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Old Dec 2, 2012, 10:41 AM   #1
visim91
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Lightbulb This Man Wants a New iMac

My 17 hour day can be split into 2 parts:
  • 10 hours off the computer
  • 7 hours on the computer

This is what I do on the computer:
  • Surf the internet, sometimes with over one or two dozen tabs open in Safari
  • Watch TV, I do not own a TV and use my PC to watch movies & shows through Hulu, Netflix etc.
  • Rip vinyl records, often resorting to iZotope to de-click/pop the waveforms, and XLD to encode all files to Apple Lossless
  • Listen to all that music via iTunes

I prize the screen real estate a 27" would give me, especially since I will use it as my "TV." This will be my first iMac. Taking into account the rest of my usage, is this 27" configuration the one for me?:

2.9GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
1TB Fusion Drive
NVIDIA GeForce GT 660M 512MB GDDR5
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 10:58 AM   #2
AppleDApp
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I'd get the base 27" configuration. No need for the fusion drive.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 11:16 AM   #3
clunkmess
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I think the base 21" and take the money saved and buy yourself a nice little 32" tv.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 11:17 AM   #4
visim91
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Originally Posted by AppleDApp View Post
I'd get the base 27" configuration. No need for the fusion drive.
This is the tip I was looking for. I hear so much about the speed benefits of a SSD/Fusion Drive, but I wonder if my daily needs demand for such an upgrade..

Quote:
Originally Posted by clunkmess View Post
I think the base 21" and take the money saved and buy yourself a nice little 32" tv.
Interesting, but I want to avoid the clunkmess that an additional tv/display would bring!
Edit: I really can not justify an additional screen in my space, I'm 80% music - got a nice hi-fi etc - and 20% movies/tv shows. So that extra screen would just be a burden.


One thing that this discussion brings up is whether a mac mini could possibly suit my needs. Only, I love the aesthetic of the iMac and I don't think there's a single external monitor that can match it..

Last edited by visim91; Dec 2, 2012 at 11:25 AM.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 11:21 AM   #5
Alfred.Woodden
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Originally Posted by clunkmess View Post
I think the base 21" and take the money saved and buy yourself a nice little 32" tv.
Agreed.

Then again 40" LCD-TVs are quite cheap these days, so get the base iMac, but the TV and add an AppleTv for your Hulu, Netflix needs and you'll be set
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 11:30 AM   #6
RedCroissant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by visim91 View Post
This is the tip I was looking for. I hear so much about the speed benefits of a SSD/Fusion Drive, but I wonder if my daily needs demand for such an upgrade..



Interesting, but I want to avoid the clunkmess that an additional tv/display would bring!
Edit: I really can not justify an additional screen in my space, I'm 80% music - got a nice hi-fi etc - and 20% movies/tv shows. So that extra screen would just be a burden.


One thing that this discussion brings up is whether a mac mini could possibly suit my needs. Only, I love the aesthetic of the iMac and I don't think there's a single external monitor that can match it..

Well, you could get a previous model Mac mini and buy an apple Cinema Display. That way you would always have that aesthetic that you like and you can Lways change the actual computer that you buy.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 11:35 AM   #7
chevalier433
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I'd get the base 27" configuration. No need for the fusion drive.
Disagree,everyone with different workload will benefit from a ssd.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 11:37 AM   #8
goodlittlesquid
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Base $1800 model. The only upgrade worth considering for your situation is the +$150 for 3TB drive if you have big media libraries. Anything else is just going to be placebo effect for you. Since you're getting 27", you can buy more RAM in a few years if you ever need it. If you really want to spend more go for fusion drive, but processor upgrade is totally pointless for your uses.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 11:40 AM   #9
macmastersam
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Originally Posted by AppleDApp View Post
I'd get the base 27" configuration. No need for the fusion drive.
if the guy can afford it, then he should go for it. it would be better in the long run if he plans to keep his computer for long...

----------

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Originally Posted by goodlittlesquid View Post
Base $1800 model. The only upgrade worth considering for your situation is the +$150 for 3TB drive if you have big media libraries. Anything else is just going to be placebo effect for you. Since you're getting 27", you can buy more RAM in a few years if you ever need it. If you really want to spend more go for fusion drive, but processor upgrade is totally pointless for your uses.
there is no processor upgrade, it is the base i5 that originally comes with the low-end 27" iMac...
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 12:33 PM   #10
visim91
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I'm in a position where I can afford the high-end 27", but it would be careless and useless, as the money I save from this purchase can feed my dog, who requires one of those fancy science diets .

That's why I'm trying to be as practical as I can... currently, encoding 24 bit/96kHz vinyl transfers is a pain on my late 2008 unibody MacBook. XLD takes way too much time and energy to encode just a dozen albums, let alone two, such that when I queue up a set of albums to encode, XLD gets a stranglehold on my Mac to the point where opening a single Safari tab can send Mac into rainbow wheel asphyxiation.

My media is stored in a 4-bay 10TB USB-3 box, so the 3TB internal drive is unnecessary.

If a fusion drive & i7 processor will not dramatically alter the iMac's multitasking capabilities while encoding (which I do every-other-day) then I'll save some meat on the bone for my mutt.

*For those curious, I'm moving away from Apple's laptops because I've lately been keeping my MacBook tethered to my desk, where it performs far worse than a desktop, and is consistently replaced on my travels by the family iPad..

Last edited by visim91; Dec 2, 2012 at 01:04 PM.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 12:37 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by visim91 View Post
If a fusion drive & i7 processor will not dramatically alter the iMac's performances/multitasking capabilities while encoding (which I do every-other-day) then I can save some meat on the bone of my mutt.
The fusion drive will not improve the encoding time. The i7 CPU will however. Then again this year's i5 is much better then the 2008 core 2 duo you probably have.

I will be doing lots of video encoding and will be getting the base model 27" and possibly some RAM from a third party afterwards.
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Last edited by balamw; Dec 3, 2012 at 11:38 AM. Reason: fixed quote
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 12:57 PM   #12
visim91
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The fusion drive will not improve the encoding time. The i7 CPU will however. Then again this year's i5 is much better then the 2008 core 2 duo you probably have.

I will be doing lots of video encoding and will be getting the base model 27" and possibly some RAM from a third party afterwards.
So the fusion drive provides the luxury of a faster boot-time and application startup, and nothing more?


All this crap makes me wish Apple had the BTO flexibility of an early 2000's Dell. That way, I could opt for Mac Mini or base 21.5" internals in a 27" iMac, which would fit my needs and the bill.

Last edited by visim91; Dec 2, 2012 at 01:02 PM.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 01:00 PM   #13
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So the fusion drive provides the luxury of a faster boot-time and application startup, and nothing more?
That's my understanding. Were you expecting more from the fusion drive? There also some fineprints about bootcamp partitions.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 01:09 PM   #14
visim91
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That's my understanding. Were you expecting more from the fusion drive? There also some fineprints about bootcamp partitions.
Ah, now I remember: I was very impressed with the Fusion's ability to copy/move files much faster than the standard HDD. A function I do use often, as I'm always messing with and moving music files..
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 01:18 PM   #15
MeFromHere
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Quote:
Originally Posted by visim91 View Post
I'm in a position where I can afford the high-end 27", but it would be careless and useless, as the money I save from this purchase can feed my dog, who requires one of those fancy science diets .

That's why I'm trying to be as practical as I can... currently, encoding 24 bit/96kHz vinyl transfers is a pain on my late 2008 unibody MacBook. XLD takes way too much time and energy to encode just a dozen albums, let alone two, such that when I queue up a set of albums to encode, XLD gets a stranglehold on my Mac to the point where opening a single Safari tab can send Mac into rainbow wheel asphyxiation.

My media is stored in a 4-bay 10TB USB-3 box, so the 3TB internal drive is unnecessary.

If a fusion drive & i7 processor will not dramatically alter the iMac's multitasking capabilities while encoding (which I do every-other-day) then I'll save some meat on the bone for my mutt.

*For those curious, I'm moving away from Apple's laptops because I've lately been keeping my MacBook tethered to my desk, where it performs far worse than a desktop, and is consistently replaced on my travels by the family iPad..
When you do this vinyl encoding, does the resulting file go onto disk, or does it stay in RAM? How big is is the typical file?

With Fusion, any disk write smaller than about 4 GB goes to the SSD at high speed. The OS moves the data to the slow spinning disk later, in the background. So data written in bursts goes at full SSD speed, provided you have enough idle time that the spinning disk keeps up on average.

How much RAM does your 2008 MacBook have? If you can't open a new browser tab, it sounds like you may not have enough available RAM. Fusion can help here too, but a new iMac ought to have enough RAM to avoid the problem for most people.

Unless you have an application that specifically benefits from hyper threading -- and the vendor should be bragging about it if it does -- I don't think the i7 will be much help. You'll gain from the marginal increase in clock speed, but nothing more.

MOST important: make sure you have enough RAM.

Next most important upgrade is probably Fusion, unless you have a workload that demands even better disk performance. That kind of workload needs high-performance external RAID or SSD, depending on how much space it consumes.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 01:34 PM   #16
visim91
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When you do this vinyl encoding, does the resulting file go onto disk, or does it stay in RAM? How big is is the typical file?

With Fusion, any disk write smaller than about 4 GB goes to the SSD at high speed. The OS moves the data to the slow spinning disk later, in the background. So data written in bursts goes at full SSD speed, provided you have enough idle time that the spinning disk keeps up on average.

How much RAM does your 2008 MacBook have? If you can't open a new browser tab, it sounds like you may not have enough available RAM. Fusion can help here too, but a new iMac ought to have enough RAM to avoid the problem for most people.

Unless you have an application that specifically benefits from hyper threading -- and the vendor should be bragging about it if it does -- I don't think the i7 will be much help. You'll gain from the marginal increase in clock speed, but nothing more.

MOST important: make sure you have enough RAM.

Next most important upgrade is probably Fusion, unless you have a workload that demands even better disk performance. That kind of workload needs high-performance external RAID or SSD, depending on how much space it consumes.
A typical file/song is anywhere from 75-200 MB, and occupies RAM once encoded. RAM is freed when/if I delete the original (.WAV) file. But, if I leave the computer to encode a large list of albums on its own, without actively deleting the original WAV files, the Mac will still reclaim RAM, just very slowly and poorly.

I rigged my '08 MacBook to have 8GB of RAM with a workaround, and clearly it is not enough. I will have to entertain the idea of upgrading the iMac to 16 or even 32GB.

Last edited by visim91; Dec 2, 2012 at 01:41 PM.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 01:42 PM   #17
mchoffa
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32GB of ram is only $160 on crucial, and you could possibly benefit from using a ramdisk with part of that as a scratch disk (I don't do anything with audio so no clue how the software works)

http://nathancahill.github.com/photo...-scratch-disk/

I'd definitely also consider the i7, but since your storage is external, the fusion may not help you at all in anything other than app/OS loading times

my guess for priorities would be i7 > ram > fusion
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 11:13 AM   #18
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The fusion drive will not improve the encoding time. The i7 CPU will however. Then again this year's i5 is much better then the 2008 core 2 duo you probably have.

I will be doing lots of video encoding and will be getting the base model 27" and possibly some RAM from a third party afterwards.
please don't change what I posted. I do not do any encoding at all and i don't even have an imac with any core 2 duo in it at all at all, thank you very much.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 12:27 PM   #19
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please don't change what I posted. I do not do any encoding at all and i don't even have an imac with any core 2 duo in it at all at all, thank you very much.
That post was for OP.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 04:46 PM   #20
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That post was for OP.
No problem. I just saw that my name was under the quote you have used, and got a bit confused
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