Configuring an iMac 27 purchase

Discussion in 'iMac' started by tizeye, Feb 26, 2016.

  1. tizeye macrumors 6502


    Jul 17, 2013
    Orlando, FL
    Need to replace my aging Sandy Bridge i7 machine I built in 2011. After good experience with my MacBook Pro Retina (2.3 GHz i7, 16 GB, 500 SSD + external 1TB LaCie) looking to move fully to Mac for the desktop. Technically, will be two purchases but wife's is easy with either a stock i5, 2 TB Fusion, or since replaced her monitor 2 months ago, could even get by with a stock mini despite it's performance compromises.

    I am the difficult one. Not a gamer, but a professional photographer who is getting into video. That is also why I built a gaming level machine in 2011 and didn't have the video demand. Base video will be 4k footage from a Sony a7rII. Know I would have to order a custom iMac, went to the Apple Store last evening and my eyes began glazing over when they started talking about and external thunderbolt SSD which research today shows very rare (nonexistent on Apple Site and poor reviews on Newegg).

    With all options, base RAM as will upgrade aftermarket

    Probably the biggest question I have when working with video is how will using a thunderbolt external drive as a working drive (not storage)with primary file location vs all on internal drive and transfer to external after project/video is complete. More of a workflow issue

    Option 1
    Stock 3.3 i5, 2 TB.

    Option 2
    Upgrade stock to 4.0 i7, retaining the 2 TB Fusion

    Option 3
    4.0 i7 (or retain the 3.3 i5), 256k (no cost upgrade for 2 TB) + at least 2 TB thunderbolt external

    Option 4
    4.0 i7 (or retain the 3.3 i5), 500k SSD (process video on SSD then transfer files out) + at least 2 TB thunderbolt external.

    In terms of GPU, thinking of staying with the stock R9 M395 - 2GB rather than upgrading to the 4GB version.

    In terms of the external, ruled out SSD, but kind of on the fence between the G-Tech G-Drive Pro and the less expensive with more capacity G-Raid.
  2. roadkill401 macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2015
    BTW: you will likely see zero speed performance increase in your new iMac over the i7 sandy bridge PC.
  3. DrDoug macrumors member

    May 15, 2010
    Hi.. im also looking to explore fast external storage options.
    Be sure that you are getting good value when buying a thunderbolt drive.

    From what I have learned (and I am happy to be corrected if I have misunderstood) there is little advantage to TB over USB3.0 if the external drive is a single 5400rpm or 7200rpm drive.
    Read/write speeds will be improved if you use a RAID setup with two drives, but still if using spinning disks, TB may have little or no advantage over USB3.0. Faster external drivers (SSDs and multiple SSDs in RAID) are needed to really take advantage of thunderbolt (or the v expensive TB2).

    So I guess the key question for you, is how fast do the read/write speeds need to be on your external drives? If USB 3.0 and a spinning disk is fast enough - you can save a LOT of money.
  4. tizeye thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jul 17, 2013
    Orlando, FL
    "So I guess the key question for you, is how fast do the read/write speeds need to be on your external drives?"

    That is just it - I don't know and hoping some with video rendering experience can give some guidance. Too much of a difference to gauge it on my MacBook Pro with USB external in FCPX, and the current desktop where I do all video in Premiere Pro is SSD (programs) plus internal SATA hard drive (data). Would be nice to have FCPX and Premiere Pro on the same machine...and eventually dump Adobe entirely whose annual cost savings would make up the price premium of Apple.

    I pretty much ruled out Option 4 - work done on the SSD and transferring the finished project and data to the external. It dawned on me, if I wanted to bring it back up for editing and re-rendering not only would I have to transfer back, but in the same directories/folder. That is where FCPX or Premiere Pro would be looking. Thinking of Lightroom experience when it went on active revolt when I moved files outside Lightroom. Actually had to move them back so Lightroom could find them, then move them within Lightroomto where I originally moved them.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 26, 2016 ---
    Generally true, but going by Tom's Hardware the consensus is the Sandy/Ivy Bridge is worth it where Haswell is not, but a lot of the benefit was from secondary application with features built into the LGA 1151 Z170 motherboards applying Skylake features. In theory, I could build a hackintosh - free on current build with spare SSD I have, or an upgraded Skylake build. My preference though is to switch to Apple for a variety of reasons and potentially run Windows in bootcamp. FWIW, Windows 10 free upgrade fails to install, so would have to be a new fresh install. Windows lost the business with Windows 8 when I needed a new laptop and got my first Apple since my Apple II, and now they are pushing my desktop away. Military/business requirements took me away from Apple, but self-employed and nearing retirement I am much more in control and returning to Apple. I built each of my DOS/Windows machines from 286 processors on.
  5. Retromac2008, Feb 26, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016

    Retromac2008 macrumors regular


    Oct 9, 2015
    take the lower AMD GPU but buy the 500 gb SSD option + external.

    (ignore pple telling you about "the same performance" of your 2011 pc )

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