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roberto343 Level 1 (0 points)

I want the second option of the 21.5 inch imac and was wondering if its worth spending the extra $200 for the .2GHz and the i7. Or should i just go for the cheapest version of the iMac and just get the fusion drive at 2.7GHz. I edit a bunch of videos and upload them, I need to get something fast. But which would make that faster the fusion drive or the extra GHz and the i7. So should I get the 21.5 inch iMac with the 3.1 GHz quad core for $1700 or the cheaper one with 2.7GHz i5 but with the fusion drive for $1550. I edit and upload a lot of videos so which option would help me most with that. Also I was thinking about the mac Mini with 2.6GHz quad core i7 with fusion drive for $1150 and get a 27 inch asus monitor. I really have no idea and need help on which would be the best option. Thank you guys.

  • VikingOSX Level 6 (15,761 points)

    This is just an opinion.


    Stretch and get the base model 27 inch iMac with 8GB memory. Possibly with a full-size keyboard. Then, your only decision will be storage capacity and type. Stay away from the Mac mini without discrete graphics card.



    1. Larger workspace
    2. Faster, multi-threaded CPU and graphics
    3. Upgradeable memory
  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 (25,715 points)

    Be aware that there have been reported problems, specifically frame drops, for users with fusion drives doing video capture.


    See Mac mini (Late 2012) and iMac (Late 2012): About Fusion Drive


    One thing you didn't mention is the memory. Remember if you get the 21 inch model the memory is not user upgradeable so you may wnt to max it out now.

  • VikingOSX Level 6 (15,761 points)

    That fusion frame drop issue was in the back of my mind, because of how it works, not because I had read any report. Good preparatory knowledge.

  • MichelPM Level 6 (11,373 points)

    VikingOS X gives good advise.

    Some extra thought

    I would go for the higher end option 27 inch screen model as it has the faster graphics processor.

    Also, budget to be able to install more third party RAM, at least another 8 GBs of RAM for a total of 16 GBs.

    I recommend installing more RAM than this if you can afford to do so.

    Third party RAM is cheaper than what Apple charges.

    Also, and this is very, VERY important! Budget and register for the 3- year extended AppleCare plan.

    I mean this! I can't stress this enough! These newer iMacs are just prone to issues and component failures.

    Having 3-years of AppleCare means three years of not paying for a single repair or replacement.

    With iMacs, especially these new closed, sealed appliance-like models, if you do not try and order custom components that you may need for the future, not just for the present, and later, like a year or two down the road,you feel you need some feature/upgrade component that was available, you'll be out of luck as there is now virtually no way to add these components later.

    Don't buy a iMac you think you can make do with for now to some some cash as if you do this, you will be sorry and upset you didn't purchase some of the better component options.

    Good Luck!

  • roberto343 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks everyone. So what I understand I should upgrade the ram and don't go near the fusion drive. Also so should I get the $1500 dollar IMac and get the i7 chip or go withy he 27 inch and 2.9GHz and upgrade my ram through thrift party. So is the Ram more important than upgrading to the i7?

  • MichelPM Level 6 (11,373 points)

    I would just stay away from the 21 in screen models.

    There is no upgradeability in this model any longer. You can't even upgrade the RAM in these models any longer.

    I consider the new 21 inch models to be inferior Macs, now.

    Stay with the 27 inch models.

    For video work CPU, GPU and RAM are all considerations.

    For CPU, get the fastest you can afford.

    Get the 1 GB VRAM video for sure and perhaps consider the 2 GB VRAM although you might fine with 1 GB of VRAM. 512 VRAM  you'll find just won't be enough graphics power for video.

    Get the base RAM and order third party RAM to install, at least 16 GBs of RAM. More RAM if you can afford.

    My opinion.

    Good luck!

  • Crows2012 Level 1 (10 points)

    Hi roberto. I've been in a similar boat to you re which imac to choose. I have had some great advice here, some in an applestore from a confident source and from spending my fair share of time on the net.


    If you look at the website of "the videoguys" and look at pc specs for video editing you'll see a great overall write up.  They mention i7 is the best option for professionals. If you are not that and you can wait a while more for importing, exporting and rendering then they have the i5 as being fine and a min requirement. They also talk about ideally having a min 1gb vram.


    On a budget, it appears to me that the the stock 3.2ghz 27" is well placed/suitable.




    avoids the 5400rpm cheaper imacs,

    has owner upgradable ram,

    a strong 3.2 i5 quad core,

    and a graphic card quite a bit better than the entry point 27"


    The card is also 1gb vram.


    I think the i7 is more of a luxury item as the cores (most of the times will not be needed by us, as I see it IMHO, except for times mentioned above which will only require a little more waiting - is 5-20% more waiting ONLY at these times that important for you? That's for you to answer.


    Also the 2gb vram 680 card seems like overkill for our needs. I think IMHO that the 1gb will be quite handy and very beneficial ateast for the next few years and you really can't expect to future proof for too long a period.


    I too have always had concerns for the fusion drive,and question benefits for video editing. I'm waiting for feedback over next 12 months.


    Another thing I read was a view that with the release of the imacs the i7 is likely to be outdated not too much after the i5 gets outdated in the future (some years away) so I don't beige we should look at the i7 option as a future proof benefit as opposed to the quicker processes mentioned above.


    I have gone back and forward with my selections (changed about 4 times) and tonight I am confidentimac video editing options I am sticking with the 27 inch 3.2. I could have gone $200 cheaper but that 1gb vram sets me up very nicely for the next 2-3 years and probably pretty handily for a couple after that. If not, if i need better specs and my uses and needs change, then there will be no dramas selling it after 2 and buying again.


    At the end of the day the cheapest imac will video edit (slower) and when on a budget or just wanting to buy smart the top end is overkill IMHO (again)


    Good luck with whatever way you go

  • dwb Level 7 (22,610 points)

    The first thing you need to do is determine how the computer will be used. The Mac mini would not be the best choice for someone who likes playing games (other than casual games) because it uses Intel's integrated video. Other than that limitation the mini is a fine computer. To me, the big disadvantage of the 21.5" iMac is that RAM is not a user upgrade but the graphics card of the top level 21.5" will be fine for most people. Of course its hard to argue with all the real estate of a 27" display (unless your desk or budget can't handle it). As far as speed is concerned even for the entry level computers, there's no such thing as a slow computer. The computer spends more time waiting for us than we spend waiting for it.

  • MichelPM Level 6 (11,373 points)


    I forgot about that the 21 inch screen models have the slower 5400 rpm drives.

    Not fast enough, IMO, for any serious video work.

    Tthe 21 inch model iMacs are geared more for the general, casual Mac user and not for any real Pro use.

    For the professional user, the 21 inch screen models are now not up to the challenge.

    Just stick with the 27 inch screen models.

    You get the faster 7200 rpm drives, choice of VRAM, better choices for HD storage sizes, user upgradeable/installable RAM. It's the proper way to go.

  • digibudII Level 2 (415 points)

        The i7 for sure...add your own RAM in a 27" or max out a 21", but with regard to the fusion....  I would check to find out if you can (I think you can) reformat the fusion drive to allow it to be split into two separate drives, SSD plus HD. If you can do that without voiding the warranty that is exactly what I would do.  My concern over the fusion drive appears to have been smart and it's why I got a refurb 2011 and I was doubly glad I did when I saw that Apple dropped the 256GB SSD option forcing people into a very expensive big SSD if they didn't want a fusion drive. I still don't get that.

       A refurb 2011 is still a good option if you get an SSD model (assuming they still pop up at times).

  • dwb Level 7 (22,610 points)

    Partitioning the hard drive doesn't void warrany. Partitioning a fusion drive results in one partition that is still a fusion drive and a partition that is merely hard drive. It is also possible to 'unmarry' the SSD and hard drive to have two physical drives. See this article.


    In response to MichelPM: Your claim that the 21.5" isn't for professionals cannot be supported. Professional writers? Professional artists? Programmers? Doctors? Lawyers? All could use the 21.5" iMac perfectly well. Professional videographers may well prefer the 27" iMac, though I know several who work from notebooks and not all notebooks have 7200RPM drives. Further, it is simple to split the Fusion drive into an SSD and hard drive (see link above) which totally negates the argument. Your preference might be a 27" iMac, mine too, but some times what you prefer and what you can have aren't the same.

  • MichelPM Level 6 (11,373 points)

    I am a creative. I do graphics, illustration, digital art , CGI, video, music and audio.

    So, I really meant creative professionals.

    My bad.


  • roberto343 Level 1 (0 points)

    Okay I just want to say I don't have $2000 to spend on a iMac. I'm not a professional video editor. I'm not spending no more than 1700 on this thing and I don't want to spend that much. Is 1GB of VRAM really that important, and should I spend my money upgrading ram or to the i7?

  • Crows2012 Level 1 (10 points)

    I'd go, and am going with RAM first (but if getting a 27inch that can wait to see yourself how the 8gb are suiting you).


    Then vram of 1gb which would be a luxury item that will benefit you more and more over time.


    I think the i7 is your final step of choices.

    If you're looking to se your imac within 2 years you could swap the order of the vram and i7 but the RAM is the one to look at on e you've opened the box and played with the 8gb.

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