2014 5K iMac vs 2015 (or waiting)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by schro440, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. schro440 macrumors newbie

    schro440

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2017
    #1
    Hi - I'd love some buying advice from folks who happen to be in the Retina iMac club. I'm planning to purchase an iMac from either the Apple refurb site or Other World Computing. I noticed that OWC/Macsales has some pretty good deals on nicely spec'd out Late 2014 5K iMacs and some 2015 models as well. However, I'm a little concerned that the 2014 model may not give that great of performance due to the 2GB GPU. Is it worth it to wait for a better deal on the refurb 2017s or purchase a refurb 2015 model instead?

    I'm going from a modest 2015 Retina 13" MBP and will be using the machine for some moderate graphics and photo editing work.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Trusteft macrumors 6502

    Trusteft

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2014
    #2
    In general if you can wait, always wait. There is always something better coming next.

    Don't forget that only the latest iMacs have type C connectors and TB 3.
     
  3. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #3
    I bought and still use a 2014 model with the i7 and upgraded GPU. There was concern at the time that the base GPU wouldn't be up to the task of the 5K display. If you are looking at used 2014's, check to see that they have the M295X graphics card which has 4GB of memory.

    My iMac is plenty powerful for photo editing (I've got a 36MP Nikon D810) and video editing with FCPX. No reason to consider a 2017 replacement but for the slightly improved display quality.
     
  4. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #4
    I'm with Talmy. Be sure to get one with the M295X. And if you can find the 1 TB SSD (which is what I have) grab it.

    I too deal with D810 raw images and FCP X. I'm OK, but I would like more speed. For example, if I have a queue of 20 or 30 images, Lightroom takes longer to prepare the previews (or export) than I'd like. It's by no means bad, but it's not quite what I want.

    It's been a solid machine; my first AIO, and I was surprised to end up liking it. It did force me into Thunderbolt exernal storage, though.
     
  5. schro440 thread starter macrumors newbie

    schro440

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2017
    #5
    Thank you so much for the advice. Unfortunately, the two models of 2014 and 2015 5K iMacs I have to choose from are not equipped with the 4GB graphics.

    I've noticed a trickle of refurbished 2017 iMacs on the Apple Store. Unfortunately, they're grabbed up before I can purchase one.

    It also looks like a new 2017 21.5" (16gbs/512ssd/AMD Radeon Pro 560) is in my price range... while the screen real estate is a little smaller, I can definitely deal with it. I'm only processing files from a Canon 6D, Fuji X100s, or TIFFs from 120 film scans. Looking at the benchmarks from this configuration, it might fit the bill pretty nicely and open up inexpensive external SSDs when more space is needed.
     
  6. Trusteft macrumors 6502

    Trusteft

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2014
    #6
    If you use external drives for most of your storage, you could be ok with 256GB and save some money from that. Just saying.
     
  7. schro440 thread starter macrumors newbie

    schro440

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2017
    #7
    Great point. I'm already using a 128gb SSD in my Macbook Pro. The big question is actually kinda silly -- the 512GB SSD upgrade was solely for the purpose of having a little wiggle room for a bootcamp partition. (My BF is a die-hard SimCity 4 player and will be sharing the machine with me). Is it reasonable to have a bootcamp partition on a 256gb SSD?
     
  8. Trusteft macrumors 6502

    Trusteft

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2014
    #8
    That's something only you know. I don't know your data space requirements. It's good to have at least 20% space available on your drive. Having said that, I don't use bootcamp but, is it possible to use it (windows installation) on an external drive?
     
  9. smirking macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #9
    I don't think that's really the fault of your iMac. Lightroom is well known for being a snail across the board.
     
  10. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #10
    How large are the files you are working with? Beyond just going newer for faster graphics, going with 2015 or newer means a much faster SSD, and looking at models with 1TB SSDs and up may give you more wiggle room to work projects using the local storage. Depending how you use the system, this can be dramatically faster than an external USB SSD with USB 3.1 gen 1.
     
  11. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #11
    Sure, but I'd argue that when all 4 cores are cranking at 100%, faster cores would help. That's all I mean -- it would be great if Adobe would speed things up, but until they do, I wouldn't mind having a hardware solution.
     
  12. smirking macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #12
    True, but what I meant was that Adobe has had years to up their game for Lightroom's performance and they haven't or have barely made any gains. At this point it'd be reasonable to assume that things are not likely to change very much for the forseeable future. With processor updates no longer producing gains in the orders of magnitude that they used to yield, an annual 10% bump isn't going to be a game changer. I went from a 2012 MBP to a maxed 2016 MBP with Touch Bar and found that high intensity processor taxing tasks, while faster, were not so much faster that I would have been compelled to upgrade on speed alone. Indeed, speed wasn't the reason I upgraded. I knew not to expect a night and day change. I wanted 5K monitor support badly enough that I wasn't going to keep waiting.
     
  13. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #13
    If you can wait about 6 months until the 2018's are released, wait.

    But... if you're going to need something sooner...
    ... I'd suggest the Apple Refurbished Store for a 2015 model. You get a 1-year warranty with them and can buy AppleCare also (if you wish).

    Also... there are a few resellers on ebay that are selling off (what appear to be) "new old stock" versions of the 2015 iMacs. These come with the Apple warranty, as well. I bought my 2015 MBPro from one such site ("Electronics Valley"), and it's been fine.
     

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