Best value for $$$ - upgrade???

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I'm about to buy a new iMac and to stay within my budget I can choose one of three options:

- Upgrade from an ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO w/256MB GDDR3 to a NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS w/512MB GDDR3

- Upgrade from a 2.8 core 2 duo to a 3.06 core 2 duo

- upgrade from 2gb ram to 4gb

Is 256mb of graphics memory pretty good? Will I notice a huge difference between 256 and 512? I don't do much 3d stuff, and basically I just want everything like time machine, spaces, etc to display really smoothly. So of those 3 options, what do you think my best value would be?

Thanks!
 
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Your Mac's Specs
17 inch 2 GHz C2D imac (5,1) with 3GB DDR2 RAM, X1600 (128MB memory) GPU - OSX 10.6.3
Well here are my 2¢ worth of info. Firstly I think the machine will fly for what you want it to do without any of these 3 options. But as you want to pick one of the 3 I'll say how I feel on them.

1. The graphics card. If you intend on playing games or doing some good video editing then you'll notice the upgrade and it'll be worth it. Especially if you chose to play any high end games.

2. CPU upgrade. I don't you'll notice the difference in any real world applications. Well you're only looking at about a 8% difference here. Not much really. I've never had a slow down on my 2Ghz imac ever. And I don't forsee you having one ever.

3. Yes and no. For me 2 GB if ran is great and my mac flies. But if you think you'll be needing the extra Ram, do not get it through apple. Just stick with the 2 GB standard. And get the extra ram from a 3rd party seller. 2 reasons why. Apple do not disclose what brand of ram they use. As they just rebrand other brands of ram and put those in their machines. Sure it's good ram but personally I like to pick the brand I use. And secondly the price. It's much cheaper to get the ram elsewhere, and add it to your mac. And you can save up for it and get it whenever you want. And adding more ram in will not void your mac's warranty.

So of those 3 options I'd recommend the better graphics card. You might not see the benefits of it fully if you don't to any graphically intensive work as you say you might not do. But you can not upgrade it later. And the other two are not worth the effort or just plain cheaper to do later.
 

chscag

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2017 27" iMac, 10.5" iPad Pro, iPhone 8, iPhone 11, iPhone 12 Mini, Numerous iPods, Monterey
I agree, update the graphics card. The slightly faster CPU with larger cache probably won't be noticeable unless you're into crunching numbers or doing very CPU intensive work with the machine.

As for the memory, you definitely do NOT want Apple's upgrade as it will cost you approximately twice what you can do it yourself for. Upgrading the memory is a great idea, but do it yourself. It's easy and does not void the warranty or Apple care.

Regards.
 

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