Fully loaded iMac - Need purchase advice!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Bghead8che, Nov 16, 2015.


Which Hard Drive solution would you go with?

  1. 1TB Flash Storage

    3 vote(s)
  2. 512MB Flash Storage + External Storage

    5 vote(s)
  1. Bghead8che macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2015
    I am going to buy a loaded iMac 27 inch, 5K, 4.0GHZ processor. I am having trouble deciding on which HD to get and I have some questions about RAM.

    My computer use is a mix of gaming, web design, office work, and photography. Please keep in mind I will be using Windows 10 via Boot camp to run some games/software.

    I am trying to decide between the 3TB Fusion drive and the 512 or 1TB flash drives. I've pretty much ruled out the Fusion drive as I think I will fill up the flash portion quickly and my understanding is Windows 10 would run exclusively on the non-flash portion. If money were not object I would buy the 1TB flash drive and be done with it. At $500, however, its a very expensive upgrade.

    Would you recommend I just bite the bullet and go for the 1TB or should I get the 512GB flash drive and then purchase other drives via USB? I assume the USB powered drives will be just a fast? I'm thinking buying the 512GB drive and then adding storage via USB is a much more cost effective solution than buying the 1TB outright. What do you guys think?

    My second question concerns RAM. When working with 50-100MB RAW files I know I will need 32GB - 64GB of RAM. My understanding is that the iMac does not "officially" support 64MB and 2133mhz RAM. Would you guys recommend sticking to the default 32MB or is it safe to upgrade to 4 X 16 RAM sticks? I'm also concerned about heat if I go with 2133mhz RAM. I realize the performance bump is small but I'd like to go with 64MB RAM and 2133 if it is safe and reasonable to do so.

    I would love any feedback and advice on either of these concerns.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Bghead8che thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2015
    Can someone suggest a site that sells 64MB RAM for the iMac at 2133MHZ?
  3. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013

    Yes 512GB SSD will save $500 over 1TB. If you will be using external storage anyway for media that might be a good decision. Just don't get a slow external drive. The 4TB Seagate Backup Plus Fast is probably the fastest bus-powered USB 3 drive, but you also need yet another drive to back everything up on: http://www.seagate.com/external-hard-drives/portable-hard-drives/performance/backup-plus-fast-hdd/

    A less expensive bus-powered option is the 1TB HGST Tour S. It is 7200 rpm but I wouldn't want to edit a big project off it: http://www.touropro.com/en/product/touro-s/

    How can you use 50-100MB RAW files? My Sony A7RII is 42 megapixels and it's files are "only" 43 megabytes. Re do you need 64GB, I have heard some high-end Photoshop people say this is needed in specific situations but I edit 4k video all day long and don't need 64GB.

    I have not seen any benchmarks showing a significant performance advantage using 2133Mhz RAM, but maybe I missed it.
  4. Bghead8che thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2015

    I have the Sony A7RII and when using the new uncompressed RAW option the RAW files are 43 - 100MB. I currently have 32MB and when I have multiple files and photos open my computer can grind to a halt. I'm not sure how upgrading RAM works on the iMac. Can I start with two 16MB sticks and add another two sticks if needed in the future or do all 4 slots need to be filled?

    Looking at external storage it seems a Thunderbolt 512GB SSD is around $500 so you don't save very much. However, as an external drive I don't know if I really will need SSD speeds.

    Will a Time Capsule work instead? Is this also an external HDD or is it just for backup purposes? I'm not really sure how it works. Would it turn my computer into a 3.5TB hard drive?

    Thanks for the help.

  5. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    Sorry, I don't have first hand experience with that. I think OWC was first with a 64GB kit -- I suggest you ask them.

    IMO you don't need SSD speed. If you use Activity Monitor or iStat Menus you'll usually see during slow tasks the I/O rate is not that high. I sometimes shoot 1,000 43 megapixel raw stills per day on documentary projects, and when importing into LR and preview generation, it is mostly CPU-bound, not I/O-bound.

    If you don't need extra space and can afford it, yes SSD is fast. However even infinitely fast I/O will not speed things up if you're waiting on CPU. Also every storage device (even SSD) should be backed up, so you must evaluate the cost of backup storage, not just primary storage.

    Sorry, I don't have first hand experience with this.

    The two main principles:

    (1) You want adequate performance external storage
    (2) Everything (both internal and external) must be backed up

    For external storage, devices can be bus-powered or AC powered and SSD or rotating. Stay away from slow 5400 rpm bus-powered drives, they are just too slow for high-megapixel content or video.

    The 1TB HGST Touro S is a 7200 rpm USB 3 bus-powered drive, it is pretty fast for this class: http://www.touropro.com/en/product/touro-s/

    The 4TB Seagate Backup Plus Fast is probably the fastest bus-powered USB 3 drive: http://www.seagate.com/external-hard-drives/portable-hard-drives/performance/backup-plus-fast-hdd/

    The OWC Thunderbay 4 is probably the least expensive quality RAID array: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thunderbolt/External-Drive/OWC/ThunderBay-4

    G-Tech makes good storage devices. The 8TB G-RAID is good for backup or primary storage, but bear in mind it's RAID 0: http://www.g-technology.com/products/g-raid-dual-drive-storage-system-8-tb
  6. v.i.p.e.r macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2012
    my purpose is: Catch the 521GB one and add a external HDD. And back everything up to a small NAS. With Time Maschine or something similar ...

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