5K iMac GPU: 290 vs 295X + fan noise (for non gamers!)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jordanz, Mar 16, 2015.

  1. jordanz macrumors member


    May 13, 2012
    Getting a 5K iMac and need some help deciding between the 290 and 295X. My gut says to upgrade to 295X as I'm already upgrading CPU to i7, going 24GB ram and 512GB SSD - but my main concern is fan noise.

    I currently use a 2011 Mac Mini with Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics which many people consider underpowered, but to this day I think it meets my graphic needs fine. I rarely play games, and when I do it's something like The Sims or Sim City. However I do a lot of DAW work (audio production) and run a lot of VSTs - the main reason I'm upgrading (can't wait to see Ableton on the retina screen!) But as I understand, this benefits most from the CPU bump. I also do web design, so some Photoshop but mainly just editing code, and some Plex transcoding every now and then.

    The GPU upgrade would mainly be for future proofing in my case, as I suspect the 290 will meet my current needs. I plan on having the iMac for 3-4 years - the 290 is already 3 years old and I'm already coming from a 4 year old GPU! Though I don't want to upgrade if the fan noise will increase in general over the 290, doing every day things and my DAW work. I've read the fan absolutely roars up in the 295X but this is with games and thermal throttling at high FPS settings... I haven't seen much on the difference between the two cards outside of gaming.

    So I guess my main question is if I'll see any extra fan noise / throttling / heat according to my usage habits? Thanks! :)
  2. driftless macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2011
    I have the 295 and use it with Adobe CC, Aperture, FCPX, etc., and it is very quiet. I have only heard the fan once or twice and even then it was very quiet.
  3. Astelith macrumors regular

    Oct 10, 2014
    With Cubase the fan stays at minimum (1200), only to keep the value of the iMac I will suggest you the M295X, if the budget it's not a priority.
    With your usage I hardly see you in a situation where the fan is pushed by the GPU, if you use a lot of realtime plugins the one raising the RPMs of the fan is the CPU.

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3 March 16, 2015