Future proofing the iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by unknownking123, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    #1
    I'm in the process of buying my first iMac and considering all the specification options, I decided on these specs.:

    2.9GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    3TB Fusion Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 660M 512MB GDDR5

    + additional RAM from crucial = £1,720.80

    However, I was wondering whether it would be worth paying an extra £176.40 for the following purely for future proofing purposes:

    3.2GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX 1GB GDDR5
     
  2. macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    #2
    I could see 512MB video card being a problem in the future but the CPU difference is negligible. Is it worth it? Its a close call in my book but the resale value will certainly be higher if you find you need to sell it sooner than you had planned.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    #3
    If i were you i'd max out what you can't solve later, and especially important can be the GPU (that is, if you're into gaming, if not frankly it won't make this much of a difference).

    1- The CPU you won't be able to swap but will not make this much of a difference unless you are into heavy duty, professional video-editing and the likes.
    2- The storage you can safely rely on thunderbolt ports to expand at will as years go by.
    3- Ram is solved.
    4- The video GPU is what will make you able to run games in 2 years from now, and without that there's no CPU, RAM or SSD that will save you if you don't invest now (and still...you'll never get top-level performance again. If you are into serious gaming either go PC or wait for the MacPros, which likely will be having top level video cards which you can anyway change and upgrade later).
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    Location:
    Essex, england
    #4
    it depends more if the user will be gaming on it or not.
     
  5. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    #5
    The 675MX is a big enough performance boost over the 660M that considering you also get a CPU clock increase as well I think it's one of the better bang for your buck upgrades among the 2012 iMac options.

    It's what I'll likely be getting assuming I decide on a 2012 over a 2011 refurb.
     
  6. macrumors 68020

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #6
    Id hold back on the RAM unless you edit video or giant pictures.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    #7
    Hmm. Thanks for all the replies. I'm not a big gamer but I do like to play the odd game or two and I'm incline to spend the extra money now.

    I take it that there isn't a significant difference in terms of video playback?
     
  8. macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    #8
    It may become an issue with OS upgrades. Apple has used seemingly arbitrary specs like these in the past to limit OS upgrades.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    #9
    That is something that I want to play around with.
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    #10
    For Video playback a 3-year old iMac is more than fine, you don't need anything more.

    Powerful GPU is only for gaming and for very specific Pro video-photo editing in some very specific programs and tasks (=you probably don't need it).
     
  11. macrumors G4

    Chupa Chupa

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    #11
    No such thing as "future proofing" especially when it comes to an iMac. You can buy enough upgrades to extend its life... maybe...but Apple has a habit of dropping support for old hardware if new tech gets in the way. It's not uncommon for current OS features to not be available in machines that are only 4 years old.

    My advice, buy the machine you need for today's purposes and then when/if you out grow it sell and buy an up-to date machine. This years i5 machines are almost as fast as last years top line i7s. Current Mac Minis are as fast as the previous model Mac Pro...CPU tasks, not GPU, obviously.

    Macs have excellent resale value so trading up when the time comes is very cost efficient. Much better than buying too much computer today. That is the definition of wasted money.
     
  12. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
    Location:
    Norway
    #12
    The way you feel about a computer is subjective, I've never thought to myself: "This CPU is not fast enough!". So in general computer use, it doesn't really matter, but for games and video encoding and CPU heavy tasks it does.
     
  13. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Location:
    Denver
    #13
    "Future proofing" is impossible.

    My dad bought an AT&T PC6300 in 1986, he bought it with a $3000 5MB hard drive, $2000 color video card and $800 2400 baud modem so it would be "future proofed". Can you still use any of those today?
     
  14. macrumors 68020

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #14
    You should try it out with 8GB first. It is quite a bit already. :)

    Regarding the graphic card; no difference in video playback. Gaming, depends on what games you like.
     
  15. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Location:
    Eastern Shore, USA
    #15
    I paid it, felt the 2x VRAM plus 1.7x faster GPU benchmark more than justified the money. And 3.x GHz makes me feel better than 2.9GHz. :)
     
  16. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    Location:
    Glendale, CA
    #16
    Agree with this. My 2009 iMac currently has 512MB with an i7 and after 3 years, have noticed considerable performance slowdowns on the graphics side. I'm not a big gamer but I do dabble in a little photo and video editing. And because I have enough RAM, I always regret not getting a larger GPU.

    Problem solved though since I've ordered a 27" with a 2GB GPU! :D

    Good luck with your decision!
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    macjram

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    #17
    Damn $3000 for 5MB lol
     
  18. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    #18
    Are you sure about the hard drive? I bought a 20MB drive for my Mac Plus for less than $1,000 that year. Even the 10MB internal HyperDrive for the original Macintosh and 512 Mac cost less than $3,000.
     
  19. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Location:
    Denver
    #19
    Yeah, and $2000 would buy four GeForce GTX 680 cards today.
     
  20. macrumors 6502

    JayJayAbels

    Joined:
    May 15, 2012
    #20
    The best way to go about it is... buy what you need for the next two years then in two years from now sell it for the best price you can get. Chip in some extra money and then buy new again. A pain, for sure, but using that approach will constantly keep you updated.

    Even the baseline model will last a minimum of 4 years for basic video editing and common tasks. Like others have mentioned... the CPU and GPU are probably the most important in terms of upgrading if you need to.
     
  21. macrumors 603

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #21
    It's impossible past a certain point. What people miss is that not all upgrades add equal longevity. Some of the quibbling over cpus really makes no difference. In a few years if you graphed them against the newer ones, the differences would look incredibly minor against the newest ones. It has slowed down, but past the first 3 years or so, you're better off running older software that is better supported on an aging machine.

    Edit: better supported isn't what I meant. I meant better tuned. Software developers often remove official support after a certain amount of time on older revisions.

    You also have to factor in that Apple de-supports things for a variety of reasons. An increasingly common one is the gpu. You're going to see minimum OpenGL or OpenCL version requirements (not sure if these support 1.2 at a hardware level), and you will see products de-supported due to AMD/NVidia no longer supporting older hardware. This was one of several reasons cited with the mac pro 1,1.
     
  22. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    #22
    Really? Do you have an example where the base model wasn't supported but systems with add-ons were supported? That would surprise me.

    For the past 4 releases, I haven't seen any arbitrary limits on OS support. Lack of 64-bit support for built-in hardware seems to be the big killer.

    The reasons aren't always evident from the descriptions Apple uses. For example my current iMac is sometimes described as a "Core 2 Duo" system, but the Core 2 Duo CPU is NOT why it can't run Mountain Lion. The CPU is fine, but the system happens to have several devices that originally had 32-bit drivers. Apple decided to drop everything lacking full 64-bit support, and they decided not to buy/develop brand new drivers for some of the old devices. A valid engineering tradeoff, but a disappointing one for me.
     
  23. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #23
    I think you can future proof to and extent. Im still running on a 2008 iMac as i expect a computer to last that long, i got the low end 24" at the time and it has served me well but multiple times i wished i had got the upgraded video card and faster cpu. This time round ive gone all out and maxed the 27" out bar the ram. I see it lasting me at least 6 years which justifies the extra money spent.
     
  24. macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #24
    I wouldn't bother with a 3TB drive. You can easily get yourself a NAS or other external solution later down the road when your 1TB drive is full.

    Unless you're a photog or video editor, I don't know why anyone needs that much space.
     
  25. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #25
    My media library is just over 2TB so i need the extra internal storage, i use a 3TB external for backups. It is too expensive to have a 4TB~ NAS with a backup solution on top.
     

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