Advice needed for iMac purchase

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Hello all experts,



This is my first post so please forgive the ignorance that may arise from my questions.

I am about to order my very first iMac. My main uses will be Office stuff, Photoshop (which I use quite in depth), and I also want to learn video editing. I just bought a Canon HV20 so my videos would be in HD. I would like to use this opportunity to learn some professional tools, so I am interested in more than just iMove. I'll probably play with Final Cut PRo and Motion at the least. My budget for the hardware is around $2K, so the Mac Pro is not really an option. So here are my questions:



- Do you guys feel it's worth spending the extra $250 to go with the 2.8ghz?



- I was told by a guy at the Apple store that I can't buy the iMac with 1Gb RAM and add 2Gb (I intent to buy them from a third party given the outrageous prices Apple has for RAM). He told me I cannot do that and the memory MUST be paired (so I can have 2x1 Gb or 2x2Gb, but not a 1Gb stick and a 2Gb stick at the same time). Is this correct?



- Is it worth going all out and getting 4Gigs of RAM? or should I start with 2Gbs and see how it performs?



- Should I spend the extra $100 for the 500Gb hard drive instead of the 320? I already have a 500Gig 7200 rpm external hard drive with 300 gigs available on it, so I do have quite a bit of space right now, but I'm just wondering if the performance is really better with an internal HDD.



Thank you so much in advance!

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by allozebad View Post


    Hello all experts,



    This is my first post so please forgive the ignorance that may arise from my questions.

    I am about to order my very first iMac. My main uses will be Office stuff, Photoshop (which I use quite in depth), and I also want to learn video editing. I just bought a Canon HV20 so my videos would be in HD. I would like to use this opportunity to learn some professional tools, so I am interested in more than just iMove. I'll probably play with Final Cut PRo and Motion at the least. My budget for the hardware is around $2K, so the Mac Pro is not really an option. So here are my questions:



    - Do you guys feel it's worth spending the extra $250 to go with the 2.8ghz?



    - I was told by a guy at the Apple store that I can't buy the iMac with 1Gb RAM and add 2Gb (I intent to buy them from a third party given the outrageous prices Apple has for RAM). He told me I cannot do that and the memory MUST be paired (so I can have 2x1 Gb or 2x2Gb, but not a 1Gb stick and a 2Gb stick at the same time). Is this correct?



    - Is it worth going all out and getting 4Gigs of RAM? or should I start with 2Gbs and see how it performs?



    - Should I spend the extra $100 for the 500Gb hard drive instead of the 320? I already have a 500Gig 7200 rpm external hard drive with 300 gigs available on it, so I do have quite a bit of space right now, but I'm just wondering if the performance is really better with an internal HDD.



    Thank you so much in advance!





    I own a 24" iMac newest version. Whoever told you the ram needs to be matched is incorrect. I purchased mine with 1 gig of ram and added a 2 gig stick without any problems at all. Just make sure the ram is the same mhz and cl5 rated and you are fine.



    I also use Photoshop CS3 without any issues at all and the 24" imac is great for me. As far as going to a 2.8 I don't really see the need but thats a personal choice I don't believe you will see any real speed advanatage, if you want spend the extra money on harddrive space.



    The only mac that needs paired memory is the Macbook because of the shared graphics. The mac mini may also fall into that because it also has shared graphics.



    I don't see any reason spending the extra money on 4gigs of ram because 32bit applications can not take advantage of the extra ram.



    Apple makes a ton of money selling ram upgrades. Also to let you know I verified the ram upgrade twice with applecare even though I knew it would not be an issue The sales person is incorrect.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    cakecake Posts: 1,010member
    Don't buy from the Apple Store.



    Buy your iMac from PowerMax or Small Dog Electronics.



    Both are Apple Authorized Resellers and you will save money by not paying sales tax - the Apple Store charges sales tax.



    Use the money you save to pay for extra RAM or faster shipping.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    pbpb Posts: 4,221member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by allozebad View Post


    - Do you guys feel it's worth spending the extra $250 to go with the 2.8ghz?



    This is completely up to you to decide. The 2.8 and 2.4 GHz processors belong to the same family and the clock speed ratio is about equal to the real performance ratio. So the 2.8 GHz CPU will be about 17% faster than the 2.4 GHz one. You have just to think how important is this difference for you. Just a hint: if your routine processing takes seconds or a few minutes to finish, it is probably not worthy. But if we talk about several hours a day, then a 17% may translate in hours per week.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by allozebad View Post


    - Is it worth going all out and getting 4Gigs of RAM? or should I start with 2Gbs and see how it performs?



    The problem with the iMac is that it has only 2 memory slots. That means 2 GB = 2 x 1 GB and 4 GB = 2 x 2 GB. So if you go with the 2 GB option and then you find out that you need 4 GB, you will need to get out the two 1 GB modules and put in their place two 2 modules of 2 GB each. This is an important point to consider.



    If I was you (involved in image/video processing), I would buy the iMac with the standard factory RAM (1 GB) and then I would go for this one to reach the 4 GB upper limit.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by allozebad View Post


    - Should I spend the extra $100 for the 500Gb hard drive instead of the 320? I already have a 500Gig 7200 rpm external hard drive with 300 gigs available on it, so I do have quite a bit of space right now, but I'm just wondering if the performance is really better with an internal HDD.



    I cannot tell about performance, but if you can get the 500 GB hard drive, I would say get it. Image and video data pile up quickly, especially when we talk about HD.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    toxotestoxotes Posts: 102member
    With Leopard coming out soon and its "Time Machine" backup feature, which will automatically back up your hard drive to an external drive (if you want it to), you might want to consider using that external as your backup drive rather than as overflow space to store primary data. In which case you may want to pony up for the extra hard drive space.



    From what I've read and seen, the 2.8 GHz model doesn't provide speed advantages that most people would notice. Myself, I decided to get the 2.4 GHz model and spend the money I saved on memory, where you will notice the difference.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cake View Post


    Don't buy from the Apple Store.

    Buy your iMac from PowerMax or Small Dog Electronics.



    Hey allozebad,



    I was just on PowerMax from the link Cake provided and they're running a special. Buy a Mac from them from now until October 14th and they'll send you Leopard FREE.



    Not a bad deal. No tax (Oregon) and free Leopard ($129). I'd do it myself but I'm waiting for Apple to update the 433 day old Mac Pro.
  • Reply 6 of 6
    Hi there,



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by allozebad View Post


    Hello all experts,

    - Do you guys feel it's worth spending the extra $250 to go with the 2.8ghz?



    Not really, but if you spend a lot of time in PS waiting for processing then maybe.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by allozebad View Post


    - I was told by a guy at the Apple store that I can't buy the iMac with 1Gb RAM and add 2Gb (I intent to buy them from a third party given the outrageous prices Apple has for RAM). He told me I cannot do that and the memory MUST be paired (so I can have 2x1 Gb or 2x2Gb, but not a 1Gb stick and a 2Gb stick at the same time). Is this correct?



    No. Matched pairs are faster (it's like disk striping, but for memory. With memory it's called interleaving rather than striping, but it's much the same). So if you're memory intensive it would a little faster - the extra gig would more than make up for it though.

    2GB + 1 GB will work fine.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by allozebad View Post


    - Is it worth going all out and getting 4Gigs of RAM? or should I start with 2Gbs and see how it performs?



    Try 3!



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by allozebad View Post


    - Should I spend the extra $100 for the 500Gb hard drive instead of the 320? I already have a 500Gig 7200 rpm external hard drive with 300 gigs available on it, so I do have quite a bit of space right now, but I'm just wondering if the performance is really better with an internal HDD.



    The internal drive isn't faster, it's the same sort of drive and USB2 or Firewire can move data off a drive a lot faster than the drive can get it off the spinny bit (most drives can sustain 6 to 10 MBytes a second, USB2/FW are in the region of 40). So maybe, but not for performance reasons.



    Cheers,



    Martin
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