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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Building a new iMac

Building a new iMac
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Nov 16, 2013, 03:20 PM
 
My son's beloved early 2010 iMac's video card died last week, we were quoted about $450 to replace it, so it seems a new one is in order.

I'm thinking the higher end 27", with 1 TB Fusion drive and the upgraded video card with 4gb of video ram. I'll go with base ram and upgrade that myself. I'm torn on the whether or not to upgrade the processor to the i7 as well?? Any advice? Thanks!
     
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Nov 16, 2013, 04:27 PM
 
If I was building an iMac right now, the i7 would be on my must have list in addition to the upgrades you mentioned. I do a lot of Aperture work, and always have about 5 apps open at a time, but even if your new iMac would be used for less stressful purposes, the i7 will give it a longer useful life.

In summary i7
2.7Ghz 15" Mid 2012 MBP 16GB RAM 7.2k 750GB HD anti-glare display|64GB iPad4 ATT LTE|
     
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Nov 16, 2013, 08:10 PM
 
Note that the current iMacs are *very* hard to crack open, so don't assume you can upgrade the HD later. If you anticipate needing more storage, get a bigger drive from the start. Or plan on external storage.

The 27" does allow easy RAM upgrades, so you're good on that front.

Regarding the i7, what will you be using it for? If you're mostly browsing the internet, the quad-core i5 is already overkill.
     
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Nov 17, 2013, 07:22 AM
 
The only things that the i7 does are a slightly higher base and turbo clock, 2MB more LLC, and Hyperthreading. Clock speed is always nice, but it's expensive for what you get. You don't need the extra cache, which leaves us with Hyperthreading. HT on a quadcore is mostly pointless today, as few programs use more than 4 threads for any length of time. There is a small chance that the new generation of consoles will make HT more useful in a few years time, but I sort of doubt it. I have HT on my iMac now - if I were to get a new today, I wouldn't bother.

I think your setup looks good. Expensive, obviously, but I guess you knew that. I assume your son games a lot if you want the maximum GPU?
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
dennett  (op)
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Nov 25, 2013, 12:00 PM
 
Thanks for the replies. I'm going to hold off ordering until Apple announces Black Friday deals, hoping that we may save a bit. I'm planning on going ahead with purchasing the system as described. I'm not going with the i7, don't think he'll ever need it, and I've been hearing that they run much hotter.
     
dennett  (op)
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Dec 12, 2013, 12:10 AM
 
Got my son's new computer today, he couldn't be happier. I did get it with 780 video card and the 1TB fusion drive, but didn't upgrade the processor or ram. As far as upgrading the ram ourselves, is there any problem putting in two 8gb chips, in addition to standard two 4gb chips? Does having none matching chips effect performance? Also, will it matter which slots they go into if the chips aren't all the same? Thanks!
     
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Dec 12, 2013, 12:50 PM
 
For maximum performance, the two memory channels should be identical. This means that if you leave the two 4GB DIMMs in their slots and add two 8GBs in the two empty slots, you're fine.

That said, the loss if you somehow mess this up is minuscule.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Dec 13, 2013, 06:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by dennett View Post
Thanks for the replies. I'm going to hold off ordering until Apple announces Black Friday deals, hoping that we may save a bit. I'm planning on going ahead with purchasing the system as described. I'm not going with the i7, don't think he'll ever need it, and I've been hearing that they run much hotter.
Never?

Back in the old days, people who knew what they were doing said, "You will never need a hard drive bigger than 64 megabytes."
     
   
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