2019 27” iMac i5 8th gen base model vs i5 9th gen

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Nico11, Apr 24, 2019.

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  1. Nico11 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2019
    #1
    Hello,

    I was wondering if the 9th gen i5 really warrants the extra $500 price tag. I realize there is a bigger hard drive and gpu included in the price tag. I cannot find much info on this spec Comaprin the 8th and 9th gen i5 most are on the i9. Can anyone suggest one over the other? I will mainly be using this as a workstation but want to have the ability to edit video if needed in the future. Any info would help I will be purchasing one this week.

    27” iMac
    i5 8th gen
    8gb ram
    Radeon 570x 4gb
    256 gb ssd
    $1899

    Vs

    27” iMac
    i5 9th gen
    8gb ram
    Radeon 580x 8gb
    512 gb ssd
    $2399
     
  2. velocityg4 macrumors 601

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #2
    What do you mean by workstation? Workstation usage could mean a lot of things to different people. I'd consider workstation tasks multi-core intensive and/or GPU intensive and needing a lot of RAM. Such as CAD, scientific uses, 3D animation, video editing and so forth.

    In which case the 9th gen and 580x are well worth the extra money. Although you'll likely need a lot more RAM. Which you should upgrade yourself.
     
  3. SkiHound2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2018
    #3
    You might want to look at some basic things like geek bench benchmarks. The 8th and 9th generation i5s are the same basic 6 core architecture. The 9600k is clocked higher and will be a little faster. Though based on benchmarks real world differences would likely not be meaningful for many uses. If by workstation you mean things like typical office applications, email, web surfing, etc. I don't think you'd notice any difference. The 9600k with 580x gpu would certainly be preferable for games and you might notice some differences if doing intensive tasks, something like heavy video editing or rendering. But there too if you're talking about editing a few minutes of family videos in iMovie I don't think there would be very much real world difference. The one thing I'd really take note of is that the 1TB fusion drive in the base model has only 32gb of SSD. The 2TB fusion in the highest tier has 128gb of SSD. Putting aside debate about fusion vs pure SSD, I would not buy the 1TB version. The middle tier with upgraded storage becomes almost as expensive as the highest tier model.
     
  4. Nico11 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2019
    #4
    Thanks for the replies so far.

    To clarify workstation for me would be emails, web browsing, excel and other basic things. I will definitely be opting for the SSD. If I was to go with the base model 27” with 512 gb ssd instead of 256 gb ssd there would be a difference of $300 from the 9600k version with 512 gb ssd. Is it actually worth the price?
     
  5. collin_ macrumors member

    collin_

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2018
    #5
    Then no, go with the i5. The i9 is significantly faster, but the i5 is still very fast and will be way more than enough for the things you're doing on it. It's a latest gen 6-core processor with a high clock speed.

    Definitely go for all-SSD storage. Also if I were you I'd buy it with the default 8 GB RAM then self-upgrade to at least 16 GB.
     
  6. SkiHound2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2018
    #6
    I don't think anyone can, or should try to tell if it's worth it or not. Really depends on your use now and in the future. I opted for the top tier 9600k / 580x combo but considered the i9 upgrade. I was looking at it in terms of pretty extensive photo editing and it looks to me like some of the photo editing software is starting to make increasing use of gpus. I decided I didn't really need the i9. I just did a quick search. Geekbench numbers (benchmarks are only that and won't necessarily correspond with real world performance, certainly not with some tasks. Single process Geekbench scores for the top tier are 5800 vs 5222 for the low tier. The top line 2017 i7 had a score of 5684 on the source I looked at. The low tier 2019 has a single process score as fast or faster than any of the other 27" iMacs. Multi core Geekbench scores are 22650, 20145, and 19371 for the top tier 2019, low tier 2019, and top tier i7 2017, respectively. I don't recall hearing anyone say they thought the i7 2017 was slow. Hot, yes. But not slow. So you're getting a processor that is going to be pretty close to the top tier 2017 i7, and not all that far behind the top top tier i5 2019 model. I'd say for web browsing, excel, emails, etc., any of the computers will do a great job. I upgraded from a 2012 2.6ghz i7 mini. It was still doing fine with all of the daily tasks (email, web surfing, word processing, streaming video (the integrated gnu wouldn't handle 4k), etc. It was starting to struggle with some image processing software. But for the most part the biggest bottle neck even with that computer was reading/writing to the drive. And for work I'm using a Dell laptop with some i7 variant. I'm a statistician. It runs most of what I do with relative ease. I'm generally the bottle neck. Now, occasionally I have to do something like estimate some kind of generalized multi-level panel model with bootstrapped confidence intervals and I wish I had a lot more processing power. But for the vast majority of my analysis, it's absolutely fine. I'd say the folks who really benefit from increased power are gamers (high processor frequencies and graphics processing, and none of the iMacs are ideal for gamers), persons doing lots of video editing or rendering, people who are doing things like music production with lots of tracks, people who are processing huge databases, folks who are running specialized scientific software that is cpu demanding, and folks who are running a running a whole bunch of tasks simultaneously. I think SSDs have the best cost/benefit ratio for most users. Then increasing RAM.
     
  7. BigBoy2018, Apr 24, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019

    BigBoy2018 macrumors 6502a

    BigBoy2018

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2018
    #7
    Agreed. For his usage there will be ZERO advantage with a faster processor.

    On another note, the i9 may have 'significantly' faster benchmarks, but benchmarks don't mean so much when you're really trying to use it for more than a minute, like rendering a large video file or something like that that really tries to use that 'power'. The reason is that the benchmarks give you false sense of the speed since it utilizes the cpu's full turbo boost speed. In any high end use more that a couple minutes, the cpu will start to throttle down due to heat and you won't see anywhere near the difference a Geekbench score might suggest.

    Also, if it were me, I would avoid the ridiculous Apple ssd prices and get the fusion drive, then take that out and install my own ssd (something I've done on 3 different 2017 iMacs btw). Don't let anyone try to tell you the apple ssd's are way better since they're 'so much faster' (again in benchmarks). In real world usage, the difference between a 'super fast' ssd and a sata ssd (like a Samsung 860 Evo) is minor at best.
     
  8. velocityg4, Apr 24, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019

    velocityg4 macrumors 601

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #8
    Given those uses. I doubt you'd even notice the difference between the two. Although I'd upgrade the RAM to 16GB. OS X loves RAM.

    As you said may edit video. I assume that means just small amounts of footage shot on vacation or something like that. The lower iMac is perfectly fine for that. Although you may want an external drive for additional storage. Which is much cheaper than apples upgrades.
     
  9. Jong875 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    #9
    How is Geekbench CPU scored. My i5-9600k on my new iMac significantly out scored their i5-9600k numbers. I got over 6000 on single core and 26000 on Multi. It is almost in line with the i9. Does the score take into factors like a SSD and more RAM?
     
  10. velocityg4 macrumors 601

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #10
    I think their score is an average. When listing a general score for a model. If people have a lot of background tasks running during the benchmark. It will lower the score. Also there is the CPU lottery. Your 9600K may not generate as much heat during Turbo Boost as the average. Allowing a longer sustained turbo boost during benchmarking. I'd presume ambient temperature will also effect your ability to sustain turbo boost. As it is commonly taken into account when testing different CPU coolers.
     
  11. D4walker macrumors newbie

    D4walker

    Joined:
    May 26, 2019
    #11
    I know this thread is sort of old, but I’m between this exact combination. My budget is super tight, the more i can save the better, but if I’m going to spend this amount of money, I want to find an iMac that would work for me. I bought an late 2015 iMac 21.5’’ 4K it was supposed to be the high-end model, unfortunately I didn’t know better and i bought it in-store so it came with a 1TB HDD and 8GB of RAM. It simply wasn’t enough for my needs, I could barely work on Photoshop and no other app at the same time, and even then it would restart by itself.

    I’m a graphic designer so I mostly use the entire Adobe Suite, I’m trying to get into development, and I might do motion graphics or at least I’ll try to study or get into motion graphics. So, will the base model (with an SSD and probably 24GB of RAM) be enough for me? I’m pretty sure its 100 times better than my old iMac but will it last at least 4 years? I’d really appreciate the help, and thank you if you’re reading this!
     
  12. smirking macrumors 68020

    smirking

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #12
    There is an insane deal going on right now at B&H Photo Video on a 2017 iMac that's a lower-mid end range option.
    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1342560-REG/apple_mned2ll_a_27_imac_with_retina.html

    2017 27" iMac - $1599
    3.8GHz i5 Quad
    8GB RAM
    2TB Fusion
    Radeon 580

    It's a 1 day flash sale, but it might come come around again. B&H has been offering some rather stunning discounts on some slightly older Apple models lately.
    ---
    Anyway, that HDD is a killer. If you can replace that HDD with an SSD, you might find that your 2015 iMac to be plenty gameworthy. Replacing the HDD isn't easy in an iMac, but can be done if you can follow directions carefully. Upgrading the RAM would be nice too, but trade the HDD for an SSD if you can.
     
  13. D4walker macrumors newbie

    D4walker

    Joined:
    May 26, 2019
    #13
    Thank you for your advice! Unfortunately I can only buy an iMac on July, since is when I’ll have the rest of the money I need lol but that for sure is a great deal.

    On the other matter... I already sold my 2015 iMac because I was too afraid of breaking the screen and couldn’t find reliable RAM, so that’s why I’m on the look for a new one. And as you say, I will get an SSD for sure, no matter what choice, and I want a 27’’ so I can upgrade the RAM, but I’m unsure about the rest of the specs.
     
  14. smirking macrumors 68020

    smirking

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #14
    If you're mostly doing design type work in Creative Suite for the things you mentioned (graphics design and motion graphics), you're probably fine with just about any 27" iMac so long as you're not being slowed down by a spinning platter. I've never used a fusion drive, but I've read a lot of people's opinion here that it's better than a HDD, but leaves much to be desired.

    The 2017 and 2018 iMacs have Thunderbolt 3 ports so if you're trying to minimize your costs, you could pick up a refurbished 2017 iMac with a 256GB or 512GB SSD and 16GB RAM and then buy an external TB3 SSD when you run low on storage. Your internal SSD will likely be faster, but so long as you've picked up a higher end external SSD there won't be much of a performance drop off over TB3.
     
  15. D4walker macrumors newbie

    D4walker

    Joined:
    May 26, 2019
    #15
    Taking into consideration your advice, I checked the store and while comparing the refurbished and the new ones, the biggest difference in prices is definitely between the 256GB options and the new high-end. I think 256GB might be too little, so the 512GB is the sweet spot for me, and I have a 200GB external ssd so that would complete the storage for the time being. With that said I think I will go with the high-end after all, after comparing the prices it makes sense to go for that one, the benefits are more in the long run (just not the Vega/i9 combination, that’s crazy expensive). Anyway, just wanted to reply to thank you because your advice helped me a lot to decide! Now I can’t wait to get it.
     
  16. propower macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #16
    The thing about the 2019s is they are all Hex core (and 8 core at the top). 50% more CPU can be a big deal. For Pro Audio and iMovie video production (me) it would be if I ever maxed my quad i5 - so far nowhere close! I have been using the 2017 3.8 for 2+ years - great machine - and at $1599 - amazing! One can always put the OS on a Samsung 500GB X5 for $250. Very close to the internal SSD BTO option. I have seen some deals go by for discounts on the Base model 2019 27 from Expercom ($1549 no tax). Sure the SSD BTO is my preferred but on a budget - not a bad choice with either a 500GB or 1TB X5. You can always sell the 2019 for good $$$ if funds are more later for a refurb or new higher end model...
     

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15 April 24, 2019