About to pull trigger, Upgrade questions

Discussion in 'iMac' started by trojandrew, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. trojandrew macrumors newbie

    Apr 5, 2013
    Hi all, I'm finally ready to not be shackled to my school's editing lab to work on my projects (both personal and school related)! So going to snag a 27" iMac. Very excited.

    With my budget I can pretty much do 2 of the following 3 hardware upgrades, so my question is what would you "downgrade". Primarily I'm going to be using Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Maya 3D.

    27" 3.2ghz

    - 16gb of RAM
    - 1TB Fusion Drive
    - 680MX 2GB gpu

    Which would you dump? Thanks!
  2. madsci954 macrumors 68030

    Oct 14, 2011
    Just FYI, you can get aftermarket RAM for a lot less that Apple asks for.
  3. vladfein macrumors regular

    May 28, 2012
    Dump the RAM upgrade.
    This is the only part you can do yourself later, whenever you can save $40 (that is what people are asking for their original Apple 8GB when the upgrade to 32GB).
  4. trojandrew thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 5, 2013
    Oh I hadn't even thought of snagging 2x 4gb sticks from someone who's upgrading. Buying 2x 8gb from Crucial wasn't that much less than the upgrade through Apple and my edu discount, and it was worth my time and not having to open up the iMac. But for $40 that's brilliant.

    Where's a reliable place I could track someone down selling their 4gb sticks?
  5. RoastingPig macrumors 68000


    Jul 23, 2012
    dump the ram..aftermocket ram is waaaay cheaper
  6. karpich1 macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2007
    I think you need to tone down the "waaaay" part

    Apple's Student discount (which he is using) is AROUND a $180 upgrade.

    Crucial's 16GB package is $125.99

    So while Crucial you are saving around $54 (or 30%) it's not a whole lot. That's like a dinner for two at a diner, or a dinner for one at a decent restaurant. And I guess whatever he can get for eBay'ing the old 8GB.

    To the original poster though, I agree with the overall sentiment: go with Crucial. Replacing RAM in the 27" is supposedly no big deal: there's a door to remove on the back and you just do your thing.

    $60 may seem like chump-change to some people like myself, but if you're a student and trying to squeeze that mileage out of your savings account, $60 is enough to try to save.
  7. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I'm using FCPX and I'd expect the demands of video production with the two toolsets would be about the same. Somebody else might be more knowledgeable

    While not part of you question, I'd go for the i7 to get the extra cores for rendering.

    It should run fine with 8GB (I rarely see over 5GB used, and thats with a virtual machine running as well). You can always add RAM later.
    I'm usually dealing with 100-200GB of video a week, and since the video files are streamed they don't require fast access. In fact I usually keep the video on an external 1TB drive. For these reasons I consider the Fusion Drive nonessential.
    IMHO, this is for gamers. The 675MX with 1GB will be fine.

    So bottom line -- get the i7 and none of the other options. Or perhaps the 1TB fusion drive (fast boot and program loading) and an external USB3 or Thunderbolt drive for the video files.
  8. karpich1 macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2007
    The 27" comes with a quad-core i5 or i7. So, same number of cores.

    However, SOME apps take advantage of hyperthreading which I believe the i7 offers. And while it does give a boost on properly-parallel-compatible apps, it's not that big of one. But every bit helps if you're doing something incredibly intensive.
  9. vladfein macrumors regular

    May 28, 2012
    Well, $180 at Apple only buys you 8GB of extra RAM, which you could buy for around $70. This is the saving of $110, or 61%.
  10. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    The rendering/transcoding operations in a well designed program will use all cores (including the hyperthread pseudo-cores). And this is the most time consuming part of video, at least for me - it's about an hour of full CPU use per hour of finished video. My experience is that hyperthreading adds about 1.3 core's worth of processing to a quad core processor. This will be far more of a boost that the OP will see for adding an additional 8GB of RAM, a Fusion drive, or the high-end video card.
  11. librarian macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2011
    if you don't plan to use Mudbox or Mari in the future, dump the graphics card upgrade.
    However you should really reconsider the processor. The i7 is at least 20% faster than the i5 while rendering and caching dynamics with Maya.
    Also your computer won't be a useless brick while rendering, you can work with other software like AfterEffects without slowing much down a maya batch render.
    If you're going to render animated sequences that 20% time saved is either more time spent in polishing the project (less time wasted on tests), or simply finishing before the deadline at peace:)

    The Fusion upgrade is optional. Sure it boosts OSX performance and launch application faster, However if the footage you need to work with is on an external disk/network disk the performance will be limited on the external unit speed.
    AfterEffects may be faster if OSX put the media cache on the SSD part of the Fusion drive (wich you cannot do manually unless you split away the Fusion drive).

    RAM: buy 16 gb from crucial.com and keep the original 8gb for a total of 24 gb. You save quite a bit of cash and have plenty of ram for AfterEffects and Premiere.
  12. Siderz macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    I don't know the cost in USD+student discount of the iMac you've listed, but just to point out, with the new Mac Pro being announced just over the horizon, you might find waiting until the end of the month before looking at Macs.

    Sources state that the new Mac Pro is to be announced this month, and I'm pretty sure you can get a lower spec Mac Pro for less than the higher spec 27" iMac. Maybe the benchmarks will be lower, I'm not sure, but that's where upgrading your Mac Pro parts will come in when you need them.
  13. iSayuSay, Apr 10, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2013

    iSayuSay macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    Crucial 16GB kit = $125 and you keep the 2x4GB sticks Apple gives you by default. Sell it for some return or keep it just in case, whatever .. but you own it.

    Buy 16GB from Apple with educational discount = $180 and you ONLY have 2x8GB in your machine. No safekeeping, no reselling, no nothing.

    So yes, you save waaaaaay more than 30% by upgrading the stick yourself.
  14. smoking monkey macrumors 65816

    smoking monkey

    Mar 5, 2008
    You Only Live Twice
    Yeah. I'm with you. That's sounds like a great idea. Now I just need to find somebody in japan who wants to sell them!

    And get the fusion drive if you're a typical user. And as others state, you may not need the better graphics card depending on what you will use the computer for.
  15. Lobwedgephil macrumors 601


    Apr 7, 2012
    Ditch the ram and buy it later, it's easy to replace the ram.
  16. trojandrew thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 5, 2013
    Some of you guessed right, my original thought process was with the edu discount on RAM I was happy to pay a little more to not have to fuss with the RAM vs buying from Crucial. However, I'm really in love with the idea of buying 2x 4gb sticks (seem to float around $50 on eBay) for an inexpensive upgrade. So I ditched the RAM upgrade.

    I realized I hadn't checked this thread before I headed out the door and wish I had seen the comments regarding CPU though. But that's ok, *anything* will be infinitely more productive then my current situation, and if I need to do gnarly Maya renders I can always hog multiple machines at the lab at school :). Not to mention 3D isn't my main schtick.

    Anyway, I couldn't be more excited to get my new machine! My wife is pretty stoked too because it will become our TV in the bedroom haha.

Share This Page