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Old Feb 8th, 2011, 10:28 PM   #1
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Refurb 27" iMac Purchase

I'm hoping people can chime in on a potential purchase I'm planning to make in the next few days. According to Refurb.me, the following configurations are available.

27" 2.93 i7 Quad Core, 1Tb, 4Gb, ATI5750 1GB: $1999 - $2319 Regular, $2194 EDU
27" 2.8 i5 Quad Core, 1Tb, 4GB, ATI5750 1GB: $1799 - $2099 Regular, $1999 EDU
27" 3.2 i3 Dual Core, 1Tb, 4Gb, ATI5670 512Mb: $1549 - $1799 Regular, $1699 EDU
27" 3.6 i5 Dual Core, 1Tb, 4Gb, ATI5670 512Mb: $$1549 - 2019 Regular, $1894 EDU
27" 3.03 C2D, 1Tb, 4Gb, ATI4670 256Mb: $1349 - Older Model

I'm thinking that the 2.8 QC is the best deal at the moment, but anyone who has an opinion, please voice it here.
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Old Feb 8th, 2011, 10:33 PM   #2
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I have no idea of what your needs are or what your financial situation is. For the extra 10%, I'd go the 2.93. I almost did a couple weeks ago. I looked at this too, but then went with a Mac Pro.
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 12:23 AM   #3
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Exactly. Without knowing your needs it is impossible to answer.
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 02:54 AM   #4
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Don't forget that the listed GHz speed is no longer an accurate way of telling what the Intel Mac is actually capable of, ie: a lower posted i7 GHz speed chip will normally outperform a higher GHz speed i5 model, as will a lower speed i5 out perform a higher speed i3 model, etc. etc.

But as others have posted, if one is only doing some web browsing and some email, then you get need to figure out any excessive $$$ expenditure and how fast you can actually type - as if anyone could actually type faster than an old Classic Mac could even keep up to.
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 08:31 AM   #5
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I already have a Core i7 MacBook Pro and several other macs in the house, but have decided that I want a desktop machine with a huge display that'll be super solid, possibly that can function as a server. I am a "heavy user" but don't use a lot of processor intensive applications; the most taxing items are probably that I use Aperture on a daily basis, Abode CS5 somewhat irregularly. Regardless, I do have 16Gb of RAM waiting to be dumped into this machine.

But to be honest, right now I'm more looking at bang for buck. I considered buying a Dell 27" monitor at $699 - it goes on sale every once in a while), and may still do that depending on how my 8Gb upgrade on my i7 MacBook Pro goes (feel like I'm hitting the 4Gb limit). Given that the iMacs are really not much more expensive than an Apple branded monitor, and could allow me eventually to go dual 27" screens (or 27" and 24"), that's why I am shopping for an iMac at this time.
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 12:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milhaus View Post
I'm hoping people can chime in on a potential purchase I'm planning to make in the next few days. According to Refurb.me, the following configurations are available.

27" 2.93 i7 Quad Core, 1Tb, 4Gb, ATI5750 1GB: $1999 - $2319 Regular, $2194 EDU
27" 2.8 i5 Quad Core, 1Tb, 4GB, ATI5750 1GB: $1799 - $2099 Regular, $1999 EDU
27" 3.2 i3 Dual Core, 1Tb, 4Gb, ATI5670 512Mb: $1549 - $1799 Regular, $1699 EDU
27" 3.6 i5 Dual Core, 1Tb, 4Gb, ATI5670 512Mb: $$1549 - 2019 Regular, $1894 EDU
27" 3.03 C2D, 1Tb, 4Gb, ATI4670 256Mb: $1349 - Older Model

I'm thinking that the 2.8 QC is the best deal at the moment, but anyone who has an opinion, please voice it here.
Well for only a couple hundred more the i7 2.93 adds hyper threading (the i5 does not have it) effectively giving you 8 cores instead of 4, so if you have the extra $200 I would personal go for the i7.
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 03:32 PM   #7
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Sandy Bridge issues aside, there may be cause to wait another month or two and see if the iMacs are updated by April-ish. I would assume they will be.

Also, depending on how multicore aware CS5 and Aperture are, the i5 3.6Ghz has been shown to outperform the lower-clocked quads in programs that aren't multi-core aware.

Lab tested: 27-inch Core i5 iMac/3.6GHz (BTO) | Desktops | From the Lab | Macworld

So that might save you some $$.

But the flip-side is that barefeats found that in many apps, "The 'mid 2010' iMac Core i7, is as much as 45% faster than the Core i5 for 10% more cost."

2010 iMacs compared - Core i3 v i5 v i7

Muddy enough for you?

I'd say if you have the $2K to drop on the i7, do it. If you can wait two months, do that 'cause there may be new models, and the refurbs will have dropped.
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 04:30 PM   #8
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there was another thread like this a few weeks ago. i pulled my favourite quote from that article paddy posted then and ill do it again now

Quote:
The quad core 2.8GHz Core i5 iMac also excelled in the few tests that take full advantage of multiple processors, like MathematicaMark, Cinebench and Compressor. Other tests, like Photoshop, iTunes, Finder file unzipping, and Aperture showed that faster-but-fewer processors can sometimes perform better than more-but-slower processors. If you’re not a heavy user of the few high-end programs that put to use all of those multiple cores, it might be wiser to spend $200 on the Core i5 processor upgrade to the stock 27-inch $1699 iMac than to spend an extra $300 on the quad core 2.8GHz Core i5 iMac.
some more info on which apps rock the multicore casbah and which do not

MPG - Mac Performance 101: Cores, Processes, Memory - Application support for multiple CPU cores
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 04:57 PM   #9
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I'd sell you my iMac 27" for 1800

2.8GHz Intel Core i5
Quad-Core
4GB RAM
1TB ATA Harddrive
Wireless Magic Mouse
Wireless Keyboard

It's only 3 months old and still under warranty. I brought it in today to be looked at and be brought to stock as Im selling it.
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 12:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fyrefly View Post
If you can wait two months, do that 'cause there may be new models, and the refurbs will have dropped.
Yes, I think you're right. These refurbs will only drop, and I have no real need for an iMac at this time. That 27" screen, however, is really alluring. Too bad the Apple monitor is super expensive and the Dell is super ugly. A $1349 3.6Ghz i5 would be a great deal.

In the interim, I'm upgrading my 2.66Ghz i7 MacBook Pro to 8GB, with a 128GB SSD and 500GB (using a Drive Doubler from OWC). That should keep my upgrade-itis in check for those two months, I hope ;-)
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