Finding an iMac that fits my needs - help please

Discussion in 'iMac' started by kbutler84, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. kbutler84 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2011
    #1
    Other than your basic web surfing/emailing, my two main uses of my computer are ripping bluray's via handbrake (keeping iTunes open running home sharing for playback via AppleTV) and RAW photo editing via Photoshop. With a new baby on the way, I can see myself getting more into editing home movies as well. Like most people, price is my main concern with these choices.

    Going with the 27" model I will upgrade to the i7 (for benefits of faster handbrake encodes) and will likely max out the RAM (3rd party).

    I believe that the Fusion Drive would be fine for my needs, as I don't believe I have more than 128GB of hot data, but at the same time I don't want to be kicking myself for not going all out with the Flash Memory option.

    Also, will it help upgrading the graphics card from the 675MX 1GB to the 680MX 2GB, or will the difference be negligible with my most common uses?
     
  2. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #2
    With "price is my main concern" lets look at these choices with a critical eye.

    The only application you mention where the i7 would be a time saver is Handbrake. But are you processing a stack of disks at a time? Do you sit at your computer and wait for the Handbrake to complete? Is it worth the money to have the disk ripped faster?

    Currently, iMovie doesn't use all cores, so an i7 is no advantage, but if you are thinking Final Cut Pro X, then the i7 is a time saver. But even then, it is a question of do you have the time.

    I recommend with the RAM to use the system first to determine if extra RAM will be beneficial. While it isn't expensive, it isn't necessarily needed, especially with the 8GB standard. I do a lot of multitasking, running virtual machines, Final Cut Pro X, video capture software, Keynote, and others simultaneously and rarely use over 5GB of RAM. One thing about RAM -- you can easily add it later and it's always dropping in price.

    The Fusion drive isn't essential and there is lots of controversy as to even if SSDs should be used for video editing.

    The upgraded graphics card is basically for gamers.
     
  3. kbutler84 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2011
    #3
    I don't play any games whatsoever on my computer, so in your opinion, the graphics card upgrade is useless, correct?

    As for handbrake, it depends. Sometimes I may only do 1-2 encodes at a time, other times I may do 4-5. I'm using a 2008 Core 2 Duo iMac and I usually set it to encode overnight and it usually takes most of the night. I also have a 2010 MacBook Pro with an i5, and honestly, it's not that much faster. Still takes around 6 hours to encode a single movie. I'd like to cut that down considerably. Knowing that my current i5 MacBook Pro does not meet my expectations on encode times, would you still suggest the i5 in a new iMac?

    I know neither is essential, but I'm definitely going with either the Fusion drive or the Flash memory option.
     
  4. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #4
    The i5 in the MBP you have has two cores. The i5 in the iMac has 4. I don't know the relative clock speeds but they are probably close enough that the iMac would be twice as fast as your MBP with Handbrake. The i7 iMac has 4 cores but also has "HyperThreading" which I've found to be good for an additional 30% (the virtual core isn't as good as a real one!). So the 6 hours would be down to 3 with the i5 iMac and to slightly more than 2 with the i7 iMac. These are just rough guesses, of course! I believe that the benchmarking at MacWorld.com includes a Handbrake test which would be a more accurate guess.

    You would probably not see a performance improvement of the SSD system over the Fusion system, but you would have less capacity (which you will probably want if you get into video) and certainly be out more cash.
     
  5. gpp macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    #5
    i just bought a basic 27 inch iMac to replace my mac pro1,1,the very first intel version.using handbrake to render a 1.7 gb video the mac pro took 16 minutes,the iMac took 7. maybe the i7 is a little faster but not enough for me.
     

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