2011 27in or 2012 21.5in

Discussion in 'iMac' started by slackmachine, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. slackmachine macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2012
    #1
    Hi I know this topic has been beat to death but I'm still stuck in making a decision about this. I have the option to get either a refurbished 2011 i5 27 inch (and upgrade the RAM myself to 32gb) or to get a new 2012 21.5 inch with the 640M processor/ i5 2.7ghz, 16gb of RAM, and no fusion drive.
    My primary use (that actually matters) is aperture and photoshop editing large raw files.
    So what do you guys recommend? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Spink10 macrumors 601

    Spink10

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    Location:
    Oklahoma
  3. slackmachine thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2012
    #3
    So you think the extra screen real estate is worth the slowdown?
     
  4. Spink10 macrumors 601

    Spink10

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #4
    For me it is - the biggest thing I do photo editing.
     
  5. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #5
    What do you mean slowdown? The difference will be negligible. Stop looking at geekbench scores. A 2012 27" would be ideal if the screen improvements really are significant. The 2011s were close to $300 off refurbished, so it can be a significant savings. Aside from possibly opening and saving files, you'd benefit way more from ram. These applications can just cache to ram instead of dumping it to disk. I also have yet to see how they manage data, especially with things like scratch disks. It's not even necessary to go to 32GB. Add 2x8GB sticks to the existing memory. Test it once it's added. If that basically takes care of everything, you're good. 32 could be usable if you're working with really large files with layers, especially if you have lightroom open simultaneously.

    The slowdown with Adobe apps can be complex. They tend to interfere with spotlight at times, especially when it's indexing. It also tends to cache a lot of data when saving large files with compression (enabled by default). This means if you're saving to the same drive as it uses for scratch data, it will slow to a crawl with either drive type.

    Last thing would be PS and LR are both OpenCL (I think LR has OpenCL leverage). Neither uses CUDA. I'm positive of that. After Effects and Premiere leverage CUDA. Those would require an NVidia card for certain functions. With the two you mentioned it's irrelevant. I thought I'd get that out of the way in case someone mentions it.
     
  6. slackmachine thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2012
    #6
    Thanks this is super helpful! As far as the screen goes, I don't mind the 2011 one. It has always looked great to me whenever I've seen it and I the glare reduction isn't imperative for me. So the performance difference isn't going to be noticable? I had just read that the graphics cards in the new ones were very beneficial to photo editing somewhere but that might be wrong. So if the decision is between the 2011 27 + 16 or 32gb and the 2012 21.5 +16gb base you think the 27 is a quality choice?
     
  7. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #7
    In either case they leverage OpenCL. If you were using After Effects I might have a completely different recommendation. Of course for After Effects I'd suggest all the ram you can get if you want to render across all cores. Geekbench scores aren't that different. Photoshop can deal with large layered files in real time on the 2011. OpenCL helps with liquify, lighting effects, I think vanishing point. Redrawing can be a little buggy no matter what. I doubt you'd see any kind of difference there. The 640m isn't even that great. Anyone who says "very" beneficial mistakenly thinks that photoshop uses CUDA. The confusion comes from Adobe's nomenclature. They call it the mercury engine across applications, yet some are CUDA based features while others leverage OpenCL.

    I really really really dislike the 2012 21.5" model. You have to buy all your upgrades from Apple. It's apparently glued shut, so if a hard drive dies, Apple repair pricing is your only real option. If you're still undecided, you might look at barefeats. He's been posting preliminary results. If the display upgrade was significant, you might be happiest with a 2012 27". I don't know if you're okay with waiting for refurbished stock. They usually deduct around 15%. Going by past results, the 27" was a superior display. Seeing that with reduced reflections could be quite nice. If you're editing photos, it's not just the reflection that will be annoying. It's the inconsistency. If your lighting changes even a little bit, it's going to slightly alter the look due to changing surface reflections.

    One last note. These things use LED backlighting, so older colorimeters won't work well. Profile with one of the newest Xrite colorimeters (colormunki display or i1 display pro) or the latest Spyder.
     
  8. torana355 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #8
    If you can do without usb3 then go the 2011 27" model for sure.
     
  9. mapleleafer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    #9
    If you haven't already, I strongly (strongly) recommend that you go to a store and try out both sizes. That's what I did when the 27" first came out (and why opted for the 21.5").
     
  10. mcpix macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    #10
    I would also vote for the 2011 27".

    If you have an issue with the glare on your 2011 iMac, you can do the same thing I did and remove the outer glass.
     
  11. slackmachine thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2012
    #11
    I went to the store and tried the 27 inch 2011 version, the screen seems great for me. I prefer the 27inch screen but I'm willing to go to the 21.5 '12 if I get better performance, which is still what I'm deciding on. Based on this thread, it looks like I won't notice a decrease in performance between the 21.5 '12 and the 27 '11?
     
  12. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #12
    Definitely 27 for photo editing. You will not need more than 16gb for running aperture, adobe....etc.
     

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