Buying a new 27 inch iMac 2013: What's the perfect setup?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by PicnicTutorials, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. PicnicTutorials, Dec 29, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013

    PicnicTutorials macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2013
    Hello! Buying a new 27 iMac: What's the perfect setup?

    I am a web designer. So I do dreamweaver and photoshop. Mess with pictures and vids. Nothing to heavy. But I have had a windows XP for the last 12 years. I have probably wasted 1000 hours staring at my slow computer over the years. So I would like to make up for lost time. Therefore speed is of the upmost importance for me. And who knows, once I'm not limited to a slow machine I might start playing with heavier applications or playing a game or two.

    I just bought a 15 inch Macbook decked out. But after much deliberation I returned it and am now getting a iMac instead. In the end I just didn't need the portability. I have a ipad and iPhone for that. And Remote Desktop apps being what there are I can just use that if I have to code while I'm out and about.

    So! What's the best setup considering the available options while checking out? I will tell you what I am leaning towards and you please tell me if you would add or subtract anything? Thanks! I am leaning towards the following upgrades...

    i7 chip ($200 upgrade)
    16G ram ($200 upgrade)
    512 SSD flash memory ($500 upgrade)
    2G video card (free standard option - $150 for 4G card)
    Magic Mouse (free standard option - too used to a mouse)

    So I guess my main two questions are about the 512 SSD and the 2G video card. I will put everything large on an external drive. I will also be running VMware or bootcamp. So while 512 might be overkill today it may not be in 5 years. And do you think the 4G card is worth getting? Even if it's over kill I want the fastest machine but while attempting to stay in budget. So I can't max out every option. But I would like to max out the options that matter most when it comes to speed. SPEED IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR FOR ME. I plan on keeping this machine probably as long as I kept my XP (aka 12 years). Thanks for reading and your thoughts!

    Eric :)
  2. jondunford macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2013
    Going for a poo Moderator
    i would get a magic trackpad and a normal mouse if you are used to a normal mouse

    to someone used to a regular mouse, a magic mouse isn't really a mouse
  3. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    i7 and SSD upgrade. Never ever get RAM from Apple if you can upgrade yourself, Apple rips customers off on RAM prices.
  4. Tanax macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2011
    Stockholm, Sweden
    The question is how many VMs you will be running. What I'm questioning is if you should get the i7 at all. Do you need the extra CPU power? Remember that "speed" is a loose term, an SSD over a regular HDD will increase your computer's "speed" but a CPU may also increase its "speed" when rendering or compiling.

    If you're a web-designer, not dealing with large images (as web-designers really only handles web-graphics), the i5 may be better value for you.

    Regarding RAM, you should upgrade it yourself.

    Regarding SSD, do you really need that much? Remember that OS X doesn't take up that much space and a 256GB SSD is more than enough for most people - keeping in mind that all your media would have to (and *should*) go on external devices.

    The GTX 775M is really hugely overpowered for someone who does web-design. The GT 755M is far better value for you and will still allow you to game if you need/want to. Depends on the games though but why would you buy performance that you *might* use?

    Also, keeping any computer today for 12 years, you will feel that it's slow and sluggish no matter what options you choose. I tend to follow a 3-year replacement schedule. After 3 years, even if I choose the GTX 780M, the graphics card options that exists in 3 years from now will outperform the GTX 780M by far anyway so I go for the lower specced models.

    Cheaper, don't really need the extra performance right now and will allow me to replace it sooner due to being cheaper.

    But as always, if you have the money and just want "the best options available" even though you might not even need it just because you want to "have the best", then go with whatever upgrades you want.
  5. propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    My opinion...

    27", 3.4G i5, 512G SSD, 16G (2X8) Ram from Apple, 775M 2G Video.

    - 256G SSD is really enough for most but adding any additional storage that is anywhere near as fast as the internal is going to be way more than $300 on thunderbolt! 512G gives room to grow and a place to do projects at 600MB/s kind of HD speed.

    - i7 would allow ~18% more parallel processes under some very specific circumstances. Not worth it. Most games like real cores and son't benefit from i7. With Turbo i5 and i7 speeds are within 100MHz of each other - In a test imovie render I did i5 and i7 speed were the same.

    - 16G from apple is slightly more $$ but gets 100% no issues and lets you expand to 32G whenever you like.

    - Middle of the road video card - but I have no insight what it gets you :)

    You can see my machine in sig... I went 256 and use less than half. Wish I would have gone 512 and had extra partition for alternate boot drive configs. I fell" for the i7 but the i5 would have done just as well and run cooler...
  6. AppleDApp macrumors 68020


    Jun 21, 2011
    Stay with the stock i5
    upgrade the ram yourself but only when you really feel you could use more power.

    SSD is a great idea provided you can afford. Combine it with some external drives.

    Can't speak for the graphic card.

    I am hoping the thunderbolt accessory market expands and we can get more GPU options in this area.
  7. PicnicTutorials thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2013
  8. PicnicTutorials thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2013
    Bought it! Said screw it and went all out. First computer I have ever bought. My xp was given to me 15 or so years ago. I know everyone just says you'll upgrade in a few years but I probably won't. This will prob hold me for 10 years. If my xp did I see no reason this won't. With the options I got I pretty much have one of the fastest computers made with read at write speeds both around 700. Even early 2013 iMacs were only getting around 300 read/write speeds. I think it was the PCI flash that made the 100% speed improvement.

    27-inch iMac

    $3,118.00 + tax

    With the following configuration:

    • 3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
    • 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2X8GB
    • 512GB Flash Storage
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5
    • Apple Magic Mouse + Magic Trackpad
    • Apple Wireless Keyboard
  9. propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    Looks great ---

    Let us know how you like it when you get it!
  10. Arfdog macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2013
    Biggest performance bangs for the buck are:
    1. Fusion Drive
    2. GPU

    CPU comes in a distant 3rd.

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