To upgrade the graphics on the new 27" iMac or not to upgrade?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by wehokev, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. macrumors member


    Oct 18, 2007
    I'm planning on ordering a 27" iMac tomorrow. The only option I can't decide on is the graphics card upgrade.

    I'm not a high end gamer, but I am looking forward to playing SimCity when it comes out next year and I play Civilization occasionally. I've never edited a video, and even if I did start, I can't imagine it would be a big project. But, I do use iPhoto and Photoshop Elements a lot. So my question is:

    Would I see a significant benefit in photo uploading, editing, etc. if I opt for the 680 versus the 675?

    The guy I chatted with at the Apple store said "probably not" and encouraged me to upgrade the RAM instead. Which I will do myself after it arrives. So, I was leaning no.

    Then I saw these posts from the MacRumors fourms:

    It wasn't much help.

    This one was better, but was more about video editing rather than iPhoto and Photoshop.

    That advice mostly came down along the "just buy it" lines. But, the original poster is doing tons of video editing, which I am not.

    Argh! I can't decide. Help.

  2. thread starter macrumors member


    Oct 18, 2007
  3. macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    I really don't think you would see much difference in photo editing. Definitely not in uploading.

    The only cases where it would potentially help would be in computationally difficult tasks like applying filters to a large photo, as those tasks are sometimes GPU accelerated.

    It will definitely help out with the games you mentioned. Neither are particularly demanding games graphically, but the 27" iMac has a large native resolution so running games at native res can be a bit taxing.
  4. thread starter macrumors member


    Oct 18, 2007
  5. macrumors 6502

    May 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    It's a pretty cheap upgrade, so I'm going for it. It does have more RAM on the card, plus it is way faster, looking at specs online. Better safe than sorry. You can't change it after.
  6. macrumors 6502

    Sep 7, 2010
    That graphics card is probably the single most interesting thing on the 27" iMac from my perspective... if you're going to game with a screen that big, may as well! The price difference is small.

    As for photo and video editing, negligible difference.
  7. macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2012
    I use Second Life quite a bit. To me doubling the memory of a nvidia for only $150 is a no-brainer. Any inherent performance difference between the 2 cards (if the same memory) is a plus after that. As has been said, it is one of the things you can not easily upgrade later so how much will that "I really wish I had a faster gpu" be worth to you a few years from now?
  8. macrumors regular


    Jun 21, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    I'd go for it. The price isn't that huge of a difference in the overall scheme of things. You will notice a difference in playing Civ V, which is a fairly graphically intense game. And the upgrade will serve you well if you intend to keep your computer for several years, not to mention resell value.
  9. macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2007
    London, UK
    Yeah, I suspect it's worth it for the longevity of playing something like Civ V.
  10. macrumors 68040

    Jul 28, 2007
    I don't play any games. Rather just use the $150 extra for AppleCare warranty rather than the graphics on the base $1999 model.

    The fusion $250 option is almost a must on the new iMacs.
  11. macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    Honestly they priced the 680MX upgrade very aggressively. If you (1) planned to order online anyway and (2) have the extra $150, there's really no reason not to buy it to future proof your iMac.
  12. macrumors member

    Sep 7, 2012
    Porto, Portugal
    Smart things to do when buying a new 27 iMac (everyone should do this):

    -only the base ram (buy yourself when you need it)

    No matter what you do with your computer, if you do not do this you are not being a very smart buyer.

    Also, most likely, apple will offer more SSD only options down the road, when they master the process of building iMacs (just like the 15 rMBP), so 1300 for that SSD option seems a bad buy.
  13. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2009
    I agree except on the ram.
    I bought mine with 16g, because I plan on going to 32GB. (So i wanted 2 - 8GB sticks) and then I will buy 2 8GB aftermarket. But yes unless you plan on going 32GB right away, I agree.

    I run multiple large VM's , so yes I do need 32GB (for those about to troll my response).
  14. macrumors member

    Sep 7, 2012
    Porto, Portugal
    you have a retina 15, a new iMac (almost), and those iDevices. What do you do for a living? Teach me, master.
  15. macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    It really does depend on what you will be using it for

    Specifically you will see virtually no benefit in video related tasks such as encoding etc. between the medium and high end graphics cards. (and actually for serious encoding, the hard disk makes the biggest difference)

    OTOH: if you game a lot, the improvements in frame rates etc will make the game more enjoyable.

    For me,who tends to use the computer for lots of things, overall responsiveness means more to me so more RAM and a SSD or Fusion drive mean more and possibly a processor upgrade as well. Yes it may only be a couple seconds here and three seconds there, but over the course of hours/days/months it adds up

    Short answer I'm ordering the mid level 27 with a fusion drive and will upgrade the RAM myself
  16. macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2012
    The 680 is significantly more powerful than the 675. Well worth the upgrade cost from the resale value alone.
  17. macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2012
    Ok, i'm not a gamer and plan on using my Imac for photoshop and some final cut projects (nothing fancy). Now i feel i should have ordered a 680 instead of the 675. Do you all think that if i change my order my shipping time will change?
  18. macrumors regular


    Oct 17, 2012
    From a resale POV, the 680 will do quite well in a year if you get something else. Far as gaming, the gpu is the best option one can get. It's quite a steal for only $150. Don't upgrade the RAM via apple and you'll be well off.
  19. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2009
    Internet Marketing & Futures Trading.

    I work from home too.
  20. macrumors 6502a


    Nov 6, 2003
    I couldn't justify the additional cost. I don't play any serious games on it, I don't do any video editing. I work with photography quite a bit, but that doesn't tax the video card.

    It looks like the 680 is quite a bit faster, I just don't have any need for it.
  21. macrumors 68040


    Aug 6, 2007

    This quote this morning form diglloyd who runs pretty performance heavy photoshop editing for what it is worth:

    For most users, the “faster” graphics do nothing useful. Hype mainly. For me, they do nothing, and I use Photoshop and other photo programs heavily. I disable OpenGL for my work (OpenGL needed to use the GPU). Gamers, serious video processing, etc all can use a faster GPU.
  22. thread starter macrumors member


    Oct 18, 2007
    Thanks for all the thoughtful responses. In the end, that was the only upgrade (besides ram, of course) that I didn't take. Had to draw the line somewhere.
  23. macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2006
    This makes zero sense. A heavy photoshop user and he disables OpenGL??? Perhaps if he enabled OpenGL and realized the benefits that it provides in PS (scrubby zoom is the obvious), then maybe a better vid card would be worth it.
    I for one went 680MX, you can't buy video ram third party.
  24. macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2011
    Colorado Springs
    I ordered early on the 30th, with 2-3 weeks shipping. I also questioned my choice on the graphics card, so I called back and cancelled my order to add the 680MX. I also forgot to use my wife's educational discount, so added that as well. The $ I saved from the educational discount was used to add the 680MX and a trackpad. But now at 3-4 weeks :( But glad I did it.

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