Any PC switchers who bought the 5k iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by maflynn, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    As it stands, I was planning on getting a new computer in 2016, but I know have the opportunity to get one sooner then later.

    As I go through the thought process of determining what fits my needs the best, I'd like to hear back from any folks who came from the PC world and bought a 5k (or 4k) iMac.

    I'm asking because we have an iMac that will run me 2,000 but there are decent machines out there in the PC world for a 1/2 that (XPS 8900 + monitor will run me 1,100).

    I'm leaning towards the iMac instead of a PC, because OS X offers me a level of integration in the ecosystem that will help me, I also get a gorgeous large display and I've been a Mac users since the Macintosh SE days. Conversely with the 5k iMac I also get an expensive machine that is not very upgradable and I use PCs at work and have a SP3 that I use, so windows is not a foreign OS to me.

    From fairly new switchers, it might be nice to hear from them about their reasonings which may help uncover some kernels of truth that I may not have noticed (if that makes sense).
  2. bent christian, Nov 22, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015

    bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

    Nov 5, 2015
    We recently bought our first iMac for the house. My wife and I both use Macs for work (me: iMac, her: MBP), but we have always had Windows and Linux systems at home. My wife works from home now. We have to share a desk. The iMac's small footprint was one deciding factor. I have used Apple computers for years in my work, so I know they make a quality product. I need a good screen for my photography. I know Apple can be relied upon to provide a great screen on every unit they build. It's not something I felt like shopping around for. Every need led us to the iMac.

    What are your uses? How long do you plan on keeping the system? Outside of those who have very specific needs, I think worries about not being able to upgrade computer systems are largely overblown today. It will be come less and less of an issue as time goes on. Many people on this site seem to buy a new machine every 3-5 years. This makes the worry even more unfounded. Sure, Internet technology will change and applications will become more robust, but I don't see either of these outstripping even the very fast base quad-core/SSD systems that exist today. I keep my machines until they die. We have a couple of recent Macs in the house, but I also use an 8 year old Thinkpad we use as a general use video player and internet browser. This very old CoreDuo machine is still viable for most things and I expect it to last at least another 2 years, maybe longer. The iMac design is problematic if a part needs to be replaced, or for even something as simple as the fan area needing to be cleaned out of lint and dust, but a $2000 speced Apple computer will be relevant for quite some time.
  3. azure247 macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2008
    For me, it is the quietness, simplicity (just one power cord does it all), screen crispness, the space-saving keyboard that is great to type on (very quiet noise), the gestures on the trackpad, and the sync on notes to my phone so I can take my notes on the go (shopping list, reminders). One last thing you mention was that it is not upgradeable, but you can sell it for a good price. That can't be done with a PC you build.
  4. maflynn thread starter Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Thanks for the responses.

    I've been a long time mac user as I mentioned, my usage is office apps, remote access, Lightroom, photoshop, etc, etc.

    No heavy lifting. I was looking at the Dell XPS 8900 coupled with a 4k monitor. The price was about 1,100 though I'm sure come next friday, it could be even lower then that.
  5. twilexia macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2015
    I use a PC everyday at work. I think PC excels at data processing and number crunching (i.e. MS Office suite). Some apps simply aren't done as well on OS X, but of course bootcamp will be a good substitute.

    However, I absolutely love producing music and video editing on a Mac. Especially using trackpad and the magic mouse at once, along with the keyboard shortcuts, just feels like I can concentrate on my music rather than worry about how to set things up correctly on windows. Windows just feels more manual, like I have to save the synths in a specific place to get them to work, or some file will go missing and I'll have to track it down somehow. (A lot of this is due to the fantastic app Logic Pro X). same with premiere pro on the Mac, it just feels better and higher quality.

    I also think it's way easier to do bootcamp or VM than to do a Hackintosh. Personally I'm not interested in bootcamp too much because I just find myself enjoying the OS X versions more (even the slightly inferior versions of MS Office). With Windows it just feels like I'm working whereas with the Mac I always feel like I'm having a good time.

    Overall I think the substantial differences between the two is becoming less and less since more apps are available on both platforms (with the exception of gaming). So it's all about aesthetics, feeling, and quality. I love the iMac's ability for me to upgrade the RAM so easily, and the simple way it's designed with the ports in the back and the power button. My desk has never looked cleaner despite me utilizing all 4 USB ports, 1 TB port, an ethernet port and the SD memory card slot. It's all just so clean. The UX plays a huge part in this - the ease of which I can adjust the settings for the mouse and trackpad, the fact they are wireless which saves a lot of space on my desk, etc.

    I used to be a big PC guy, always criticizing Apple for their ridiculous pricing and hipster posturing, thinking they were inferior in terms of value/price. But after I started making enough money to support having higher quality products, I realized that Apple's stuff is almost always better than their counterparts, and if you're only going to have one computer/phone/tablet, might as well have an Apple. And I say this having used the top Microsoft/Android/Samsung devices.

    The only thing I hate with regards to the Apple ecosystem is iTunes. It's an absolute disaster of an app and does things you least expect (i.e. wiping out one's entire podcast collection simply because you already listened to it). Unfortunately it's needed to setup a new iphone, otherwise I would just uninstall it and forget about it.
  6. makrom macrumors regular

    Nov 4, 2015
    Display all the way...
    Though I don't exactly qualify as a switcher, but I didn't use desktop macs for several years.

    1. If you like processing photos, you'll want a high quality panel with high pixel density
    2. If you want a high pixel density panel, you want OS X
    3. If you want OS X as well as a high pixel density panel, iMacs are the cheapest option
    • I didn't buy them for the compact size, I could easily fit a small tower somewhere.
    • I didn't buy them for their quietness, every PC I had in the last 15 years or so was quieter. iMac is still pretty quiet though, it's just that I pay attention to loudness when building a PC
    • I didn't buy them for their high initial upgrade cost, lack of upgradeability or GPU
    I did kinda buy it for OS X though, not just in regards of hiDPI support. I just consider OS X to be superior to Windows in many ways.
    Buying a Mac also comes with not having to bother with stupid issues of loosely stitched together systems. And I don't necessarily mean this in a physical way, but when buying a PC, you always end up with one piece of hardware or another where the manufacturer just doesn't really know what he's doing. Even Intel doesn't seem to be able to write propper drivers for Windows, though they can't exactly play the lack of ressources or experience card. When the trick to avoid occasional crashes is to replace some DLL from a version of some older driver which you can only find on some shady place of the Internet, you really have to ask yourself it this is as good as it gets.
  7. maflynn thread starter Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'm mostly leaning towards the iMac at this point, because I'm feairly confidant that if I got a PC, I'd be having some level of buyers remorse. I'm sure the Dell XPS 8900 is a decent machine and its certainly a lot more upgradeable then the iMac, but it would cost me over 2,000 for a 27" 5K monitor from dell, never mind the computer. Sure, for 600 I could get a 4k display, but comparing apples to apples, I am getting a nice setup in the iMac.

    I'm also content to work in OS X, even though for my tasks there are definitely some things that windows does better.
  8. twilexia macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2015
    Well the Dell does look like a good deal (1100 for a skylake quad plus better GPU and better upgradability) but yeah if the screen matters a lot to you then the iMac should be a no-brainer. Personally I would have been completely fine with a 1100 mac Mini that had the same specs + 1080p monitor, but because Mac Mini doesn't offer a dedicated GPU or quad-core i7, I decided to go with the iMac. For me the 5k screen is actually meaningless haha, so I guess I paid $1400 for the ability to use OSX. (2699 vs 1100 + 200 for 1080p monitor). But I would make this tradeoff 10 times out of 10.
  9. KeyMs92 macrumors regular

    Mar 26, 2015
    It's interesting... It feels like I've been on a psychological rollercoaster ever since deciding that I'm going to switch to Mac for the first time after the late 2015 iMacs were announced. I thought the time between then, and Black Friday (which I pinned down as the deadline) was more than enough for choosing the right model and configuration. Instead, I've found myself switching back and forth between almost any configuration of the iMac. For a few days, I am absolutely certain that a particular configuration is the right one for me, until a certain thought enters my mind and it changes again.

    Until recently, I thought the 5K iMac was the one for me. What other device (1) runs OS X, (2) is all-in-one and (3) allows for some pretty serious gaming. But then I considered my use case. It's one of two extremes: casual use (browsing the web, office, file management, media consumption) and gaming. Nope, no media production whatsoever. The casual things I will most certainly do. The gaming I was not so sure about. My current PC allows for some decent gaming, but yet I never do it. I came to realize that I was just kidding myself: "If I have this 5K iMac, only then will I start gaming." And "you've so invested much in your Steam library that you've got to justify all that investment!".

    And even if I'm going to game on it, would I really want to bootcamp it with Windows 10? No, I've grown to dislike Windows, a lot, so it wouldn't be worth the hassle. (I'd rather wait for a more mature Steam OS.) And even if running Windows was price I was willing to pay, would I spend 1200 euros more (taking the configurations into account) than the 4K iMac for a mediocre mobile graphics card? The difference in price alone, would allow you to build a pretty serious gaming PC.

    I'm just not having it. So now I've settled on the baseline 4K iMac, with storage upgraded to a 256GB SSD and a Magic Trackpad 2 instead of the Magic Mouse 2. Hopefully, I won't change my mind again...

    So that's my personal journey. I hope it was somewhat interesting to read.
  10. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

    Nov 5, 2015
    In that case, stay off of Internet forums like this. They exist to for commercial purposes and serve to encourage people to question their needs (different from wants), and to spend more money than they should.

    If you aren't gaming, if you aren't using your computer system as a creative tool, you definitely don't need an SSD. You probably don't need the 4K iMac, either. A Quad-core processor with a Fusion drive will keep you relevant for the next 8-10 years, for general use, provided the system lives that long.
  11. KeyMs92 macrumors regular

    Mar 26, 2015
    Yes, a 2TB fusion drive is definitely something I'm considering as well.
  12. Ledgem macrumors 65816


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    I'm not a new switcher, but I recently bought a 5K iMac even though years ago I said I'd never buy an all-in-one. I started out on Windows (excluding the floppy disk-based Apple II's, which were technically my first computers) and switched to Mac close to ten years ago, by this point.

    Two big points to consider:

    1) You're a long-time OS X user so you know this, but it bears repeating: you can virtualize Windows. If your usage scenarios result in too big a performance hit with virtualization, then you can always use Bootcamp to get native Windows performance. That flexibility counts for a lot and makes the Mac very versatile.

    2) Regarding upgrades, I hate the idea of a non-upgradeable machine. I used to build my own computers, and the overwhelming majority of the external hard drives I own consist of an internal drive placed into an external enclosure that I assembled myself. The idea with both was upgradeability. But how often did I really do those upgrades? When I built my own computers, the only fairly regular upgrades were to the graphics card; I've never swapped a hard drive out of the enclosure I placed it into. I like the idea of upgrading, but in reality I'm holding on to devices long enough that to upgrade them means to start from scratch.

    If I were still actively gaming then I might feel differently. And in truth, I still prefer the idea of having upgrade options. I'm sure there are people who upgrade a lot more regularly and who can really justify having upgrade options. But looking at my own usage scenarios, which seems to match how a lot of people use their systems, we're just not making use of the capabilities. So an "all in one" with very little ability to make modifications like the iMac really doesn't prevent us from doing anything, since we weren't doing it to start with.
  13. daniel1948 macrumors 6502


    Oct 20, 2015
    Spokane, WA
    I'm also not a recent switcher. I switched about a decade ago. I'm still using the same iMac I bought at that time, but as time goes on it becomes less compatible, as it still runs OS X 10.6.8. So I've ordered a new 4K iMac with the SSD. They promise it will arrive this week.

    You don't always get what you pay for, but you never get what you don't pay for. You can get a PC a lot cheaper than you can get a Mac, but if you want a PC that's the quality of a Mac, you'll pay about the same.

    So if you're on a budget and need a computer and cannot afford a Mac, a PC will get you a machine. But if you can afford a quality machine, your choice really comes down to which OS you need/want/like. I like OS X and I don't like Windows, so it's an iMac for me. I think you just have to decide which OS you prefer. Then decide what specs you need for your applications. Then I'd advise buying the best quality machine you can afford that has the specs you've chosen. Poor quality is cheaper in the short run, but more expensive and more ulcer-inducing in the long run.
  14. makrom macrumors regular

    Nov 4, 2015
    Unless you have no need for a mobile computer whatsoever, I think a MBP and a 4k screen are a better deal than a 21.5" iMac.
  15. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

    Nov 16, 2012
    20yrs PC. 1 year mac mini. Purchased my rig (see sig) because of the screen. Have never looked back. There are a few things that I dearly wish Apple would change, like make the damn colored balls BIGGER and that stuff bigger in general, but at the end of the day, it is a winner. 2015-11-23 19.53.47.png?dl=0

    The retina is fast, silent (VERY important) and the screen is amazing.
  16. UOThief, Nov 23, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015

    UOThief macrumors member

    Nov 23, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    I just ordered a completely maxed out 5K 27" iMac (4.0GHz, 1TB SSD, AMD Radeon R9 M395X) a couple days ago. Very expensive. Still waiting for it in the mail.

    I've been living of a laptop for almost a decade and it's only now it felt right to get another desktop.

    I'm an all-in-one product person. I've never owned a mac, but I love my iPad Air 2. (Getting the 128GB + cellular option for that thing was one of the best decisions I've made when it comes to new toys/tech.)

    My first Apple product was an iPod I bought to use when I was studying over seas (2010). My iPad Air 2 was my first iPad (2014). And this will be my first iMac.

    Apple's claws worked and you can draw a direct line from iPod --> iPad --> iMac for me.

    But if I love this iMac as much as I love my iPad, it will be a good purchase and hopefully it will last many years.
  17. jazzer15 macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2010
    You and I have been back and forth bit on some other threads regarding this issue, so I appreciate your thread here as it is helping me also.

    Not to confuse things, but one thing I wanted to point out about upgradeability. In my experience, the downside of the all-in-one is less about wanting to upgrade later (because if you buy a powerful enough machine it should be good for many years), but it does present a problem if a part needs to be replaced.

    Apple Care mitigates that issue to some extent, but after 3 years, you are stuck paying for labor to replace something that could have easily been swapped out. Probably not a deal breaker, but it is an issue with a more expensive job. I have an LCD issue that appeared after about 3 1/2 to 4 years of ownership and it really wasn't worth it to fix. On a PC, I would have just swapped out the monitor. Instead, I have been just using the computer with the minor (but annoying) issue.
  18. twilexia macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2015

    Congrats, that's the best configuration (obviously) and I have no doubt you're going to enjoy the hell out of that machine.

    I got the same specs as you except switched out the 1TB SSD for the 3TB Fusion. I'm lazy and have horrible file management skills :p so I prefer to have everything on one big happy hybrid drive
  19. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Apr 5, 2015
    I am not a recent switcher either. Actually I have never personally owned anything other than a Mac. That being said, I have used Windows machines for the past 20 years and still sometimes rely on VM on my Macs. So I am still to this day a part time Windows user. And since you mention that you own a Surface it means that you are used to it too. That means that you must know how it works and what you like and dislike about the different operating systems. Personally I have become highly addicted to things like iMessage (I live away from my home country but can still text and call most of my family and friends for free). Yes, there are alternatives and I can do the same from my phone. But being able to text from my computer is just so much nicer. I am also a somewhat heavy user of a bunch of Adobes programs that I, personally, prefer using on a Mac. Furthermore I like being able to use all the F keys on my keyboard, I can change the volume from my headphones, stream music wirelessly to my Apple TV that is hooked up to my stereo and so on.

    In other words, there are so many little things and little conveniences that, for me, makes the premium paid for a Mac worth the extra money for me, personally. The question is, what do you like about Mac and Windows? Do you like an All-in-one or do you prefer having things separated? How about resell value, is that a concern? How often do you upgrade/how long do you think you will keep the computer? What other functions are you using that is determined by the platform (iMessage, AirPlay etc.)

    I am actually also currently considering getting a new 5K iMac. I have a late 2009 iMac which I am considering upgrading but I still haven't made up my mind. So I am also debating with myself what to do :)
  20. MrNomNoms macrumors 65816

    Jan 25, 2011
    Wellington, New Zealand
    About the only concern I'd have is how heavily do you use office - the documents, are you heavily invested in macros etc? although there is compatibility I've found that some of the documents from work that make heavy use of macros find that there are features that are present on the Windows version but not on the Mac version. I've been a long time Mac user and recently upgraded to an iMac 5K from a non-Retina iMac so I'm looking forward to its delivery on Monday next week.
  21. loekf macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2015
    Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    I have built my own PCs for the past 20 years with a new built every 2-3 years. Always AMD (CPU) + Nvidia (GPU) based systems starting with a Pentium V, then Duran ending with an 8-core FX8820.

    This year I bought my first iMac (5k model). Why ?

    - Switched for gaming to a PS3, now PS4 long time ago. Got fed up with the driver issues and crashes you normally see with new games on PC hardware.
    - Got fed up with the urge to go out and buy new components resulting into a new PC + fresh Windows copy every 2-3 years. On average you spend close to 2000 euros on new hardware (CPU, GPU, memory, PSU, Windows, SSD). Usually I put my old PC up for sale and sold it on the 2nd hand market.
    - Got fed up with MS Windows for its inconsistencies and UI.
    - You don't need latest and greatest CPU for daily work, an i5 is good enough for most stuff

    What I don't like:

    - Storage options. It's ridiculous Apple puts 5400 RPM drives in the 21.5" models, 7200 RPM HDDs in the 27" models by default. A 256 GB SSD is around 90-200 euros depending on the speed. So the premium on a 1 TB HDD is max. 100 euros in terms of BOM costs (likely even less). Apple should have put 256 GB SSDs into all iMac's by default for the same price. Their obsession with maximizing profits is ridiculous. I have a 1TB/128 GB Fusion drive and it's ok. Have to add that ALL my data is on external drives (TB and USB 3). Goal was to maximize the use of the SSD of the Fusion drive. But.. you can clearly see that if you install Office 2016, Libre Office, Pages etc, Xcode you need at least 200 GB. I think for most people 256 GB is ok-ish, 512 GB SSD probably better.
    - 8 GB RAM and the prices Apple is asking for more. A bit tight for my liking. I upgraded myself to 32 GB.
    - Use of GPUs .. performance-wise just ok.

    What I do like:

    - Support. In general Apple is giving you many years of support on your iMac. It's not necessarily out of date after 3-4 years for PCs. There's even an thriving 2nd hand market.
    - Design and integrated system. Things work well together.
    - So far no problem at all, doing the things I did on PCs with an iMac.
    - Time Machine backups. It's great.
  22. maflynn thread starter Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Agreed, that is a factor, and that's why I was contemplating the Dell XPS 8900

    Then I saw this Dell is the latest PC maker with a gaping security flaw Definitely gives me pause

    That's where I'm at right now, there's a number of things that a Mac brings that makes life a little better, easier.

    Some Macros, nothing overly complex. At one point, I wrote an account system in VBA (posting journals, creating reports etc, etc) but now a days they're large enough that Apple's iWork chokes on them, but not big enough that Mac Office has any problems.
  23. KeyMs92 macrumors regular

    Mar 26, 2015
    You made me reconsider. I'll need a laptop at some point in the next year, making the iMac a total luxury at this point. I'll probably go for the baseline 13" rMBP. Thats saves me more than 2000 bucks.
  24. jazzer15 macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2010
    Always something. Maybe I'll just use my iMac with its LCD issue until it dies. It's a great machine otherwise. Why make a decision if I don't have to :)
  25. vcn macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2015
    15 year PC user here. I'm a designer / creative coder for web projects.

    I bought a maked out retina 27'' iMac this month and websites with gpu-demanding animations on it were choppy (I posted videos here). Also when using high resolution images on Adobe CC programs (gpu accelerated) they were choppy aswell.

    Maybe the laptop GPU have problems moving all those pixels under some circunstances or maybe it's a lack of driver optimization, I don't know and don't have the time to wait for it to get fixed so I returned it and made a silent PC with 4k displays and a powerful graphics card.

    I guess it depends on your usage. If you need or want a very good gpu performance today your options are the mac pro or a custom windows pc. Also keep in mind this is a mac forum so everyone will tell you to buy it.

    OSX and Windows 10 are both stable and perform well today. Choose the machine more suited for your needs.

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