I bought my first brand new Mac in 2004. It was a 12″ Aluminum PowerBook G4. I was in college. In late 2006 I bought my second brand new Mac. It was a 24″ White Intel iMac. I was in my senior year in college. I was really excited when Apple moved to the Intel architecture and even more excited that my iMac had the screamingly-fast new dual core Intel Core 2 Duo processor. And oh that screen! Twenty four inches and 1920 x 1200 pixels of bright LCD deliciousness. At the time, my iMac’s screen was bigger than our TV!
I’ve had my white iMac ever since and it has served me well. It was a great gaming computer for a couple or years and was always much faster than my PowerBook. But even though it was fast in 2006, it is starting to show its age. I got a 15″ MacBook Pro in late 2008 to replace my aging PowerBook G4 and it has become my main machine when my iMac just can’t keep up.
My iMac now has several drawbacks, the largest being that it does not run Lightroom very well. I use Lightroom to manage my ever increasing library of thousands of photographs. While it is useable, it isn’t fun. The 2.16 GHz dual core and 2 GB RAM just isn’t enough any more. My hard drive is also becoming a constraint at only 250 GB. An then of course there’s the graphics card. While an nVidia GeForce 7600 GT can still play Half Life 2 at buttery smooth frame rates, any game after about 2008 is a challenge. I now do all of my gaming on my MacBook Pro. I’d do lightroom on it as well, but it’s just not as nice as doing it on a desktop.
So that brings me to my new toy, my new iMac! Ever since Apple released the latest iteration Aluminum iMacs in late 2009 (21.5″ and 27″) I have been looking. The new processor architecture combined with the beautiful new screens got me drooling. Of course I immediately wanted the 27″ model with its fantastic 2560 x 1440 pixel screen (the same resolution as Apple’s 30″ screen packed into a 16:9 aspect ratio), but it had some quality issues that I wanted to wait out. Also the graphics card wasn’t quite what I wanted. So I decided to wait.
But last month Apple released an updated line that had pretty much everything I wanted. Screen issues – fixed. Graphics card – improved. It was time to buy. Once I discussed the purchase with my financial planner (you can guess who that was) I ordered away, and of course, I had to customize it. I bought the 27″ model, bumped the processor up to a quad core 2.93 GHz i7, doubled the hard drive to 2 TB, kept the memory at 4 GB (I plan to upgrade to 12 GB using third party RAM), and threw in a Magic Trackpad (had to have one), a remote, and even the Apple Battery Charger (you only live once, right?!)
I put the order in last week and got the shipping notification this morning. It’s supposed to arrive next Wednesday! The upgrades that I made should allow it to last me a bit longer than my last iMac and the fact that it accepts video input (i.e. it can be used as a display) means that when the non-replaceable graphics card gets old I can just pick up a used PC tower, put in a better graphics card, and plug it into the iMac. This thing should run Lightroom like a monster seeing as it actually performs a bit better than the entry level quad core Mac Pro. I can’t WAIT!!!