Which iMac should I get?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by KILLxTAC, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. KILLxTAC macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2009
    Alright guys, here's my situation. As of right now I own a Macbook Pro. Here are the specs.

    17" Macbook Pro w/ Glossy Screen
    - Mac OS X Version 10.5.6
    - Processor: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    - Memory: 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
    - Graphics: GeForce 8600M GT

    I use this laptop for numerous reasons, but the main reason is for music production. I own a Mbox2 that runs along with Pro Tools 8, the newest version. Prior to upgrading to Pro Tools 8, my macbook ran pretty good when I was doing all of my music production. But, since upgrading, this hasn't been the case. Along with all of the upgrades, new instruments/plug-ins etc. came a slow running macbook. I also do some video editing with Adobe After Effects and plan on getting a copy of Final Cut Pro in the near future. I just recently decided that it's time for me to upgrade to an iMac so I can get better performance out of all my tasks. I am looking at the 24" iMacs because of the increased screen size (helps with editing in Pro Tools) and the performance that is associated with them. I am not super tech savvy when it comes to performance issues, so that is why I am here. I wanted to know which of the three options of the 24" iMac I should look at. Should I go with the 2.66GHz, the 2.93GHz or the 3.06GHz version (also, what are the differences between the three)? Along with video editing, I also play games on my laptop and want my iMac to hold its own on the graphics side, so should I go with the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M or upgrade to ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB? Any information would be greatly appreciated guys. Like I said, I am not to tech savvy so as much information as possible would greatly help my decision. Thanks a lot!
  2. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2006
    An iMac won't really give you a huge performance jump, as it is basically a laptop shoved into an LCD (inb4 flame, I know it's not that simple) The best upgrade you could do would be more RAM for you MBP. upping it to 4 would net you a pretty nice performance increase for a very small amount of money.
    As far as the screen, you could easily add an external display for a few hundred bucks. There are lots of great displays on the market that are better and cheaper than Apple displays.
    Hope this helps.
  3. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    You'd probably want the 2.93ghz iMac possibly with the 4850 option if you want the best vid card. Or maybe a refurb 2.8ghz or 3.06 ghz iMac with a 2600 pro and 8800gs respectively. That is if you upgrade at all.

    You have a fast machine and the difference won't be night and day. I'd say an iMac will be under 20% faster.

    Maybe the tools you use really require you to step up to a Mac Pro?
  4. robindahlia789 macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2008
    would you mind reffering me too some of these displays?
  5. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2006
    I don't know that many off the top of my head. I have a 22" Samsung SyncMaster 226BW (1680X1050) and I like it alright. Dell makes some pretty good displays. Find out what your price range is, then go from there. you can get a general idea of what's good by going to sites like Newegg.com and seeing which displays get the best ratings, then select a few to do more research on.
  6. KILLxTAC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2009
    So you think my problem is just the amount of RAM I have?
  7. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2006
    Ya, I know for me, even with 4 GB I run into a lot of issues, which is why I'm getting more. More RAM will help out a lot, it even speeded up my old G4 PowerBook... but that thing was always hopeless.
  8. KILLxTAC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2009
    damn, I was kind of loking forward to getting that iMac haha but I will look into the RAM
  9. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    When you're using it, open activity monitor. Is there an absence of green under ram usage? Are they're any page outs? If so, spring 50 bucks for 4 gigs.

    If your applications are fairly disk intensive, a 7200 rpm hard drive or an ssd would probably help as well. I'd go with the 7200.

    It would be a heck of a lot cheaper than shelling out the money for a new MBP, iMac or Mac Pro. If it doesn't work, you may be able to get more money out of your MBP should you decide to sell it...
  10. KILLxTAC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2009
    I actually considered selling it, but don't really know of a good place to do that. I have it on craigslist, don't really wanna bother with ebay. Any suggestions on that? I am not sure about all the Ram usage and all that, or what page outs are. Sorry, not to smart in that area. The applications I mainly use in which I see the problem of slowing down is Pro Tools 8, music production.
  11. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2006
    clyde speaks wisdom. You don't need a whole new system, just some upgrades. If you really want a new iMac, then I guess you could get it, but you'll be disappointed and more poor. ;)
  12. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
  13. KILLxTAC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2009
  14. acrahm macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2007
    i dont mean to hijack this thread,
    but i have a
    2.16 C2D MBP
    4gb rahm
    300gb HD
    graphics:ATI Radeon X1600:

    i am thinking of getting one

    Refurbished iMac 24-inch 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme

    2GB memory
    500GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB memory

    how much of an upgrade would the imac be?

    i would upgrade the memory on the imac too...
  15. mcpryon2 macrumors 6502

    Dec 12, 2008
    What kinds of things are you doing with Pro Tools? Do you do a lot of RTAS and stack a lot of plug-ins and do lots of reverb and stuff like that? Virtual instruments can kill your system fast, too.

    We use a classic 17" MBP for using PT and it has no problems. It records 15 channels of live instruments and it never chokes.

    I use a 24" iMac at home for Pro Tools with my Mbox 2 for doing guitar, bass, and stuff like that. It handles Reason really well, too. I'll also add that the 2.8GHz iMac is currently in the Apple refurb store for $1199, which is a steal, if you ask me.

    I would only suggest the Mac Pro if you're doing serious Pro Tools stuff. The previous gen 8-core 2.8GHz MP is at a decent price at B&H's site...don't forget about cashback, too.
  16. VanNess macrumors 6502a


    Mar 31, 2005
    According to the Pro Tools HD 8.0 system requirements page, your MBP is "fully qualified"

    2 gig of ram seems to be, more or less, the minimum amount - so if you're getting more adventourous with Pro Tools, the first step in your case is to max the ram to 4 gig and see if performance issues remain. Then, if you still want to sell it, having the max 4 gig ram makes it more attractive than a machine with 2 gigs.
  17. Bye Bye Baby macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Sep 15, 2004
    i(am in the)cloud
    I love my iMac, but I don't know if it will really blow away your macbook pro.

    The screen issue can be fixed with an external monitor. Maximising the RAM will always be a good thing for any computer. Try the RAM and see if you solve the speed issue. Then add the screen.

    If you are still frustrated then add a mac pro to the screen you bought.
  18. wackymacky macrumors 65832


    AS others have said and iMac isn't a steep up.

    At work we run Finial Cut (plus other non apple processor intessive software) on desk top Mac Pros, which would be the way for you to go if you really wanted. But by the tiem you also go a large LCD display you'd be quite a bit poorer.

    I think we spent > 10,000 each on our two mac pros, though there are supped up with RAM and thier graphics card.
  19. KILLxTAC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2009
    I do tend to use a lot of RTAS plugins and Instrument tracks. This is where it gets sketchy. If I have say 6 instrument tracks to record some MIDI, it seems to slow it down significantly. It is looking more and more like I should just start by increasing my RAM. What is different about the refurbished iMacs? Have they just been used? Thanks a lot for all the help you guys. Also, can anybody point me in the direction of getting 2 more gigs of RAM for my MBP? Thanks!
  20. kyle82 macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2009
    mostly with new computers.. memory is set to 1Gigbytes. wonder if could just keep this setting and spare my money to be spent for another 1 gig.. that would cost to much. what do you think about this?
  21. KILLxTAC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2009
  22. duky macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2007
    North Carolina
    I think the iMac has a number of advantages over a laptop that aren't being taken into account. The slightly faster hard drive (7200 vs 5400) being one of them, the last-gen iMacs also use faster RAM than the current config (800MHz over 667) and the processor would be faster so I don't think you can say that the iMac is just a laptop in a bigger body. Having said that I don't think the iMac will be tremendously faster, in fact, I'm not sure if the hard drive is user-replaceable in the MBP but if it is I'd suggest upping the HDD to an SSD, that'll change your experience tremendously.

Share This Page