Why I bought the entry level 21.5 iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by hewcardpacklet, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. hewcardpacklet macrumors member

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    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Montreal Canada
    #1
    Having just sold my 20 inch iMac, which I bought the week it came out, in Aug 2007, for $840 - not bad! I can't believe how these things keep their value! A Dell would have been worth maybe $100 - 200, and it would have taken me weeks to sell it. The iMac was sold the day after it was put on kijiji.

    Anyway, now I had to choose: a 21.5 entry level, or the next one for 300 more... The only reason (for me) to choose the one with dedicated graphics would have been for gaming... So I also would have to buy Windows 7 to run some games on it. Which is a pain to install, and I don't like to use Microsoft products if I don't need to. I am older now and it is no longer fun to spend hours looking at progress bars while installing windows and games for it.

    I also needed a blu-ray player for the living room and also some way to view my photos, videos, etc. on that room's screen.

    One way was to wire the iMac to the big screen from the study room to the living room and then control it using the air mouse app on the iPhone. But the wire would have to be very long and even buying it on the cheap, it was impractical.

    Or I could buy a Mac Mini. But, I also needed a blu ray player, which the iMac nor the Mini have.

    Then while at Costco, I had an idea: Why not buy a PS3 for the living room, where all the gaming, bluray, photo viewing, xvid movies viewing, dvd, etc would take place, and just buy the entry level imac and not do windows at all???

    That is exactly what I did, and it is much simpler that way.

    The iMac continues to serve its purpose as a MacOS machine to do all the creative stuff. The PS3 is our entertainment and games machine. Both systems for the price I would have paid for the 1TB iMac 21.5.

    And by the way, Sony's PS3 interface and capabilities are awesome for half the price of a Mac Mini, and it is totally silent. You put any disc in, or any USB drive with any format of movies, and it plays it beautifully out of the box. And the games don't need to be installed locally - you put the BluRay disc in and you start playing, in 1080p. Uncharted 2 on the PS3 is incredible.
     
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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  3. hewcardpacklet thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Montreal Canada
    #3
    Unless i am mistaken, OpenCL can also use the nVidia 9400m integrated graphics - of course with less computing power, but it still can use it. I don't think photoshop or iMovie would be that much faster with the ATI dedicated than with the integrated. As I said, no heavy gaming on that machine for us, that is what the ps3 is for.
     
  4. rusty2192 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #4
    Trying to decide

    I am in a similar situation. I bought my PS3 over the summer when they dropped the price. My current plans are to rip all of my DVD collection to an external hard drive to play on the PS3. I have been using handbrake on my aluminum MacBook, however, I get the feeling it's hating me for it. The 2.0Ghz C2D and 2.0gigs of ram don't seem to be the best to rip the disks and encode them. It gets it done in about 2 hours, but for that duration, the CPU is running at about 95% and you could cook an egg on the aluminum.

    This brings me to my point. I am considering getting a new desktop for my rips/encodes and other uses and keep my MacBook for mobile uses, and maybe extend it's life by not constantly cooking it's internals. I can't decide which model I would get though. My options are:

    A: Mac Mini - cheap, but not much more powerful than my MacBook. It would be more versatile, but why replicate the uses of my ps3? Plus, when you factor in the price of the display, plus the wireless keyboard and mouse, the iMac seems to be a better value.

    B: 21.5" iMac - probably all the power I would need, but since the desktop wouldn't be used a whole lot, I want something that would stay useful for years to come.

    C: 27" iMac - bigger is better. The better graphics card in the 27" would be nice, but I don't know that I would even put it to use. The 9400M G that the base 21.5" has is the same as my MacBook, and I haven't noticed any issues. Plus, I don't know that I need that big of a screen. I feel like a 21" screen with an external monitor attached would be of more use to me if I needed more real estate. The MDP input would be nice though, I would then have a 27" display for my MacBook if I needed it.

    Anyway, I'm just kind of thinking out loud here. It may never even happen. I'm just dreaming of someday. Any thoughts?
     
  5. rgthorpe macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    #5
    I'm still waiting for my iMac G5 PPC to fail to live up to that criteria so I can justify replacing it. And if that is true for an iMac based on a chip that was obsoleted four years ago, I doubt there is much risk that the new one will lose its utility anytime soon.
     
  6. skye12 macrumors 65816

    skye12

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    #6
    You are a very logical tech buyer. I also use the PS3 as a great BR deck and game machine and my MB as my computer. But most computer buyers suffer from the car syndrome-that is, buy the big engine and all the accessories whether you need it or not. That Porsche can accelerate 0-60 2.5 seconds faster between red lights.

    Note-On the 27" there may be some issues on using it as a display due to the mini displayport technology from most computers without it.

    enjoy.
     
  7. Pak^Man macrumors regular

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    #7
    Sorry if I'm taking this off topic, but is there anywhere where one can find a list of applications taking advantage of opencl?
     
  8. MacU macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #8
    It works for now

    Totally understand. I have my PS3 hooked up to the living room tv along with my MacMini. If everything was in one machine would be ideal but looks like the BR will never hit the Apple hardware.
     
  9. Fuchal macrumors 68020

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    Sep 30, 2003
    #9
    I would guess that you would be shopping for a new Mac by the time there are any consumer applications utilizing OpenCL to a desirable extent.
     
  10. iSlave macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    #10
    Base iMac??

    BASE iMac!????? How dare you opt for the cheapest option based solely on your needs!!??
    If you didn't order the 27'' i7 model the SECOND it appeared on the Apple store then you have no business being on this forum!!! BEGONE!!!!!! :apple:
     
  11. Fiete5401 macrumors regular

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    Germany
    #11
    :D
     
  12. hewcardpacklet thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 19, 2008
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    Montreal Canada
    #12
    :D

    The 27" with i7 was very tempting... extremely tempting... but with that price difference between the 21.5 base and the 27 fully loaded, I can get the aforementioned ps3, a 46" 120Hz screen and other goodies for the living room where all the fun stuff takes place.

    It's funny to see polls where everybody say they will buy the 27, and almost no one wants the 21.5 --- I guess everybody on this forum is made of money (as opposed to living in mom's basement or in a dorm :confused:)
     
  13. iSlave macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    #13
    I'm looking at a 21.5'' model too. Controversially, because a) I'm not made of money and b) after seeing the 27'', I think it's too big. Yes...too big :eek:
     
  14. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

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    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #14
    Rusty:

    How about just getting yourself a nice external Firewire DVD burner?

    Then you can rip externally (tons less heat) and faster...

    Maybe about $80, try macsales.com
     
  15. hewcardpacklet thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Montreal Canada
    #15
    Exactly! So if you want to use your iMac as a display for a Blu-Ray player or for hooking up your game machine to it, both of them using HDMI, you need all sorts of adapters: one from HDMI to MiniDisplay, and one for the sound because MiniDisplayPort does not do sound.

    So you end up buying lots of little adapters just to be able to do what the thing should have supported: HDMI out of the box. Why no HDMI in and out on the 27 iMac? Lack of space?? For that matter, why no HDMI out on the Mac Mini? Because it is a bag of hurt?

    I love apple products and my MBP 13" is an amazing machine, but wanting to go all apple on everything became for me... well... a bag of hurt.
     
  16. rusty2192 macrumors 6502a

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    Kentucky
    #16
    That's how they can afford it. Rent/Mortgage payments are expensive! Mom can save you a lot of money. :p
     
  17. rusty2192 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 15, 2008
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    Kentucky
    #17
    Actually I have an old external FireWire DVD drive laying around, but alas, no FireWire on my MacBook. They left it off the original aluminum MacBooks (before they turned them Pro). Ah, the price we pay for being early adopters.
     
  18. TheAshMan macrumors regular

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    Jan 22, 2009
    Location:
    Clarksville, Maryland USA
    #18
    @MacU

    Is it really necessary to reprint the entire quote of the opening thread? People presume you are responding to the subject. Don't waste bits :rolleyes:

    I like the thought process for the original poster, good solution and investment. The 27" is extremely nice, but so is the 21".
     
  19. sleyeu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    #19
    Air Mouse Pro is sooo good... i bought it as a novelty because of the "air" mouse. But it gives sooo much more!

    27" is too big. Thats a tv screen, not a computer. Ill find myself straining my eyes because of such a big screen. hey, anything bigger than 24" is ridiculous.
     
  20. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

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  21. Fiete5401 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Location:
    Germany
    #21
    I guess that iSlave's posting came out of pure irony.
    And btw I think your decision is one of the most rational I have ever seen.
    :apple: !!
     
  22. bigdaddyp macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    #22
    Or use Ripit and then do the encode with hand brake. Less heat and your cd drive is not in use for 2 + hours. When I was converting my entire dvd collection (300+) I used Ripit to rip them and then set up handbrake to do several encodes at once. Well sequentially, and over night. Also I stole my wife's cookie cooling rack to rest my uni-macbook on to keep it cool. Cheap? Yes but it worked.:D
     
  23. iMarcB macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Bedfordview, Johannesburg
    #23
    I'm sure by now you've already made your purchases but I would just like to add that I also bought the entry-level iMac simply because I use it for work, internet etc and bought an xbox for games. The consol is simple, stick the game in and play, no "oh my video card is too old or slow." and all the hassles involved with installing Win 7 boot camp and all that noise.

    The baby iMac is more than powerful enough for any mid level user; aperture, ps cs5 or whatever runs like a dream.

    I feel you should look at a ps3 for games and media in your living room and iMac for the rest. Network the two and you've got internet and sharing throughout.

    Cheers
     
  24. student_trap macrumors 68000

    student_trap

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    Location:
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    #24
    Indeed. While the 21" feels nicely compact, the 27" monster is too big for me
     

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