As many of your may have heard Apple Inc. released new versions of the iMac line last night (HK time). It had been an upgrade that was anticipated and over due for the past 12 months. In my opinion, they did not disappoint.
They changed the industrial design of the machine but kept the machines the same thickness as the previous versions. There are 4 standard models to choose from, plus Built-to-order (BTO) versions, where you can choose different internal hard drive capacities and memory combinations; with the 24" model able to upgrade the default processor also. You can see the chart below and click on it to see an enlarged version.
As I always say, one should always choose a computer based on what they intend (plan) to use the computer for, rather than choosing based on price and MHz. Having said that I will start off by describing three hypothetical users.
A. A first time computer or Macintosh user
This user will use his computer for general Internet surfing, visiting information sites, online banking sites and photo album repositories. They will have a web based email account. He will download photos from his digital camera and manage his collection of audio CDs on his computer.
B. A user who may have used the Macintosh before but definitely a computer
This user has the same requirements as user A, with the following additions. He will upload and share photos on online repositories (ie. Flickr), he will download and edit videos that he had taken with his DV (digital video) camera.
C. A user who had used the Macintosh before
Like user B, will have the same requirements as A and B, with the desire to use the computer as a primary video viewing platform.
Now based on these three hypothetical users I will now recommend the appropriate iMac (August 2007) for each. In all cases, I would suggest a minimum of 2GB of memory. Depending on where you purchase the new iMac, you can probably find cheaper memory upgrade from reseller other than Apple. If you do choose that route, make sure these memory chips (RAM) come from reliable sources and a respectable manufacture. If you have faulty RAMs that's more problems than you will ever want to deal with.
Let's jump into the recommendations. For User A I suggest the basic model for him. The reason is because he does not have a great need for video and hence quick redraw of the screen for images. As a result the entry level iMac (August 2007) with 2GB of total memory will be sufficient.
For User B I suggest the minimum the 2nd "standard Apple model" of the iMac (August 2007) (aka. "the 20" model with the 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor", since I do not want to emphasis the MHz differences of the models). This is not because of the slightly faster processor, it is mainly due to the much faster (almost twice) video card in this model. Due to this user's need for editing and processing his home videos on his new Mac, this is the minimum configuration I would recommend.
Finally, for User C I recommend he purchase the 3rd "standard Apple model" of the iMac (August 2007) (aka. "the 24" model with the 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor"). This is because his need for using the computer as the primary video viewing device. With the 24" it has the screen pixel resolutions to support full HD (High Definition) video content.
Speaking of HD video content, the new line of iMacs all have video capabilities to playback protected HD video (HDCP).
I am sure your needs and computing requirements will be different than User A, B or C, but I hope you find this useful and if you need, please feel free to contact me with your specific "computing requirements" and I am happy to brainstorm the perfect Mac for you.