Dizzy with iMac 27" retina options

Discussion in 'iMac' started by olemed, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. olemed macrumors member

    olemed

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Providence, RI
    #1
    Hi everyone!

    I am looking to purchase a new iMac 27" retina display model. My previous workstation has been a 2007 Mac Pro that I still dearly love but it's aging and cannot keep up with the latest technology. :/

    Just when I thought I knew what model and options I wanted, I keep changing my mind!

    One of the areas of uncertainty is between a mid 2015 model or a late 2014 model. If I can get more bang for my buck with the 2014 model and not sacrifice on anything, I'd be game for that. I've been looking at B&H and the Apple Edu store and it seems the 2015 models I've been pricing are cheaper (except I'd pay tax through Apple). Any suggestions here?

    Also, I have a 24" apple cinema display that I would love to be able use as a dual monitor and I was wondering if the 2 GB GPU would suffice or whether the 4 GB GPU would be a better option in the long run. I've heard varying issues about the faster card running hotter. I mostly do photography/Photoshop/Lightroom and occasional video editing with iMovie or Final Cut Pro. Not a gamer so I was wondering if the M290X would suffice.

    I'm fine purchasing the stock 8 GB memory and upgrading to a larger capacity myself. I also am quite stuck with making up my mind over 1 TB fusion or SSD (512 GB at minimum). I have 3 hard drives from the Mac Pro that I would be bringing with me and getting some sort of enclosure or swappable hard drive dock. If I go the fusion route, is it replaceable in the future with pure SSD? (I have a friend who is a certified apple tech and could help me install this in the future).

    So, in closing:

    Late 2014 or Mid 2014 model

    2 or 4 GB GPU

    1 TB fusion or 512 SSD

    Thanks for helping me think this through.

    Diane :)
     
  2. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Location:
    Folsom, CA
    #2
    Diane,


    Get one with a SSD (1TB if you can afford it), the MX295GPU and upgrade the RAM yourself to 16-32GB using OWC or Crucial RAM. Don't get a Fusion, if you can only afford the 512SSD then get that and then consider external EHDs to store your large libraries.
     
  3. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #3
    I agree wtih rkaufmann87 in part. When you are spending that much money, and since you do digital media, cheaping out is a false economy in the long run (or even short run).

    I do not, however, think you need a 1TB SSD. See how big your applications, frequently used files, and ~/Library is, and then see if you can squeeze all that (minus the photos themselves, but including the Lr catalog(s)) onto a smaller SSD. Most folks can get by with 512 or even 256, and use the money saved on USB3 enclosures for your existing drives.

    I doubt you'd be able to upgrade to "pure" SSD by replacing the HDD/Fusion in the future. Maybe, but it's not worth it; better to spend some more now. In any case an external SSD with the 128 SSD left over from the Fusion might be cheaper and more doable anyway, if you did absolutely have to go that route.

    And I'd invest in the better GPU if you do video as well as still photography.

    Otherwise, the mid 2015 is essentially the same machine with bargain basement options.
     
  4. roadkill401 macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #4
    The 2GB video card will support dual montors without any issue. It can support two 4k monitors without running out of memory or performance. It is not as if you are doing 3D AA rendering computation of multiple monitors at the same time. There are die hard gamers and those who think that you need something better than what you will ever use. it's easy to spend someone else's money.

    More than cover it. Any graphics slowdowns are a problem with drivers inside of Yosemite, not the hardware.

    The fusion drive is just a hard drive with a PCIe nand flash drive installed. If you went with just the SSD, then you'd get a larger PCIe nand flash. From what I have read, getting 3rd party apple iMac parts have been difficult and so changing the system after the fact seems to be pointless.

    I bought the 2014 i7 16gb with 290x & 512ssd and do photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 5 and it works fine for me. I have been told that LR6 is faster but refuse to give any more money to Adobe. I work with a NAS and pull my photograph RAW from off the network. I guess if you are some power user who counts the added seconds lost with everything done, having a 1TB SSD and serving everything up local will be better, but I waste more time thinking about what's best that I do waiting for a file to load off my NAS. But I'n not spending your money, and if it makes sense for you then buy the best.
     
  5. olemed thread starter macrumors member

    olemed

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
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    #5
    Thank you both for the sage advice. I am leaning toward the better GPU and the 512 SSD as I can store my media on external drives. I'm waiting for my ideal configuration to pop up on B&H since it'll save me some tax, otherwise I'll order via apple. Will let you know how I make out!! :D
     
  6. olemed thread starter macrumors member

    olemed

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Providence, RI
    #6

    It sure is. I want to also be able to somewhat future proof myself as I'd like to have this iMac for as long as I've had my Mac Pro (8 years) or even longer. I hate all in one's, I really do, but I don't need the power of a Mac Pro (and technology has changed that there's not much to add to it anyway).


    Now you've got me wondering if I should indeed stick with the 290 and get the i7 instead of the i5. Darn it, back to square one. Analysis paralysis. LOL
     
  7. roadkill401 macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #7
    You will get far more bang for your buck from an i7 than getting the 295x. You comment about all in one's is more fitting. If you think that the added power of the 295x will get used in the future from apps using the GPU for processing, then you would be far better off getting a new Mac Pro with the dual FirePro D700's. You will get far more real computing power going 8x hyperthreaded in your CPU.

    As for getting 8 years out of the machine. I don't think it will be the speed of the hardware that will let you down, but more what apple does with the OS. We are very hopeful that El Cap is going to finally bring stability to the mess called Yosemite. If it does, then my suggestion if you want 8 years is to stop upgrading OS and software at that point. It's the bad software design that just eats up resources that is killing the usable life of your computer. I look back at my computer speed when CS2 was out and it was probably less than 1/8 the computing power of what my iMac 5K is, but I can't say that I am working any faster now with the newer iMac and CS6 than I was back then. Got newer tools but productivity is pretty much constant. However if I even tried (I realize it would not work) to run the latest OS and software on my computer from that era, it would choke and die.
     
  8. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Location:
    Folsom, CA
    #8
    While I really like B&H as a vendor you may want to still buy from Apple.One avenue is buying an Apple refurbished machine in order to save money. They don't have any downside because they are identical to new, have the same warranty as new and are also eligible for AppleCare.

    The downside with B&H is the return policy. I bought a MBA from them earlier this year to save some money. However it has given me some issues, Apple has told me they would have replaced the machine had I bought it from them. Now I'm not upset with Apple because the decision on where I bought was 100% mine, however I am upset with myself for being shortsighted. Apple is fixing it, however I really would have preferred a replacement machine.
     
  9. olemed thread starter macrumors member

    olemed

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Providence, RI
    #9
    Tha's good to know. I'll order it from Apple then. I'd love a refurbished late 2014 and will keep looking to see if one has the options I'm looking for.

    Here's the current configuration I have in mind (as of right now). I thank you all for helping me think this through.

    4.0 i7
    8 GB RAM
    512 SSD
    290X
     
  10. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #10
    I've the exact same config but with the M295X instead. No sense maxing out the processor but not the GPU, might as well as max out all the non-upgradeable parts to increase the resale value. The extra oomph of the M295X is also very noticeable when working with 4K segments in FCP X.

    I took out the 2x4GB that came with it and replaced it with 4x8GB modules to bring it up to 32GB.
     
  11. roadkill401 macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #11
    There is a

    Refurbished 27-inch iMac 3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5 with Retina display

    Originally released October 2014
    27-inch (diagonal) Retina display with IPS technology; 5120‑by‑2880 resolution
    16GB memory
    512GB Flash Storage
    AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics processor with 2GB of GDDR5 memory
    Built-in FaceTime HD camera

    There right now, but I would wait a bit for the i7.
     
  12. Scott6666 macrumors 65816

    Scott6666

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    #12
    The M295X seems to lots of gear, noise, and throttling issues. I'd stick with the 290. You'll hear the fans often with the 295.

    Don't know if the i7 generates a lot of heat vs the i5.
     
  13. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #13
    Noise, yes. Throttling, not really. But then, my retina iMac (i7/32/512/M295X) is located in a temperature controlled environment of 24ºC, so I have yet to encounter throttling.
     
  14. olemed thread starter macrumors member

    olemed

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Providence, RI
    #14
    OK, I'm typical woman who can't make up her mind! BUT I'm getting closer!!

    4.0 i7, 16GB memory, 512 SSD, M295X is $2799 refurbished. Is this a steal or what????? With my edu discount I'd pay $2999 plus tax.
     
  15. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Location:
    Folsom, CA
    #15
    When you buy any Mac the word "steal" or awesome price don't really apply, however that being said you save $200 with this refurb, so yeah that's a good price.
     
  16. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #16
    $200 can buy you quite a lot of meals. Plus you can also contribute this to extended AppleCare.
     
  17. olemed thread starter macrumors member

    olemed

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    #17
    LOL I was being facetious, of course.
     
  18. aliensporebomb macrumors 68000

    aliensporebomb

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN, USA, Urth
    #18
    I've had my 5k retina i7 for a couple of days now and this screen.... Boy am I glad I had laser eye surgery the december before last. So clear it's insane.
     
  19. olemed thread starter macrumors member

    olemed

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #19
    It sure is! I went to the Apple store to see it in person as I hadn't seen it yet and it blew me away. Which GPU do you have with yours?
     

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