Anyone have the base Retina iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by icemantx, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. icemantx macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    #1
    So I keep going back and forth on what to do for my next iMac - Retina or Non-Retina to save $$$. My current iMac is an early 2009 24" that I upgraded to a 2TB Fusion (removed DVD) and 8GB RAM a couple of years back. My biggest issue now is the screen is looking yellowish/dim and iPhoto/iMovie give me the irritating beachball all too often.

    So I know I would like a new 27" iMac, but I keep reading about the base model Retina being underpowered with the i5 and m290x GPU. It is easy to keep tacking on options to the iMac, but then you end up north of $3000 which sis more than I care to spend right now.

    That said, does anyone have the base Retina with either the 1TB Fusion or 3TB Fusion that can comment on real world performance? Do you see any issues with stutter or slow down? Any regrets not getting the i7 or m295x GPU?

    I would rather keep my pokey old iMac than be disappointed by a stuttering $2500-3000 iMac, however I find it hard to believe Apple would make a crippled $2500 iMac that performs poorly. I am hoping all the comments about the i7 and m295x being absolutely necessary are overblown for the general population. My needs are mainly iPhoto (50k photos), iMovie, iTunes streaming to AppleTV, Safari, Mail, FaceTime and occasionally Aperture.

    I would think that even the base model Retina has to be much much better than the old dog I have.

    Thoughts?

    Jeff
     
  2. ra004e macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    #2
    I have base unit now that replaced a CTO w/ i5 295x 256SSD, yes it studders on mission control, and 295x did not have any issues and the 295x when I compared them definitely "seemed faster", The fusion drive is more than usable, although I split mine up. 256GB SSD on CTO was Samsung and again seemed faster. Everything you need machine for I think will be fine, and I'll pretty sure Mission Control is software issue as it doesn't seem to have issues anywhere else. For my needs when I look back over last three years of my computer usage, base machine will last me at least another three years. Lastly if you want one now, CTO's are 3 weeks out and bases seem to be available in apple stores. Buy one, try it out you've got 14 days to decide. Buyer beware, once you have 27" Retina on desk it's really hard to look at anything else. :)
     
  3. 5iMacs macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    #3
    Well, I ordered my i5/M290X/256GB iMac on launch day and after 3 weeks I still like it more and more all the time. But everyone's situation is different, so here's a little detail about mine.

    It was a simple decision for me. I have a 2012 Retina MBP 16GB RAM that still serves me well, has never been slow for what I use it for (coding, Terminal/VNC, web search, document preparation, Logic/Maschine use, light photo/illustration/video editing). So I didn't feel a need to upgrade from base and I still don't.

    I don't live on one machine, so I have a NAS and USB3 drives lying around and the pure-SSD base model made more sense (plus the experience of replacing a hard drive on an older out-of-warranty iMac). But I don't think the speed hit of a Fusion drive is an issue, I'm not that kind of power-user.

    As for stuttering and slowdowns, well, the only significant thing that's been pointed out to me is a bad interaction between Mission Control and certain Apps (including important apps like Safari). This has nothing to do with the kind of GPU model, however. And like similar issues in the past, it will be fixed in software.

    It's a fast machine, and it's not lacking *anything* important. Unless you really need the 20% better FPS (avg) in games or 30% (max) in specialized or batch operations offered by the i7, the base model is the best deal.

    Again, these machines are fast, base or upgraded. And really heavy things that are actually slow on the base model, will still be slow on the on the upgraded model. For instance a long Handbrake encode that takes an hour on the base model will still take more than 45 minutes on the i7 version.
     
  4. Col Vandal macrumors member

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    Sep 2, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #4
    I just picked one up and have only briefly worked with it. First impression was amazing. Then I noticed Finder window lag. Then I went to test Photoshop, my main use, and was devastated at how poorly it's working. Screen redraw with the blur filters is disgusting. It gives me a percentage bar each time I move the center dial on Tilt blur for instance. The Nik plugin for camera effects is just as bad.

    I was doing a Time Machine backup at the time so I'll test it again when that is done. Also, I'll add another 8GB of RAM, but right now I'm extremely disappointed in this product. It's nowhere as fast as it should be -- and I'm coming from an '08 iMac.

    If it doesn't inprove and tech support is no help, it's going back and I'll get a 2013 maxed out. It's a shame because the display is amazing.
     
  5. 5iMacs macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2014
    #5
    Not sure I've ever seen Finder window lag. Is there a particular view that's doing that? Are you talking about waiting for the finder window to fill in its contents when you are scrolling? Trying to imagine it...
     
  6. Col Vandal macrumors member

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    Sep 2, 2010
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    California
    #6
    I'm probably using the wrong terminology. I mean if you move or resize a window manually it kind of stutters.
     
  7. 5iMacs macrumors regular

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    Oct 25, 2014
    #7
    Gotcha.

    Yes, dragging finder windows (some other windows too) around feels a little stuttery. It was one of the very few things that are immediately noticeable improvements when you upgrade to faster, lower-latency gaming RAM. However I'm fully expecting this to be fixed in software. There's no reason this should be less smooth, for example, than my Retina MBP.

    As far as I can tell, though, Finder window resizes are always a little choppy (update-rate-limited) in Yosemite, I don't think the 5k iMac is any worse there.
     
  8. nrubenstein macrumors 6502

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    Aug 5, 2008
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #8
    What version of Creative Suite are you using? In my experience, performance is ABOMINABLE on newer machines if the CS version doesn't support them. For example, distilling a large PDF takes roughly 5 minutes on a Core2Duo machine with Acrobat 9, but nearly an HOUR on a Core i5 or i7 machine. Using Acrobat XI, distilling time drops from an hour to 2 minutes.
     
  9. fathergll macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #9

    Are you only using 8GB of ram?
     
  10. Col Vandal macrumors member

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    Sep 2, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #10
    I'm using CC 2014 for all my Adobe apps.

    Yes, currently 8GB. My 8GB upgrade will be here today, so hopefully that will help. I've also read some of the Adobe troubleshooting guides and will tweak the settings, delete preferences and relaunch to see what happens.
     
  11. EnderTW macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #11
    I have base model, I don't do GPU intensive tasks though.

    I do have a 4k external, only lag I get is in mission control. I turned on "increased contrast" option, and now have absolutely no lag. Mission control is buttery smooth when I do the mission control animation on both displays.

    driving a total 9k of pixels on my iMac with a ton of windows open for web dev, this machine is amazing.

    I have a dedicated dual 980 GTX SLI pc for gaming. So I didn't get this for gaming. Got it purely for gorgeous text as I'm looking at text all day.
     
  12. Col Vandal, Nov 14, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014

    Col Vandal macrumors member

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    Sep 2, 2010
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    California
    #12
    Well, I definitely think it has something to do with the Retina display. If I drop it down to 1440 low res setting there's no lag at all. So at this point I don't know if it's a software thing with Yosemite or Photoshop, or a lack of power thing with the CPU/GPU.

    Edit: It's not the amount of RAM. I'm at 16GB now, which should be fine. There's definitely either something wrong with the hardware configuration (like the base model is just not enough) or software (Yosemite/Photoshop). I hope someone in tech support can answer this for me. If it's software, that's unfortunate but understandable, and should be rectified with updates. However, if it's a hardware configuration problem, Apple is not going to fare well with the 1st generation of Retina iMacs, especially because they are touting them as geared toward photo/video enthusiasts. This one will be returned and I'll settle for a maxed out 2013 model, which has a pretty darn good track record.
     
  13. teerexx52 macrumors 68000

    teerexx52

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Location:
    Florida West Coast
    #13
    I just purchased the base model retina iMac. This is my first iMac as I have always used Macbook Pros exclusively. With my much older 60's eyes I wanted a bigger screen but hated the external monitors I used as they never looked good compared to my Macbook Pro Retina. So when the new iMac retina came out I decided to give it a try. My concern is reading the post of folks who talk about the base model stuttering and the need to consider an upgrade to the graphics card. I personally see none of this so far on mine but don't want to invest this much money without knowing for sure I have a problem free machine. I am retired and basically surf, email, work iPhoto, play videos and occasionally do iMovie. Thoughts on this? Is the base model OK and a keeper. Appreciate the feedback.
     
  14. Steveatesh macrumors regular

    Steveatesh

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    Oct 29, 2014
    Location:
    North east England
    #14
    I have a base retina but with 16 gig RAM. I use mine for similar plus photo processing with RAW. The only time I have seen stutter or lag is when working with the pictures in full screen, and they are big pictures. I think you will be fine from what you have said.
     
  15. Col Vandal macrumors member

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    Sep 2, 2010
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    California
    #15
    Update: I just got done troubleshooting with Apple Tech for nearly three hours and am still doing more. But at one point a senior advisor basically said using the plug-ins and blur features I use with Photoshop are simply too much for the system. For it to work without lag it needs to push 4xs the pixels and the hardware simply isn't there yet. One more try and I'm giving up at returning it. At this point, I'm not even going to bother with an upgraded version. Too much money and too much time to get it in. I think I'll either get a refurb 2013 or new maxed out 2013 and wait another 5-6 years for a retina. Apple really failed at this product as far as I'm concerned.
     
  16. fathergll macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #16


    I would post on the Adobe forums just to be sure about your issue. Is it definitely Retina or is it Yosemite? People are having issues with Yosemite in general for some things

    https://forums.adobe.com/message/6846009#6846009

    I do agree in general the Retina is not performing how a $2500 computer should perform(yes im aware it's performing an amazing feat with 5K)
     
  17. racer1441 macrumors 68000

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  18. Col Vandal macrumors member

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    Sep 2, 2010
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    California
    #18
    Thanks. I've been keeping an eye on those forums as well.

    Another Update: I created a partition and did a clean install of Yosemite, started it up and still experienced the Finder issues, so they escalated me to another tech support person, this time a phone call. I explained the situation with the woman and went through a few more things with no change. She agreed that I should not be seeing issues with either the Finder or Photoshop, so she escalated me again. The next guy was good as well. We went through some details, confirmed some issues and then he got on so he could see my computer and see what was going on. Again, he agreed the Finder was an issue. I then showed him my Photoshop issue, and he agreed as well -- it shouldn't be behaving that way. He then gave me the option to either return it, or help their engineers out by letting them capture my data. I agreed to "help" them out. He was a really nice guy and understood my issues. He said the engineers should be back to him with info on Tuesday or Wednesday, so I should hear something by then. Hopefully, this will help Apple figure things out and improve on their system.
     
  19. fathergll macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #19
    Will they extend the return window for you?
     
  20. NICKXXXXXX macrumors regular

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    Oct 9, 2014
    #20
    I've been wondering this too op. Was gonna buy the none retina imac, but the price difference is so little in that price class so thinking about going with base retina imac
     
  21. Steveatesh macrumors regular

    Steveatesh

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    Oct 29, 2014
    Location:
    North east England
    #21
    I don't know if this helps or not but I have the base retina with 16 gig RAM. It's my first mac. Photography is my hobby rather than work, and on the PC I didn't want to pay for Photoshop so used a great alternative, Paintshop Pro X6. When I bought the Mac I bought Parallels with it in order to carry on using PSpX6.

    I can use PSPX6 in parallels on the iMac at full screen with hardly any lag, it's much quicker than it was on my i3 PC. If I make the screen smaller it's even better. And that's running through a virtual Machine.

    Last night I downloaded for trial the Mac client version of Corels Aftershot Pro 2 which is a lightroom alternative. This was extremely quick on the Mac, even at full screen. I know this program uses the GPU and even on the base RiMac it showed.

    So for me it works fine but I suppose it depends upon how committed you are to Adobe products. I've followed the problems on the Adobe forums and it's not just retina machines that are having the problems is my interpretation, but I stand to be corrected.

    The other pay off for the retina is when you view photographs. They are simply astonishing on the retina. Just my two cents!
     
  22. teerexx52 macrumors 68000

    teerexx52

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    May 1, 2005
    Location:
    Florida West Coast
    #22
    I really hope so. I don't want to return this if I don't have to just to order the upgraded video card. Seems hard to believe that a computer of this cost and pedigree would not work well using the base model for most all uses. Still worries me
     
  23. Col Vandal macrumors member

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    Sep 2, 2010
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    California
    #23
    I would hope so, but I'll make sure tomorrow or Wednesday. If they can't figure it out or say it's because it just can't do what I want, I'll have a dilemma.
     
  24. fathergll macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #24
    You're at least the second person to say that the 295x didn't have as many UI issues. My biggest issue with the 295x was the reported temps it had during heavy lifting but it's almost necessary to have it seems.
     
  25. rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    #25
    Yeah, this is something I've been a bit worried about. I didn't have the time to test it when I was trying the 5k out last week.
    I've been wondering about how such operations are affected by the high resolution. I'm not entirely sure, but I assume that it usually renders a low resolution preview in these cases, and because of the high resolution it needs to render a preview four times as big, which requires a bit more power.
    I guess this is something Adobe could optimise however.
     

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