512GB SSD or upgrade from i5 to i7 for 5k iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by onebyone, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. onebyone macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #1
    I was really hoping that the base 5k was going to work for me but after five days of playing with it I definitely need the better graphics card. Now that I am customizing I am not 100% on what I should be upgrading besides the card and the ram (later). I am mostly using Photoshop and coding with Brackets but want to get more into video (Premiere Pro). Would it be better to get the 512GB SSD or upgrade from i5 to the i7? From what I have read on other forums I could get away with the 1TB fusion or 256GB SSD because when I get more into video I will be using (need) external drives. Really would like to keep the price as low as possible but do not want to end up being underpowered.
     
  2. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Location:
    Northeast
    #2
    I went with the core i5 and the 512GB SSD. I have plenty of external storage.

    I think the i5 will be enough. I will know in less than 2 weeks.

    I got the 8GB Ram but will most likely upgrade that to at least 24.

    I did upgrade the video as I am not real versant with all the new video stuff, so that was for future proofing. I do not do much editing or like that. I didn't want to get it, but thought I should.
     
  3. kathyricks macrumors 6502

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    Nov 26, 2012
    #3
    What specific problems are you encountering? What configuration did your previous computer have that didn't have these problems?
     
  4. pohejo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2014
    #4
    That is correct about the external drives, however, I would go for 512GB SSD. Have had a macbook air (512GB) for 2 years that I have been doing video works on (though just 1080p), and with the whole suit + plugins and extra accumulated crap I have about 100GB free. Of course I have all video on external drives, but just saying.

    Can just add that the SSD is very fast, and not knowing anything about the performance of fusion drive (other than benchmarks), I can say that startup of programs, coping of files and loading of things are very fast on a SSD.
    Also, I had an iMac 2011, and the constant humming from the HD was a bit annoying.
     
  5. w00tini macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 28, 2008
    #5
    get the i7... storage is cheap externally, but you cannot expand the processor after the fact.
     
  6. nrubenstein macrumors 6502

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    Aug 5, 2008
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #6
    Well, you can, but it's a pain.

    But yeah, I would definitely get the i7 and 256GB if I were budget constrained. You only need 20GB or so to install OS X and have a solid selection of apps. The remainder is more than enough for a scratch drive.
     
  7. onebyone thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #7
    Thanks everyone for all of the input. Secretly I was really hoping people were going to say that I could get away with the i5 and 256GB SSD. So, if I have to go with the i7 and I am already at a higher price point it is only a $250 difference between the 256GB and the 512GB SSD. Should I just bite the bullet so that I have no regrets later? The last time I made a project with Premiere was back in 2000 so I have no confidence that I can get away with a 256GB SSD with zero issues. What makes this complicated for me is that my money and I do not easily part ways.
     
  8. macmee Suspended

    macmee

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #8
    I went i7, upgraded gfx (of course), and 256gb SSD.

    The 512gb SSD upgrade doesn't interest me. I have an external hard drive and I don't store much on my computer anyway.
     
  9. w00tini macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 28, 2008
    #9
    me too
     
  10. onebyone thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 17, 2007
    #10
    Macmee and wOOtini are either of you doing video work on yours?
     
  11. w00tini macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 28, 2008
    #11
    nope. sorry. office-type work and gaming.
     
  12. pohejo macrumors newbie

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    Oct 29, 2014
    #12
    I went to a store and played around with the i5, 8GB RAM, 290X, 1TB fusion.

    My impressions:
    Very fast, even editing 4K video was fluid, but it kind of stuttered when scrolling between clips that was on different files (maybe due the slower hard drive?). No lag or anything when playing the video project or scrubbing trough same clip. Also confirmed 60Hz screen with ufotest.com (what a screen!)
    However, if zooming in a pdf-file of a detailed map (vector graphics) with the preview app, the color wheel appeard and almost got the machine to freeze. I tried several times with different pdf-files. I believe this is due to the implementation of the preview-app rather than the computer, but I couldn't zoom and pan in those files with preview.app (something for you owners to check?)
    After 10 min of play, editing video and photos, and looking trough som photo-album (very fast) my conclusion is that I think the i5 is good enough, and if I had limited budget I would prioritise the following:

    1. SSD before Fusion - based on how fast things loads with SSD (maybe that will solve any large file-loading times). Also I don't like the humming sound of a HD.
    2. 295X - maybe that gives a bit more power and larger memory for panning in large images (or the action described above)
    3. CPU - i7 has hyper-threading that will cut down render times and speed up some multitasking, when running many apps at the same time.
    4. RAM (since this is possible to change at a later time).
     
  13. macmee Suspended

    macmee

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    Dec 13, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #13
    Mostly only doing software development (xcode mostly), internet and google hangouts, sorry!
     
  14. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    Sep 3, 2013
    #14
    I do professional video editing on both Premiere Pro CS6 for Windows and FCP X on a 2013 iMac, i7@3.5Ghz, GTX-780m, 3TB FD and 8TB Pegasus R4 RAID5.

    How do you know the problem is the GPU on your base retina iMac? No matter -- upgrading that is a smart thing anyway. The 4Ghz i7 is 14% faster plus hyper-threading can help up to 30%-40%, but this is uneven and unpredictable. In FCP X I have personally measured a 30% performance increase between hyper-threading on/off, but there was no difference in Lightroom 5 import/export.

    Doing video on any serious level quickly consumes a huge amount of storage. It's unlikely to fit on an internal SSD, so it is inevitable you'll have most of it on external storage (which you've already said).

    That being the case, a 4Ghz i7 retina iMac with M295X and 256GB SSD might be the best choice. If you can afford it the next step would be 512GB SSD.
     
  15. onebyone, Oct 30, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014

    onebyone thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #15
    Thanks for the recommendations and explanations. I don't know if it was the GPU or an issue with my external monitor compatibility, I guess I will find out soon. Can I ask why you went with the 3TB FD over an SSD drive?
     
  16. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    Sep 3, 2013
    #16
  17. onebyone thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #17
    Thanks everybody for all the help. I just ordered an i7, 8gb (will upgrade this myself), M295X, 256GB SSD. In the end even though I can afford the 512 SSD I could not justify a reason to do so. I will use the extra $ towards external thunderbolt 2 storage.
     

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