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Kupo12

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 1, 2021
24
14
So I've been wanting to upgrade my mid 2010 imac to something new and spiffy for a while now. I'm a starving artist, but my main uses for the imac are photoshop/blender/sketchup/zbrush. Right now I can still get by on my ancient 27incher as it is, but the screen is going and it's starting to break down.

I've been saving for a long time and tried putting together a pc, but couldn't find a monitor I was happy with that didn't cause severe eye strain and so realized I have to stay with the Almighty Apple. My budget is just under $3000. I was hoping that with Apple's conference recently they would announce a shiny new 27inch model, but that didn't happen. So I'm left with a predicament. Is it worth buying a 2020 iMac now? (I like the idea of being able to use bootcamp for any windows based applications I use, especially for the odd gaming session) or should I consider picking up a 24inch iMac?

I really wanted to combo the 27" studio display with something, but to deck out the mini with reasonable ram and storage+the studio display is more than I want to spend on this thing. I might be able to scrounge something more if it's really worth it, but having trouble deciding because I'll likely be stuck with this computer for at least 5 years before I have funds to upgrade.
 

russell_314

macrumors 603
Feb 10, 2019
6,082
9,052
USA
So I've been wanting to upgrade my mid 2010 imac to something new and spiffy for a while now. I'm a starving artist, but my main uses for the imac are photoshop/blender/sketchup/zbrush. Right now I can still get by on my ancient 27incher as it is, but the screen is going and it's starting to break down.

I've been saving for a long time and tried putting together a pc, but couldn't find a monitor I was happy with that didn't cause severe eye strain and so realized I have to stay with the Almighty Apple. My budget is just under $3000. I was hoping that with Apple's conference recently they would announce a shiny new 27inch model, but that didn't happen. So I'm left with a predicament. Is it worth buying a 2020 iMac now? (I like the idea of being able to use bootcamp for any windows based applications I use, especially for the odd gaming session) or should I consider picking up a 24inch iMac?

I really wanted to combo the 27" studio display with something, but to deck out the mini with reasonable ram and storage+the studio display is more than I want to spend on this thing. I might be able to scrounge something more if it's really worth it, but having trouble deciding because I'll likely be stuck with this computer for at least 5 years before I have funds to upgrade.
Have you considered pairing the Studio Display with a Mac mini? I realize you want to configure it with some additional options but whatever you’re doing with a 12 year old iMac can be done significantly faster with even the base model Mac mini. Also with the thunderbolt ports you can attach an external SSD that would be very fast.

I love my 24” iMac but it’s probably too small for some people so only you know if the screen is big enough for you. Perhaps go to the Apple Store and play around with one to see
 

Kupo12

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 1, 2021
24
14
Have you considered pairing the Studio Display with a Mac mini? I realize you want to configure it with some additional options but whatever you’re doing with a 12 year old iMac can be done significantly faster with even the base model Mac mini. Also with the thunderbolt ports you can attach an external SSD that would be very fast.

I love my 24” iMac but it’s probably too small for some people so only you know if the screen is big enough for you. Perhaps go to the Apple Store and play around with one to see
I have, but it's a lot more than I want to spend on just the m1 configuration for the same performance as the desktop or the mini with no difference except for screen size. For that price, I'd rather just stick with the 24" imac. I've briefly looked at the 24" before, not sure if it's too small. Having the 27" is nice because I can put my reference beside me and still have enough space to paint. 24" might feel too cramped, but you're right, I'll have to check it out again.

My concern is 16gb of ram enough? I typically have 10+ tabs open in firefox with photoshop/another program. I've read a lot of people saying that they've run out of memory simply by having too many pages open. I don't know if that has to do with memory leakage issues or it just uses memory like a fiend because of the way its configured.
 

wilberforce

macrumors 68030
Aug 15, 2020
2,891
3,164
SF Bay Area
This is a lot of machine for the money ($1,799). Add 32GB third party RAM for ~$150.


Last 5 years? Not sure with an Intel machine. Hard to predict the future.
 

russell_314

macrumors 603
Feb 10, 2019
6,082
9,052
USA
I have, but it's a lot more than I want to spend on just the m1 configuration for the same performance as the desktop or the mini with no difference except for screen size. For that price, I'd rather just stick with the 24" imac. I've briefly looked at the 24" before, not sure if it's too small. Having the 27" is nice because I can put my reference beside me and still have enough space to paint. 24" might feel too cramped, but you're right, I'll have to check it out again.

My concern is 16gb of ram enough? I typically have 10+ tabs open in firefox with photoshop/another program. I've read a lot of people saying that they've run out of memory simply by having too many pages open. I don't know if that has to do with memory leakage issues or it just uses memory like a fiend because of the way its configured.
I have 16 GB and had maybe a dozen tabs in Firefox and Safari while playing WoW and of course stuff like Microsoft Word open in the background. I’ve never had an issue where memory pressure went out of green. Perhaps if you’re running chrome with 100 tabs open then you might have problems. I don’t edit photos so not sure about photoshop but I’ve seen YouTube videos of people editing 4K videos with the bade model in 8 GB So I suspect you’ll be fine.


There was a bug in macOS that would cause out of memory problems if you made the mouse cursor larger and I know that was causing people think they didn’t have enough memory. I think that bug was patched.

Screen realestate and the quality of the screen is much more important in my opinion than a faster computer. Waiting minutes to get something done is annoying but if you’re not happy with what you can see on the screen than it’s worse. If you’re using a 27 inch screen now you might be unhappy downsizing. Perhaps try one at the Apple store to get a feel for it.

The only other option I can think of just get a quality 27” 4K monitor. It might not be as pretty as the Apple 5K but it would be better than too small. Also many people are selling their 27” LG 5K ultrafine to get the Apple 5K so maybe you can get a deal.
 

Kupo12

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 1, 2021
24
14
This is a lot of machine for the money ($1,799). Add 32GB third party RAM for ~$150.


Last 5 years? Not sure with an Intel machine. Hard to predict the future.
Yes! Which is why I was playing with the idea. Tech just seems to be zooming so fast now, that it makes me nervous buying such a beefed out computer on old tech that isn't user upgradeable aside from ram.

I have 16 GB and had maybe a dozen tabs in Firefox and Safari while playing WoW and of course stuff like Microsoft Word open in the background. I’ve never had an issue where memory pressure went out of green. Perhaps if you’re running chrome with 100 tabs open then you might have problems. I don’t edit photos so not sure about photoshop but I’ve seen YouTube videos of people editing 4K videos with the bade model in 8 GB So I suspect you’ll be fine.


There was a bug in macOS that would cause out of memory problems if you made the mouse cursor larger and I know that was causing people think they didn’t have enough memory. I think that bug was patched.

Screen realestate and the quality of the screen is much more important in my opinion than a faster computer. Waiting minutes to get something done is annoying but if you’re not happy with what you can see on the screen than it’s worse. If you’re using a 27 inch screen now you might be unhappy downsizing. Perhaps try one at the Apple store to get a feel for it.

The only other option I can think of just get a quality 27” 4K monitor. It might not be as pretty as the Apple 5K but it would be better than too small. Also many people are selling their 27” LG 5K ultrafine to get the Apple 5K so maybe you can get a deal.
Ok, that makes me feel a little better. The issue with the memory problems and the cursor was exactly what I read about. I'll do some more digging to see if that was fixed up.

That is a good point. I plan on going to the Apple store sometime this week to take a look. I've tried every number of 4k monitors, even 1440p monitors. Alas, not one of them was serviceable. They all gave me terrible eye strain within seconds of looking at them. It was for sure the matte coating, as I didn't even have to turn the screen on for my eyes to start flaring up. I was thinking about the LG 5k used, but I have a hard time spending so much money on monitors that have no warranty/such wild qc issues. Playing the panel lottery was frustrating enough when I could just return them.
 

MultiFinder17

macrumors 68030
Jan 8, 2008
2,728
2,052
Tampa, Florida
I was having the same debate as well, and ended up picking up a lovingly used 2020 27” in the marketplace here for a solid deal. The deals on the refurbished site are great right now, and given that you’re still using a 2010 27” that caps at High Sierra, I’m guessing that keeping on the latest version of OS X isn’t such a massive issue for you.

Given that, I’d recommend going for a great deal on a 2020 27”. It should last you at least the next five years, and likely beyond depending on what you ask of it, and will be night and day compared to your 2010. I also have a 2010 27” (2.93GHz i7, 32GB RAM, 256GB SSD) that I use daily and the difference between it and my new 2020 (3.3GHz i5, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD) is amazing :)
 

Kupo12

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 1, 2021
24
14
I was having the same debate as well, and ended up picking up a lovingly used 2020 27” in the marketplace here for a solid deal. The deals on the refurbished site are great right now, and given that you’re still using a 2010 27” that caps at High Sierra, I’m guessing that keeping on the latest version of OS X isn’t such a massive issue for you.

Given that, I’d recommend going for a great deal on a 2020 27”. It should last you at least the next five years, and likely beyond depending on what you ask of it, and will be night and day compared to your 2010. I also have a 2010 27” (2.93GHz i7, 32GB RAM, 256GB SSD) that I use daily and the difference between it and my new 2020 (3.3GHz i5, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD) is amazing :)
You make some solid cases. I went to the Apple store today and boy, those screens are pretty darn sexy. Is the 27" 2020 using the same screen? The decision just keeps getting more and more difficult to make lol.
 
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MultiFinder17

macrumors 68030
Jan 8, 2008
2,728
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Tampa, Florida
You make some solid cases. I went to the Apple store today and boy, those screens are pretty darn sexy. Is the 27" 2020 using the same screen? The decision just keeps getting more and more difficult to make lol.
From all the reviews I can find, it's essentially the same screen that's in the 27" 2020 iMac, or darn close. It does have better speakers, but eh. I've been absolutely blown away by the quality of this screen. It's bright, clear, supports TrueTone, all that jazz. The way I see it, with the prices of the 27" iMac even from Apple's refurbished store you're essentially getting a Studio Display with a really nice Mac bolted to it for the same price as a Studio Display.

I got my 2020 27" here for $1250, so I see that I got a Studio Display with a killer computer (3.3GHz i5, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD) attached for 3/4 the price of a Studio Display :D
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
OP, I can identify including upgrading from that 2010 iMac too.

All ideas about M1(anything) + Studio Display seem to be ignoring your stated Windows (too) need. Do not be fooled by suggestions about Bootcamp for M1 using Windows ARM. Windows ARM is not Windows. Yes, it will run some things just fine but it won't necessarily run everything you might need on Windows. If you need Windows (too), the safe & complete option is to get full Windows.

2 options:
  1. Intel iMac 27" refurb sounds ideal to easily fit into your budget and give you great screen + latest macOS + Windows 10 all in one box. That seems like "best fit" for your stated need. If not refurb, shop for those who are abandoning Intel for M1 and will sell you a great one for perhaps LESS than Apple refurb pricing. Check your local Apple repair shops who may be turning over their recent Intel Macs. Entities like OWC and similar have some recent iMacs for sale too.
  2. M1 Mini (or Air if you could sometimes use a more mobile Mac) plus maybe a Ryzen-based Windows "Mini" computer plus a great monitor from another manufacturer that offers direct video inputs for BOTH. This is basically the "old fashioned" way to full Bootcamp.
I often still used the 2010 too. To upgrade, I needed both macOS and Windows too. So I opted for the #2 option... mostly because I didn't want to lock in with a new monitor married to only Mac hardware inside AND I wanted bigger than 27", particularly wider than iMac 27".

So I went crazy power level and bought Studio Ultra plus a 40" Dell Ultrawide U4021QW 5K2K and am shopping for the right "little" Mini-like PC to be my old fashioned Bootcamp.

The Ultrawide has what amounts to a HUB built into it with multiple video input jacks. Mac Studio takes the thunderbolt (as DisplayPort) jack and the Windows computer will plug into one of the DisplayPort jacks. This particular monitor offers the ability to split screen so that one side can be very much like the iMac screen (actually a bit higher resolution vertically) you know and the other side can be the same iMac screen in bootcamp mode, meaning macOS and Windows on screen side-by-side.

It doesn't read like your situation needs exactly this monitor- and it's full Studio-like pricey anyway. But you can find a great monitor with more than only thunderbolt inputs so that it could easily be used by both computers. Then it's dedicated Silicon Mac + dedicated "little" PC... both using ONE monitor when you want your iMac screen-like experience of working at a desk.

Some of this Apple crowd will push and push and push an idea that only the exact resolution in the new Studio will be good, spinning that anything else will look blurry, but my very good eyes don't see that on this Dell monitor. Instead it looks as sharp to me as the iMac you and I are replacing... and now it's like I have 2 iMac screens side-by-side in a single bezel. It's actually a resolution upgrade from the 2010 iMac in vertical pixels. So if you were happy with the crispness of the 2010 iMac screen, there are many beyond only Studio that will get you increased resolution in both horizontal and vertical.

This option would also let you pick ANY size screen beyond only the ONE choice of 27" or the $6K options from Apple.

ON a $3K budget, you should easily be able to get what you want with either option. The all-in-one option of #1 will be simplest (and as familiar as possible) AND a resolution upgrade from your 2010. Option #2 will make the bigger leap to Apple Silicon-based Macs, while still giving you a way to get "full" Windows too and either Studio or ANY size monitor you might like.

If the latter and you really want the Studio screen, consider the LG version for several hundred LESS with a stand that already has the features for which you have to pay extra to get from Apple. The Apple fans are generally bashing it now that Apple has a competing monitor but it was the goto, Apple-endorsed monitor until about 2 weeks ago. Funny how the passionate bashes only pop up when Apple shows up with their own version... even if it is using the same panel from the same manufacturer.

Opting for the LG one can save $300-$500 or so and get pretty much the same size and resolution screen. Perhaps use that savings to buy an upgrade in that Mini or Air, based on whether you need more internal storage or perhaps added RAM... or both.
 
Last edited:

Kupo12

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 1, 2021
24
14
OP, I can identify including upgrading from that 2010 iMac too.

All ideas about M1(anything) + Studio Display seem to be ignoring your stated Windows (too) need. Do not be fooled by suggestions about Bootcamp for M1 using Windows ARM. Windows ARM is not Windows. Yes, it will run some things just fine but it won't necessarily run everything you might need on Windows. If you need Windows (too), the safe & complete option is to get full Windows.

2 options:
  1. Intel iMac 27" refurb sounds ideal to easily fit into your budget and give you great screen + latest macOS + Windows 10 all in one box. That seems like "best fit" for your stated need. If not refurb, shop for those who are abandoning Intel for M1 and will sell you a great one for perhaps LESS than Apple refurb pricing. Check your local Apple repair shops who may be turning over their recent Intel Macs. Entities like OWC and similar have some recent iMacs for sale too.
  2. M1 Mini (or Air if you could sometimes use a more mobile Mac) plus maybe a Ryzen-based Windows "Mini" computer plus a great monitor from another manufacturer that offers direct video inputs for BOTH. This is basically the "old fashioned" way to full Bootcamp.
I often still used the 2010 too. To upgrade, I needed both macOS and Windows too. So I opted for the #2 option... mostly because I didn't want to lock in with a new monitor married to only Mac hardware inside AND I wanted bigger than 27", particularly wider than iMac 27".

So I went crazy power level and bought Studio Ultra plus a 40" Dell Ultrawide U4021QW 5K2K and am shopping for the right "little" Mini-like PC to be my old fashioned Bootcamp.

The Ultrawide has what amounts to a HUB built into it with multiple video input jacks. Mac Studio takes the thunderbolt (as DisplayPort) jack and the Windows computer will plug into one of the DisplayPort jacks. This particular monitor offers the ability to split screen so that one side can be very much like the iMac screen (actually a bit higher resolution vertically) you know and the other side can be the same iMac screen in bootcamp mode, meaning macOS and Windows on screen side-by-side.

It doesn't read like your situation needs exactly this monitor- and it's full Studio-like pricey anyway. But you can find a great monitor with more than only thunderbolt inputs so that it could easily be used by both computers. Then it's dedicated Silicon Mac + dedicated "little" PC... both using ONE monitor when you want your iMac screen-like experience of working at a desk.

Some of this Apple crowd will push and push and push an idea that only the exact resolution in the new Studio will be good, spinning that anything else will look blurry, but my very good eyes don't see that on this Dell monitor. Instead it looks as sharp to me as the iMac you and I are replacing... and now it's like I have 2 iMac screens side-by-side in a single bezel. It's actually a resolution upgrade from the 2010 iMac in vertical pixels. So if you were happy with the crispness of the 2010 iMac screen, there are many beyond only Studio that will get you increased resolution in both horizontal and vertical.

This option would also let you pick ANY size screen beyond only the ONE choice of 27" or the $6K options from Apple.

ON a $3K budget, you should easily be able to get what you want with either option. The all-in-one option of #1 will be simplest (and as familiar as possible) AND a resolution upgrade from your 2010. Option #2 will make the bigger leap to Apple Silicon-based Macs, while still giving you a way to get "full" Windows too and either Studio or ANY size monitor you might like.

If the latter and you really want the Studio screen, consider the LG version for several hundred LESS with a stand that already has the features for which you have to pay extra to get from Apple. The Apple fans are generally bashing it now that Apple has a competing monitor but it was the goto, Apple-endorsed monitor until about 2 weeks ago. Funny how the passionate bashes only pop up when Apple shows up with their own version... even if it is using the same panel from the same manufacturer.

Opting for the LG one can save $300-$500 or so and get pretty much the same size and resolution screen. Perhaps use that savings to buy an upgrade in that Mini or Air, based on whether you need more internal storage or perhaps added RAM... or both.
Lots of good information here, thanks for taking the time to write that all out. At the end of the day, I want something beefy that will last me a good chunk of time. I hesitate with the intel mac because it's already outdated hardware even though it gives me access to windows. Do I need windows? Probably not, I just think it's a nice addition to have because I like to unwind to play games. With that being said, the card inside is already outclassed and qualifies as a "mid tier"card even though it was top of the line when it came out. So how many years with that before I won't be able to play new games because of how demanding they'll be, especially at 4k resolution. 2-3?

That's always the problem I've had with these all-in-ones. The windows aspect quickly gets outdated, but in terms of the macOS capabilities, it still functions quite well for what I need it for, even though it too is outdated. I took a look at the macs at the apple store today. Seeing the studio display was quite nice. I like the build quality. I don't think I'll ever consider the LG, because I despise the panel lottery I have to play in order to find one that will have good qc. Apple has that at least going for them that their held to a higher standard. But alas, unfortunately, because they don't have any programs I use installed on their set-up, it was hard to get a feel for my workflow. I wanted to go for the 24" m1, but I feel like it might be too small.

I want to have my cake and eat it too, but I don't want outdated hardware and I don't want to spend a fortune to get it lol.
 

Nguyen Duc Hieu

macrumors 68030
Jul 5, 2020
2,914
959
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
So I've been wanting to upgrade my mid 2010 imac to something new and spiffy for a while now. I'm a starving artist, but my main uses for the imac are photoshop/blender/sketchup/zbrush. Right now I can still get by on my ancient 27incher as it is, but the screen is going and it's starting to break down.
Your 27" iMac can be used as a monitor nicely.
Try to pair that with a used Mac mini M1 16GB if on a tight-budget.
One USB-C to miniDisplayPort cable is what you need to use this combo.

If all you have is money, then the flashy combo introduced recently by Apple could be an option to consider.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,636
12,756
Either get an Apple-refurbished 2020 iMac (if you absolutely need Windows compatibility)
or
Get a Mac Studio and a third-party display (NOT the "Studio display")...
 

Kupo12

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 1, 2021
24
14
Thanks everyone. All of these replied helped me come to a decision. I ended up pulling the trigger on a 2020 27" i7 with 5700xt GPU. Figured, the flexibility to jump between windows and macOS is more important to me right now than the raw power that the closed ecosystem of the new m1's provide. Spending over $4000 for the mini+studio display is out of my comfort zone and I wouldn't be happy with a 24" screen, coming from my 2010 27". So there you have it :)
 

Nguyen Duc Hieu

macrumors 68030
Jul 5, 2020
2,914
959
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Thanks everyone. All of these replied helped me come to a decision. I ended up pulling the trigger on a 2020 27" i7 with 5700xt GPU. Figured, the flexibility to jump between windows and macOS is more important to me right now than the raw power that the closed ecosystem of the new m1's provide. Spending over $4000 for the mini+studio display is out of my comfort zone and I wouldn't be happy with a 24" screen, coming from my 2010 27". So there you have it :)

So, there is another "all I have is money" guy.
 

Kupo12

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 1, 2021
24
14
So, there is another "all I have is money" guy.
Excuse me? Come again? How does this imply to you in any way "all I have is money"? The 2020 imac I chose is about the same price as the 2021 24" M1 configuration I need. Has a bigger screen and can be upgraded for more ram. If all I had was money, I'd buy the studio display+apple studio. I've been using the same mac for 12 years lol. The reason I'm forced to upgrade is because it's breaking down. The part you seemed to ignore when advising me to use it as a monitor with the mini.
 

nothingtoseehere

macrumors 6502
Jun 3, 2020
453
521
Thanks everyone. All of these replied helped me come to a decision. I ended up pulling the trigger on a 2020 27" i7 with 5700xt GPU. Figured, the flexibility to jump between windows and macOS is more important to me right now than the raw power that the closed ecosystem of the new m1's provide. Spending over $4000 for the mini+studio display is out of my comfort zone and I wouldn't be happy with a 24" screen, coming from my 2010 27". So there you have it :)
Have fun with the machine!
 
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MultiFinder17

macrumors 68030
Jan 8, 2008
2,728
2,052
Tampa, Florida
Thanks everyone. All of these replied helped me come to a decision. I ended up pulling the trigger on a 2020 27" i7 with 5700xt GPU. Figured, the flexibility to jump between windows and macOS is more important to me right now than the raw power that the closed ecosystem of the new m1's provide. Spending over $4000 for the mini+studio display is out of my comfort zone and I wouldn't be happy with a 24" screen, coming from my 2010 27". So there you have it :)
Congrats on the purchase! That’s a solid machine that should last you years to come. Enjoy it, and let us know what you think of that gorgeous screen coming from your 2010 :D
 
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