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

iMac - Getting an iMac

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Member Since: Mar 23, 2007
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Hey, everybody,

New member here. I'm a long time PC user in need of a new machine, and, after some extensive research, I've decided to take the Mac plunge and purchase a 20" iMac. Issues with Windows in general over the years and Vista in particular now, have me wanting a more stable, user-friendly platform. I've been completely sold on the idea of a Mac, but do have one question for the group.

The machine I'll be getting will be pretty well upgraded over the base 20" model, e.g. 500 gb HD, 256 mb GPU. 2.3 ghZ processor. My question concerns the RAM. Money is not an issue, and I'd like to get the machine equipped with 3gb of RAM. The cost, however, is substantial over 2 gb ($575?). I'm wondering if anyone has an opinion one way or another, and I'd especially like to hear form folks who have 3 gb machines. Is the performance substantial enough over the 2 gb machine to warrant the greater price? Opinions on either side would be appreciated. I'm sure the 2 gb machine would be plenty snappy, but I'd like to get my setup right from the start, while I'm in the buying mode.

I would be using apps like Photoshop for photo editing, and various image manipulating software. Some gaming, lots of web surfing and lots of music.

Thanks for any input.
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I have 2GB in mine and never used it all. I run an image editor, text editor, web browser, project management, ftp client, itunes, instant messenger, mysql tool, and dragthing. More is better, and 3GB will 'future-proof' your mac. But right now 2GB will do you just fine.
I suggest you get the mac is as little ram as possible, and upgrade it yourself. Ram from Apple is too expensive.

Oh, if you plan to run windows in parallels or windows programs in CrossOver, you will wind up using almost all of 2GB ram.

schweb This has to be one of the best threads ever in MF history...
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Member Since: Aug 12, 2005
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RAM from Apple is expensive but it is actually cheaper to get it from them. What? lol Well Apple ship 1gig RAM iMacs with two sticks of 512meg. If you want to upgrade to say 2gig you need to replace both sticks making it more expensive, in the UK anyway, to do it yourself.

I read when the new Intel iMacs came out there was an issue that the iMac could not access 3gig as quickly as 2gig of RAM or something along those lines. Maybe someone with a better memory can comfirm or deny this?
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Member Since: Mar 23, 2007
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Thanks for the input, guys. I'd be interested to hear if anyone can shed some light on what Jammers said about Intel iMacs doing better with 2GB of RAM versus 3GB. Like I said, getting the 3GB machine is no problem from a financial standpoint, I just want to get the best set-up possible right out of the gate.

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giulio is right, there is no need for more than 2GB. I have 2.5 GB in my machine (granted it is not an iMac, but it is still a Mac) and I have never used it all - I keep MenuMeters running in my system menu bar, so I am able to always see a quick visual of how much memory is in use.

With Photoshop CS2, Safari, Thunderbird and a host of other applications open, I have never seen it even approach 2 GB used. You should save your money in this case!

My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
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