Configuration for 27" iMac? Processor or Graphics card?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by cpb1231, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. cpb1231 macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2013
    Hi all,

    I'm a 3rd year architecture student and next quarter we are doing a generative studio course using Rhino and Grasshopper (3d modeling).

    I currently use a 15" MacBook Pro from early 2011 with an upgraded hard drive and ram and am looking to buy a desktop to go along with it. My computer seems to get bogged down with a lot of programs that I have running at the same time while finishing a project (such as photoshop, illustrator, AutoCad (for mac), sketch up (on mac and windows 7 through parallels) and a rendering program (usually Kerkythea) on windows 7).

    I've looked through all the PC's and just cant bring myself to buy one because I'm definitely a Mac person. I've narrowed it down to the $1,999 27" iMac but I'm not sure about the processor or graphics card.

    I will be using bootcamp on the iMac, not parallels...which should help a little for the windows programs I would assume.

    My question is will an i7 processor be necessary, or will it not be worth the upgrade from the baseline i5? Also, if I don't upgrade the processor should I upgrade the graphics card from the GeForce GTX 675 to the GeForce GTX 680? Or will the standard baseline be sufficient to carry me through grad school and possibly beyond?

    I'm not upgrading the RAM yet because I'm about to double my RAM in my MacBook and will put the old MacBook ram in the iMac to give it 16 gigs. Also I have a 500 GB hard drive on my MacBook and haven't come close to needing more so the 1 TB should work fine.

    Im planning on running:
    -Possibly Galapagos
    -Maybe the adobe creative suite (but that will probably be from my laptop still since I wont be able to switch from Snow Leopard to Windows 7 and I've already paid for the Mac license)
    -vRay (maybe) or Kerkythea for renders

    Probably most of these will be running at the same time, except photoshop/illustrator

    I would like to keep the computer under $2,100 if at all possible (with the student discount)

    Thanks! :)
  2. WhiteIphone5 macrumors 65816


    May 27, 2011
    Lima, Peru
    this is a tough one, i'd go for i7.
  3. lali macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2007
    very likely your old ram will not be the right choice for the new imac call owc and they will advise you

    my suggestion is
    1) make sure you benefit from edu discount i got $160 off my new imac
    2) budget for 16 gb ram minimum i have 8 and am getting page outs will buy some more
    3) vidcard research the real benefit of the faster cards for your software usage
    4) cpu big diff is hyperthreading between i7 and i5 again, depends on the real benefits for the software that you use

    I really like fusion as an option if on a budget happy shopping
  4. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    If you are not playing games, you are likely not to benefit from 680MX
  5. lali macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2007
    and for some reading on benefits of full max ram, read mac performance guide he has tons of info on the adobe software and macs he is a photographer sorry for lack of link I am in transit
  6. yUnoNinja macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2013
    Hi, when u get a chance can you provide a link please?
  7. cpb1231 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2013
    thanks guys, while I dont play video games, my school recommends we get a "gaming" computer because the 3D programs are similar, which was why I was wondering about the graphics card.

    And I think the RAM from my laptop would be only temporary, but I didnt think about the speed of it, mine from my laptop is 1,333 mhz while the new iMac ram is 1,600 mhz.
  8. AppleNewton macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2007
    1 Finite Place
    I would not recommend using non-compatible/compliant ram into the iMac. you may get unexpected results (crashes, beachballs, kernel panics, etc). ram is fairly inexpensive these days and you can add to the 8GB in there, I'm sure forum members are selling their ram for cheap in the marketplace.

    as for the graphics or cpu, its a tough call as I'd recommend getting both. as theyre one of the non-upgradable components of the iMac.
    Some refurbs have great CPU & Graphics options as well.
  9. cirus macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    CPU wise anything less than the i7 option is a sidegrade. mobile i7 sandy bridge are really powerful with multithreaded apps (hyperthreading) and it looks like a lot of your apps can use more than 4 cores.

    Actually, if you are having cpu problems on the macbook pro 15 inch you will still likely be having them on the imac (which at most has about 20-30% more cpu power with the i7 option).
  10. lali macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2007
  11. cpb1231 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2013
    well usually the only times i have problems is when im running multiple programs simultaneously between mac and windows (through parallels) i was going to use bootcamp for my imac and keep the photoshop/ post processing, and some autocad work on my laptop.

    I was thinking a lot of the problem was because I was running those cpu intensive programs with a virtual machine

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