2017 vs 2015 imac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Genkii8, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. Genkii8 macrumors newbie


    Jan 3, 2018
    Hi, I am looking to purchase a new iMac. There are some really great deals on late 2015 iMacs. I found a deal on a 27” 3.3 GHz, 2TB fusion, 8gb ram, Radeon r9 M395 2gb for 900$ dollars off. I realize it will be missing the usbc ports. How important are the usbc is it something I will regret not having later? Also will the specs on this computer be good enough to last at least 5 years? I really only do basic tasks on it like pay bills, calendar, organize photos, email etc. Thanks!
  2. MistrSynistr macrumors 65816

    May 15, 2014
    Your tasks sound like you need a Mac mini not an iMac!
  3. Double-Slit macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2016
    The Netherlands
    I have the same iMac, only with SSD. The iMac is being used for web surfing, you tube, mail, office tasks, listening to music etc. on a daily basis. It is a nice and quiet hassle-free device. The loudspeakers sound pretty good. I absolutely do not regret this purchase.
  4. MSD401 macrumors 6502


    Oct 18, 2006
    Ogden, UT
    Just made the same decision. I went with the deal on the 2015, it should be good enough for a few years and USB C isn't catching on that quickly. I should have mine by Friday if you want specific feedback. It was definitely the best deal I could find apple has the same exact iMac listed for $1699 plus tax, I was under 1600 WITH AppleCare.
  5. EugW macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2017
    What's the price? I see that the Apple refurb store is selling that model for $1699.

    For reference, the 2017 3.4 GHz 27" 5K iMac with Radeon Pro 570 4 GB and 256 GB SSD goes for $1899 at full retail, and $1789 at education pricing.

    So, if you can get that 2015 model as spec'd for say $1399, then maybe it's worth it, but I'd personally still prefer 2017 256 GB SSD model for $390 more. Besides USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, it also has hardware 4K 10-bit HDR decode support, along with hardware 4K encryption. However, currently, macOS 10.13 does not expose or make use of these features.

    I may be way off base here, but my prediction is that 10.14 in 2018 will bring 4K HDR iTunes and Netflix video streaming support to Macs, but it will require a 2017 Mac or later. 2015 Macs will be left out in the cold.
  6. Genkii8 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jan 3, 2018
    Yea the price is 1400. I probably won’t be watching any movies on it so I’m not too concerned about HDR. The missing usb-c does concern me a little bit. However, I don’t currently have any devices that use it. If I were to get the 256gb ssd, how difficult is it to set up an external hard drive and save everything to it? It seems like it would be a pain the butt to have to remember to always save files to the external drive? I do see the utility in the ssd though I wish I could afford a 2 tb ssd
  7. pajako macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2017
    Well, in case you should really need to connect a (thunderbolt) usb-c device you could use the USB-c to thunderbolt-2 adapter.
    In that case you connect the adapter to the usb-c device and use a thunderbolt-2 cable between your iMac and the adapter
  8. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    For your use case a fusion drive will be just as fast for most things, it seems like you don't need graphics or CPU power either.

    USB-C will not make any difference just use a different cable if you need to, very little has hardwired cables anymore and USB 3 is still the most popular connector for external hard drives etc.

    You can use an internal ssd with an external hard drive, once your files are on the external it will just save them to that file it shouldn't be an issue. But as I say a fusion drive is probably the perfect solution for your use case, which could be just as adequately performed with any computer or tablet on the market.

    If it lasts that long and your usage doesn't change it should be good for at least a decade.
  9. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    If you will ever shooting (or viewing) 4k HEVC video from an iPhone or H264 video with any other camera, you'll be better off with the 2017 iMac, whether i5 or i7. The 2017 is much faster than the 2015 model at those tasks, apparently due to improved Quick Sync transcoding.
  10. EugW macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2017
    Interesting. I was not aware the 2017 was faster with h.264 too. I would not have predicted that.

    Also, while the 2015 does support hardware 8-bit 4K HEVC from the iPhone, I was not aware the 2017 was much faster at it.

    What are the comparative speeds?
  11. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "I realize it will be missing the usbc ports. How important are the usbc is it something I will regret not having later?"

    There are some great deals out there on the 2015 iMacs.

    My prediction:
    If you buy the 2015, it will be at least 4-5 years before you "miss" having USB-c ports.
    Probably not even then.
    USB-a is going to remain the dominant "form factor" for USB connections for several years to come, possibly longer. Maybe at least 8-10 years to come.

    If you can get a "nicely spec'd out" 2015 for $700-900 off what it originally sold for, and if "the price is right" for your budget, I'd jump on it and wouldn't look back.
  12. EugW macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2017
    It should be noted that you can get refurbs of the 2017 models for several hundred dollars off, and the 2015 mid model (which is what he is looking at), is lower spec'd than the current entry level model.

    If the mid model 2015 was $700 off, to me it would be an easy choice to get the 2017. However, at $900 off, the 2015 does makes sense.
  13. thefriendshipmachine macrumors regular

    Apr 14, 2017
    I wouldnt get the 2015 because of the retention stuff
  14. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    The 2017 is 2x faster than the 2015 (in FCPX) at encoding, decoding, or transcoding H264. This means it's much faster and more responsive and scrubbing forward and backward on a 4K H264 timeline. That is comparing i7 to i7, but I'd expect the difference to be similar on the 2015 i5 vs 2017 i5, and a 2017 i5 on this specific workflow is probably also much faster than a 2015 i7.

    This is FCPX but it probably also applies to iMovie since some of their code is shared. Whether it applies to other software (Premiere, Handbrake, etc) depends on whether the developers use Quick Sync.

    If the OP doesn't have a smart phone or will never shoot and edit on his Mac any 4k H264 or HEVC video for the next several years (whether from a smart phone or camera) it's a non-issue.
  15. Genkii8 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jan 3, 2018
    Thank you for all the advice. I was torn between the 2015 and 2017. I ended up getting the 2015 for 1399 plus no taxes. For what I will use the computer for it should work nicely and last for at least a few years. I have been working with a 2008 MacBook Pro that barely works and have been putting off this purchase for some time because of how expensive apple computers are. I just couldn’t pass up the deal.
  16. EugW macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2017
    No tax? Even better deal.

    Which 2008 MacBook Pro, and what’s wrong with it? If it's just slow and not actually broken, then it can be updated easily for better performance. What are its specifications? With an upgrade to SSD and with sufficient RAM, it would work well with a modern version of OS X. In fact, you can even run High Sierra well on most of the 2008 MacBook Pros.

    I'm personally running 8 GB and SSD endowed MacBook5,1 (2008) and MacBook5,5 (2009) with High Sierra, and they run well. Here are the results for the various models with Sierra, but the results with High Sierra are similar:

  17. TC_GoldRush macrumors 6502


    Dec 6, 2017
    Nevada, USA
    Of course 2017 is better, but the Late 2015 is still an AMAZING machine! If you can find a good deal, I'd take it.
  18. klatox macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2015
    I have an iMac 5K 2015 and I use it for the same purposes as you, plus gaming. I went with an i5 and maxed the GPU. I think not having USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 is not going to be a big deal for your usage. USB-A isn't going anywhere any time soon...I don't think. Like others said, though, if you do plan on getting into video work or gaming, then the 2017 is the obvious choice.
  19. mpe macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2010
    I am currently using the same iMacs at home without any issues. I will be replacing it with iMac Pro soon though.

    USB-C is not a big deal. In case it will finally launch, you can always buy tb2 -> USB-C adaptor.

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