Buying a new iMac tomorrow need some good advice...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by BigBoyBmw760li, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. BigBoyBmw760li macrumors member


    Oct 14, 2014
    Hey guys, I am in the market for a new desktop since my 08' hp touchsmart has finally kicked the bucket. :cool: From my understanding, I have to options; which is the 27 in and 21 in. Im stuck on either getting the new one or the late 13' model. In other words, when was the last year Apple made disk drives on their iMacs? My highschool bought some new imacs in 2013 and I really like the 27 in model. I am a freshman in college now. (Note that I am a cinematographer so I need a good editing rig to edit skateboarding clips.) I am also getting into music production as well (programs such as Fruity Loops studio and Logic). I don't know if I want the 14' or maybe the older ones. I am trying to persuade my father into getting the 27 in because this is going to be the main desktop for our house as well. I seen a review for the 21 inch and apparently it is not good for gaming or for graphic induced programs like i mentioned above? The review I saw they had Tomb Raider playing on it but it was not running on a full 1920/1080. Isn't the 21 in full hd? I just want to know key differences and advantages as soon as possible because I am getting one tomorrow afternoon. And which one comes out of the box with final cut pro? For memory im thinking about 1tb as well.

    Thanks in advance. :cool:
  2. Ak907Freerider macrumors 6502

    Apr 19, 2012
    I would go with a i5 processor, stock 8gb ram, and a ssd. Then pick up a good large external hdd. The ram just upgrade yourself. For the video card I would highly recommend the 4gb. But for sure get a 27 inch. Also check out the MacBook pros also and get a nice monitor then just use it in clamshell mode. Then you have best of both worlds.
  3. andy9l, Jan 31, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015

    andy9l macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    27" goes without saying, leaving you with two options:

    2013 iMac - $2,849
    3.5GHz i7
    8GB RAM (see below)
    NVidia 780M - 4GB
    512GB Flash storage (SSD)

    2014 Retina iMac - $3,299
    4.0GHz i7
    8GB RAM (see below)
    M295X - 4GB
    512GB Flash storage (SSD)

    So you're paying $450 for a retina display and very, very slightly better hardware. That's your family's decision to make. I'm assuming you have 15% off from your college anyway, so that becomes even less.

    Basically the logic behind those customisations are:

    1. The i7 processors offer hyper threading which vastly improves video editing/rendering times - a quad-core will simulate eight-cores
    2. The upgraded GPU will also drastically improve video editing, but also better satisfy your gaming needs (the iMac is a very 'average' machine for gaming, just so you're aware - it uses laptop graphics cards)
    3. Flash storage - or rather a SSD - is an absolute must in 2015. Buying a spinning hard drive is an absolutely absurd bottleneck. If you need more storage, you should use external SSDs connected via Thunderbolt

    If you cannot afford the Flash storage - it's are pricey - Do NOT buy a 2013 iMac with a standard "xTB Serial ATA Drive". At minimum get a Fusion drive. Fusion drives will save you money, but unless the data for your entire family can fit onto a 100GB drive (the SSD of a Fusion setup), you'll pay the price in performance. The standard "xTB Serial ATA Drives" in the 2013 iMac are a very, very unwise choice.

    You might be wondering why I've left it as the stock RAM configuration - with the 27" (NOT the 21"), you can buy third-party RAM and simply pop it in the back. This saves you a good amount of money, and does NOT void your warranty. There are no screws, no drama. Anyone can do it. It's the only thing Apple gives you the freedom to do.

    Your iMac will arrive with 2x 4GB sticks in the RAM bays. You can add a further 2 sticks, or remove the 2x 4GB and add 4x 8GB. Up to you how you do it. I personally bought 2x 8GB and had a total of 24GB in mine. You can buy suitable RAM right here: 2x 4GB, or 2x 8GB.

    Finally - you do realise you cannot buy these customised Macs in-store, right? You must buy them online, and it will take several days to reach you.

    My 2 cents. Others will have their opinion - ultimately determined by their own budgets.
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    No iMac comes with FCP X out of the box.

    Download it yourself off the App Store, or BTO it online and select the option to have FCP X.

    You'll need a 27". Either non-retina or retina will do you fine, but I'd recommend the retina anytime.

    Whichever you get, get at least an i7, 16GB RAM (Apple's upgrade price for 16GB is pretty reasonable, but 32GB is highway robbery. It's easier to buy with 16GB first because you only have to buy another 2x8GB to max it. If you buy 8GB, you've to buy 4x8GB sticks, which can turn out to be pricier) and also a 4GB GPU (780M or M295X), plus a 512GB SSD.

    I will never recommend a Fusion Drive. It's even better to go for 256GB SSD + external storage than going the FD route. A pure SSD gives full speed and reliability.

    You can forget about buying in a brick and mortar store. They never stock custom configurations.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Without getting too complicated:

    - You need a 27" display, of course. Don't even consider anything smaller.

    - You need either a fusion drive or an SSD. For video processing, you'll need a lot of storage space, so unless you have money to burn, the fusion drive might be the better choice. I used to be "opposed to fusion", but lately (with the advent of PCI-e based flash storage) it seems a much better deal. The "combined speeds" of the fused drives are "fast enough", vis-a-vis a "straight" SSD.

    - You don't have to buy the biggest RAM configuration now. The 27" iMac gives you the option to add RAM later.

    I had a good buying experience from "" out in California. They can do custom configurations as well as stock, and shipping was quick, too.

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4 January 30, 2015