Which iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by siit, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. siit macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    #1
    Going to get an iMac 21.5", wondering how big a difference between the basic, and the next step up iMac with 1TB and better graphic card? As to my usage, besides regular computer task like web surfing and word processing, I do a lot of photoshop work as a hobby, but no game at all.
     
  2. The Mad Kiwi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Location:
    In Hell
    #2
    Get the best you can afford, you won't have to upgrade for that bit longer in a few years.
     
  3. aki macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2004
    Location:
    Japan
    #3
    If the heaviest use you expect to put it to is casual photoshop, then any iMac will do just fine.

    As a general rule, it's a good idea to buy the most expensive iMac you can justify - software becomes more bulky over time (especially apps like Photoshop). Buying a bit ahead of your current needs will increase the lifespan of your machine somewhat.

    Having said that - the size of internal storage isn't really important, external storage is fast and cheap (usb/firewire drives).

    The graphics card isn't crucial if you aren't gaming. A fast card won't hurt of course (more and more apps leverage the graphics card for different uses), but it's not the most important component.

    In my opinion, if photo work is your thing, I'd probably go for ram and screen size. I do some video work and a larger screen is always always always better. And lots of ram is a cheap way to make all that processing faster.

    Good luck with your purchase!
     
  4. siit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    #4
    aki,

    You gave me the info and opinion I was hoping to get, thank you so much!

    Base on what you stated, I would get a basic 21.5" iMac to get me started in my PC to Mac transformation, I think it would serve me quite well for what I use it for. I need a computer right away, and keeping within budget is important. I have to remind myself it is not just buying a Mac computer, I need to get Mac software and maybe a Time Capsule too. So instead of going for the upgraded model, I think money can be better spent elsewhere for now. I may very likely go for a used or refurbished 21.5" for under $1000.

    I do not intend to keep my starter iMac for years. I think I will upgrade again next year. I agree that screen size and ram are important for photo editing, so I am sure I will get a 27" screen or 27" iMac then.
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #5
    If you already have a monitor from your PC, grab a Mini, it's completely fine for you. Previous gen goes for less now so if you bought one, you could buy the 27" behemoth early next year along with Sandy Bridge. Just bump the RAM to 4GB
     
  6. aki macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2004
    Location:
    Japan
    #6
    I agree with the redoubtable Hammer, if you are planning on upgrading in 12 months anyway, and you are basically looking to "trial" OSX, a mac mini is a good cost-effective choice. It's a cheaper option than even a refub iMac, and again as HHammer says you will be able to use your old monitor and keyboard and whatnot. Put the money you save aside for the "real" iMac purchase down the road.

    The downside of the mini would be the videocard I guess but that's not your primary concern anyway.
     
  7. siit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    #7
    Thanks for your suggestion, hellhammer and aki. I did look into the mini, however, I am passing on my PC and monitor, so I would need a new monitor too. Getting a mini and a 24" Apple Display would be great as far as screen goes, but cost wise it would be closer to $1300+ even if I go for refurbished. At that price, I think a mini+24" display is a better choice than a upgraded iMac 21.5" for my use, however, I would still be looking at upgrading mini or even screen---to 27"---in the future.

    A 27" iMac i5 or i7 would be ideal for my space and use, it is way over my budget right now, but it is my target. I think no matter what I get for $1000-$1400 now, I will be thinking about upgrading to one in the future. I wonder between iMac 21.5" and min+display, which would hold value better in about a year? I kind of guess a basic iMac, starting at a lower price, would be easier to sell and have less drop in value in about a year.
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #8
    Get iMac if you're giving the monitor away as the cost ends up being about the same as base iMac. The point of getting the Mini was that you would keep the monitor and just hook Mini to it.

    I'm not sure which keeps it value better but I would guess that Mini does because of it's re-usability as e.g. HTPC or media server. Anyway, there won't be huge difference in value anyway so get iMac as it suits you better
     
  9. aki macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2004
    Location:
    Japan
    #9
    I feel the mac mini is actually overpriced for what you get - and so buying one only makes economic sense if you have a specific reason eg. a spare monitor, or you want a media device for your tv, etc.

    Given that I'd vote the iMac too. Added bonus is the iMac is the machine you eventually intend to invest in. May as well see what they are like.
     
  10. Yinmay macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    #10
    So is the current October 2009 iMac.
    If anything I feel the Mac Mini server offers the best bang for buck among Apple desktop computers. Given the OP's usage, either Mac Mini would be more than enough.
     
  11. siit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    #11
    I like the idea of mini+24" cinema display, it offers good upgrade path, a good screen size, and most compact and clean display for my current desk space. It would look even simpler than an iMac because there would be only one wire to the display on desktop, while I can have the mini sit on a lower recess shelf, and with all the power, printer, scanner, USB hub wires pretty much hidden under the desk. However, to get both a 4Gb mini and a 24" display at the same time, it would cost close to a basic iMac 27", and it can not compete with iMac's screen size and performance. It is difficult for me to justify mini's cost/performance ratio.

    On a side note, while looking into what to get, I almost wish there is a mid-level 24" iMac with updated LED screen.
     
  12. Yinmay macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    #12
    Correct. Unless you buy a display from another brand or keep the one you currently have.
     

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