Are the retina iMac upgrades worth it?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by RMCF10, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. RMCF10 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2014
    #1
    Lately I have been thinking about upgrading my very old desktop computer to an iMac. I'm most likely going to go with the retina version as I have a retina Macbook Pro and the screen is phenomenal. I was wondering if any of the upgrades are going to be worth it for my needs as you can find the base model on sale for at least $100 off. I also want this computer to last for at least a couple years.

    I do a lot of web surfing, reading, and video streaming. I also occasionally do video and photo editing using mostly Adobe softwares. The two biggest upgrades I'm thinking about are the processor and the RAM. Would the i5 be a sufficient processor in the long run? The RAM I definitely want to upgrade but I heard you can do it yourself for a lot cheaper. I'm also considering upgrading the video card but I don't think I need to for my needs. The hard drive I'm not too concerned about and so far I have read positive things about the standard fusion drive.

    Lastly do you think it's worth buying the retina model now or do you think it is best to wait until the next refresh?

    Thanks.
     
  2. mystikjoe macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    #2
    I have an older imac i7 2.8 that I just added the new i7 retina with 32gb of ram and upgraded video card. after a month of ownership it's just not feeling like it was the right decision considering the price paid. I upgraded my older one to an ssd and kept stock drive for time machine backup and pictures. in benchmarks the new one is 2x as fast in real world minus the amazing screen I just don't see much difference.
     
  3. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

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    #3
    Adobe software will make full use of the i7 processor (for hyperthreading) and the increased memory on the video card. To save yourself money now, do NOT upgrade the RAM. Get a utility to see if you are actually using it all, and then upgrade later for much cheaper. I think the fusion drive should be fine.

     
  4. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #4
    Honestly, I'd evaluate whether or not you need the extra processing power (as the retina 27" iMac has beefier processing and graphics guts than its non-retina counter-part) as the screen itself is mostly cosmetics at the expense of software that may not yet optimized for your screen. That's sort of the bummer about being on the cutting edge of this "retina" push. If you work with 4K footage, it's supposed to be handy. Otherwise, it may be a bit overkill.

    If you're going to be at all serious about working with video and photo editing, I'd definitely get the Core i7 over the Core i5 as Hyperthreading will help you out (and it's not on the i5 where it is on the i7). I'd also get the beefier video card in that case. If you're only doing this stuff casually, I'd say either don't upgrade video and CPU or consider a non-retina iMac (as the retina iMac may be overkill for your needs).

    Regardless, the retina 27" iMac doesn't differ from the non-retina 27" iMac in that the RAM is user-replacable, in which case, buying the machine pre-configured with the maximum amount of RAM is a rip-off and not worth it. Just configure it with the minimum RAM and then go on Crucial or Kingston and buy a four-stick kit to max the sucker out and then you're golden.

    The retina iMac just came out; that said, it came out about five months prior to the current anticipated launch of Broadwell and the rest of the iMac line is otherwise long due for a refresh. I'd say that it wouldn't be unfair to assume that a Broadwell update will be coming not too long after Intel releases it and that the entire iMac line (21.5", 27", and 27" Retina) will all be updated at once.

    To answer your question, you might as well wait.
     
  5. RMCF10 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 16, 2014
    #5
    Thanks everyone. It seems the general consensus is the processor and graphics card might be worth it, but to hold off on the RAM and the hard drive. As for getting a regular iMac, I wanted to go with the retina after I bought my retina macbook pro. I might wait for the next refresh though. Thanks again.
     
  6. rainydays, Dec 16, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014

    rainydays macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 6, 2006
    #6
    For your use I'd say that the i5 is sufficient. As you said, you can get the base model for less now.
    Sure the i7 will give you faster rendering times, but it will also be noisier while rendering. And if you're not editing movies on a daily basis I don't think the time you save is that significant.

    I was going to get the upgrades first but decided to get the base model. No regrets!

    I do wish that it was all SSD since the Fusion Drive is quite noisy, but for the money I thought an external SSD would be a better investment.
     
  7. MowingDevil macrumors 68000

    MowingDevil

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    Jul 30, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC & Sydney, NSW
    #7
    Do you need an upgrade now? If so, go for it! Waiting is ridiculous if you need it. If you don't need an upgrade why are you even considering it? Not buying the first version because they will iron out all the kinks for the refresh is a myth & lunacy based on message board hysteria. If you don't believe me, just ask all the owners of the 2011 MBPs how their logic boards are doing. Meanwhile, I bought the very first edition unibody 3 yrs earlier & my logic board is still running fine!
     
  8. andy9l, Dec 17, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014

    andy9l macrumors 68000

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    England, UK
    #8
    Agreed. For your usage the i5 will be more than sufficient. It depends how concerned you are about budget.

    I would suggest, if you're limited on budget, go full SSD and leave the rest as stock. Including a noisy, spinning disk in an expensive 2014 desktop computer isn't cool. External storage is cheap, wireless, transportable, upgradable, enables home/device sharing functionality and is the way forward. You'd get away with the 512GB SSD.

    The stuff I need on a very frequent basis equates to about 100GB. Leaves me space on a 512GB for Windows and loads of future 'stuff'. The rest sits on external storage and can be pulled whenever I need it. I don't browse 500GB of photos or view 1TB of films every day, nor do I just want to view them from my iMac. So why would I keep them on it and either suffer performance (Fusion) or cost (1TB SSD) as a result?

    Upgrade RAM yourself for a fraction of the price, with very little effort and no warranty voiding.

    This. If you really need to upgrade, then you need to upgrade. If not, don't!
     
  9. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

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    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #9
    I don't know if the retina iMac is worth buying. The screen is amazing, and it will probably keep being amazing for some years. However, the computer itself will get dated, especially because the base model has 8 GB of RAM.

    The best thing to do would perhaps be to wait for 5120x2880 displays to be released, and then buy one and then buy a Mac Mini or a Mac Pro separately. You won't need to throw the beautiful screen away when you need to replace the computer.
     
  10. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #10
    It won't get dated that fast because you can upgrade the RAM yourself to 32GB.
     
  11. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

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    #11
    That will cost money. Perhaps it would be worth to buy a cheaper machine now and buy another one later on, instead of buying a very beefy one just to make sure the wonderful screen wii be accompanied by great hardware for years to come.
     
  12. Serban Suspended

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    #12
    get the imac with i7/295x standard 8 gb ram and standard 256ssd

    a refresh until October will not be
    the early and mid 2015 is about apple watch maybe ipad pro and the new macbook air and apple tv
    im sure apple will wait for intel upgraded cpu and for nvidia/amd next generation gpu, until these 2 happen a refresh even silent refresh will not occur
     
  13. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #13
    At least it's still cheaper than buying a brand-new computer.

    The wonderful screen is already accompanied by great hardware (if you max it out, that is).

    RAM notwithstanding, an i7-4790K, PCIe SSD and 4GB R9 M295X is already pretty great hardware, and should last for several years.

    Would you rather spend $1500 every 2 years for a new computer instead of spending $4500 (everything maxed out from the Apple Store) for one computer that'll last for 6 years or more?

    In the end, the cost per year is roughly the same.
     
  14. Swampthing, Dec 17, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014

    Swampthing macrumors 6502

    Swampthing

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    #14
    Cute little sig, but realize dude, YOU indeed are a NOOB. :cool:
     
  15. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

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    Brazil
    #15

    Well, you would probably have a better machine in the end of 6 years if you update it regularly.
     
  16. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #16
    You are what you call others :)
     
  17. JeffyTheQuik macrumors 68020

    JeffyTheQuik

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    Charleston, SC and Everett, WA
    #17
    You are both brilliant!

    :cool:
     
  18. Swampthing macrumors 6502

    Swampthing

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    Mar 5, 2004
    #18
    Then why do you call others newbies? You admit to being one? Duh. So I guess "chances are" you will be ignoring your OWN postings... lol.

    I am one too? Um... last I checked 2004 > 2011 by SEVEN YEARS. And many more of us seniors are here too; several longer than myself. Calling others newbies when you have only three years here is a laugh riot. :rolleyes:

    Learn respect for those who come before you. And next time use a calculator, okay? your math is a bit off.
     
  19. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #19
    Newbies as in the MR rankings.

    And last I checked, you're a 6502, while I'm a 68040. Learn to respect those who've helped around more instead of being one of those who just reads and then doesn't comment/help. Have a look at my posting history if you want.

    So you also need some math of your own.
     
  20. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

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    Brazil
    #20

    Oh please! Let's go back to the topic and stop these childish discussions! Who cares if one is a newbie or an elder at an Internet forum?
     
  21. matreya macrumors 65816

    matreya

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    #21
    I think you'll find that a 6502 indicates seniority over a 68040. That would indicate he's been around the traps on MacRumors a good many more years than you, and has probably helped a lot more people than you.

    This diversion aside, I highly recommend a Retina iMac with the upgraded CPU/GPU, and if money is an issue, stick with fusion drive and upgrade the RAM yourself later.
     
  22. fastlanephil macrumors 6502a

    fastlanephil

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #22
    MacRumors it's self is a fairly recent site isn't it? Even the Internet as we know it is a fairly recent development for many.

    I was helping to run a MUG (VP) in the mid eighties and even then I considered myself a late comer to computing compared to others that started with the Apple ll.

    And even those that started with the Apple ll were late comers to computing compared to those that started with the mainframes, learning to code, engineer, or data process.

    A iMac is just a machine, as computers have always been, so buy the machine that does what you need it to do and hopefully will continue to do what you need it to do for a reasonable amount of time. Cut through all the Apple hype and user fog and examine the basic nuts and bolts of what you are buying.

    Good luck on what ever you decide.
     
  23. siddhartha macrumors member

    siddhartha

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    Northern Virgina
    #23
    Yeah-the pissing contests get old fast-we try to help others, and that's it. I don't care if you've been here a day, a week, or years. Makes no difference at all if you'd like to help.

    I find that the rImac I just got is well worth my upgrade. I upgraded from a 2011 i7 iMac, and this new one is very fast indeed. I love the screen-didn't think it'd be as big an upgrade as it is. Remains to be seen how the vid card and processor pan out, but I think it was worthwhile to me.

    On the bootcamp/windows end, it likewise is a nice upgrade. Plus the fact I couldn't get windows 8.1 installed natively, and was using VMware, makes this upgrade well worth it.

    I hope that there's no heat issues long-term (I had nightmares of my old G5 iMac) but Applecare was purchased too. I've not noted any issues in my short ownership thus far.
     
  24. theluggage macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #24
    ...that is the least concern about the iMac 5k since (unlike most other current Macs) it has very easily upgradeable RAM behind a little trapdoor. You can add RAM as and when you need it, at far more reasonable prices than Apple's.

    So far only one other 5120x2880 display has been announced (not released) and the price announced is the same as the base iMac 5K. Whether it will work with Mac is unknown - but if it does it will probably use both TB/DisplayPort sockets. Practically speaking, external 5k displays may have to wait for DisplayPort 1.3 or Thunderbolt 3 to turn up on Macs.

    I wouldn't bet too much money on an "early adopter" 5k display still being compatible with new computers in 4 years time. I think the days of sending 60 complete frames every second, uncompressed, over an external bit of wire to the display are numbered - it makes more sense to move some of the GPU functionality to the display.

    If I were getting an iMac 5K, and cost were no object, I'd max out CPU, GPU and SSD - everything that can't easily be upgraded later - to maximise the likelihood of it still being a useful bit of kit in 5 years' time. If cost were an object I wouldn't consider an iMac 5K!

    Dealbreaker for me at the 'mo is the eye-watering cost of maxing out the SSD to 1TB (a sealed all-in-one is no place for spinning rust). They really should have put in a hatch for the SSD as I'm sure 1TB+ SSDs will be affordable in a year or two.
     
  25. yjchua95, Dec 17, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014

    yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #25
    Wrong.

    https://macrumors.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/201624413-How-do-user-titles-work

    A 68040 indicates seniority over a 6502.
     

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