Which iMac to pick - need advise

Discussion in 'iMac' started by absolutic, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. absolutic macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    #1
    Hi. Just got informed by my wife that for my birthday this months, she'll buy me a new iMac, which is very exciting. But I don't know which one to pick. Need advise from you pros....

    here is my background. A windows user since late 80s, I've always used PCs. My current home PC that the iMac will be replacing is a quad-core Windows 7 desktop with 8GB of RAM which I have hooked up to a 32-inch lcd.

    However, I have a little knowledge about mac a little because my laptop is macbook unibody Late 2009 edition. The macbook which I've had for almost a year is great, although I do feel it is a little slow sometimes. I also own iphone 4 and ipad top of the line.

    What my use is: Office, email, internet, photo storage ( I currently store about 60,000 photos on my home pc, photography is my hobby number 1), I run the latest versions of Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. I don't do as much video editing because I believe it is pain, But I would like to start to. And that would of course include 1080p videos. I also stream Netflix to my living room where my main tv is (using PS3 for it) stream music and photos to my living room tv as well (through PS3 again). Stream movies too. Basically my hard-drive is 50% filled with photographs now.

    What I don't use: I don't play games on my computer period. Never been fan of games. My wife does not play games either.

    I know I will be buying a 27inch iMac, it is given, since I've used 32inch monitor for a while, 27 is the least.

    Which of the 27inch models do you recommend with my intended use? I would like not to overspend. Thank you
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    I would go with quad core model, it's more "future-proof". If you and your wife want to save some $, maybe you could consider buying a refurb? 2.8GHz i7 is only 1699$. If you want a brand new unit, then I would go with 27" 2.8GHz i5.

    You may want to add more RAM because it sounds like you're going to do some multitasking. Buy from aftermarket, 2x2GB is only ~80 bucks and that makes the total amount of RAM 8GB.
     
  3. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #3
    I would suggest the iMac i5 (which is what I have and have similar uses as you do) and pick up an extra 4GB RAM from newegg since it literally takes 5 minutes to install and worth the savings.

    Add the 32" as a second monitor via the displayport.

    Pick up a decent FW800 2TB external for storage/Time Machine.

    You can always run Win7 via Parallels or Boot Camp for any must have Windows apps, which i suggest parallels because personally I don't like having to restart to use Windows.

    Office 2011 for sure.

    Also, another personal thing, I used to stream alot through xbox/ps3 but picked up the AppleTV just to make things a little more simple in the tv room. 100 bux isn't that bad and it handles Netflix, photos, music, movies. I have a Harmony remote so it controls everything I have except the PS3 since its bluetooth. This may/may not be an option at least until apps are enabled full time on the :apple:TV.
     
  4. eoren1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    #4
    I'm in a similar boat as you in regards to uses and am also looking at the various 27" models. I agree about looking strongly at the refurbs. For me, it's between the 2009 model mentioned above and the 2010 quad i5 (also 1699). I'm waiting for the Mac keynote Wednesday to see if there is any info on hyperthreading or video requirements for OS 10.7 before pulling the trigger.
    E
     
  5. Phillie14586 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    #5
    I am looking also at the 3.6GHz dual i5 with hyper threading or the quad 2.8GHz i5 without hyper threading. There is only a $100 difference in the refurb. store. My understanding is that Adobe pretty much sucks at writing software that takes advantage of hyper threading so I am now leaning toward the quad core. Still would like to know where the break point is between a slower quad core and a faster dual core with hyper threading. My needs are for running Lightroom and HTPC. Surfing the web and writing word documents still works fine with my 1GHz G4 so those activities are not of concern.
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #6
    Most Adobe apps are still heavily single-threaded, thus the frequency is important. This will, however, change at some point. 2.8GHz i5 goes up to 3.46GHz with Turbo, that's pretty impressive. The dual core i5 also supports Turbo and it goes up to 3.86GHz.

    I would go with quad since it's more future-proof. Photo editing ain't very CPU intensive either so both CPUs should handle it fine
     
  7. deus ex machina macrumors regular

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    May 28, 2010
    #7
    For ripping DVDs and the like you might as well go full on for the i7 quad core.
     
  8. absolutic thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    #8
    thanks!

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I forgot about the apple refurb store. I looked at i7 2009 model they have. the difference between that and current i5 model, is it looks like the old model runs slower front-side bus, and integrated video card seems to be less powerful. Don't know how much difference it means in real life. Obviously the current i5 model is $300 more which I could spend to add memory and/or buy Parallel. I discussed this with my co-workers trying to brainstorm as to which Windows programs I absolutely might need. I can't think of any at this point.....
     
  9. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #9
    RAM speed (1066MHz vs 1333MHz) is negligible, only handful of apps can take advantage of the extra memory bandwidth and I doubt you're going to use those. Besides, 2009 iMac can take 1333MHz but it comes with 1066MHz.

    Same applies to the GPU. You aren't going to do any gaming thus the GPU isn't very relevant and ATI 4850 is anyway a powerful GPU and it should satisfy your needs.
     
  10. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    #10
    Dude, that doesn't take an i7. It doesn't take an i-anything. And the Superdrive's gonna be the limiting factor in any such endeavour.

    Illustration: I had a 2009 Mini (Core2Duo 2.66Ghz), and ripping a DVD with the Superdrive took about half an hour. Attaching a faster external USB drive to the same machine got the job done in about ten minutes.


    If you're talking about transcoding then, yeah, tons of power is desirable.
     
  11. deus ex machina macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    #11
    Please forgive my lack of clarity. The thought was ripping for the purpose of transcoding, for ipad/ipod/phone or media server.
     
  12. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 25, 2010
  13. absolutic thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    #13
    What about reviews

    Can you guys point to any good professional reviews and comparisons of different models, especially the ones when they actually run various tasks on these? I am not a big cnet fan, anything else?
     

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