Considering iMac options

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Wondermutt, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. Wondermutt macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Hello All,

    Currently I'm running a 2012 Mac Mini, it's been slowing down for awhile now and I've been putting off buying something new in hopes that the Mini would be updated. After a little consideration I began researching iMacs in the past couple days. I work as a graphic designer, so while this would be a personal computer at home, I still need to be able to run Adobe CC smoothly. I primarily use Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop, and dabble in Adobe's other offerings on occasion. Then the usual internet/music/web browsing. I don't do any video work, just some photography.

    I initially figured the base iMac with some bumped up RAM and HD would serve my purposes, and I'd be able to keep a budget of around $1200. However, after reading about RAM being soldered in and maxing out at 16gb I've pretty much taken that option off the table. Ideally I would like this machine to last 5 years (at least).

    Currently my thought is to get a refurb 2017 27" w/8gb of RAM and a 1TB Fusion drive ($1529).
    I could upgrade the RAM after some time and either live with the Fusion drive, or maybe add an external SSD. I'm not sure what the best HD option would be. I'd also like to use the monitor I currently have on my mini as a second monitor.

    Does anyone have any thoughts/recommendations about my current plan? Budget is a concern, but I want to make sure I'm making a worthwhile investment as well.

    Thank you for your time!
     
  2. colodane macrumors 6502a

    colodane

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    #2
    Yes, bummer about no new Mac Mini release. I was hoping for one also, but have given up and bought a new iMac - which I like.

    I understand your budgetary concerns but my advice will unfortunately stretch or exceed them.

    Good decisions to go with the 27 inch vs the 21.5 and to add your own extra RAM later. But the 1 TB fusion storage will cripple the machine and not give you a good user experience. The SSD partition is very small and the hard drive partition is a slow 5400 rpm drive. If you want a self-contained solution the 2 TB fusion is better in terms of speed and has a larger SSD partition. You seem open to an external SSD, so perhaps the best option for you (not considering $$) is to get the 256 GB SSD and supplement it later, if needed, with external storage. This will give you lightning fast and reliable access to all of your system and application files and the most pleasant user experience.
     
  3. Wondermutt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Thanks for your reply! This is the kindof information I'm interested in. Is the HD something I could upgrade myself in a year or so? I've upgraded RAM in before, is it much more difficult than that?

    If it's truly going to cripple the machine that is definitely worrisome and I would possibly hold off for a few months and save a bit more, but if it's a "nice to have" I'd rather purchase now and upgrade the HD if possible (in a year or so probably). Do different combinations frequently pop up in the refurb store? Right now to get the 2TB fusion it would be an extra $420 in the refurb store.
     
  4. MAJ6288 macrumors newbie

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    Sep 25, 2017
    #4
    I took delivery of a new 27" iMac this week. I have the 2TB FD and it seems to be fast enough for my needs - although at the moment, I'm not even using enough memory to have fill the 128gb SSD portion yet.

    What I would say is that if you intend to bootcamp windows (as I have done), you can't utilise the SSD potion of the FD, making Windows a slow loader. I'm eyeing up the Samsung T5 external SSD and will install Windows on it when I get the chance.

    In terms of upgrading the HDD yourself - nope, it's not as easy as upgrading the ram.....probably best left to a professional.
     
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #5
    OP:

    Do not, repeat DO NOT get the 1tb fusion model. It has a measly 32gb SSD for "the flash portion" of the fusion drive. This is almost "built in obsolescence" for the years to come.

    Instead, get one with a "straight" SSD inside. $100 more buys the 256gb SSD. Then, add an external drive as needed (can be either HDD or SSD).

    $300 more (than "base") buys the 512gb SSD. That's "just-about-worth-it in my book". I WOULD NOT spend Apple's high price for the 1tb SSD.
     
  6. BasicGreatGuy Contributor

    BasicGreatGuy

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    #6
    I agree with @Fishrrman. I think you would end up being very displeased with the slow speed of the HD, given that it only has 32GB of SSD space. Spend the extra money and get the SSD drive. You can upgrade RAM later on.
     
  7. Wondermutt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Thanks folks, this is good information. I was hoping to just upgrade the 1TB Fusion in the near future, but i guess that's not an option.

    Seems my best bet is to possibly wait and save a bit. Do the 27" iMacs with an SSD ever pop up in the Refurb store?

    This begs the question though, if the 1TB Fusion is such a bad option, why is it even offered?
     
  8. BasicGreatGuy Contributor

    BasicGreatGuy

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    #8
    The new models have been in the refurb store. They sellout quickly. You will need to check several times a day.
     
  9. CaptRB macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

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    #9
    There's a TON of bad info on these forums.

    So let's be real. There are folks editing movies today with slower drives than the 1TB FD and this is a component that you can UPGRADE down the road.

    I own BOTH the new i5 with FD and the new top level i7 machine with SSD. Add RAM to either and you'll be fine for a long while, PLUS you can upgrade that drive later. The 1TB drive works just fine.

    If budget allows ALWAYS upgrade NON-UPGRADEABLE components FIRST. Every photographer and video editor knows this. In other words, if there's any way to get your budget to an i7 machine, you'll have a platform with better speed and longevity potential.

    Whenever I say this, a bunch of i5 owners get upset and jump in blindly, but the math is the math. If you're budget can't get to the higher price of the i7, the still very good i5 and 1TB drive is totally capable (add some cheap RAM) and you can get a SSD later.

    Enjoy...


    R.
     
  10. Khaleal macrumors regular

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    Aug 24, 2013
    #10
    Just go with 2TB FD or 256GB (and up) SSD and you'll be good.
     
  11. Wondermutt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    So is the HDD in the iMac a component that can be upgraded at home or no?

    Seems like the popular opinion is to wait it out until the refurb store has a 27" w/256+ gb SSD (or 2TB Fusion). Is this a model that pops up in there every now and then?
     
  12. Awgd8, Oct 1, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017

    Awgd8 macrumors member

    Awgd8

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    #12
    Darn HDD portion of the Fusion drive only Benchmarked to 100-200 MB/s (W&R speed)

    That’t my only regret not spending an extra money for the 256GB internal SSD.

    Rigth now, I have my 1GB fusion drive dismounted from each other. I use the SSD part and run my frequently use application from there then video files and photo files are in my T5 External SSD drive (500 GB)

    Planning to get a 256Gb T5 soon and boot my MacOS High Sierra (currently in T5 500GB SSD drive) fron the 256GB T5 and use the T500 GB exclusivel for video and photo files.

    Is 28GB internal SSD big enough to install MacOS High Sierra?
     
  13. CaptRB macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

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    #13


    The drives in the new iMac's are a post warranty job that can be done very easily, assuming you know how. If you don't, it should not be hard to find someone who can handle it. I have the 512 SSD and will upgrade it down the road.


    R.
     
  14. colodane macrumors 6502a

    colodane

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    #14
    Technically, "yes". But probably not recommended for the casual user. To do so you will need to unglue the screen assembly to gain access to the interior. Then reapply adhesive with a special kit to get the screen back on. And, doing this - even if successful - will void your Apple warranty. So the realistic answer for most folks is "no".
     
  15. CaptRB macrumors 6502a

    CaptRB

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    #15


    This is not a big deal to do. If you're not comfortable doing it, lots of 3rd party places will do it. It's done all the time with a whole industry built around it. Yeah, it's not like slapping in RAM, but there's almost zero risk in doing it when done right.
    I will absolutely upgrade my SSD to a larger/faster version down the road.


    R.
     
  16. Wondermutt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #16
    Thanks for all the help! I think I'll be waiting for a 27" i5 with an upgraded drive to pop up in the refurb store. Sounds like anything but the 1TB Fusion will be best.
     
  17. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    #17
    OP asks:
    "So is the HDD in the iMac a component that can be upgraded at home or no?"

    It cannot be upgraded easily.
    And if you pry open the iMac and break something inside, Apple is almost certainly not going to honor the warranty or AppleCare on it.

    If you want an SSD in it, BUY AN SSD IN IT when you get it.
    Things will go MUCH easier that way...
     
  18. Wondermutt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Yeah, I didn't realize it was such a complicated install. I saw it was an available upgrade when I looked at Crucial, and wrongly assumed it was a fairly simple task.
     
  19. theluggage macrumors 68040

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    Jul 29, 2011
    #19
    ...on a 3 year-old machine that has come to the end of its AppleCare anyway and needs a boost to extend its useful life. Not such a great idea on a brand new machine or an Apple refurb with full warranty.

    ...and unfortunately, the only user-upgradeable (without cutting adhesive and breaking the warranty) part on an iMac 5k is the RAM (and I think everybody has got the message that you get the 8GB model plus a 3rd-party upgrade).

    Your advice makes perfect sense for you. It doesn't necessarily make sense for people with different workloads.

    Movie editing is a field where your main workflow regularly maxes out a quad-core processor before it maxes out a decently fast HD, and where cutting render times by even a modest percentage can save you hours in the long run. It's top of the list of "reasons why you might want an i7". Quite probably, you're mostly working from external storage and, as long as FCPX or whatever you use fits in the SSD portion, the HD is largely irrelevant to you.

    The thread starter made it clear that they weren't doing video. "Graphic design" is a piece of string without further details... An i5 isn't necessary going to struggle at "photography" (unless that means compositing numerous layers of 32-bit-colour 1200dpi poster-sized bitmaps). They did name check a long list of fairly bloaty Adobe stuff which will load and run considerably faster if the software and temporary working files are all on SSD.
     
  20. Ewen Cameron, Oct 2, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017

    Ewen Cameron macrumors member

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    #20
    How about doing what this guy has done... that's what I am probably going to do, although may do the cpu upgrade a couple of years down the line.

    Pretty straightforward to be honest, not really brain surgery. If you are that worried about the warranty, then do the upgrades after it has run out, the budget 27 inch iMac should be fine for a couple of years after which you can do these upgrades and would be even cheaper then.

     

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19 September 30, 2017