iMac Pro Best Cost/Performance - 2017 iMac Value Configuration

Discussion in 'iMac' started by marble_house, Mar 11, 2018.


Best Value Option

  1. iMac 3.5GHz Intel; 27-inch - 16gb RAM 1 TB Fusion

    2 vote(s)
  2. iMac 3.8GHz Intel; 27-inch - 8gb RAM 2 TB Fusion

    3 vote(s)
  3. 15.4-inch Macbook Pro 2.7GHz - 16gb 512 SSD

    3 vote(s)
  4. Wait for iMac with SSD

    16 vote(s)
  1. marble_house macrumors newbie


    Mar 11, 2018
    Read through the forums and still finding myself unsure on the question of best quality vs. performance (rather than ideal configuration). To preface this: I've been using an iMac 2015 setup, then here is the "home office" computer it is replacing, brace yourself:

    MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2011)
    2.2 GHz Intel Core
    Intel HD Graphics 3000 512 MB
    8 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
    512 GB SSD

    I'm looking at a few models and torn on how I should be valuing the trade-off between the fusion drives vs. RAM upgrades - and it's more of a decision now that I'm finding out that easy user upgrades to RAM/storage are not as easy as they were. Most of the work I do is web-based applications - local applications are light photo editing, PDF editing, and presentation/print work. I realize that anything will be a substantial upgrade, but if you had to choose between the options below (can get these after discount ~$1900-$2100), what would you choose for my situation?

    Option 1:
    3.5GHz Intel; 27-inch Retina 5k
    16GB of 2400MHz DDR4 memory
    1TB Fusion Drive1
    Radeon Pro 575 with 4GB video memory

    Option 2:
    3.8GHz Intel; 27-inch Retina 5k
    8GB of 2400MHz DDR4 memory
    2TB Fusion Drive1
    FaceTime HD camera
    Radeon Pro 580 with 8GB video memory


    15.4-inch Macbook Pro 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 (2016)
    16GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory
    512GB PCIe-based onboard SSD1
    720p FaceTime HD Camera
    Radeon Pro 455 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory

    Thank you for the help!
  2. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014
  3. marble_house thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 11, 2018
    No. Just a third option in case the SSD vs fusion is really that much of a trade-off. I have the option to get a 21.5" inch retina 4k with an SSD, but downgrading the screen I'd probably favor portability (should I ever need it).
  4. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014

    Ok. I'd say Option 2 wins this by a country mile(unless you need to run bootcamp). Add in after market ram if 8GB becomes an issue and if the internal drive isn't up to speed(no pun intended) you have the option of adding in a external SSD.
  5. padams35 macrumors regular

    Nov 10, 2016
    Not option 1

    The 1TB fusion is a nice cheap upgrade for people coming from a pure HDD who won't ever need more than 16GB ram, but that may be feel like a downgrade if you are coming from a pure SSD.

    The 2TB fusion is fine if you are on a strict budget or want high capacity internal storage, otherwise an SSD is better.

    Is your discount/purchase limited to off-the-shelf configurations? If not I'd call the mid/top tier 2017 5Ks excessive overkill for replacing a 2011 laptop for PDF editing and instead consider an entry 3.4GHz 5K built-to-order with a 512GB SSD (or a 2TB fusion if you value capacity over speed).
  6. marble_house thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 11, 2018
    Thank you for the response - I think I actually will be able to avoid having to run bootcamp.

    Thank you for the response - I am limited to discount if I am doing off the shelf - value speed / SSD so I guess I should be open to other options. Price for any of the above is going to be in the ballpark of $1600-$1650 out the door, so I'd entertain anything in that range.
  7. marble_house thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 11, 2018
    Any thoughts on other configurations? I unfortunately need to make a call by tomorrow.
  8. Azeroth1 macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2010
    Refurb store with 512gb SSD and all the rest of the specs base if necessary to stay in your budget. Time doesn’t sound like it’s on your side so the current inventory might not work, but that is what I would suggest. Personally, I think the SSD is just much better use of funds than any improvement you’d see from CPU or GPU for your use and the price.

    Bottom Line: 2017 SSD based iMac, reduce all other specs to stay in budget.
  9. marble_house thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 11, 2018
    Feedback sounds like it was worth waiting SSD vs. the 2 TB with 128 internal.

    Kind of surprised after a few co-workers feedback - had a few who got fusion drives recently and they seemed to indicate they seemed as fast as SSD (might be lighter use).
    --- Post Merged, Mar 12, 2018 ---
    Now I'm rethinking this - I'm looking at the above configs (iMac 3.5GHz Intel; 27-inch - 16gb RAM 1 TB Fusion) for $1650 and thinking what I should be doing is this:

    iMac 3.5GHz Intel; 27-inch - 16gb RAM 512GB SSD - $2050

    Looking at Crucial I could even throw 32GB in there, sell the Mac ram, and be at ~$2150 with 2 slots open. Thank you for saving me MacRumors!
  10. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    None of the above.

    Instead, get the midrange 27" 5k iMac, 3.5ghz.
    Special order either a 512gb or 256gb SSD, depending on your budget.
    Add more storage via USB3 if required.

    That's my "best compromise" of "speed, silence, value".
  11. OBirder macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2015
    I as well would go for the SSD version. There had been several discussions about this recently.

    Besides speed I would consider a second factor which is reliability. Reading through the forums it seems that people have experienced HDD failures, while there is not much to read on hardware failure of SSD. The same on a personal level. I know some people with Fusion drive failures, but not with SSD failures.
    I used my first SSD in an always on PC in 2012 and the SSD is still running fine, while I had HDD drives fail. In either case easy to replace in a tower design.

    But kind of important to me for an AIO design. Maybe less important if you consider replacing within 3 years and you are covered with AppleCare.
  12. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2014
    Fusion drives are fast until they aren't. A big part of the problem, and much of the reason FD gets no love here on MacRumors, is that it's very, very hard to predict when the "aren't" part kicks in. It depends a lot on your workloads, file sizes, and how it all interacts with the fusion algorithm which is trying to guess as what you will be doing.

    That uncertainty will kick in a lot sooner with the 1 Tb Fusion because of the much smaller front side SSD. The 2 and 3 Tb FD's have a larger SSD which will usually, but not always, make the HDD slowdowns more of a rare occurrence.

    It just depends, and that's why you'll see pure SSD advocated here. (Long term reliability is another reason.) If you can afford enough pure SSD to satisfy your storage needs, you'll get consistent and predictable speeds. You pay for it, of course.
  13. BananaX macrumors regular


    May 24, 2017
    Option 1 with slight adjustment. I believe the base model is powerful enough for your work.

    3.4GHz Intel; 27-inch Retina 5k
    8GB of 2400MHz DDR4 memory (Add your own memory, much cheaper, and it is very easy)
    1TB Fusion Drive1 (Go for 256 SSD or 512 SSD if you can, it is substantially faster than Fusion Drive)
    Radeon Pro 570 with 4GB of video memory

    I am going to buy the same configuration, but waiting for the next gen CPU.
  14. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Option 1 but I would lean toward an SSD as mentioned. The fusion is good but if SSD is better.

    Best value are the units closer to the base model. Apple profit margins skyrocket with upgrades. Which is fine if you just want something but putting money in someone elses pocket for arbitrary reasons isn't good value for you.
  15. varian55zx macrumors 6502a


    May 10, 2012
    San Francisco
    Pure SSD all the way, no use to fall back on the spinner.
  16. marble_house thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 11, 2018
    Late 2015 vs 2017?

    27-inch iMa - Retina 5K display: 16GB Memory | 512GB Solid-State Drive 3.2GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 Processor; MK462LL/A (Late 2015)


    2017 would be ballpark, slightly more - closer to $2k
  17. Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2017
    Go for the 2017 unless you get a really, really good deal on the 2015. For 300$ more (including the 512gb SSD upgrade) you would get:
    - A better CPU
    - Considerably better GPU
    - Faster SSD
    - TB3 ports
    - About 2 more years of macOS support
    - Better resale value

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16 March 11, 2018