Confused about what iMac to get...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MacDarcy, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. MacDarcy macrumors 65816

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    #1
    I want a 27" iMac. I plan to use it for video editing, animation, web design, and photography.

    The programs I plan to use are toonboom & flash for animation....Imovie & eventually FCPX for editing HD 1080p video from my gopro, and photoshop & aperture for photography as well as Illustrator & InDesign for some graphic design.

    I'd love to go whole hog and do the 1TB SSD option...but can't quite pull the trigger. I toyed with the idea of going with a 512GB SSD, but don't know if it'll be big enough for my needs. I also can't wait for SSD prices to drop. I wish the fusion drive came with 256 ssd, but I'm probably still gonna go with one. Either the 1TB or 3TB version.

    I'm also not going to get the 780M GPU with 4GB VRAM. But I will get the 775M GPU with 2GB VRAM for sure. I'm not a huge gamer, and I think 2GB VRAM is more than enough for my needs program wise. Thoughts?

    I'm up in the air on the i7 or i5. I know the i7 uses hyper threading giving it 8 cores...but Imovie doesn't utilize it, neither does photoshop really or any of the other programs....and I've read the diff in speed with FCP X is not that HUGE over the i5. Thoughts?

    Whatever imac I get, I of course will not get apple ram. But upgrade my ram later. Another reason I'm going with the 27" besides the beautiful screen real estate :)

    I appreciate any and all feedback.
     
  2. toddzrx macrumors 6502a

    toddzrx

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    #2
    As far as the SSD or Fusion Drive is concerned, why would you want a 256GB with the FD, but a 512GB SSD is too small? Are you concerned about overall storage room, or about the performance of the drive (which will be better on the pure SSD depending on what you're doing)?

    Personally I'm a big fan of external storage. Yeah, that means having things plugged into your AIO computer, but with my setup, I can't even see the drive or the USB cord. External HD and internal SSD works like a champ for me.
     
  3. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #3
    I too am a fan of external storage and on my 2011 iMac had the 256GB SSD + 1TB internal HDD. Great setup. Unfortunately the 2013 doesn't offer that. While I have 5 external drives and keep all my iTunes, backups, etc. external, I was on the fence of Fusion 1TB vs. 256GB SSD, given they are priced the same. I thought about the 512GB but didn't want to spend the extra. I ultimately chose the Fusion 1TB. I want my iPhoto/Aperture library on SSD, but didn't want to be stuck with 256 as that can fill up. I opted for the Fusion because as I understand it, it will really manage what is on the SSD portion and what is on the HDD quite well. Thumbnails and recent photos will probably be on the SSD, as is critical parts of the OS and most often used apps, whereas apps that don't get launched, parts of the OS that really aren't accessed, and older photos and such will get relegated to the HDD once the SSD portion fills up. I too wish the Fusion on the 2013 spec bump had gone to a 256 SSD instead of the 128, but I don't think I will notice and expect it to perform better than my old system, especially given the new PCI-e SSD performance improvements.
     
  4. MacDarcy thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #4
    Cool. Thanks. About my wishing the FD had a 256GB SSD, and feeling the standalone 512 SSD drive maybe too small...it was just that the 256GB would give that much more space before causing the FD to hit the ceiling so to speak. But you'd still get a lot more extra storage space for the price. As opposed to half the space on the albeit quicker 512 SSD for the same price.

    Anyway....any thoughts on the importance or lack there of for the i7 vs the i5 for the programs I'll be using? Anyone have experience using the i5 with any of those programs, and what did they think? Enough? Or do you wish you had gone for the i7? Or are you glad you didn't? :)
     
  5. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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  6. toddzrx macrumors 6502a

    toddzrx

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    #6
    I might be wrong, but I was under the impression that all of the OS resides on the FD, no matter what? Even little-used portions of it?

    That's one thing that's nice about an internal SSD/external HD: I keep the OS and all apps on the SSD along with non-media data while all my media (basically music and pics) goes out on the HD. Yes, I'm managing things manually, but it's a simple set-up. That said, I understand the attraction of the FD.

    Processors of late are awfully capable, period. So even the base i5 is sufficient for most consumers and will likely not be the bottleneck on performance. Intel has spent the last couple years focused on lower and lower power with modest performance gains to be competitive in the mobile space, with the goal of eventually competing with ARM processors. Hence Macbook Airs with 12-hour battery life (and probably more with Mavericks loaded).
     
  7. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #7
    Like I said, I had a 2011 SSD + HDD internal, which I would prefer to the Fusion, especially since the setup was all internal. I kept my OS and all apps and user folder including iTunes library file on the SSD. But as I have had for some time, I kept my iTunes media library on an external FW800 drive, along with a mirror-like backup. And then Time Machine of just the internal SSD/HDD. I kept my iPhoto library on the HDD and found iPhoto to be slow. In getting a new 2013 iMac I was originally going to go Fusion and then ultimately decided on that route, but was concerned with and thought about getting a 256 or even 512 SSD. I want to keep my pics on the SSD for performance. And I was worried that the 256 would be a space issue for the photo library. I suppose I could decide to keep it on an external drive if that comes up with the 256. But that is essentially what the Fusion will do for me.
     
  8. MacDarcy thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #8
    Thanks for the feedback. Good advice all. Still narrowing it down. Gonna wait until Mavericks is released anyway on the 23rd? Cause I want my new imac to be shipped with it.
     
  9. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #9
    If you 10.9 releases on the 23rd, and you want it pre-installed, I would not order a BTO machine until November 3-8. By then they should come with 10.9. It will take 7-14 days after the release for even BTO configs to ship with the new OS.
     
  10. MacDarcy thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #10
    True, and maybe even longer! I remember last October when the new thinner iMacs were first announced, there were long 3-4 month delays, because of the new glass panel design. They just couldn't keep up with the holiday orders. Hope the same doesn't happen this year. Pretty much sold on the 27" iMac with 3.4GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz
    8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2X4GB
    1TB Fusion Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M 2GB GDDR5


    Actually still debating the i7 and the 3TB fusion drive. Heh heh heh. But I got time :^>
     
  11. MacDarcy thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #11
    Another question...

    Since the SSD in the iMacs are now PCI based and not soldered on...they're upgradable in the future right? Someone in another thread said that if you opt for the 256GB standalone SSD drive that you could now upgrade to a 1TB SSD when prices go down in the future.

    If that's the case, is that also true with the 128 GB SSD in the Fusion Drive iMacs? Since they are also PCI based, shouldn't you also be able to swap it out for a larger SSD in the future? :)
     
  12. elithrar macrumors 6502

    elithrar

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    #12
    Not true. They often have the GM build ready to go and can likely just image that instead of ML with very little notice.
     
  13. ioannis2005gr macrumors 6502

    ioannis2005gr

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    #13
    Indeed...

    Besides, iMac panel isn't the best in the market!
    Thus, you can buy a cheaper Mac Mini with your own "good" monitor and save money...;)
     
  14. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #14
    They image drives in batches. It can take 7-14 days after the 10.9 release before all the 10.8 imaged drives are used up and they move on to a new batch. I know because this is how it was in July 2011 when Lion was released. There were threads of people who ordered BTO configs after the Lion release but received Snow Leopard imaged machines. It too about 10-12 days for Lion imaged machines to start shipping. They don't spend the labor to re-image the drives. Rather those machines are up-to-date eligible.
     
  15. MacDarcy thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #15
    I was thinking that...but I figure once the imac becomes outdated years down the road, I can always us IT as a monitor and just hook up future MacBooks to it via target disc mode. :)

    Cause right now, the current iMacs are more powerful than the minis.
     
  16. ioannis2005gr macrumors 6502

    ioannis2005gr

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    #16
    Correct! This won't change.

    However, new Mac Mini is coming and it's going to be powerful, too!

    just wait...
     
  17. MacDarcy thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #17
    I wonder why Apple hasn't updated their cinema displays tho. If anything just to keep them in line with the shape of the new iMacs. I mean, the Cinema Display doesn't have any of the computer components of the imac, yet it's still thicker. Makes no sense. By rights, it should even be thinner!
     
  18. ioannis2005gr, Oct 19, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2013

    ioannis2005gr macrumors 6502

    ioannis2005gr

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    #18
    I think -as of today- other IPS monitor brands (ASUS, DELL, NEC, EIZO etc) are more competitive and obviously cheaper...

    On the other hand, iMacs are superior among other AIO brands.

    However, I think in the first half of 2014, APPLE will announce a 4K Thunderbolt 2.0 Display which all have been rumored for quite some time now.
     
  19. MacDarcy thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #19
    I agree. They are working on something. And let's not forget about the Apple TV or iTV or whatever they're gonna call it. I could see future cinema displays or iMacs morphing into tv/computers.
     
  20. alksion macrumors 68000

    alksion

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    #20
    I believe so. But that also means that you could get a 256GB or 512GB ssd option and add a hdd later.
     
  21. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020

    xxBURT0Nxx

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    #21
    yes, if/when PCI based SSD drives become available. As of right now, all SSD drives are SATA not PCIe.

    Replacing them will require you to void your warranty and take the screen off to access the drives. It can be done, but kind of a scary proposition to possibly break a $2,000+ computer.
     
  22. MacDarcy thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #22
    True. I'm still thinking about the 512 SSD option while I wait for Mavericks before I buy. Ideally, I'd prefer the 1TB SSD, but cannot justify shelling out $1,000 for it. If it was $500 extra, I'd jump on it. But not a grand.
     
  23. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #23

    For your usage a smaller SSD is just fine. All you need is for the media you are currently using to fit on the SSD. You need not care about how fast you can access archived media. The fusion drive will take care of this for you.

    Also you WILL need external storage at least for backups. Get one large drive that is about 1.5 times the size of all your data and let Time Machine have the entire drive. You will need more drives so you can rotate a redundant backup to some off site location. There is no way out of needing external storage.

    Video files have a way of overfilling any internal drive so you need someplace to offload the older files

    ----------


    For your usage a smaller SSD is just fine. All you need is for the media you are currently using to fit on the SSD. You need not care about how fast you can access archived media. The fusion drive will take care of this for you.

    Also you WILL need external storage at least for backups. Get one large drive that is about 1.5 times the size of all your data and let Time Machine have the entire drive. You will need more drives so you can rotate a redundant backup to some off site location. There is no way out of needing external storage.

    Video files have a way of overfilling any internal drive so you need someplace to offload the older files.

    You don't need much SSD storage. I'm going to get a 120GB Thunderbolt SSD for my older iMac. I can dump my video files on that and edit with FCPX then after the project is done move it all to my larger 3TB external drive.
     
  24. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Hi MacDarcy,

    I have the late-2012 iMac with the 680MX, i7 processor, and 1 TB fusion drive, and I can say that the 680MX wasn't worth it for me. It may help out 4-5 years from now, but right now I don't have any bottlenecks, especially in my GPU. Unless you are planning on gaming at 2560x1600 it isn't worth the upgrade. The idea behind the fusion drive is to get your OS and some of your most used programs on the 128 gb SSD, so the only reason I would ever worry about it is if the programs you use take up more than 100 gb, and even then, the only real-world impact will be seen while booting your programs. The fusion drive is a must have, unless going full SSD. The fusion drive's boot time is a little bit slower than on my macbook air, within 5-10 seconds, other than that though there isn't a noticeable difference between full SSD and hybrid. I would save the money on a 1TB SSD and put it in to something useful like a dual monitor setup or a new desk chair. Then again, if you already have a really nice office setup, and you have the money just lying around, a 1TB SSD would be pretty cool for bragging rights, especially in the slimming iMac. On a final note, the i7 processor isn't utilized in many of your programs right now, but a few years down the line it could benefit you as the software gets updated for more powerful systems, especially if you are planning on sticking with video and photo editing. It all depends on your budget, but in the long run I think that the i7 will contribute more to the shelf-life of your computer than the SSD.

    Best of luck,
    Matt
     
  25. BayouTiger macrumors regular

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    #25

    Still won't have dedicated graphics. Is the HD5200 fast enough for your needs? Maybe, but I would rather have the extra oomph but for graphics and Open CL apps like FCPX, Aperture, and Photoshop. iMac panel might not be the best, but it's surely better than what you'll find at the local box store.
     

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