4K vs 5K

Discussion in 'iMac' started by madamelulu, Jul 30, 2016.

  1. madamelulu macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    #1
    I work in academics and am looking for a desktop as I need a bigger screen for writing. I currently have a mid-2009 MBP which I've upgraded to 8GB of RAM and installed an SSD drive, but still have problems with speed. I'd like my new iMAC to last for a while and was wondering if I should go with the 4K vs 5K. I was thinking 4K since the 5K initially seemed too big, but I've read that the 4K is lackluster for the price. My main wish is that this computer will last me a while with minimal upgrades. So my question, which computer should I get for mainly word processing with bibliographic software and multiple windows, and intermittent movie watching and photo editing. Do you think the 4K + fusion drive is sufficient or should I get the 5K with fusion drive since the 5K gives me the option to increase memory on my own at a later date.

    I am flexible with price. I appreciate your thoughts.
     
  2. Goody13 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2016
    Location:
    Plymouth, UK
    #2
    I recently went through the same thought process over several months. I started off looking at the mid-range 21.5", but by the time I considered the screen quality, I decided the top 21.5" would be better.

    Then I realised that I would have to upgrade the RAM, just in case 8GB wasn't enough so I eventually settled on the mid-range 27" on the basis that it was better and I could see if 8GB was enough and then upgrade the RAM myself at a later date.

    I am.very happy with my choice, with 2TB fusion drive.

    I have no real comparison to give you but hopefully my thought process will help your decision.
     
  3. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #3
    I prefer the desktop area of the 5K model. The 5K also has Skylake CPUs whereas the 4K is on the older Haswell process so performance is a bit better.
     
  4. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #4
    The usage that you mention plus the fact your goal is more screen real estate I'd look into the 27" models. If you're working out of multiple windows it's just so much more pleasant to have that space available.

    Nothing you describe sounds taxing enough to warrant the performance bump but the RAM upgradability, dedicated GPU and the generational processor bump will give you slightly more future proofing with the 27" models.

    If you go with the fusion drive I suggest 2 or 3 tb versions like you initially were looking at. They have a significantly larger SSD portion than the 1 tb version. Or go with all SSD if you budget permits.
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #5
    I'd opt for the 5k, because you get that larger screen you mentioned

    Both are fine machines, but for your money, I think you get more computer with regards to the 5k model. You get a newer processor (skylake), you get a dGPU which will handle anything you throw at it, and most of all you get a gorgeous 27" display. That's hard to pass up imo.
     
  6. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #6
    Just pick on which screen size you prefer.
    The problem with 5K is no one is broadcasting in it, so your unlikely to get any internet movies in 5K to watch.
    TBH your lucky to find much 4K content!
    So just decide if 21" or 27" is better for your needs. Both will last you a good number of years based on your usage.
    I use my late 2012 iMac (hooked up to another screen) for photo editing, and general internet, word processing stuff, and I'd imagine this should be good for another 2-3 years.
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #7
    You know its funny, but I never considered the 5k iMac for watching 5k content, perhaps because I generally use the iMac for other purposes. I think the 27" alone is a great reason to get the 5k :D
     
  8. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #8
    Size isn't everything!
    I have a two monitor set up so 27" would be too big for my little office.
    I have the 21" and a 24" for photo editing.
     
  9. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    Boston
    #9
    For me it is, in the sense that I tried the 21" and felt it a bit confining. I have a 24" Apple Cinema Display and after spending almost 2k (on a 4k iMac), I'd be left with a machine that seemed smaller then what I already was using (MBP + ACD). I wanted the increased screen real estate and I have no regrets. To each his own, as one size does not fit all. :)
     
  10. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #10
    People never go down with screen size. They always go bigger for desktops anyhow.
    27" is the most common size on desktops these days.
     
  11. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #11
    No, as it seems to impact their work and expectations. Though I know a few people at work who had a 15" laptop and went down to a 11 (or 12") and love it. Personally that's just to small for me, but I think they're the exception to the rule :)
     
  12. IngerMan, Jul 31, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016

    IngerMan macrumors 6502a

    IngerMan

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    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
    #12
    I just came from a 2007 20" iMac, Going to the 27" was a great thing for me. I have an elliptical machine in my office and watch TV while I workout through my cable provider via the internet. I also love splitting the screen and viewing and working in full mode 2 different applications.
     
  13. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #13
    I couldn't do with anything less than a 27" display any more.

    Have actually been thinking about moving up to 40" with the next Mac I buy (probably the next generation Mac Mini…)
     
  14. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #14
    Well to be fair 5k monitors weren't designed for consuming 5k content, although they could. Their primary purpose its for 4k video editing since you can have the entire 4k video in native resolution on the screen still leaving room for your tools.

    I think we are misrepresenting the use of 4k vs 5k here. It should be 21" vs 27".
     
  15. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    Feb 21, 2012
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    Behind the Lens, UK
    #15
    Agree. I doubt most people would see the difference between 4K and 5k. However you'd be hard pressed to find someone who couldn't tell the difference between 21 and 27".
     
  16. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
  17. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    Feb 21, 2012
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    Behind the Lens, UK
    #17
    Well in the UK, there isn't that much 4K content.
    By the time we get 8k, Japan will be on 3D holographic.
     
  18. cube macrumors G5

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    May 10, 2004
    #18
    They are test broadcasts, the UK is less than 1 generation behind.
     
  19. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    Boston
    #19
    I didn't buy my iMac because it had a 5k display, I bought it because it was 27" I don't do anything that really requires 5k, and given my old eyes, I don't even run the resolution at the default setting but scaled to make the text bigger
     
  20. cynics macrumors G4

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    #20

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