2013 iMac or 2014 Retina iMac - help deciding, which is faster?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by parkp81, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. parkp81, Apr 6, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2015

    parkp81 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2010
    #1
    Never had an iMac and have a PC that's nearly 15 years old, and I am not up to date on hardware, thus seeking some help from you guys. One is obviously older, and the other newer, but which one "performance wise/faster", is the better one to go with? I know the display is a huge difference, but that aside. Thanks for your help.

    Refurbished, 27-inch iMac 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
    Originally released September 2013
    27-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2560-by-1440 resolution
    8GB memory
    3TB Fusion drive
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M graphics processor with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
    Built-in FaceTime HD camera

    or

    Refurbished, 27-inch iMac 3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5 with Retina display
    Originally released October 2014

    27-inch (diagonal) Retina display with IPS technology; 5120‑by‑2880 resolution
    8GB memory
    1TB Fusion drive

    AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics processor with 2GB of GDDR5 memory
    Built-in FaceTime HD camera
     
  2. aevan macrumors 68000

    aevan

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Location:
    Serbia
    #2
    The maxed out 2013 iMac is somewhat faster than 2014. base model in most things. Honestly, you'll only notice it in benchmarks as the difference is not big. On the other hand the difference in screens is night and day.
     
  3. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #3
    Hmmm...

    If you spend a lot of time on your iMac reading, absolutely get the retina version. My rMBP is, over the course of a workday, so so much nicer to look at than my MBA it replaced was.

    However, if screen clarity is less of an issue for you, the older one isn't a terrible choice.

    But man, that screen though...
     
  4. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #4
    The CPU is the same, the RAM is the same, the hard drive just has more capacity, not more speed, so it all falls down to the GPU.

    The non-Retina has a slightly better GPU. And fewer pixels to run.

    So it would be better for gaming, and would be slightly "snappier" in day-to-day usage.

    But the Retina screen is amazing.

    If you have heavily GPU-dependent workload, (which, if you're upgrading from a 15-year old PC, I doubt,) or workload that needs nVidia GPU, then the non-Retina is a no-brainer.

    Otherwise, I'd go take a look at the Retina in person before deciding.
     
  5. Steveatesh macrumors regular

    Steveatesh

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2014
    Location:
    North east England
    #5
    OP speaking as somebody who has moved from PC to my first iMac as well, my view is you simply can't discount the screen when comparing the two models as it contributes significantly to the speed you can use it. (I bought the Retina, base model).
    I didn't appreciate this at all until I used it, but having several documents open on screen at once makes my own workflow much faster than on the PC.
    Likewise working on images and photographs is superb because they are at ful screen, meaning less scrolling and moving around.
    Whatever the difference in numbers actual usability is the thing to take note of, I would make the same decision in a heartbeat.
     
  6. cltd macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2014
    #6
    Check here:
    http://www.everymac.com/ultimate-mac-comparison-chart/

    i7 is more powerfull than i5 because i7 has hyperthreading, but you wil notice difference only when you use pro level applications (audio, graphic, video) or when virtualize Windows (you can assign cores to Mac Os and Windows). I have iMac 3.5 ghz i7, most of my audio software recognize 8 cores.
     
  7. cynics macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #7
    What will the main uses of the machine be day to day?

    I'm thinking overall just ignoring the screen the 2013 will have the edge. So I would base the decision on whether that edge is of any significant use.

    For example, if you plan on just doing basic stuff, web browsing, email, etc I'd go with the 5k. However if you plan on doing video encoding or something I'd go with the 2013.

    They are both nice machines.
     
  8. davybe macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2015
    #8
    Get the Retina

    In my opinion the reported very slight advantage of the older GPU is a minute difference you will not feel. The HD capacity: you can buy an external drive later. The newer Mac might even have faster USB ports (I have not checked, I am not sure). The screen though, you'll feel every day. Get the Retina. :)
     
  9. parkp81 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2010
    #9
    Wow, thanks for all the feedback. I hope to get some time today to look at the 2 in person and hopefully decide. Seems like I am stuck in the middle as of now. I would like to run multiple VM's, but reading text that is super sharp would be great as I do read alot on the computer too.
     
  10. parkp81 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2010
    #10
    Just got back from looking at a retina mbp and the 2013 imac. Wow what a difference in text, you guys were right. The store I went to did not have a retina 27 on display, so I had to use the mbp as a retina comparison.
     
  11. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #11
    Yeah...

    Yeah...not sure if that makes your decision any easier.

    Also, the size of the riMac makes the screen even more amazing.

    Tough call!
     
  12. aevan macrumors 68000

    aevan

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Location:
    Serbia
    #12
    I don't think it's a tough call at all. The performance is similar. As everyone said, the 2013 iMac is just slightly faster in some tasks which the OP won't probably even notice if he ran them side by side.

    On the other hand, parkp81 did seem quite captivated by the retina resolution and will definitely appreciate the Retina 5K display.

    So I say it's an easy call. Retina iMac is the clear answer here. Roughly the same computer with twice the display.
     
  13. parkp81 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2010
    #13
    Yup I think I have made up my mind and will get the base model retina with 256 ssd and expand with external storage. The display has me sold man it is night and day difference like you guys said.
     
  14. parkp81, Apr 6, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2015

    parkp81 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2010
    #14
    I see Apple refurb site has, for a around $200 more:

    4.0GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 with Retina display
    8GB memory
    1TB Fusion drive
1
    AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics processor with 2GB of GDDR5 memory


    Tempting, but I am thinking to put the money towards external storage, memory and Apple Care.
     
  15. parkp81 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2010
    #15
    Well, I just placed the order for the Retina base model with 256GB flash drive. :D , if anything I have 14 days it says I can return it if I am not happy, hopefully that does not end up being the case.
     

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