2019 iMac... i5 vs i9?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ThatiMacGuy, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. ThatiMacGuy macrumors newbie

    ThatiMacGuy

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2019
    #1
    Hey folks, I'm a bit of a tech newbie, but am looking to get a new 27 inch and am hoping for some advice.

    I'd be using my iMac primarily to record vocals with Logic Pro (professional singer here!), as well as some music production, some video editing on Final Cut Pro, and photo editing on Photoshop. While I know that Macs aren't ideal for gaming, I'd want this iMac to be my all-in-one device for work as well as gaming, and I'd probably just run Windows Bootcamp on it to get all the latest big games running on my iMac. I might want to dabble into live streaming myself on video, or my gaming, as well. I'd probably tend to do some multitasking with a number of the above tasks I've mentioned, such as running Logic Pro while streaming videos, etc. I'd hope to use this iMac for as long as possible before upgrading again in the future, considering how it would be a pretty big investment.

    With all of that in mind, here's what I've come down to:

    I will probably want to get the Vega 48 for gaming purposes, and I am considering splurging on 2TB of SSD storage for peace of mind (I do have a lot of recording projects and would have a lot of games that would take up a good amount of space). I will also get an additional 32gb RAM off of Amazon, bringing the total RAM to 40gb.

    I can't decide between the i5 6 core and the i9 8 core. Being the newbie that I am, I'm not sure how the difference between the two would affect me. I've read somewhere that the i5 6 core might actually be a more efficient option, depending on what you need your iMac for, so I'm conflicted. Based on my usage detailed above, would the i9 8 core even be useful for me?

    Anyway, any advice based on my situation would be super appreciated. I'm learning a lot from this thread, so thanks very much to you all!
     
  2. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
  3. ThatiMacGuy thread starter macrumors newbie

    ThatiMacGuy

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2019
    #3
    I could probably afford it, I'm just wondering if based on my usage, the extra power of the i9 would just go to waste, or if I'd actually gain any significant benefit from it.
     
  4. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502a

    SecuritySteve

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2017
    Location:
    California
    #4
    Many games utilize the CPU as well as the GPU for performance. If you are going with the Vega 48 for gaming, then you should also go i9 for gaming too.
     
  5. ThatiMacGuy thread starter macrumors newbie

    ThatiMacGuy

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    Mar 31, 2019
    #5
    Thanks! Do you think that the i9 would benefit me over the i5 for the other things I do, such as recording vocals on Logic?
     
  6. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502a

    SecuritySteve

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    Jul 6, 2017
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    California
    #6
    As I understand it, Logic will utilize more cores. So yes, it will benefit.
     
  7. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    #7
    How would you measure one being better than the other. If you can, then I would get the I5 and evaluate during the return period. If it does what you want to do....no need for the i9.

    Have you considered an Apple refurb...may be a way to get a better machine for the same money.

    I see only one I9:

    https://www.apple.com/shop/product/...84740d3cfce99a8b87c147b0fff5b7e80c5594588ebab
     
  8. ThatiMacGuy thread starter macrumors newbie

    ThatiMacGuy

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2019
    #8
    Thanks for sending that over—it’s got a fusion drive which I’d probably want to avoid, and I live in Canada anyway.
     
  9. Ledgem macrumors 68000

    Ledgem

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hawaii, USA
    #9
    As others have mentioned, Logic will make use of more cores. The key difference between the i5 and the i9 - according to Intel's specifications - is that the i9 supports hyper threading, while the i5 does not. What this means is that while the i9 has two physical cores over the i5, your software will see 16 cores. Hyperthreading doesn't exactly double your performance - most tests show a performance gain of 15-30% compared with similar setups that don't use hyperthreading - but it does mean that there's a bit more of a performance gap for multi-threaded applications than the simple two-core difference might imply.

    The big question becomes whether the i9 is overkill for you or not. Even if the i5 doesn't support hyperthreading, six cores of the newest architecture is still a very fast, very powerful system. Whether you could make full use of it or not depends on how complicated your sound mixes are, and whether you're rendering a lot of effects in your Final Cut Pro files (simply cutting video isn't all that resource-intensive). If you're already doing these tasks with the same programs then you could look at how your system is being utilized to figure out what your needs are, but it sounds like this might be your first system - or at least, first Mac. In that case, if you can comfortably afford to go with the faster option, I would do so. It should theoretically last you longer, and you won't be second-guessing yourself as to whether you did the right thing. But even if you can't, my guess is that the i5 would serve you well.

    A few thoughts to consider:

    1) Internal storage. Apple recently redid their SSD storage to bring it more in line with the rest of the industry, so it's not an absolutely terrible deal anymore. However, your iMac will have Thunderbolt 3, which means you can buy external SSDs that run as fast as Apple's internal SSD. (Some were running faster, for a while - I don't know if Apple finally updated their SSDs to make this no longer the case.). The Samsung X5 is one of the more popular options, but there are others that are cheaper and faster.

    However, there's cost efficiency and other considerations to make. For example, I have a lot of photos and video files, but much of it is archived. I have them on a Drobo that has a bit over 9 terabytes available, and that is also protected against a single disk failure; it's fast enough to work off of, but I only keep my active photo library on the SSD. SSDs are more expensive per unit of storage, and it's a bit of a waste to just have data sitting on them for long-term archival storage.

    It's simplest to just get the largest SSD you can afford, but the other consideration would be to do something like getting the 512 GB or 1 TB size (depending on your current needs), using HDDs for data storage, and possibly going with a Thunderbolt 3-based SSD (or even USB 3) if you need a larger volume for working files in the future.

    2) A similar consideration exists for the graphics chip. Through Thunderbolt 3 you can use external graphics cards, which will allow you to get something more powerful than is an internal upgrade option. The only potential downside to this right now is that eGPU support in Bootcamp is problematic, and that's an area where you'd heavily be using the graphics card. If the 580X would work fine for your current needs then it may be worth it to go with that for now and choose an eGPU in the next year or two. Otherwise, get the Vega 48, and just know that you can use an eGPU in the future to keep your system current.
     
  10. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #10
    For just recording vocals and having some backing tracks, the cheaper iMac would be perfect, 16GB of RAM and cheapest graphics card IMO save some money where you can.
     
  11. ThatiMacGuy thread starter macrumors newbie

    ThatiMacGuy

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2019
    #11
    Thanks very much for your help! Just to clarify about Bootcamp and graphics cards... I can only run into trouble if I use bootcamp with an external graphics card, right? So if I get the Vega 48 and play games on Bootcamp, it would be as if I was using a Windows computer?
     
  12. Ledgem macrumors 68000

    Ledgem

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    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hawaii, USA
    #12
    Yes, you shouldn't have any problems with the built-in Vega 84 on Bootcamp.

    It's possible that in the future eGPU support will be more seamless and won't require as much tweaking - last I had read, it's suspected that Apple just needs to do a better job with their Bootcamp drivers.
     
  13. ridgero macrumors member

    ridgero

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    Dec 16, 2017
  14. Ledgem macrumors 68000

    Ledgem

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hawaii, USA
    #14
    Unless you resell and upgrade fairly quickly, I wouldn't worry about the resale factor. I maxed out my late 2015 iMac - spent about $3,000 on the system, the graphics ship boost was probably around $200-400 at the time - and I'd be surprised if I could get even a third of the cost back were I to sell it on my own. For fun, I looked at what Apple would give me as a trade-in value, and it was around $760. Someone with a 2014 iMac (not sure how highly upgraded) noted that Apple was willing to give them somewhere in the $600 range. Ouch.

    Get what fits your needs. Thanks to Thunderbolt 3 (which my system does not have), you have more ability to upgrade than we did in the past.
     

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13 July 30, 2019