Best iMac configuration for Adobe Creative programs?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by PunkRawkPurl, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. PunkRawkPurl macrumors member

    PunkRawkPurl

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    #1
    I am purchasing an iMac next week & have been going back and forth over a coupe of options. Price is a factor, "starving student" and all that jazz. But I want to be sure I am making the best choices for my needs... where I should/shouldn't cut corners. I am c

    My usage: I am a graphic design & photography student, heavily using Illustrator, Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.
    I am debating between:
    • 21.5" 4K w/ 16GB, 3.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, & 2TB Fusion @$2029 USD OR
    • 27" 5K w/ 8 GB (upgrading to 32GB on the next paycheck, $264 from OWC), 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, & 2TB Fusion @ $1969 USD + $264 memory upgrade
    I am less worried about the graphics, as either of these are a HUGE improvement on the graphics of my current 2009 MBP.;)

    Main questions:
    1. For graphics & photo creative programs, will 16GB be enough? Or will I be wishing for 32GB?
    2. For my uses: is memory more important than a speedy processor?
    3. Does it make sense to have 32GB with 3.2GHz quad-core? (As I understand, if choosing 32GB, it's best to bump up the storage to at least 2TB Fusion.)
    Much thanks in advance!
     
  2. cbrand493 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2015
    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    #2
    27" option for the dedicated graphics.

    16GB will most likely be enough but it's not difficult to bump it to 32GB down the road should the need arise (for the 27").

    Graphics and memory are probably most important.
     
  3. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #3
    Definitely go with the 27" 5K! You'll love the larger screen, especially for photography, etc. Photos look amazing at 5K.

    i5 CPU on the 27" is plenty for your needs. You won't miss the i7. You should actually be fine with 8GB for the time being, so I wouldn't worry about the RAM upgrades until you're sure you need it, and with the 27", it's easy to upgrade the RAM. Don't worry about the GPU, a better GPU isn't going to affect performance much of Photoshop, etc.
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #4
    The dGPU option is what pushes it for me, so between the extra screen real estate and the dGPU I like the 27" iMac a lot better then the 21"
     
  5. Nicklaus macrumors 6502

    Nicklaus

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Winter Park
    #5
    You can upgrade the RAM for less than OWC as well. You can also just buy a 16GB upgrade kit for around $90 making total memory 24GB and you keep the apple ram installed.
     
  6. im2slick4u macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2015
    Location:
    Michigan
    #6
    You definitely want the ram to memory ratio at at least 8 gigs of ram per tetrabyte of memory. Also the higher gigahertz on the processor makes it faster, so dont really worry about how much ram you get. I would recommend for the best computer to get the most gigahertz possible which is 4 gigahertz.
     
  7. cbrand493 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2015
    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    #7
    That bit about the processor and GHz is rubbish.
     
  8. im2slick4u macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2015
    Location:
    Michigan
    #8
    Yeah right
     
  9. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    #9
    No, it's rubbish. Save money on the RAM (upgrade much later to 24GB total -- purchase 2X8GB for $80) and the processor i5 is fine. However, you do want to max out your GPU to the m395x 4GB if you can swing it as a lot of the creative suite applications (especially filters, motion graphics, and especially video) will take advantage of it. It will also help future proof for whatever work you might do and the revisions to CC applications you mention will rely more on the GPU if it is available.
     
  10. im2slick4u macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2015
    Location:
    Michigan
    #10
    Trust me dude. I took computer operations in business and microsoft offices courses in HS. Gigahertz is how many times your cpu spins and each spin is a calculation which makes better math for gaming and editing.
     
  11. Jimmdean macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    #11
    I think you should definitely go with the 27" to maintain your memory flexibility (and at cheaper prices). For the CPU, you would need to know how much your particular workflows will benefit from additional cores. Even if the app benefits, that doesn't necessarily mean what you do will. For the memory, i would get the 8GBx2 kit OWC is advertising - that would give you 24 (w) the base memory, and make it much easier to go to 32 if you need to in the future. As far as storage is the 2TB either way too much or not enough? I ask because flash-only is the single biggest performance improvement you could make on this machine - you should do that if you have either small storage requirements, or storage needs so huge that you have to have external drives anyway...
     
  12. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #12
    I don't think anyone is trying to be mean, but what you're saying is gibberish. Sorry to have to be so direct, but you're insisting.
     
  13. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #13
    You really shouldn't give advice.
     
  14. Floris macrumors 68020

    Floris

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #14
    21" uses Intel Iris, which works great, unless you're really really serious about your media.
    27" uses dedicated AMD, which isn't nvidia, but great if you're really serious about your media.
     
  15. Floris macrumors 68020

    Floris

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #15
    How many clock cycles a CPU can do per second is what defines the rate; measured in Hertz.

    What you seem to imply is that if you have a couple of the same chips and one is clocked higher than the other, it performs better as it can do more in less time. I guess that's correct. But it's not 1995 anymore. And an ARM at 2 Ghz doesn't perform the same as an Intel at 2Ghz. One could be more efficient over the other because they are a different architecture, less distance to travel back and forth, bigger caches, not to mention that most CPUs these days have a dynamic clock rate, for example between idling and gaming.
     
  16. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502

    cincygolfgrrl

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    Location:
    Somewhere In Time
    #16
    I'd say the 21.5" with the i7 and 16GB RAM would give you the most bang for your buck. Looking at the specs for each computer you're considering, it's reasonable to assume either choice would do exactly what you need it to do. I'm a heavy Lightroom user on an i7, 16GB iMac; it does everything I ask, and it does so quickly. Good luck, Purl (the OP).
     
  17. huffy15 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #17
    You can take the base 27 inch i5 model. You don't need the upgraded graphic card. The M380 is fine. Just split your psd if you ever experienced slowness otherwise you are fine. I'm running photoshop + illustrator on a macbook pro 2008 and It just need a good ssd and some ram to run both at the same time.

    If you'll use Premiere to render multiple 4k short film or Photoshop to create massive 3D animation a better graphic card will be great.
     
  18. PunkRawkPurl thread starter macrumors member

    PunkRawkPurl

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    #18
    much thanks to everyone who has chimed in! I appreciate all of the input and advice, lot's of good info here & I am closer to making a choice.
    Unfortunately, price really is a big factor at the moment. Otherwise, at these price points I wouldn't normally split hairs. What's a few hundred dollars when you are already so deep in. ;)

    As a couple of you had mentioned, it did occur to me to update memory by adding 16GB to the original 8GB for 24GB. And at a later time, if deemed necessary, I can swap out the 2x 4's for 2x 8's to get the full 32GB.

    Question:
    I know on the previous 21.5" models, it was not possible to upgrade the memory yourself. (not easily, at least). Is that still the case with the new 21.5" models? It no longer states as such on the specs.
     
  19. PunkRawkPurl thread starter macrumors member

    PunkRawkPurl

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    #19
    Less than OWC? Is it Crucial....? I think that's the name I've heard around here. If not, who would you recommend?
     
  20. scottish macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Location:
    Guess
    #20
    The retina mac has soldered memory. I think previously only the starting base model had soldered memory.
     
  21. PunkRawkPurl thread starter macrumors member

    PunkRawkPurl

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    #21
  22. Sirmausalot, Oct 17, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015

    Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    #22
    Yes, the 21" has soldered memory -- which if you are using graphics programs you would want Apple to upgrade in house to 16GB -- which you can't do later, at a premium price. Your best bet still (because of budget and needs) is the 27" i5 with 2GB dedicated graphics and 2GB Fusion drive. Though perhaps refurbished last years model with similar specs could work as well. The 2TB fusion in that drive has the full 128GB flash. But often the education discount allows you to purchase new iMacs for similar to refurbished http://www.apple.com/shop/product/F...z-quad-core-intel-core-i5-with-retina-display
     
  23. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago-area
    #23
    http://9to5mac.com/2015/10/13/retina-imac-fusion-drive-flash-lol-are-you-serious/

    Not anymore, there is only 24GB flash. I would not assume that a fusion drive will give you the speed that you expect now with CC and large files. I would suggest the largest SSD drive that you can afford and adding a fast USB 3.0 external drive. As to the other issues: 27" with fastest GPU, add 3rd party ram to 24 - 32GB as soon as you can afford it.
     
  24. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    #24
    Typo. Edited above. It's why I recommended the 2TB fusion to him (and NOT the 1TB)
     
  25. Roykor macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    #25
    Consider that when you are a heavy Photoshop / illustrator user, an iMac may be not your best choice these days. I am in the same boat. I am an heavy user to. My drawings in Photoshop easily hits the 2GB (4K drawings in 1200dpi) and my iMac is working hard to do the job. Almost everyone in my network of graphic designers, illustrators and animators are switched to PC configurations. Not because they don't like Apple / iMacs / Mac pros. But simply because Apple does not deliver us graphic designers the best system configurations. Our software eats raw CPU power. Benefits from nVida GPU card with CUDA instructions + OpenCL) and we love to work on SSD's. My next setup is going to be an i7 6-core 5820k, an GTX980ti (monster card), 64gb memory and several SSD disks for scratch etc. Just to keep in mind, that such awesome setups are not available with Apple (i wish). I will keep my iMac for fun / main steam stuff. And the PC for my work / as an tool.

    If u want to stay with an iMac as choice, please go for the i7 and leave the i5 for what it is. Photoshop will thank you for it!
     

Share This Page