5k iMac configuration help

akiraboi

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 21, 2010
58
14
USA
I'm looking to purchase a new 5k 27 inch iMac in the next couple of weeks and I'm debating on the configuration. I'm a casual gamer with most graphics needs for pro apps like Photoshop or LR. I'm looking to get an iMac that's spec'd out enough that I can hang on to it for a while. Fortunately I have a flexible budget so I'm considering "over buying" a little for more performance/reliability/longevity/etc.

Here is my first thought at a config and setup:

RiMAC 27"
Upgrade to 4.0 GHz i7
8GB base RAM (will upgrade myself to 32GB)
Upgrade to M295X 4GB graphics card

I am going back-and-forth on the storage. Right now I'm debating between either doing the 512GB flash storage plus buying a separate thunderbolt HDD for "mass" storage or just biting the bullet on the 1TB flash storage.

What thoughts do you all have? Also any recommendations on what RAM to buy for the 32GB upgrade would be much appreciated.
 
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Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
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Well I would say that sounds just great but to be honest any 27" retina iMac with some sort of SSD (fusion or whatever) will run you workload (from the little you have told us) with no issues whatsoever.

If it was me I'd keep the 8GB of RAM (2x4GB) you have installed and buy a 16GB kit (2x8GB to go into the 2 free slots in the mac) giving a total of 24GB and see how it goes, rare are the people who actually use even close to 24GB let alone 32GB.

As for storage I'd go 512GB and keep media files photos etc on an external HD, but I also wouldn't rule out fusion drive for mass storage they are very good.
 
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cincygolfgrrl

macrumors 6502
Apr 2, 2012
346
227
Somewhere In Time
You have a good problem—the budget to max out a new iMac.

If your goal is 32GB RAM, order 16GB. It will make adding additional from a vendor reasonable. Adding two 8s to two 8s makes sense. If you have two 4s you'll have to pull them in favor of four 8s to get to the 32GB. That's a waste.

I got the 512GB SSD, but keep photos, other that current projects, on an external drive. For good measure I backup the external drive a couple of places because I have the budget flexibility to do so. Which ever SSD you decide to get, plan for external storage—flexibility is good.

I'm not a gamer, so I don't know what to tell you about that. Other than RAM, I maxed my late-2013 non-5K iMac. The machine does everything I ask of it, and it does it quickly with no fans running. Whatever you decide, I expect you'll be pleased with the result.
 
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redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
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8GB base RAM (will upgrade myself to 32GB)
I would suggest leaving the 2x4 GB and getting 2x8 GB for a total of 24 GB. The difference between 24 GB and 32 GB is hardly noticeable, as both amount to a lot of RAM.
am going back-and-forth on the storage. Right now I'm debating between either doing the 512GB flash storage plus buying a separate thunderbolt HDD for "mass" storage or just biting the bullet on the 1TB flash storage.
I'd say go for the external HDD at your choice capacity for added storage. 512 GB is plenty for anything you'd want on the fast internal SSD.
Also any recommendations on what RAM to buy for the 32GB upgrade would be much appreciated.
Crucial has worked fine for me.
 
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akiraboi

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 21, 2010
58
14
USA
Thanks for the input. I hadn't considered keeping the stock 8GB RAM and adding 16 to get to 24GB total. I suppose I can always upgrade to 32GB later if I wanted to.
 
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ericv

macrumors regular
Mar 31, 2015
151
72
You have a good problem—the budget to max out a new iMac.
If your goal is 32GB RAM, order 16GB. It will make adding additional from a vendor reasonable. Adding two 8s to two 8s makes sense. If you have two 4s you'll have to pull them in favor of four 8s to get to the 32GB. That's a waste.
I just bought 32GB today for less than the 8GB --> 16GB upgrade.

$75 x 2 < $200
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008LTBJFW
 
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akiraboi

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 21, 2010
58
14
USA
Can you explain this to me? I am considering to buy 5K eventually, trying to not make mistakes in my config. But I am not sure what you mean.
I think he's referring to the heat problems some have reported with the M295X video card. I think it's concerning if you plan on crunching a lot of graphics use out of the system, like gaming at high resolutions and frame rates.
 
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tillsbury

macrumors 65816
Dec 24, 2007
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I think at this budget there's no point being mean about it. I thought similarly to you but just decided to max it out right from the start. I had previously had a 768Gb SSD in my rMBP so was not going to go down a size. You will forget the price soon enough.
 
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cbrand493

macrumors 6502
May 19, 2015
335
242
Perth, Australia
Can you explain this to me? I am considering to buy 5K eventually, trying to not make mistakes in my config. But I am not sure what you mean.
That combination in the 5K iMac doesn't work well because as akiraboi mentioned, the iMac can't cope with the heat and throttles the CPU and GPU resulting in rubbish performance. You won't notice it with everyday use (internet, email etc), but when you start CPU/GPU intensive tasks like gaming/batch photoshop processing etc, the CPU/GPU will underclock itself and reduce performance to try and cool the iMac down.

If I were you I'd go with one or the other but not both. i.e i7 OR M295X, but not both together. For PS/LR I'd go with the i7 over the M295x.
 
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tillsbury

macrumors 65816
Dec 24, 2007
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Ugh. That's sad to hear. Thanks for explaining.
Also remember it doesn't apply to everyone. There are lots of people out there perfectly happy pushing their maxed-out retina imacs. I'm one of them. Yes, temperatures get up there when you run graphics-intensive Windows games, lots of video rendering, that sort of thing. But up go the fans and everything's fine. You should check whether negative posters on these boards actually own the configurations in question, before believing that your machine will bend.
 
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Floris

macrumors 68020
Sep 7, 2007
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1,472
Netherlands
Also remember it doesn't apply to everyone. There are lots of people out there perfectly happy pushing their maxed-out retina imacs. I'm one of them. Yes, temperatures get up there when you run graphics-intensive Windows games, lots of video rendering, that sort of thing. But up go the fans and everything's fine. You should check whether negative posters on these boards actually own the configurations in question, before believing that your machine will bend.
Fair enough. the reason I buy it is because it is cheaper than the Mac Pro, comes with 27" 5K monitor, and will be used for resource intensive stuff like huge sql database converts, some fun games, and photoshop (500mb+ files) and amateur photography. Not for textedit and facebook browsing :p
 
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