Which Refurbished Imac 20 is the better deal?? Thanks

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by NinjaHERO, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. NinjaHERO macrumors 6502a

    NinjaHERO

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    #1
  2. bigdaddyp macrumors regular

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    The 9400m is the newer machine but the graphics card is integrated and shares system memory. If you are ever going to do anything that requires the use of the graphic card you would be better off (imho) with the machine that has the ati card. Depending on tests that were done the ati was at least 4 times faster.
     
  3. Nobita macrumors 6502

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    #3
    You mean ATI was 4 times slower?

    I think with the same price you'd be better off buying the second one. The memory on the second one uses DDR3 which is quite significantly faster than the other one. I wonder why they don't make the first one cheaper, the second one is definitely much better than the first one.

    In case I got anyone confused, the first one means the ATI one, and the second one is the NVIDIA one.
     
  4. NinjaHERO thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NinjaHERO

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    #4
    So the ATI is the better way to go? Awesome. It struck me as odd that they were the same price. Thanks for the help.
     
  5. Nobita macrumors 6502

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    #5
    No, read carefully =) I said NVIDIA is better both in the graphics and the RAM speed.
     
  6. NinjaHERO thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NinjaHERO

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    You'r right. I apologize. Should have read more carefully. So the NVIDIA is better?
     
  7. Nobita macrumors 6502

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    If you look at http://www.apple.com/au/imac/features.html the page tells you why nvidia is faster than ATI (at least from apple's point of view) (and why you should buy the new one – I think you should too if they're on the same price).

    On the memory, faster RAM would mean a lot to you. In short apple says:

     
  8. NinjaHERO thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NinjaHERO

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    so the DDR3 is the big difference and that is the Ram in the NVIDIA? I don't do a lot of heavy graphics but I figure for the same price, I want the better machine.

    ah ha, I figured out where on the page you are finding the ddr3 information. Now at least I can see the difference. Thanks.
     
  9. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

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    #9
    It says:
    Testing conducted by Apple in February 2009 using preproduction 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo–based 20-inch iMac units with NVIDIA GeForce 9400M (256MB VRAM shared). 20-inch iMac systems with 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT (128MB VRAM) were shipping units

    So not only are the processors different(which could account for the MINOR increase), but also they used the WEAKER card, not the one that the OP was looking at. Remember WHO is doing the comparing! Of course they're going to skew it in favor of their new toys!

    Next time, make sure you have the correct info before guiding someone. :D

    A dedicated graphics card is MUCH better than having integrated graphics. Who knows down the line if you'll use photoshop heavily(it has gpu support now) or use Final Cut Studio, or for other processes that depend on a DEDICATED gpu to make the task bearable.

    I went into a mac store and the mac person told me to get a MBP not mb if I was going to do video editing. Of course I didn't metion that I know people who've used final cut on a mb :p

    Not that I'm saying the OP will be doing what I'm doing.

    Actually the OP should mention what they will be doing in their original post so we can guide them better.

    The only good thing about the newer low end macs are the increase in max ram, 8gb vs 4gb on the old ones. Though if that really matters to you then a dedicated graphics card should be in your thoughts as well(i.e. higher end imac).
     
  10. angemon89 macrumors 68000

    angemon89

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  11. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

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    #11
    the ATI HD 2600 Pro at 256MB is about 1.5X better than the 9400 M G speed-wise (not to mention you get to keep that 256MB of system RAM it steals).

    I have both the mid-2007 iMac with the 2600 Pro 256MB and the Late 2008 Macbook with the 9400 M G. You'll want that extra RAM (especially in a desktop).
     
  12. NinjaHERO thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NinjaHERO

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    #12
    Sorry, I didn't think that what I planned to use it for mattered. Since both computers are the exact same price. I figured one had to be "better" than the other. One had to be faster. But to be more precise..

    I have done all kinds of goofy things on my computer from trying out Maya animation and flash animation to recording audio on garage band (which always seems to really bog down my computer). Normally I just use it for web surfing and writing. But as I tend to try new things all the time, I wanted the maximum flexibility.

    Thanks again all for the help. Although at this point, I am confused...:D
     
  13. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

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    #13
    If you're even THINKING about doing 3d, go with the discrete(graphics card) not the integrated one.
    If you can wait and scrounge up the money and want the max ram of 8gb, you'll just have to poiny up for a more expensive imac :D
     
  14. angemon89 macrumors 68000

    angemon89

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    #14
    Ok, let me spell it out for you. These are the key differences between the two:


    Nvidia 9400m integrated graphics
    Tapered base
    Up to 8GB DDR3 RAM


    ATI 2600 dedicated graphics (better)
    4GB Max DDR2 RAM


    If you don't/won't ever need 8GB of RAM, which it sounds like you don't, then the ATI iMac is a better deal. The tapered base thing is purely aesthetic. I would get the one with the ATI graphics.
     
  15. bigdaddyp macrumors regular

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    I believe the Ati card has 200 rendering cores versus 16 on the Nividia 9400. I have the 9400 on my macbook but my Ati in the imac spanks it . Beats it up. Kicks its a$$. Makes it its bi**h. You will have the greatest flexibility buying the imac with the Ati dedicated graphics card. The faster memory on the Nvidia Machine does not make much of a difference. For the money I would buy a Imac with a dedicated graphics card. Clear as mud? :D

    Please let us know what you end up purchasing.
    Jim
     
  16. bigdaddyp macrumors regular

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    Let me expand on this a little bit more.

    I don't hate the 9400 video card. In the past integrated graphics just plain sucked. For what it is the 9400 is pretty good. It allows you to have a video card that can handle basic 3d tasks without looking like a slide show and is inexpensive.

    When my elderly mother wanted to upgrade from her mac mini the base 20" imac with the 9400 was acceptable because she surfs the net, emails and video chats. Thats all she does and all she needs to do. If the grandkids want to play a game it should handle anything the little ankle biters want to play as they are young and we wouldn't let them play a game like Crysis (very graphic intensive game). I recently bought a aluminium mb over a mbp for when I go back to college this fall. I am studying business administration and don't need a big graphics card but the 9400 is fast enough for any casual gaming I may do. I also have a iMac with a dedicated graphics card so that if I do need to do something like photoshop or video rendering I can use that machine. So if there is any possibility that you may need to do video editing or photoshopping skip the integrated video card and get one with a dedicated graphics card.

    Something else to consider is that if you buy a iMac is that you can not upgrade the video card. Down the road if you find you need a faster video card you have to sell the machine and buy a new one. That is why when I bought my iMac I custom ordered it with the fastest card available so I would have some future proofing and get the maximum possible life out of my desktop.

    Hope this helps.
    Jim
     
  17. NinjaHERO thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NinjaHERO

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    Okay, just to make sure I am following everything. The NVIDIA is the newer integrated graphics thingy(a technical term). It, combined with the DDR3 is very fast. But the older ATI card is on a machine with a dedicated graphics card. So therefore it will do better at high end video edition and 3d rendering. If I am doing more casual computer use, I would be fine with the NVIDIA and I could always upgrade to 8gbs of ram if necessary? With the ATI I have the option to upgrade my video card later as it's a separate piece of hardware. Plus that machine is limited to 4gbs of ram. Did I get that right?

    I actually wanted to get an aluminum MB, but I am an idiot. And by that I mean I keep waiting for the magical refresh that according to the buyers guide is long overdue. I bought my Ibook a month before a refresh and I have never forgiven myself.:eek: So as an alternative, I wanted to get an idea about how good the Imacs are. I love the look. Space and portability are normally a big issue for me. I don't even own a desk, and I bet Imacs don't work well on a lap.:(
     
  18. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

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    #18
    The iMac's graphics card is soldered to the logic board. You can't upgrade the dedicated card at any time except prior to the purchase with a BTO.

    The 9400 M is an integrated graphics unit and shares RAM with the system RAM. As far as integrated graphics go it is one of the best, however that only gets you so far. DDR3 is not that much faster than DDR2 as seen by the fact that the White 2.13GHz MB is still about 5% faster than the Aluminum 2GHz despite the RAM differential. Though the Aluminum has better graphics capabilities due to the RAM speed.

    As far as a Macbook vs. iMac, you seem to do some things that need real estate and graphics power. So I'd say either the MB plus external monitor would work except it would be a bit slow for those tasks, the MBP would be ok but a lot more expensive and only 15.4" without an external, and the iMac is somewhere in the middle price-wise but is not portable despite having the power.
     

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