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

Getting new iMac...Many Questions...

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Member Since: Jun 10, 2008
Posts: 91
jman995x is on a distinguished road

jman995x is offline
My MBP is about 6 years old and seems to rainbow pinwheel more and more frequently (reminding me of my PC/Spinning Hourglass days and the reason i switched to Mac in the first place).
I recently did a complete wipe of the drive and reinstall of the OS and apps...yet it still seems to get confused and need time to think (2.33GHz IC2D, 3GB 667Mhz DDR2 SDRAM, 500GB Seagate HDD with ~200GB Free).

So, I've decided that it will be relegated to just surfing on the couch and that I'll get a new iMac.

However, I would like the forum's opinion(s) on my iMac options, given my intended use(s).

I'm thinking of getting a 27", 3.4Ghz, 8GB RAM, SSD + HDD(?).

Here's what I currently use my MBP (and will use my future iMac) for:
  • I DO NOT game....EVER. Just not my thing. So, all of the RAM, GPU/Graphics Cards, etc. associated with gaming is of no use to me,....However...
  • I have a lot of multi-media files (1M+ pictures....240,000 songs....1,000's of movie clips, etc., etc.).
  • I like to dabble with (and would like to do more with) iMovie, FCP, Aperture, Lightroom 3, Flash, etc....(which I know are processor intensive).
  • I tend to surf the net a lot and can have 50 tabs open at a time in a browser.
  • I utilize "Spaces" and will almost always have multiple things open in each space.

I'll number my questions/situations/dilemmas so that posters can reply to a specific item:
  1. I'm leaning towards getting a 256GB SSD for my boot drive and all of my apps. From what I understand, this is a good idea for a number of moving parts...faster read/write/access boot times....etc., etc. Am I correct in my understanding that this would be the better drive to have (vs. a HDD) as my boot drive? Do the benefits listed above warrant the ~$500 price tag?
  2. Should I spend the money to get a large (internal, obviously) HDD for storage? I have many external HDD's (1x750GB, 1x1TB, 2x2TB), so storage is not an issue. I was wondering if I should just get a small internal HDD, sell most/all of my current external HDD's, and get an external 2TB Thunderbolt drive that I can do a RAID set up on (to house all of my non-app things like photos, music, etc.)....thus the iMac would house the OS and the apps on the SSD, and everything else would be stored on/sourced from the external (Thunderbolt) drive. Thoughts?
  3. Is it true that Apple is starting to design iMacs so that you have to use their HDD's specifically (re: upgrading in the future)? If not, and I decide to get a small internal HDD, how hard will it be for me to swap the drive to a bigger one should I ever decide to sell my iMac?
  4. Do you think given my non-gaming (yet video/photo editing uses) that I'd need more than 8GB of RAM? Either way, should I just get the bare minimum from Apple and do aftermarket RAM? If so, whom do you recommend I buy it from?
  5. Is a Quad-core chip the highest thing available for the iMac (currently)? If not, would I have a need for a 6-core or 12-core since I don't game?
  6. I'm assuming that since I don't game and don't do Desktop Publishing/Graphics for a living, that I should stay with an iMac and not look into building a Mac Pro, correct?

Any feedback/education would be greatly appreciated.


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Member Since: Jun 07, 2006
Location: NYC
Posts: 288
zacster is on a distinguished road
Mac Specs: Intel iMac 20" Core Duo 256mb VRam 115gb SSD 2gb Ram Finally!!!

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You will probably find that the iMac in its standard configurations is plenty for your needs. I'd look at possibly going with an i7 processor, but the SSD option is pretty pricey. As for TB vs. USB or FW drives, I don't think it'll be that much of an upgrade.

The latest iMacs use a proprietary cooling system for the drive, so you can't just swap in another generic drive in the future if wanted. However, I'd bet that someone, somewhere will make it possible, if it hasn't already been done. If the hacker community can install OSX on a generic machine, they can make a fan work on a hard drive properly.

RAM is cheap, and stick with the default and install more in the future yourself. Don't pay the Apple price for it.

As I already said, maybe get the i7 if you are concerned. It is still quad core, but the fastest available. If you are really adventurous you could replace the processor (NOT RECOMMENDED!) You would need a pin compatible processor, and Intel makes each new generation NON-PIN compatible.

Mac Pro? I wouldn't consider that at all for a non-professional use.

I should mention that I installed an SSD into my old 1st Gen Intel iMac and it made a huge difference. When I went recently to Best Buy and used their display iMacs though, they were apparently just as fast with a hard drive. How that relates in real world use I can't say.
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Member Since: Sep 21, 2011
Location: London, Londonshire, England.
Posts: 723
Chuckoir is a jewel in the roughChuckoir is a jewel in the roughChuckoir is a jewel in the rough
Mac Specs: 13" Late 2011 MBP,iPad '3' 32gb,iPhone4 32gb

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With regards to RAM, you're better off just getting the machine with 4GB and then installing the rest yourself. For the price difference between 4GB and 8GB which has been fitted by Apple, you could get 16GB of RAM from a retailer for less.

Check out;

RAM Memory Upgrade: Dell, Mac, Apple, HP, Compaq. USB drives, SSD at

For more info!

Play the guitar?! Check out the [newly created]Mac-Forums guitar thread!
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