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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Which iMac?

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tom soper

Member Since: Sep 02, 2011
Posts: 2
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I am about to upgrade from a Macbook Pro to an iMac.

I am a photographer and spend several hours eavery day running Aperture 3 and Lion. It's become too slow on my MBP.

I also run Firefox which seems to slow things up. As well as the usual aps - mail, ical etc,

And I burn a lot of discs for clients.

Ok, so my query is: which of the current bacth of 27-inch iMacs should I go for?

- 3.1GHz or 3.4GHz?

- i5 or 17 processor

- 4GB or 8GB or 16GB memory

- 1TB Serial ATA Drive or something that's 2TB or Solid State?

My understanding is that I don't need the upgraded graphics card as I only occasionally dabble in video.

I would really appreciate some input, BUT please help me by responding in layman's terms! I do not even understand what the difference is between memory, RAM, GHz, storage and I certainly have no idea what processors and hard drives really do!

Sorry, but if you respond with an answer like this which I have seen somewhere else on this site, I will not understand what on earth you are talking about!

difference between the i5 (2.53GHz model) and i7. With the i7 model, you get

1.) Faster Clock Speed

2.) An extra MB of L3 Cache

3.) 2X the GDDR3 Graphics Memory (15 inch Models)

I'm sure it's a really valid answer, but I have no idea what any of the above means!

Thanks a lot for your help and patience with my utter lack of knowledge.

QUOTE Thanks

baggss's Avatar
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General rule of thumb:

Always buy the most computer you can afford. There's no such thing as too much power but there sure is such a thing as too little power.

Also, don't bother buying extra RAM from Apple, it's over priced. You can buy the same RAM from a third party for far less and the installation is easy.

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Ken Ardency

Member Since: Aug 25, 2011
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Of cause i7 would be better.

I don't know which MBP are you using. I guess it's core2duo right? core i series is quite faster than core2 series even i5 but i7 even greater. So go for the best you can afford.

RAM? go for 16GB. RAM are quite expensive if you order custom upgrade from apple but if you upgrade by your self it really cheap. you can get 16GB PC10600 1333MHZ SO Kit (4 x 4GB) w/Lifetime Warranty for $137 at OWC which is a lot cheaper than upgrade from apple online store (You can upgrade RAM up to 32GB with OWC's memory upgrade kit but in my opinion it's way too expensive. 16GB is enough)click here for more OWC's memory upgrade kits info

Hard drive. If you don't use much space and expecting faster performance go for SSD. External HDD is ok for this kind of work on desktop in case you need more storage space.
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Member Since: Jan 23, 2009
Location: Born in Scotland, Worked in Scotland then England, Now live in Wales
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Mac Specs: 2010 27" iMac 16GB RAM, SSD & 1TB IHD (Lion) + 2013 27" iMac Fusion SSD & 3TB IHD, 32GB (Mavericks)

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Hi Tom

I'm taking you at your word when you say you want things in layman's terms so no offence.

In general, CPU (ie processor speed in GHz) means how fast your computer works and any upgrade in processor speed usually translates into an improvement in performance.

RAM equates to how much you can do on the computer at any one time. A RAM upgrade only helps if you don't have enough memory for your needs.

Unless you intend to indulge in multiple complex memory-intensive applications, processor speed is more beneficial than RAM. The great majority of applications can be comfortably undertaken with 4 GB of RAM; 8 GB RAM gives you that extra leeway if you run lots of applications simultaneously.

My guess is that your needs are better served by an increase in processor power ie i7 over i5. So if you are financially constrained, go for i7. 4GB RAM is a starting point which will work fine.

I totally agree with Ken Ardency and baggss that when you can afford a RAM upgrade, buy it from an independent source, not Apple and, yes, it is easy to do the upgrade yourself. Practically no DIY skills needed.

Next, the advantage of SSD plus a HD (1 or 2 TB) is that the SSD is superfast, virtually instantaneous. But with 256 GB Max, it means keeping all your applications and personal folder on the SSD (for speed++) and moving your iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, Aperture (and similar) databases/libraries to your HD where you have the luxury of "space" for storage. 1TB or 2TB of HD depends on how much data you think you will accumulate in your practice. You always have the option of transferring stuff to an Ext Hard Drive which, these days is incredibly cheap.

Hope all this helps.

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tom soper

Member Since: Sep 02, 2011
Posts: 2
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Baggss, Ken and Ian - thank you so much for your responses which are really useful.

And Ian - definitely right to lay it out in layman's terms - it's great to have someone explain it all so clearly.

So I think I'm going to go for the i7 processor and 8GB of RAM (the shop I am getting this from will throw in the extra 4GB for free). I think the SSD is too expensive for now, but maybe one for the future.

Thanks guys,

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