (even though I'm given a work laptop) and have 3 or 4 word/excel documents open at a time as well as outlook and an internet browser. Okay, not the greatest demand for the processing, but the screen size would make a big difference for me.

    So I will be still going for the i7 spec i originally had sort of settled on, which I think allows for a little expansion in the future (more RAM and Solid State Hard Drive) and the couple of 2tb hard drives I have with my PC will be popped out and put into external drive caddies for both music and video libraries).

    I've also taken on the point re os x and replacing it with windows, So I'm happy to try out os x for a while but try not be a "slave" to apple and replace it if it causes me (or the programs i run) any big issues. Apple does seem to update it's os quite quickly and de-support older versions just as quick.

    Thank you all again.
  6. InaStrangeland macrumors newbie

    Dec 29, 2010
    That was the thinking back during the Mhz wars of the late 90s/early 2000s. Things are a bit saner now.

    The truth is that for both PCs and Macs, you shouldn't pay for more computer than you need.

    These system specs are actually pretty decent for what you want to do and I applaud the apple salesman who gave you good advice, especially when he already knew you'd spend more.

    I would avoid the "flashier" upgrades. An i7 processor, more ram, faster ram, heavier duty graphics card, etc would generally go unused by the applications you're using.

    I will make one ammendment to this. Right now, the best single upgrade a person can make is a solid state hard drive. Even if you only get a small one for your OS and a few frequently used programs you will notice a huge boost in performance.

    Also, consider waiting for Sandy Bridge.

    Good Luck!
  7. DanielCoffey macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    Have a look at OpenOffice (free) for word processing to see if it will cover what you need.
  8. lexvo macrumors 65816

    Nov 11, 2009
    The Netherlands
    This is a little between "enough" and "nice to have".

    The 21.5" will probably enough for you and I think it is no slouch performance wise.

    But a 27" screen is very nice to have (I do a lot of photo editing and I love the size).
    And if you can afford it, extra processing power is also nice to have, even if you don't need it all the time. In my case, my wife and I use the iMac most of the time for internet-surfing, word-processing, mail and other stuff that doesn't need a lot of CPU power. But when I'm photo editing I just love to notice how quick processing goes with my i5.
  9. DarthMoops macrumors regular

    Aug 7, 2010
    Baltimore MD
    I just don't get buying a Mac then wiping out OSX completely for Windows, might as well just get a Windows box from the start.

    I got curious about paying the "Apple Tax" to not even use OSX so I went to HP's site and priced out a 200Q All-in-One similar as I could to your 21.5" iMac…

    HP 200Q All-in-One @ $1400.00
    Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit (save more $ w/ Home or Pro)
    Intel i5 Quad Core @ 2.8GHz
    6 GB DDR3-1333MHz RAM
    1.5 TB 5400 SATA Hard Drive
    1GB NVidia GeForce GT230M
    6 in 1 Card Reader
    M$ Office Home/Student 2010
    15 Months of Norton 2011 (yea I know)
    Add another $120 if you want Blue Ray built in & $40 for speakers w/ subwoofer.
    Also fairplay, plus $30 for wireless keyboard & mouse.

    As Muttley probably already has a monitor, he could get an HP S5680T for $1200. Basically the above PC w/o built in monitor but with 2 TB 7200 SATA hard drive. If all he wants is 500 GB drive he might even be able to use a Mini.

    21.5" iMac @ $1840.00
    The iMac he describes is $1200
    Plus $250 for 1 TB Time Capsule (says he wants 2 TB), also $180 for Win7 Ultimate & $210 for Office Home 2010 (newegg).

    I don't know if the HPs have the screen issues like the current gen iMacs (thus the Apple Care push), maybe they do I just have not followed it.

    I'm not going against Apple here, just the idea of buying one then using it solely as a Windows PC.
  10. yankintx macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2010
    I believe the other poster meant that you could buy the iMac, and then install windows as a secondary operating system. When you do that, it gives you the choice when you boot up the machine to choose either apple operating system or windows. You would not be deleting windows. I think many here install windows so they will be able to run some windows pc games and other windows exclusive programs on their Mac.
    It is just another option. I too have used a pc for 20 plus years and just switched to the "Mac" way of doing things. Overall, I prefer it to windows now, but because I enjoy playing games on the pc, I installed windows on my IMac.

    It is nice to have both operating systems at my fingertips, and although the IMac does not have the most cutting edge processors and hardware out there, I like the way it looks, and am very happy with my purchase. You can save money buying a pc, but you get the same old plastic casing that has been around for years, and not the look of a genuine apple product. For some, that is not a consideration, but for me it was.

    Good luck.
  11. Gov98 macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2009
    Never ever ever forget this very important point, the check that pays the employee at the Apple Store comes from Apple. There is little doubt in my mind that One to One as well as Applecare are far better profit centers than the Imac 27".

    In other words, my bet is that $2000 spent on 27" iMac probably equals about $300-$400 in profit.

    My bet is that $2,000 spent on 21.5" iMac plus AppleCare plus one 2 one = ~$700 in profit. Go with what you know, get the better machine, although if you could get by with the low end iMac get the regular Quad-Core i5, no sense paying for RAM you apparently won't need and for processor speed you won't be driving.

    Remember to...the Apple Employee wants you back in 2 years to spend more money going with the 27" (or whatever it will be) then.
  12. Muttley1900 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2010
    Well I ordered one...

    Again, thanks for all the help and advice it has helped tremendously to get to this point and 'pull the trigger' as the modern day vernacular has it.

    So, in the end I ordered:

    27-inch iMac
    2.93ghz Quad Core Intel Core I7
    4gb SDRAM
    2TB Hard Drive + 256GB Ssd
    Ms office for mac (home/student)

    Less ram than originally as listening here I've found out how easy it is to do it yourself and at a much cheaper price than if supplied by apple.

    Also, in addition, the ssd drive, again because of the comments here that made me look into the option more so. This one I wouldn't tempt of buying separately and fitting myself, as that looked too complex for the man with hands like a bunch of bananas.

    I got intrigued with the idea of Sandy Bridge, but as that seems to be circa 9 months to a year away and then what next to wait for? SATA 6Gb/s? Usb 3.0?

    I checked out open office, but it couldn't cope with my companies standard templates with all their formatting.

    So, in short, I went for the big thing, the 3 main reasons being:

    1) my old windows thinking (I can't change everything in one go)
    2) i'm not one to change my computer every 2 or even 3 years (my current one I have had for 6+ years).
    3) I'll not be putting my hands inside this iMac (unlike a pc) to change bits and bobs.

    Once again, thanks for all the help.

  13. brachson macrumors member

    Nov 14, 2010
    naaaah Its gonna be much sooner
  14. Enyzam macrumors newbie

    Jan 29, 2008

    Unless you NEED it now, it might be worth cancelling the order and waiting for the line to be upgraded. I'm looking to buy an iMac also but I'm waiting.

    Also, I have been using openoffice for years, and it is a massive pain in the arse!

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