Do you regret any upgrades you got for the iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by dnoph, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. dnoph macrumors member

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    #1
    I was considering getting a 27" iMac. Is the i7 a considerable speed upgrade over the i5?

    Are there any upgrades that you felt like you should have gotten after using your iMac for a while?

    Or on the flip side of that, are there any upgrades that you got, that you really don't need?

    Is the 5K really worth paying $500 more?
     
  2. cynics macrumors G3

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    #2
    I have a 2013 iMac i5 3.4 w/ 775m and 1tb HDD 7200.

    I wish I'd have got the 780m graphics card. At the time of purchase I never played games on a computer. However Elder Scrolls Online came out and while it plays very well on medium/high graphic settings I would have liked to use ultra settings.

    I do a lot of video encoding as well via handbrake. So the i7 would have been nice to help speed that up a little bit.

    And although my usage doesn't dictate an SSD it would have been nice to have for when I'm moving those encoded movies around on the hard drive (hardly worth mentioning but its nice). At the very least I should have gone with the Fusion drive.

    As far as 500 dollars for a 5k display, even taking into account its 500 dollars PLUS the price of the 1440p display thats still a very good deal. Look up prices of how much that Dell Ultrasharp 5k monitor is.

    It comes down to usage and what your priorities are versus what your budget is. Just be open minded, there was a time that I would have said "I would NEVER game on a Mac" yet here I am gaming on a Mac. Lol. My next iMac will be completely maxed out.
     
  3. dnoph thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    I would be mostly using it for photo editing and light video editing. I recently got the new GoPro so I could potentially be dealing with 4k videos. Looks like I may have to spring for a maxed out iMac
     
  4. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    #4
    Definitely go with the Retina. You'll notice the difference the display makes on almost any usage, but especially photo and video editing.
     
  5. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #5
    Your minimum configuration would appear to be an i7/8/256/4GB M295X for retina, or i7/8/256/4GB GTX 780M for the non-retina.

    Go for a larger SSD if budget allows. You can always upgrade RAM yourself. That said, 16GB RAM upgrades from Apple are reasonably priced.
     
  6. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    #6
    Despite the fact that you can buy a 16 GB RAM upgrade for almost half the price of Apple's upgrade and add it to the 8 GB already installed for a total of 24 GB? Interesting reasoning there.

    ----------

    The rest of your post I agree with.
     
  7. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #7
    Oops my bad. I forgot that the OP was based in the US.

    Back in where I was based (Malaysia), Apple's 16GB RAM pricing was almost identical to the 2x8GB sticks sold by vendors elsewhere in the country.

    On a side note (not entirely related), it might be cheaper to get 2x8GB direct from Apple and add another 2x8GB yourself to make it to the max 32GB config, rather than taking out the 2x4GB that came from Apple and buying another 2x8GB to top it up to 32GB.
     
  8. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    #8
    I think RAM prices have come down as well. I seem to remember paying a bit more for mine than the current price.

    I recommend the OP gets a 2x8 GB upgrade to add to the 2x4 GB and make 24 GB. They don't really need any more than that.
     
  9. Alesc macrumors 6502

    Alesc

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    #9
    I agree with Redheeler about the RAM. :)
    And the only one option I regret to have chosen is maybe the i7: for my use, I don't think it is very helpfull...
     
  10. firedept macrumors 603

    firedept

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    #10
    Three things to consider when you go for an iMac. I own 2 of them and both are maxed out. The only reason I went with the max was do to the fact that I do a lot of work in Adobe After Effects. I render a lot of videos and the i7 is helpful.

    I always max out my video card whether I need it or not. You just never know when you you could need it. If you play games it is a wise decision. Another wise thing to do is either go with a Fusion Drive or SSD. Both work well even if you are told otherwise. I have both and barely notice the difference. Yes SSD is better, but if you can not afford the cost of the SSD, Fusion works well and is cheaper.

    RAM on the 27" is easily added after. Cheap to buy after the fact. Do not pay the cost of upgrading the RAM from Apple, you will only be overpaying. I only have one maxed out iMac with RAM. All my others have been bumped up because I use a lot of Adobe's program and require the additional RAM. You do not need to max it out. Just adding another 8GB will be enough. If you feel you need more then go with an additional 16GB and bring it up to 24GB.
     
  11. dnoph thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 1, 2015
    #11
    What's the max RAM it can take? 4 x 8gb cards for 32gb?

    I'm having trouble viewing and editing 4k videos and 1080p 120 fps videos on my current Macbook Pro, so that's why I was thinking of upgrading.
     
  12. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    #12
    Yes, 32GB is max.
     
  13. fathergll macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    The screen is awesome and it's the one constant thing that comes into play when you are using a computer. We can argue all day about SSD vs Fusion, or 295 vs 290 but the one thing that will always show is the screen no matter how you use the computer. Also consider that 5k will help with resale down the road a lot.

    I would say anyone buying a retina should consider the 295x GPU at the very least. There is no sure bets in these iMacs as everyone has had issues of some type.
     
  14. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502

    cincygolfgrrl

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    #14
    Late 2013 iMac here. It's maxed (i7, 512GB, 780M) except for RAM which I've kept at the 16GB I purchased it with.

    I use Lightroom and Photoshop Elements and have never had an issue, even when post-processing a high volume of RAW images. I don't dabble in video so I can't tell you about that.

    I've done some video encoding with Handbrake (DVDs to my NAS). That's the only time I've seen any limits pressed (temperature). I resolved that by cranking up the fan speed. Now when I run Handbrake I set the fan when I start — no difficulties.

    I keep my photo library on a USB drive, back it up on a separate USB drive, a NAS, and Backblaze.

    Many here push retina for everyone, whether it's warranted or not. It's an amazing screen but I didn't need it. If you have the extra $500 and don't need a 5K display, put the money into the SSD.
     
  15. tillsbury macrumors 65816

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    #15
    I bought the lot, don't regret any of them. I could have cheaped out on the RAM and done it myself I suppose, but once you go all the way there seems little point in not getting it all original and maxed out. The 5k screen is worth the $2500 on its own, easily. I've always gone for top-end screens, still have my NEC Multisync 6FG which was several thousand dollars trade in 1990, bought a 24" Viewsonic in 2002 which was almost $9000, and a 30" Dell in 2007 which was around $2500. Those were for the monitors alone. The retina imac is just a free computer.
     
  16. aesc80 macrumors 6502

    aesc80

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    #16
    I'm running a stock 27" iMac, as you can see in my sig. It was one of those things where buying on impulse (or "I'd rather pick it up today") hurt me, but it totally livable. I would have loved an i7 so that I could spare 4 threads and 16GB of my 32GB of ram to a VM. But perhaps my biggest regret is not getting a full SSD. My workplace's MBP is night and day on app and OS boot compared to my iMac's HDD.

    That being said, I'm fine not paying the extra $300 for an SSD, simply because I don't turn my iMac off (I opt for monitor sleep), and my upgrade of RAM from 8 to 32 is overkill, but allows for previously opened apps to boot quicker (or at least that is what I was told). Sadly, since I needed my iMac to operate in Target Display Mode for my MBP (I'm not a fan of direct laptop work), Retina iMac was never an option.

    Bottom line - search EVERY way you plan to use your iMac. It's easy to max out, and let's be honest, the wisest for future proofing. However, if you want to be more money savvy, spend the time configuring how the iMac will best fit your needs.
     
  17. aevan macrumors 68000

    aevan

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    #17

    A maxed out iMac 5K is the minimum configuration for light video editing? Seriously? Minimum?

    I must've gotten some super-charged base model then, as it does all these things with ease. Considering the upgraded model is the minimum.
     
  18. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #18
    Light video editing when dealing with 4K can be more or less equal to medium (or even heavy, depending on compression and bitrate) 1080p editing.
     
  19. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    #19
    Plus the i7 will improve encoding/export times by quite a bit.
     
  20. aevan macrumors 68000

    aevan

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    #20
    Still, you think the high-end iMac is the "minimum"? Do you really think you can't do it on a latest-gen i5?

    ----------

    Yes. It's one of the things where hyperthreading really shines. No doubt the i7 is better and a good choice for those doing video. But it's not "minimum" or required.
     
  21. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    #21
    Of course it's not "required", you could even do 4K video editing on a G5 or C2D provided you have the patience. It's just about speeding things up a bit and making the experience more enjoyable.
     
  22. aevan macrumors 68000

    aevan

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    #22
    Then we agree. I was reacting to the claim that the minimum configuration is a maxed out iMac. If someone was getting an iMac for video editing and had money to spare, I would recommend an i7, no doubt. But you have to draw the line somewhere - you could just as easily argue that a 12-core Mac Pro speeds things up even more and makes the experience even more enjoyable. Bottom line - I think the iMac 5K - in any configuration - is quite powerful for everything. I'm sorry for being negative about this all the time - I do think the i7 is a good upgrade for video/rendering/etc. I'm just REALLY tired of people here considering the base iMac 5K a machine for emails and surfing. It can do some really heavy content creation stuff.

    For example, the Devil's Canyon i5 in the base configuration is very close to some older Haswell i7s and is, in fact, faster than most Ivy Bridge i7s even for multithreaded tasks and video encoding:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/8227/devils-canyon-review-intel-core-i7-4790k-and-i5-4690k/3

    Not what I'd call "below minimum requirements". With that said, the i7 is a good upgrade for any multithreaded task, but not mandatory.
     
  23. redheeler, Apr 3, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2015

    redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    #23
    I'm just glad you're not saying the i5 is better like you did with your Fusion drive argument. Like with Fusion drive vs. 256 GB SSD with external storage, while the latter is unquestionably better for the majority of people, it all comes down to the OP deciding if the benefits (like faster encoding times with the i7) are worth the extra cost.
     
  24. aevan macrumors 68000

    aevan

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    #24
    Still on that? No, I don't think it's the same. i7 is better than i5 in every way, the only question is if you will notice the difference depending on what you do with your computer.

    However, I still argue that a 1Tb Fusion Drive is better (for everyone but a few select usage cases) than a 256Gb SSD. A 512Gb and 1Tb SSDs are, of course, better than a Fusion Drive, but in the case of the smaller 256Gb SSD I think a FD is just better. Not "better for the money" - but better, plain and simple, for the vast majority of people. You disagree with this and that's fine. Let's not go into this argument here as well as we both wrote tons of text on the subject.

    But I don't think it's comparable to i5 vs i7. i7 is more expensive, better in most specs and worse in none than i5. FD vs 256Gb SSD, on the other hand, cost the same, some specs are worse on one and some on the other (1Tb vs 256Gb.... 128Gb SSD vs 256Gb SSD....) and there are differences in approach (automatic vs manual managment of data). It's just not that clear cut. At least in my opinion, you made yours clear so let's not go down that road again.
     
  25. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    #25
    Why not argue the i5 runs cooler and therefore is the better choice, how is this argument different from your Fusion drive argument? The 256 GB SSD is larger and faster compared to a 128 GB just like the i7 is compared to an i5, no question about it.

    BTW, any two drives can be fused, if you like mixing your boot partition with a slow HDD and increasing the chance of data loss.
     

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