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  1. #1
    New iMac memory?
    cowbrain's Avatar
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    New iMac memory?
    Hello all.

    I've read conflicting reports on the internet, so I thought I'd ask here for a definitive answer:

    My daughter is buying a new 21.5 inch 4k retina imac. She needs at least 16GB RAM (for sound editing on video productions).
    Can this model be upgraded after purchase, or does she have to pay the extra and get Apple to upgrade the RAM before purchase?
    Although I've read pages saying it can be done, I've read more pages saying it can't - I fear that this is probably the case?

    I'm something of an Apple fan, but am becoming jaded by the lack of user upgradability from the company.

    While I'm here: is there an advantage to having soldered RAM, over standard plug in RAM?

    Thanks in advance.
    Best wishes, CB
    MBP 2.9GHz i7, 16GB DDR(Crucial), 512GB SSD (Crucial M550) OSX 10.11.6
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  2. #2
    New iMac memory?
    Raz0rEdge's Avatar
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    Direct from the horses mouth..

    Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 1.32.08 PM.png

    The 21.5 iMac has 'onboard' memory, meaning that its soldered on. You cannot change it, you will need to configure the machine to 16GB at build time. The 27" iMac on the other hand does have the user accessible memory. The iMac doesn't have many upgradable parts, but the memory was a nice one to have since Apple charges you a premium for the upgrade as compared to buying compatible RAM from other vendors..

    Soldered ram or slotted RAM use the same memory interface so it doesn't matter. Going soldered (when not user accessible) helps with mechanical layout and so on.
    --
    Regards
    ...Ashwin


  3. #3
    New iMac memory?
    cowbrain's Avatar
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    Thank you. Much appreciated.

    That's going to hike up the price for her!
    Ah, well. C'est la vie.

    Thanks, CB
    MBP 2.9GHz i7, 16GB DDR(Crucial), 512GB SSD (Crucial M550) OSX 10.11.6
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  4. #4
    New iMac memory?
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowbrain View Post
    That's going to hike up the price for her!
    Ah, well. C'est la vie.
    If you want user upgradeable RAM...get a 27" iMac. Of course the 27" is bigger, heavier, and more expensive.

    But hey...that 27" iMac price increase isn't as crazy as it sounds. Looking at US prices:

    - 21" 4K iMac with the 16gig RAM upgrade = $1699
    - 27" Entry level 27" 5K iMac (8gig RAM) = $1799

    Also keep in mind the 21" iMac maxes out at 16gig of RAM (non-user upgradeable). The 27" iMac can be upgraded to 64gig of RAM (user upgradeable).

    - Nick

    p.s. 27" display is wayyy better than the 21". Of course the 27" is larger & heavier.
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
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  5. #5
    New iMac memory?
    chscag's Avatar
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    Totally agree with Nick. No way I would purchase a non upgradeable 4K 21.5" iMac when the 27" model Nick mentioned is only US $100 more. Your daughter is not going to carry around a 21.5" iMac anyway, so a 27" will just take up a bit more room on her desk. And if she is into video productions, she will appreciate the larger and better screen the 5K iMac has.

  6. #6
    New iMac memory?
    cowbrain's Avatar
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    Thanks, Nick and chscag, appreciate the replies.

    It's good advice. The software she uses already requires 16GB minimum, so a future upgrade may be needed if they update the software.
    Price difference in the UK between the 21.5 (16GB) and the 27 (8GB) is £120. That may not seem much, in light of what you get for your money, but she's already stretching herself to afford the 21.5 - and then she'd have to buy the extra memory - approx £120 from Crucial (My finances are in a mess, so I can't really help). She's also looking at Apple's payment plans (rather than an outright purchase), so there may be some wriggle room there.

    I'm meeting her for lunch, tomorrow and I'll pass on your advice and we'll take things from there.

    Again, thanks for your help. I really appreciate it. It will help her to make a more informed decision.
    Best wishes, CB
    MBP 2.9GHz i7, 16GB DDR(Crucial), 512GB SSD (Crucial M550) OSX 10.11.6
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  7. #7
    New iMac memory?
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowbrain View Post
    I'm meeting her for lunch, tomorrow and I'll pass on your advice and we'll take things from there.
    It may be possible to bridge the "money gap" between the 21" and 27" by checking out the Apple refurbished area. Usually you save at least 15%...and sometimes more.

    For example...15% works out to be about £225 on a £1500 purchase.

    - 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

  8. #8
    New iMac memory?
    cowbrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    It may be possible to bridge the "money gap" between the 21" and 27" by checking out the Apple refurbished area. Usually you save at least 15%...and sometimes more.

    For example...15% works out to be about £225 on a £1500 purchase.

    - Nick
    Ah, yes! I always forget to look through the refurbished stuff, when I'm in the online store! Definitely worth a browse.
    Great idea. Many thanks, CB
    MBP 2.9GHz i7, 16GB DDR(Crucial), 512GB SSD (Crucial M550) OSX 10.11.6
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  9. #9
    New iMac memory?
    pm-r's Avatar
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    There's also the difference with the HDDs in each, 5400RPM in the 21" and 7200RPM in the 27", even though some say they're not too far apart in actual speed use, but I'd sure question that, and especially when high end video use will be involved. I'd definitely go for the 27", but then again, I'm used to my 2011 model!!! AND bought "used" that saved a few hundred dollars cdn, so definitely checkout the Apple refurb units at least.

    For the various specs on the iMacs, you might want to bookmark the everymac page:
    http://www.everymac.com/systems/appl...ndex-imac.html



    Patrick
    =====

  10. #10
    New iMac memory?
    cowbrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pm-r View Post
    There's also the difference with the HDDs in each, 5400RPM in the 21" and 7200RPM in the 27", even though some say they're not too far apart in actual speed use, but I'd sure question that, and especially when high end video use will be involved. I'd definitely go for the 27", but then again, I'm used to my 2011 model!!! AND bought "used" that saved a few hundred dollars cdn, so definitely checkout the Apple refurb units at least.

    For the various specs on the iMacs, you might want to bookmark the everymac page:
    http://www.everymac.com/systems/appl...ndex-imac.html



    Patrick
    =====
    Thanks, Patrick.

    Yes, I did notice that, as I was browsing the iMacs specs. I haven't got her software list to hand, but I'm sure one of them mentioned minimum HDD speeds (probably 7200). Ideally, she'd get a SSD - but the more we add, the higher the price, of course.

    Checked the refurbished page and no iMacs on the UK site, today - but, will keep checking.

    It's such a major investment for her that I hope we can buy new from Apple. But, if the system requirements of her software are too demanding across the board, we may have to look at used machines. We'll see how it goes, tomorrow.

    Again, I thank you all for your help in this matter.
    Best wishes, CB
    MBP 2.9GHz i7, 16GB DDR(Crucial), 512GB SSD (Crucial M550) OSX 10.11.6
    iPhone SE

  11. #11
    New iMac memory?
    Slydude's Avatar
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    If she is going to do anything with video editing / capture I'd try to stretch the budget to at least a 7200 rpm drive. A few years ago I was capturing some video from some old vhs tapes. My normal drive was almost full due to the size of the files so I connected another drive and finished the capture session. When I played back the file the audio and video were out of synch with each other. The suspect files were all on the slower drive.
    “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
    Kevin Durant

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