Money Well Spent

iMac Prices

A 17″ iMac with 2GB RAM costs $25 less than its equivalent 20″ iMac with 1 GB of RAM and bigger hard drive. That means 1 GB of RAM is approximately worth three inches on screen, and 90 GB of hard disk space.So which one should you go with, more RAM or bigger screen and hard disk? I’d say go for more RAM for the following reasons:

  • External HDs are continuously getting bigger and cheaper that by the time you run out of space, you’ll be able to afford a huge drive.
  • RAM prices are very steady throughout the computer’s lifetime so it’s best to get them early.
  • Even if you can’t afford an external HD, you can still make DVD backups of your data for the meanwhile.
  • If you can’t afford RAM, your system will use virtual space and further shorten the lifetime of your hard disk.
  • More RAM means you can do multiple simultaneous tasks faster. This is especially useful if you have multiple-core CPUs.
  • RAM is rarely idle; a few widgets, a program or two with iTunes in the background and you’ve consumed a large chunk already, whereas your extra 90 GB won’t be consumed until you manage to fill the first 160 GB.
  • The 3 inches? Not really important considering you can manage with the scroll bars. Also, watching movies still requires that you sit at your desk or stream to something like AppleTV.
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9 thoughts on “Money Well Spent

  1. I dunno 3baid.. I just dunno.. You can always buy third party ram… but it;s mighty hard replacing that screen.

    3 inches may sound like a little, but thats all you need for your adium contact list to run on the side while your applications are all open.. and a side dock.

    Dude seriously, these days you could do a lot with 3 extra inches..

    (for some reason that last sentences just sounds wrong)

  2. I’d go with 3baid recommendation. I don’t think Mac is as easy to upgrade as a PC. Not sure thought. But a computer as powerful as Mac should be able to support two screens, which is much better than 3 inches more, shall you need extra screen space. Is it possible really? I am assuming yes.

  3. Cixousianpanic, I can’t bare PCs anymore. I only deal with them if I have to!

    Misguided, it’s true that you can buy additional RAM later, but like I said, you won’t benefit from any price drops; they’ll still cost you around $100 per gig. In addition, the increase in performance would not be comparable to that of a newer machine with the same upgrade because of speed differences. (For example, old DDR 400 MHz vs DDR2 667 MHz on newer motherboard are within same price range.)

    As for the Adium list, I guess the way you use it is different than mine, but if it counts for anything, we’ll have Spaces in 10.5 :P
    Overall, it’s a tradeoff between fewer apps many windows, or many apps and fewer windows :]

    Bashar, yes, you can connect an iMac to an external monitor.

  4. Very nice comparison! But what about the difference in the graphics card, I would go for the 20 inch and just take the upraded ram! Because every person who I know bought an iMac two years ago still has it and constantly uses it! Such a great machine! gotta love macs!

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