Which to buy and why?

Joined
Sep 26, 2011
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Your Mac's Specs
iMac 27", i7 3.4Ghz, 4GB RAM, 2GB graphics card, 1TB drive
Am considering buying an iMac 27", my first iMac, and can't decide which is best. Any advice welcome. Thanks

Option 1
CPU: Intel Core i7 2.93GHz
Memory (RAM): 4GB 2 x 2GB
Hard Drive: 1TB SATA
Dedicated Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5750 1GB GDDR5
1 firewire, 4 USB
with 3 year Apple care included

Option2
CPU: Intel Core i5 3.1GHz
Memory (RAM): 4GB DDR3 2 x 2GB
Hard Drive: 1TB
Dedicated Graphics: Radeon HD 6970 1GB GDDR5
2 thunderbolt, 1 firewire, 4 USB


I would be using the above at home and mainly for editing photographs.

Comments welcome or advice on how to improve either of the above.

Thanks
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
28
Reaction score
1
Points
3
Your Mac's Specs
MacBook Air 10.7, iMac 21" 10.7
Option 1 is definitely better for performance wise, but if you don't want to spend the extra money I would probably go with option 2. It would be absolutely fine for editing photographs and normal home computer usage (i.e. web-browsing, email, etc.) The SSD is a good thing to have if you need to access files quicker, but for what you need to do it probably won't matter too much. By the way, option two also has the Thunderbolt ports =D
 

IWT


Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Messages
10,410
Reaction score
2,323
Points
113
Location
Born Scotland. Worked all over UK. Live in Wales
Your Mac's Specs
M2 Max Studio Extra, 32GB memory, 4TB, Sonoma 14.5 Apple 5K Retina Studio Monitor
If it was me, I would choose option 2.

Both options are more than adequate to deal with your needs, as stated.

In my view, the slightly better performance of option 1 is more than compensated for by the 2 Thunderbolt ports which (when hardware is fully available) will allow very fast transfer times in both directions. It is therefore slightly more "future proof" than option 1.

I'm sure you will greatly enjoy your Mac whatever you buy.

Ian
 
OP
P
Joined
Sep 26, 2011
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Your Mac's Specs
iMac 27", i7 3.4Ghz, 4GB RAM, 2GB graphics card, 1TB drive
Thank you for your comments.
I'm not sure what you mean with SSD sc8ing, but computers are not my thing hence the questions.

Option 1 is £200 cheaper than option 2 and the extra RAM I will buy for either machine is also cheaper with option 1.

My main concern was the difference in graphics card as option 1, ATI Radeon HD 5750, I thought was an older card than options 2's Radeon HD 6970 and I wasn't sure how much I might be losing out in that respect.

With the limited thunderbolt port in option 1 is it possible to daisy chain a number of peripherals off it as you could with USB's or does that detrementally effect the performance.

Thanks again and I'll post my final decision when I do eventually make it.
 
OP
P
Joined
Sep 26, 2011
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Your Mac's Specs
iMac 27", i7 3.4Ghz, 4GB RAM, 2GB graphics card, 1TB drive
Ooops my mistake option 1 has no thunderbolt port.

Not sure of how or when I would use this although I understand it to be very quick data transfer.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
315
Reaction score
13
Points
18
Location
NYC
Your Mac's Specs
Late 2015 27" iMac, 3.3ghz, M395 gpu, 2tb Fusion, 8gb
From the specs, I'd say that option 2 is the newer machine, and when buying things like this I'd go for the newest. That said, you can't predict the future of Thunderbolt and whether that is really an advantage. I remember them saying the same about Firewire, but that was never as big an advantage. USB caught up quickly and there are a lot more USB peripherals. I'm staring at a port labeled 1394 on my Lenovo laptop and I'd bet it has never been used.

SSD is an option if you are buying a new machine, but if you are buying used or refurb you are not likely to find it. It is also expensive. They are blazing fast, much faster than a hard drive. I put one in my old iMac and you notice the speed difference. However, they are not easily installed as an add-on, but not impossible either.
 
OP
P
Joined
Sep 26, 2011
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Your Mac's Specs
iMac 27", i7 3.4Ghz, 4GB RAM, 2GB graphics card, 1TB drive
Budget increasing

Thanks zacster. I'm looking to buy new and the ssd adds £500 on about price so am going to give that a miss for this machine.
Am moving away from option 1 and now considering OPTION 3!!! Same spec as option 2 but is an i7 3.4Ghz and is £200 more than option 2 and £400 more than option 1.
Just don't want to make the wrong decision with this kind of money at stake.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
315
Reaction score
13
Points
18
Location
NYC
Your Mac's Specs
Late 2015 27" iMac, 3.3ghz, M395 gpu, 2tb Fusion, 8gb
That's probably overkill actually. It certainly wouldn't hurt.
 
OP
P
Joined
Sep 26, 2011
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Your Mac's Specs
iMac 27", i7 3.4Ghz, 4GB RAM, 2GB graphics card, 1TB drive
@ zacster Kill, kill, kill - you are probably right.
Start with the basic machine and then its for just another £100 you get this or £200 and you get this but for just £400 you get this, this and this - bargain!?
Having been looking at Window machines but including a 27" monitor of a similar quality to the iMac and the price is very similar. I hear people say you can build cheaper but I'm not going to do that. I know too little.
As the machine will last me 5+ years (others machines have lasted 10 years) I'll probably go for overkill now and hope that gives it future proofing to a degree.
No final decision but all these comments are helping.
Thanks
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
315
Reaction score
13
Points
18
Location
NYC
Your Mac's Specs
Late 2015 27" iMac, 3.3ghz, M395 gpu, 2tb Fusion, 8gb
I did some self education on the subject of Intel processors, motherboards, chipsets and graphics yesterday. (I was bored at work.) Anyway, what I came away with was that the latest Intel processors, the Sandy Bridge ones, are far and away faster than last year's models. But here's the rub, Intel didn't bother to rename them, so that the i3, i5, and i7 are still named the same, but the newer Sandy Bridge processors are an entirely different beast. Apple doesn't actually specify which version you have, but all the latest iMac and MBP models have them, not sure about the mini. They are ALL quad core, they have hardware video transcoding built in, support HDMI full res audio, and a bunch of other esoteric features. There is built in HD3000 graphics on some models, and these graphics are supposed to be pretty good and sufficient for all but the most demanding 3d graphics and games. The iMacs all have graphics cards anyway, so this feature isn't used.

So, even more reason to NOT buy that last year's model and get the current one instead. From what I read, that i7 processor is really killer and may be worth it. Retail, the difference is more like $100, but Apple always sucks that last bit out of you.

This may not be news to some of you, but to the casual user of a Mac you don't usually pay attention to what is what.
 

bobtomay

,
Retired Staff
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
26,561
Reaction score
677
Points
113
Location
Texas, where else?
Your Mac's Specs
15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '14 1.8 i7 8GB 10.11; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.11; 6S
Just one item of clarification for those that did not read the beginning of the thread (and only because this came up earlier today). The discussion is about the iMac. So, when zacster notes that "they are ALL quad cores", he is referring to the current retail iMac lineup. "ALL" referencing quad cores does not apply to the notebook line which uses mobile chips and not desktop chips.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
315
Reaction score
13
Points
18
Location
NYC
Your Mac's Specs
Late 2015 27" iMac, 3.3ghz, M395 gpu, 2tb Fusion, 8gb
Yes, I checked Newegg and there are dual core available. The Intel review and videos I've seen were from when they first came out and they kept saying all quad core. Probably the first runs were, and then they released some less expensive dual core versions. Not everybody needs quad core anyway, and so little software makes good use of them.
 

bobtomay

,
Retired Staff
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
26,561
Reaction score
677
Points
113
Location
Texas, where else?
Your Mac's Specs
15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '14 1.8 i7 8GB 10.11; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.11; 6S
Any dual core you found would be a previous model. You were correct related to the iMac. All the current models are quad core except for a single model that is available for sale to educational institutions only.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
315
Reaction score
13
Points
18
Location
NYC
Your Mac's Specs
Late 2015 27" iMac, 3.3ghz, M395 gpu, 2tb Fusion, 8gb
There are dual core Sandy Bridge processors is what I meant. Apple only uses a small subset of what is available.
 
OP
P
Joined
Sep 26, 2011
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Your Mac's Specs
iMac 27", i7 3.4Ghz, 4GB RAM, 2GB graphics card, 1TB drive
Looks like I'm going to have to bite the bullet and fork out a little more cash or have a litlle more kindly sucked from me by Apple to
a) buy the latest so I will have no regrets
b) have a very fast machine now that will to a degree be future proofed and
c) to make sure my first foray into the iMac world is a very happy one
Thanks for all the advice and any one else wanting to make a recommendation please do.
 
OP
P
Joined
Sep 26, 2011
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Your Mac's Specs
iMac 27", i7 3.4Ghz, 4GB RAM, 2GB graphics card, 1TB drive
I did it :)
Spent 50% more than intended but the machine is fast.
Went for an iMac 27" i7 3.4Ghz with 1TB hard drive 2GB video card and 4GB RAM.
Running Lightroom 3 it is so much faster than the PC I had before and the screen is a dream.
Still getting used to the way the Mac works but no real complaints.
I am enjoying processing my photos now so will be taking and sharing many more, which was the reason I bought the iMac.
Job is a good'un.
Thanks for all the comments.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
315
Reaction score
13
Points
18
Location
NYC
Your Mac's Specs
Late 2015 27" iMac, 3.3ghz, M395 gpu, 2tb Fusion, 8gb
That machine better be fast! I've been using a Lenovo Thinkpad i7 the last few days and it too is fast, but I'm sure the iMac is even faster.

Enjoy it.
 

Shop Amazon


Shop for your Apple, Mac, iPhone and other computer products on Amazon.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.
Top