Buying first iMac - retina or not?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by .Logan, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. .Logan macrumors member

    Joined:
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    NB, Canada
    #1
    I'm looking to buy an iMac, I've forever had a MacBook Pro but now have the need for a bigger screen/capable workstation to complement the Macbook.

    My MBP has a retina display, I was just wondering for those who have owned both a standard iMac and the retina, is there much of a difference? Is the retina worth it?

    Thanks.
     
  2. warvanov macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    #2
    If you haven't already, head to an Apple Store or some other retailer that has them on display and take a look at the 4K and 5K retina iMacs. They are pretty incredible. I definitely consider it to be worth the extra expense.

    EDIT: I should also say that if you're used to the Retina display on your MBP, it may be jarring going back to a non-retina screen if you buy the standard 21" iMac.
     
  3. mroffbeat macrumors member

    mroffbeat

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    #3
    RETINA and an SSD.. Also, although MacBooks are workstations, I get more creative and busy on a big 27" screen than on my laptops/macbook..
     
  4. jmiddel macrumors member

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    #4
    Retina all the way,manything else is blurry by comparison. I love my 27" retina iMac!
     
  5. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502

    cincygolfgrrl

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    #5
    I've been looking at non-retina screens for almost 25 years. My non-retina 27" iMac screen looks normal to me and does everything I ask of it, including photo editing. Most people who look at the images I post do not have retina. I'd rather tweak images for them.
     
  6. BenTrovato macrumors 68020

    BenTrovato

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    #6
    If retina is in your budget then go retina and don't even think twice about it.
     
  7. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816

    DoNoHarm

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    #7
    I just made the same switch you are about to make. I ended up going for a late 2013 i7 27". It benchmarks almost as fast as the 2015 i7 on geekbench. Yet I only paid $1600 for it shipped on eBay vs $3000 for a similar 2015 model. The way I see it:
    1) I wear glasses, so the retina isn't really that different to my eyes when I'm sitting at my desk.
    2) similar benchmarks mean a similar time to obsolescence. I just paid half price for a computer that will get old from a processing point at the same time as current computers - maybe even later since my graphics card has less pixels to push.
    3) very few people are building web pages, videos, etc that can fill the 5k retina. By the time they do, the benefits will justify the cost.

    Of course to each their own, if I could afford it, I would go for the 5k. Point is at this point in my life, I have better uses for a grand and a half.
     
  8. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #8
    There are people on here defending their non-Retina purchases, and that's fine. The non-Retina iMac is still a very capable Mac.

    But, there is a difference if you use a rMBP, and that's what prompted me to go Retina when it first came out. To me, the stunning 5K display is worth the extra cost.
    Would you really want the same hardware you were using 25 years ago? ;)
     
  9. Cape Dave macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Have you ever seen one? Hard to believe this is even a question.
     
  10. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #10
    I would opt for one, personally, I think the 5k iMac is the best buy, you get a gorgeous 27" screen, skylake chipset, with a discrete GPU. All good.
     
  11. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502

    cincygolfgrrl

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    #11
    Different strokes for different folks.

    I'm not using the same hardware. I'm using a 3.5 GHz i7, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4096 MB, and 16 GB DDR3. I click, and something happens, immediately. That's not the hardware I was using even five years ago. A monitor is just a monitor. You are welcome to love your monitor. I don't really care.
     
  12. BenTrovato macrumors 68020

    BenTrovato

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    #12
    Some people, believe it or not can't tell the difference between retina and 1080p. We sit here until we're blue in the face wondering how people can't see that it's a night and day difference but they simply don't see the difference in a 5k screen.
     
  13. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    Oct 17, 2014
    #13
    Displays have gotten better over the years, just like CPUs, GPUs, and RAM. Bigger, brighter, better saturation, higher resolutions, and higher pixel densities. Display quality does affect how you experience your computer and anything you do on it.

    So I would disagree that "A monitor is just a monitor". But if that's how you see it, you're entitled to your opinion.
     
  14. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #14
    Sure if it still does the job and if the OP or others want the non-retina display, that's their choice :)
     
  15. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502

    cincygolfgrrl

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    #15
    Thank you for acknowledging that. The 2013 iMac display ain't exactly chopped liver, ya know?

    I, like many others, made my own choice. I was fully cognizant of the options. Retina "evangelists" (some might call them "trolls") seem to think those who don't gravitate toward the higher-end display would do so if only we are yelled at long, and loud, and often.

    You're boring.
     
  16. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816

    DoNoHarm

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    #16
    So as fate would have it, my eBay transaction fell through after the seller decided not to ship, and I happened to pass by an apple store. I wish I hadn't. I had seen the retina displays when I wasn't in "buying mode", but I decided to do some last minute testing on macrumors.com and nytimes.com. I was just blown away by how "easier" it was to look at the retina display. I decided that I would be using that retina display over three years, which amortizes the cost. And working in the medical field, I would be using the display at late hours of the night where that little bit of ease would be quite helpful.... So I just pulled the trigger on a retina.

    Crap, I don't know how I'm going to afford this..... :(
     
  17. steve23094 macrumors 68000

    steve23094

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    Apr 23, 2013
    #17
    I was going to reply to your earlier post about web pages not being Retina aware. That's kind of the point with Retina, it will make most things look better particularly text because it renders it at the higher resolution. But now you have made that jump yourself. There is always the odd exception but I find most people fall into one of two camps, those that don't see the point of Retina and those that have bought one and will never go back. You fell into both camps.

    OP. Get a Retina, you won't regret it. My first MacBook was a Retina and when I was shopping for an iMac I looked in store at the non-Retina, I couldn't believe how terrible they were now I was used to the higher resolution.
     
  18. Strider64 macrumors regular

    Strider64

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    #18
    I have a 13" Cintiq tablet right next to my 27" iMac 5K and the difference is night and day, granted I haven't calibrated my monitors yet. Though I don't think it would make that much of a difference. Anyways, I also like the fact that when I'm working in Photoshop that I don't have to constantly resize my workspace in order to use Photoshop's tools. You can't go wrong either way, but you can't go wrong with 5K if you have the extra $$$$.
     
  19. roadkill401 macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

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    Jan 11, 2015
    #19
    Your point may have some validity, but you'd need to point out a few things along the way.

    1. Wearing glasses or not wearing glasses does not make or break a Retina screen. There are some people who see the dot pitch difference and some that don't. Personally I cannot glance at the two screens and tell them apart. But after 3-4 hours of working, the non retina screen makes my eyes sore and I get a headache. The Retina screen doesn't seem to do that for me, so I do prefer that.

    2. I took a look at Geekbench along with quite a few other offerings, and they really were not close. Where the issue comes into play is when you start to throw in graphic performance along with the score. You are driving more pixles on the screen so playing games will take a hit. But that aside, it looked like your getting closer performance between a 2013 i7 and the i5 vs the 2014 or 2015 i7 units.

    I will give you that the cpu performance on most computers over the past 3 years have been pretty stagnant and the gains are marginal at best. I personally would doubt that someone with a 2013 iMac would say it ran any slower that the newer RiMac units. Perhaps there are certain apps that it would show on, like multi thread video or audio encoding, but how much and how often do you really do that each day??

    3. Web pages or video for me is not the reason to go for a retina screen. It's for me that the screen dot pitch is so much tighter it causes less stress on my eyes and I find it some instances the characters do look better as they are smoother.

    Now the bigger point you failed to mention in your post when you compared the price. You bought your 2013 iMac off ebay and paid a great price of $1600. That is almost 1/2 the price of the retina iMac that you say you were looking at. Yet, if your purchased iMac had a problem with it in the first year, you are paying for your own repaires as it's unfortunately out of warranty. You also don't get the option of buying the AppleCare to get those 3 years of service. So yes you did save some money but also took on the risk factor at the same time. To some people that would be fine, but to others that is not something they want to take on.
     

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