iMac 27" graphic design - what options?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by in4fun, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2012
    my profile:

    - 1/2 my day writing code
    - 1/2 my day editing in photoshop

    - some weekend gaming: total war & fallout new vegas
    - once a month rendering some 720p home made videos

    - I don't mind waiting a bit longer to boot up
    - when video renders I don't mind if it renders 10 or 13 minutes. I go for a walk anyways.


    CPU i5 vs i7
    - from what I read I don't see the need to improve to i7 other than minimal improvements in video rendering times
    - for photoshop no improvements here
    - I even read it might slow down some of the newer games because of hyper threading

    fusion drive
    - if it's only to boost system start up and loading time of some apps I don't need it
    - I do need it if it enhances working inside photoshop (I also use a scratch disk on the side)

    - I heard 1GB is more than enough and no game makes use of 2GB - is that correct?
    - for photo editing and video rendering the GPU is irrelevant

    Hope to get some insights from the tech gurus in here since I do want to save some money by eliminating unnecessary options ;)
  2. macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago

    There are a few games where a 2GB GPU is used, high end flight sims like x-plane which I run on my iMac...The i7 3.4 in mine handles anything well. I can't comment on Fusion, but you may well be right, and if you are using an external it's possible you wouldn't benefit from it...I will be getting it as an upgrade next year when I see how it performs....My Spec:

    Imac 2011 i7 3.4GHZ 16GB Ram 2GB VRAM 1 TB HDD 4TB Pegasus R4 Thunderbolt attached storage

    Used for photo work, video editing , music production

    If you go without the i7 and the Fusion drive, something along these lines should be plenty fast for you.
  3. thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2012
    thanks and noted in favor for graphics card upgrade

    so CPU and Fusion drive remain the other two big questions marks
  4. macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    FWIW I'd go with the I7...Fusion is new, and I will have access to a new 21.5' next week. I will report back on how the Fusion system actually works, as I can make a fairly like for like comparison with my current iMac...The newbie is going to my buddy next door, new to Mac, so I will get plenty of "Hands On " time with the new technology!
  5. macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2007
    Looks to me you can be happy without upgrades in both. If you have to choose, definitely go for the fusion, the cpu as you well said might improve your rendering time from 13 mins to 11mins at best, and that's it.

    The fusion will really make your system overall feel way, way more snappy.
    Based on your very-well laid out needs it's a "luxury", but if i were you one in which i would indulge: the snappier factor in an SSD is quite impressive vs. traditional HDDs.
  6. thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2012
    Thanks, like you said it's a luxury and when I think about it it does enhance the overall feel of using a next generation system so I note it down on my wish list

    Conclusion so far:

    1. take the Fusion drive for enhanced overall feel and responsiveness (not as a must have but as a plus in comfort keeping in mind the hours I sit in front of this thing each day)
    2. upgrade GPU to be on the safe side for future games
    3. save on the CPU since it doesn't effect my workflow in any noticeable way
  7. macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Looks good...All you have to do is order up!:) I will be buying next year, and was considering a Pro this time around. That seems unlikely now, so another maxed out 27" will probably where I go.
  8. thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2012
    Yep, all good to go and thanks for your input guys!

    But "one more thing"

    the fusion drive is rumored to only have a 5400 rpm HDD next to the SSD
    if that's the case it really turns me off
  9. macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Photoshop effects are run through the CPU so you will get some benefit depending on the file size you work with. Whether or not its noticeable to work flow? I can't say for sure other than it will likely feel "snappier".

    You will notice a difference when loading and saving, especially larger files.

    GPU will effect scrubbing when doing video editing
    If you like to game it's worth the $150 for the 680mx
  10. macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2012
    The 21.5" iMac uses 5400 RPM.

    The 27" comes with 7200 RPM standard. Apple could do either of these to make a Fusion drive:
    • Add the 128 GB Flash drive and leave the 1 TB or 3 TB 7200 RPM disk in place, or
    • Add the 128 GB Flash drive and replace the 7200 RPM disk with a 5400 RPM one.
    I don't think we know yet which way they do it.

    Either way, the first 128 GB of stuff (more accurately the most-used stuff) will be on the SSD, so for that stuff it won't matter how fast the hard disk is.
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2008
    Asheville, NC
    I'm pretty much in the same boat as you... part time photoshop/illustrator, part time coding, with some amateur photography and a little video here and there.

    I ordered the fusion because while a SSD would be nice, no way I'd pay $1300 for it. I plan on moving my photo library to an external SSD, so the OS and apps can have the fusion to themselves.

    I maxed out my ram to 32GB so I could use ~8GB for this:

    I got the i7 for video processing and future proofing (I'm sure more apps will take advantage of it in the next couple years)

    I got the GPU because while I don't do much gaming, I wanted to make sure anything I DO end up doing in the next 3-4 years that might need power will have as much as possible (again, future proofing, because the last iMac I got (2008) was base model and it's struggling to keep up now)
  12. macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2009
    I'm basically exactly where you're at. I think I'm leaning towards the i5, Fusion, 1GB video card. I don't play any games (have PS3 for that) and don't do video editing. But I do a lot of heavy graphics work and coding. I figure there will be machines out in 3+ years that will blow this one away and I'll want to buy new instead of hanging on with what I have longer anyway.
  13. macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2012
    Unless you are doing intensive video editing and gaming there is no need for i7
  14. macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2012
    Is Heat an issue

    Would heat be an issue with the 680 video card over the 675? In such a small case one would assume the fan would come on more. I am also rather sensitive to the heat issue, having just had my 2008 iMac video card (NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS) expire, and it may partially be due to heat.
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Sue De Nimes

    Apr 10, 2012
    For photo editing and video rendering the GPU makes a difference - depending on what software you use. Some software supports CUDA which will make a big difference.

    For gaming, 2GB is used NOW by plenty of games. Skyrim has a high def texture pack for example that requires 2GB of VRAM. Lots of games out at the moment benefit from 2GB - The Witcher 2 is another....this situation will only increase.


    I don't think the i7 itself will benefit most people - the extra 200Mhz on the clock speed WILL.


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