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Thread: 21" vs 27" iMac

  1. #1


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    21" vs 27" iMac
    Hi There, i am (or will be) completely new to Apple products.

    I am a keen photographer and use Photoshop. Every photographer I have spoken to says Macs are the way to go when it comes to editing photographs using digital editing software so for that reason I have been looking at purchasing my first Apple machine.

    I have had a look at the iMacs and have seen both the 21" and the 27" and was wondering about peoples opinions of the virtues of one over the other.

    I appreciate that one will be a lot cheaper than the other whilst the screen resolution and size will be a lot better on the 27" but is this it.

    And also is the price difference worth it. Bear in mind that I live in Ireland so to give you an example of the prices

    21" 2.9gHz = 1599
    27" 2.9 gHz = 1949

    I would be particularly keen to hear from photographers who have used either or preferable both of these machines.

    Thanks in advance.

    Mark S.

  2. #2

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Cost is always an issue. If it wasn't...you probably wouldn't be posting this question!

    In my opinion...easy answer...bigger is better! If you have the ability to visit an Apple Store to see each of them...you'll see what I mean!!!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
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  3. #3

    Raz0rEdge's Avatar
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    From comparing the tech specs of the two iMacs the things that stick out:
    * 21.5" supports 16GB max memory while 27" can go to 32GB
    * 27" has higher end graphics card with more memory possible

    The rest are the same..

    While processing photos, especially RAW files, the more memory you have the faster you get things done. So going with 16GB would be good, but having the possibility of going to 32GB is great.

    Also, the screen size cannot be overlooked..the 21.5" has a 1920x1080 while the 27" is 2560x1440..I have the 27" iMac and find the screen to be great to have multiple large windows open while coding/working..

    As Nick suggested, if you haven't already, do visit an Apple store and spend a good amount of time playing around with both the sizes to see what really works for you..
    --
    Regards
    ...Ashwin



    Be sure to read the Community Guidelines | The more information you provide, the better answers you get, remember GIGO.

  4. #4

    chscag's Avatar
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    @Ashwin:

    According to Mactracker and OWC the current crop of iMac 2011 21.5" models can also accept 32 GB of memory. Can't say for sure what amount the 2012 iMac 21.5" model will accept since it appears it's not user upgradeable.

  5. #5


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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    @Ashwin:

    According to Mactracker and OWC the current crop of iMac 2011 21.5" models can also accept 32 GB of memory. Can't say for sure what amount the 2012 iMac 21.5" model will accept since it appears it's not user upgradeable.

    Will the 27" still be user upgradeable ?

  6. #6

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markst33 View Post
    Will the 27" still be user upgradeable ?
    When you say "user upgradeable"...are you just concerned with ram? And are you talking about 2012 27" iMac's...or other models?

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  7. #7

    Raz0rEdge's Avatar
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    Charlie..that's correct for the 2011 iMacs, I was going by just the 2012 specs on Apple's site that lists different RAM values..

    But you and Nick do bring up a good point about the 2012 iMacs being different in that they are less user upgradeable than the previous models..
    --
    Regards
    ...Ashwin



    Be sure to read the Community Guidelines | The more information you provide, the better answers you get, remember GIGO.

  8. #8


    Member Since
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    Yes, RAM only

  9. #9

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    I just double checked:

    All 2011 iMac ram is user upgradeable (21.5" and 27")...and all 2011 iMac's can be upgraded to 32 gig of ram.

    All 2012 21.5" iMac's can support 16gig of ram...BUT...it must be configured this way at time of purchase/ordering.

    All 2012 27" iMac ram is user-upgradable...and all 2012 27" iMac's can support 32gig of ram.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  10. #10

    Raz0rEdge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    I just double checked:

    All 2011 iMac ram is user upgradeable (21.5" and 27")...and all 2011 iMac's can be upgraded to 32 gig of ram.

    All 2012 21.5" iMac's can support 16gig of ram...BUT...it must be configured this way at time of purchase/ordering.

    All 2012 27" iMac ram is user-upgradable...and all 2012 27" iMac's can support 32gig of ram.


    - Nick
    This is just silly IMHO. By forcing people to have Apple upgrade to the larger memory on the 21.5", the price is probably going to get very close to the price of the 27" iMac I imagine..
    --
    Regards
    ...Ashwin



    Be sure to read the Community Guidelines | The more information you provide, the better answers you get, remember GIGO.

  11. #11

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raz0rEdge View Post
    This is just silly IMHO. By forcing people to have Apple upgrade to the larger memory on the 21.5", the price is probably going to get very close to the price of the 27" iMac I imagine..
    An interesting question...so I went to Apple.com to check...but then I remembered that the "Late 2012" iMac's aren't for sale yet!

    I think that Apple has been getting more reasonable with ram upgrades. For example a 13" MacBook Pro can be upgraded from 4gig to 8gig for an extra $100 (instead of around $200 previously). Of course this can still be done a lot less by the end user (around $50).

    But since the ram in 21.5" Late 2012 iMac's can only be upgraded at time of purchase...Apple may charge more for this "custom" upgrade.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  12. #12

    Raz0rEdge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    An interesting question...so I went to Apple.com to check...but then I remembered that the "Late 2012" iMac's aren't for sale yet!

    - Nick
    I did the same thing to get some specific numbers as opposed to just guessing on the prices, but you can't do that for the 2012 and you can't buy a 2011 iMac at all, so I can't even configure that to get a relative price either..
    --
    Regards
    ...Ashwin



    Be sure to read the Community Guidelines | The more information you provide, the better answers you get, remember GIGO.

  13. #13

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raz0rEdge View Post
    I did the same thing to get some specific numbers as opposed to just guessing on the prices, but you can't do that for the 2012 and you can't buy a 2011 iMac at all, so I can't even configure that to get a relative price either..
    The closest example I could find to "mimic" what an 8gig to 16gig ram upgrade might cost on a "Late 2012" 21.5" iMac (non-user upgradeable after purchase)...is one of the currently selling 15" retina MacBook Pro's.

    The 15" retina MacBook Pro's come with 8gig of ram standard...and can only be upgraded to 16gig of ram at time of purchase (just like the "Late 2012" 21.5" iMac's will be)...and Apple is charging $200 for this 8gig to 16gig ram upgrade.

    If we compare the price of the entry level "Late 2012" 21.5" iMac to the entry level "Late 2012" 27" iMac...it's $1299 vs. $1799. But if we upgrade the "Late 2012" 21.5" iMac to 16gig gf ram (with the 16gig upgrade price at a guessed at $200 up-charge)...it would cost $1499.

    So then the comparison would be $1499 for the 21.5" "Late 2012" iMac (with 16 gig of ram)...to $1799 for the "Late 2012" 27" iMac (with 8gig of ram)...a $300 difference. Of course the 27" iMac can be upgraded later to as much as 32gig of ram.

    Personally I would still get the 27" iMac for all theses reasons:

    - larger display
    - higher max ram
    - user upgradeable ram
    - higher end video hardware

    For me...even if there were no differences in ram upgradeability & video hardware between the 21.5" and 27" "Late 2012" iMac's. I would still get the 27" iMac simply due to the much larger display!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

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