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Purchasing an iMac


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#1 Buceta Monster

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 03:14 AM

So I stumbled upon this site through Google, spent some time reading through the topics on here and my general idea of what I was going to purchase started to change. I plan on purchasing an iMac soon, possibly tomorrow. The 27' iMac, now I will use that computer for everything, movies, games, school, & working on some development of apps. In the configuration process of the iMac on the Apple Store, I went with the 3.4 i7 instead of the 3.1 i5. I upgraded the ram to 8 GB, 1 TB hard drive, and an extra 1 GB of memory on the 6970m.

I definitely want the 8 GB's of ram cause I don't plan on upgrading my computer for a long long time. The 1 TB storage because I plan on storing a lot of 1080p movies. Now here is my question, especially for gaming, will I need that upgrade to i7? Or will I be better off with the i5? I see people prefer the i5 and in some benchmarks I saw, the i5 worked just as fast. 2nd question, is upgrading to an extra GB of memory worth the $100 Apple charges? Saving some money would help, but if it comes at a cost of performance I rather just pay for it, but I come to you guys for some insight and see what you guys say about it.

Some of the games I plan on playing would be Starcraft 2 & League of Legends, I'm also waiting on Dota 2 & Diablo 3. Also I heard of bootcamp, but is it reliable to use? League is one of my favorite games and I know they have no Mac Client out for the game, so I wanted to try out bootcamp for it but I heard that you have to restart the computer? If anyone can clarify, that would be great!


#2 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 10:29 AM

For gaming you won't see a difference with the i5 and i7. Especially not with that graphics card anyway.
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#3 Buceta Monster

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 11:07 AM

View PostThain Esh Kelch, on 04 August 2011 - 10:29 AM, said:

For gaming you won't see a difference with the i5 and i7. Especially not with that graphics card anyway.

What about the extra GB of ram on the graphics card? Is it beneficial of having? I mean would games in the future make use of it?

#4 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 11:46 AM

View PostBuceta Monster, on 04 August 2011 - 11:07 AM, said:

What about the extra GB of ram on the graphics card? Is it beneficial of having? I mean would games in the future make use of it?

The 2 GB's on the graphics card may increase performance in a few games, but in general you'll be fine with the 1 GB version.

I think the best performing setup for the dollars that it looks like your willing to shell out would be the following:
i5 CPU
4 GB's of RAM (upgrade this yourself when you feel that the 4 GB's has become limiting)
1 GB 6970M
1 TB HDD + 256 GB SSD

trust me the SSD will make a massive difference in your computing speed, everything will open faster, load quicker, feel more responsive. It won't help render times or game frame rates, but it will make your computer feel literally extremely faster then the identical computer without an SSD. I'm never buying a computer without an SSD ever again after having one in my trusty old macbook pro. The speed difference is just insane. (e.g: 21 second restart times)
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#5 The Liberator

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 07:45 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 04 August 2011 - 11:46 AM, said:

...trust me the SSD will make a massive difference in your computing speed, everything will open faster, load quicker, feel more responsive. It won't help render times or game frame rates, but it will make your computer feel literally extremely faster then the identical computer without an SSD. I'm never buying a computer without an SSD ever again after having one in my trusty old macbook pro. The speed difference is just insane. (e.g: 21 second restart times)
So you are saying the $600* is worth it?

I would tend to disagree, then again I have never used an SSD.

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#6 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 07:52 PM

View PostThe Liberator, on 04 August 2011 - 07:45 PM, said:

So you are saying the $600* is worth it?

I would tend to disagree, then again I have never used an SSD.

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He was gonna spend $600 on the i7 upgrade, 2 GB's of VRAM, and 8 GB's of RAM. I think that the SSD is a better upgrade then all those things
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#7 DrJohnFever

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 09:01 PM

I agree. SSDs make life more enjoyable. .3GHz, 2mb of l3 cache dont do anything noticeable. An extra GB of VRAM has the potential to help pushing the massive amount of pixels he is going to, but extra RAM is useless, especially as it is the easiest component to upgrade.

#8 Buceta Monster

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 10:54 PM

View PostDrJohnFever, on 04 August 2011 - 09:01 PM, said:

I agree. SSDs make life more enjoyable. .3GHz, 2mb of l3 cache dont do anything noticeable. An extra GB of VRAM has the potential to help pushing the massive amount of pixels he is going to, but extra RAM is useless, especially as it is the easiest component to upgrade.

I definitely have been persuaded into getting the 1 TB with 256 SSD. $600 is a hike in price so now I'm just debating on probably leaving it at 4 GB of ram. How much will a 4 GB of ram run me in the future if I would want to upgrade and how hard is it to install? And I'm still debating on the extra GB of ram for the video card...lol

#9 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 11:44 PM

Currently there are no games on the market that'll use more than 1 GB VRAM. Maybe future games will, such as Rage with its "Mega Textures", but the card itself will probably be too slow to exploit that anyway.

Definitely use the money on an SSD - And that comes from someone who just bought the 3.4 i7 with 2 GB VRAM, without an SSD. I was quite surprised that it is no faster than my late-2006 MBP, due to the harddrive being the same speed. Yes, Handbrake encodes are much faster, but in day to day work, I really miss an SSD.

And please, stop formatting your entire posts in italics.

Edit: And for gaming, no need to buy more than the stock 4 GB RAM - Unless you have Photoshop or Final Cut Pro running in the background at all times. And they are easily replaceable by even your mom later on, and much cheaper than what Apple sells.
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And now, time for some Legend of Zelda.

iMac 2011, quad 3,4Ghz i7, 8GB RAM, 2GB Radeon 6970m.

#10 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 07:32 AM

View PostBuceta Monster, on 04 August 2011 - 10:54 PM, said:

I definitely have been persuaded into getting the 1 TB with 256 SSD. $600 is a hike in price so now I'm just debating on probably leaving it at 4 GB of ram. How much will a 4 GB of ram run me in the future if I would want to upgrade and how hard is it to install? And I'm still debating on the extra GB of ram for the video card...lol

Other World Computing sells 8 GB's of RAM for the iMac for $75 (or 16 GB for $154). So in a year or two just get that and install it. There's tons of helpful how to videos on the web.
- Snake

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Odinheim - Core i3 4150 @ 3.5 GHz || 16 GB RAM || GTX 760  || 120 GB Vertex 4 + 1 TB Seagate SSHD || Win 7 Pro x64

#11 rob_ART

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 08:10 AM

View PostBuceta Monster, on 04 August 2011 - 11:07 AM, said:

What about the extra GB of ram on the graphics card? Is it beneficial of having? I mean would games in the future make use of it?

I recently did some testing with Portal 2 while observing VRAM use with OpenGL Driver Monitor (Developer Tool). It was gobbling up 1GB and more. So I contend that if you are playing state of the art games at high quality settings and high resolutions, the 2GB GPU will give you a performance advantage. Otherwise, the CPU will spend a lot of time waiting for the GPU to do memory swaps.
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#12 DrJohnFever

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 02:53 PM

VRAM does sometimes help, in certain games but not others. However, SSDs are significantly more important than a couple extra FPS here and there.

#13 Buceta Monster

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 06:10 AM

Thank you guys very much for the help, you guys made me purchase a better iMac in the end. I purchased it last night with overnight shipping so hopefully I get it on Monday. I went with the following

i5 processor
4 GB of ram
1 TB + 256 SSD
6970m 2GB VRAM

If I have any questions I know where to go ;-)

#14 The Liberator

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 07:15 AM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 04 August 2011 - 07:52 PM, said:

He was gonna spend $600 on the i7 upgrade, 2 GB's of VRAM, and 8 GB's of RAM. I think that the SSD is a better upgrade then all those things
Ahhh, okay, I see what you mean. I personally would still keep the $600 and use it for something else. That is just me, and I also have not used an SSD.

View PostDrJohnFever, on 04 August 2011 - 09:01 PM, said:

I agree. SSDs make life more enjoyable. .3GHz, 2mb of l3 cache dont do anything noticeable. An extra GB of VRAM has the potential to help pushing the massive amount of pixels he is going to, but extra RAM is useless, especially as it is the easiest component to upgrade.

View PostThain Esh Kelch, on 04 August 2011 - 11:44 PM, said:

…Definitely use the money on an SSD - And that comes from someone who just bought the 3.4 i7 with 2 GB VRAM, without an SSD. I was quite surprised that it is no faster than my late-2006 MBP, due to the harddrive being the same speed. Yes, Handbrake encodes are much faster, but in day to day work, I really miss an SSD.

Edit: And for gaming, no need to buy more than the stock 4 GB RAM - Unless you have Photoshop or Final Cut Pro running in the background at all times. And they are easily replaceable by even your mom later on, and much cheaper than what Apple sells.
As a now unneeded comment, I agree with both of the guys above. I will not need more than 4GB of RAM or the i7 CPU. Have fun with your new machine. I still although also agree with Sneaky Snake that you will find the 2GB of VRAM will generally be unnecessary. …then again, it might actually be a good investment.

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Custom: 3.4 GHz i5 | 16GB RAM | Win 7 SP 1 | nVidia GeForce GTX 660 OCII | 2GB VRAM


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