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DSTOFEL

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 11, 2011
993
753
I just bought an M1 iMac (512 GB, 16GB Ram) to replace my 2015 27 inch iMac (3.3 GHz, I-5, 24GB Ram, 2GB Fusion, AMD Radeon R9 M395 graphics).

I bought the M1 iMac from Apple’s refurbished site for $1,609. I‘ve got 15 days to decide if I’ll keep it. Just wanted to share my overall initial impressions for anyone thinking of a similar move.

First off, my primary use case for the iMac is Lightroom/Photoshop (I’m a photography enthusiast…not a pro), Final Cut Pro for occasional video editing (nothing more than 4K). Other than that just basic streaming, email, internet, Office 365 type stuff.

Overall, The M1 is a great upgrade from a performance perspective. The M1 iMac blazes through Lightroom and Photoshop. My 2015 can be “laggy”. The “only” downgrade from this move in my opinion is the display.
  • I much prefer the 27 inch for Photo/video work: The 23.5 (actual dimensions) is quite a bit smaller than the 27 inch. I can make it work with the 24 inch, but I will miss the screen real estate of the 27 inch for this type of work.
  • The M1 iMac is really bad from a viewing angle perspective when compared with the 27 inch 5K display. If you are even slightly off axis (above, below, left, right), the M1 iMac display looks really washed out. This is not the case with the 27 inch display. I think the overall display quality is night and day between the two. The 27 inch also seems to have more contrast and deeper blacks. I find the M1 display “warmer” (even without true tone ”on”) than the 27 inc….not that this is necessarily good or bad…just an observatio.
The only other niggle is the M1 iMac sound. The sound is crisp and clear but the volume is low. I was hoping not to have to use my Bose Computer speakers with the M1 (ie less clutter)….but I’m going to need them.

So, if I can get over the display “downgrade”, the M1 iMac is definitely a keeper. The only other options I really have at this point is to go with the new “base” studio and the new apple 27 inch display (approaching $4,000 after everything’s said and done) or hold off a bit and see if Apple is going to give us a new iMac (ie 30 inch iMac Pro perhaps).
 
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pedregosa

macrumors regular
Mar 31, 2010
242
221
I just bought an M1 iMac (512 GB, 16GB Ram) to replace my 2015 27 inch iMac (3.3 GHz, I-5, 24GB Ram, 2GB Fusion, AMD Radeon R9 M395 graphics).

I bought the M1 iMac from Apple’s refurbished site for $1,609. I‘ve got 15 days to decide if I’ll keep it. Just wanted to share my overall initial impressions for anyone thinking of a similar move.

First off, my primary use case for the iMac is Lightroom/Photoshop (I’m a photography enthusiast…not a pro), Final Cut Pro for occasional video editing (nothing more than 4K). Other than that just basic streaming, email, internet, Office 365 type stuff.

Overall, The M1 is a great upgrade from a performance perspective. The M1 iMac blazes through Lightroom and Photoshop. My 2015 can be “laggy”. The “only” downgrade from this move in my opinion is the display.
  • I much prefer the 27 inch for Photo/video work: The 23.5 (actual dimensions) is quite a bit smaller than the 27 inch. I can make it work with the 24 inch, but I will miss the screen real estate of the 27 inch for this type of work.
  • The M1 iMac is really bad from a viewing angle perspective when compared with the 27 inch 5K display. If you are even slightly off axis (above, below, left, right), the M1 iMac display looks really washed out. This is not the case with the 27 inch display. I think the overall display quality is night and day between the two. The 27 inch also seems to have more contrast and deeper blacks. I find the M1 display “warmer” (even without true tone ”on”) than the 27 inc….not that this is necessarily good or bad…just an observatio.
The only other niggle is the M1 iMac sound. The sound is crisp and clear but the volume is low. I was hoping not to have to use my Bose Computer speakers with the M1 (ie less clutter)….but I’m going to need them.

So, if I can get over the display “downgrade”, the M1 iMac is definitely a keeper. The only other options I really have at this point is to go with the new “base” studio and the new apple 27 inch display (approaching $4,000 after everything’s said and done) or hold off a bit and see if Apple is going to give us a new iMac (ie 30 inch iMac Pro perhaps).
Your other option could be to pick up one of the latest version iMac 27 models -- you can still buy them new from Best Buy etc or refurbished from Apple itself. But maybe you want to make a break from Intel
 
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Onimusha370

macrumors 6502a
Aug 25, 2010
987
1,418
I just bought an M1 iMac (512 GB, 16GB Ram) to replace my 2015 27 inch iMac (3.3 GHz, I-5, 24GB Ram, 2GB Fusion, AMD Radeon R9 M395 graphics).

I bought the M1 iMac from Apple’s refurbished site for $1,609. I‘ve got 15 days to decide if I’ll keep it. Just wanted to share my overall initial impressions for anyone thinking of a similar move.

First off, my primary use case for the iMac is Lightroom/Photoshop (I’m a photography enthusiast…not a pro), Final Cut Pro for occasional video editing (nothing more than 4K). Other than that just basic streaming, email, internet, Office 365 type stuff.

Overall, The M1 is a great upgrade from a performance perspective. The M1 iMac blazes through Lightroom and Photoshop. My 2015 can be “laggy”. The “only” downgrade from this move in my opinion is the display.
  • I much prefer the 27 inch for Photo/video work: The 23.5 (actual dimensions) is quite a bit smaller than the 27 inch. I can make it work with the 24 inch, but I will miss the screen real estate of the 27 inch for this type of work.
  • The M1 iMac is really bad from a viewing angle perspective when compared with the 27 inch 5K display. If you are even slightly off axis (above, below, left, right), the M1 iMac display looks really washed out. This is not the case with the 27 inch display. I think the overall display quality is night and day between the two. The 27 inch also seems to have more contrast and deeper blacks. I find the M1 display “warmer” (even without true tone ”on”) than the 27 inc….not that this is necessarily good or bad…just an observatio.
The only other niggle is the M1 iMac sound. The sound is crisp and clear but the volume is low. I was hoping not to have to use my Bose Computer speakers with the M1 (ie less clutter)….but I’m going to need them.

So, if I can get over the display “downgrade”, the M1 iMac is definitely a keeper. The only other options I really have at this point is to go with the new “base” studio and the new apple 27 inch display (approaching $4,000 after everything’s said and done) or hold off a bit and see if Apple is going to give us a new iMac (ie 30 inch iMac Pro perhaps).
Thanks for this - currently debating whether to go from a similar specced 5k iMac (late 2014) to the M1 iMac. I'm also worried about the smaller screen, really interesting to hear about the viewing angles - I'd assumed the new one would be better in every way!

Think i'm going to order the M1 iMac and give it a trial run, if the display works for me then I'll keep it and look to sell my dinosaur 27 inch.
 

DSTOFEL

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 11, 2011
993
753
Thanks guy’s for the recommendation to look at the 2020 27 inch iMac. I’ll take a look at that this weekend.
 

OW22

macrumors 6502
Sep 3, 2006
462
279
Dublin, Ireland
I was looking on the refurb store. There are very good deals. This is a beauty. it is seriously quick and will last for years. And still significantly less money than a Mac Mini Mi - Studio Display combo.

Screenshot 2022-03-18 at 20.33.28.png
 

DSTOFEL

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 11, 2011
993
753
I was looking on the refurb store. There are very good deals. This is a beauty. it is seriously quick and will last for years. And still significantly less money than a Mac Mini Mi - Studio Display combo.

View attachment 1976055
Thanks! Here in the Apple USA Refurb store, I see these 3. I really only need 512GB SSD as I've got a 2GB Sabrent Rocket NVMe (SB-ROCKET-2TB) that I have in a TB3 enclosure that I store my LR catalog and photos in. That's the bulk of my storage:
-3.8 Ghz i7 32GB ram, 512GB SSD, 5500XT graphics: $2,089
-3.8 Ghz i7 32GB ram, 512GB SSD, 5700 graphics: $2,309
-3.8 Ghz i7 32GB ram, 512GB SSD, 5700XT graphics: $2,489

It's a tough call. I prefer working on the 27 inch display for photos and video, but prefer the 24 inch display for everything else. I'm going to live with the M1 for a week and see how it goes. On the plus side....there are no bad choices here:)
 
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andreyush

macrumors 6502a
Oct 24, 2015
581
417
Why not an M1 Mac mini 512GB and 16GB ram with the new Studio display? :D It's the most expensive option, but you'll be good for a long time with those two.
 

DSTOFEL

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 11, 2011
993
753
Thanks for this - currently debating whether to go from a similar specced 5k iMac (late 2014) to the M1 iMac. I'm also worried about the smaller screen, really interesting to hear about the viewing angles - I'd assumed the new one would be better in every way!

Think i'm going to order the M1 iMac and give it a trial run, if the display works for me then I'll keep it and look to sell my dinosaur 27 inch.
You know...when I'm just using it, I think the display looks great. It's only when I really inspect closely with my 27 inch being side-by-side that I see the difference. I do think it's a really good display (bright, vibrant colors, sharp). It's just that the 5K 27 inch display is superb...hard to beat:) I will say that I much prefer using the smaller 24 inch display for everything except when I'm doing photos and videos. When I'm working on a photo in Lightroom on my 27 inch, I can see every detail. The same photo on my 24 inch, I need to zoom in to really see the details. That's what I'm gonna miss if I decide to keep the 24. Great iMac though...the 24!
 

DSTOFEL

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 11, 2011
993
753
Why not an M1 Mac mini 512GB and 16GB ram with the new Studio display? :D It's the most expensive option, but you'll be good for a long time with those two.
You know...I actually thought about that option. So, with the M1 iMac, I get a keyboard, mouse, so I'd have to buy that if I went the Mac Mini option ($200+). But, I'd likely get great sound from the Studio display and could sell my Bose MusicMonitor speakers ($200?). So, those are a wash. So, total cost of that option would be: $2,600 vs $1,600 that I paid for the M1 iMac. It's an option?

If that new studio display was $1,200 vs 1,600....sure would make my decisions a lot easier:)
 

andreyush

macrumors 6502a
Oct 24, 2015
581
417
I have the iMac 24 inch as well and it's a great machine! But the Mac Mini with a Studio Display would be a nice combo and would a fresh setup (kinda). Not sure how to feel about 2020 iMacs. Those Intel CPUs are boiling in that chasis and fans are running so loud everytime. My brother in law has one (max specs) and the fans are so annoying. The M1 iMac is so silent, never heard the fans since I have it.
You could also keep the iMac M1, do the work on it save some money and hook up the Studio display as second monitor but I think it would look a bit awkward if you care about aesthetics haha.
 

DSTOFEL

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 11, 2011
993
753
I have the iMac 24 inch as well and it's a great machine! But the Mac Mini with a Studio Display would be a nice combo and would a fresh setup (kinda). Not sure how to feel about 2020 iMacs. Those Intel CPUs are boiling in that chasis and fans are running so loud everytime. My brother in law has one (max specs) and the fans are so annoying. The M1 iMac is so silent, never heard the fans since I have it.
You could also keep the iMac M1, do the work on it save some money and hook up the Studio display as second monitor but I think it would look a bit awkward if you care about aesthetics haha.
You're right...the Mac Mini with Studio display combo would be a sweet combo! And...you'd always have that nice display and you could upgrade the Mac Mini. Here's the thing though (ie I know me?). If I sprung for the studio display, I'd go all in and get the studio (even the base model would be awesome). So, if I go that direction...I'm in for close to $4,000:) With the M1, I could work with it for a couple of yrs, sell it at a decent price and upgrade to the new 27 or 30 inch studio with mini LED?
 
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wilberforce

macrumors 68030
Aug 15, 2020
2,894
3,166
SF Bay Area
Right now you can get an i7, 5500XT, 1TB, 2020 27" iMac for $1799 Apple refurb. Need to add ~$150 for 32GB RAM. This is a lot of machine for the price, and is kind of a sweet spot for the 2020 iMacs in terms of performance/price ratio. (I have one, and also do PS and LR, and used to have a 2014). The display is improved from 2014/2015 (has P3 gamut) and speakers and webcam are nice.

I also have a 14" MBP M1 Pro, and I find their performances are similar. So I bet it outperforms the M1 iMac (or at least very close), and hard to beat the 5K screen for photo-editing.

Of course, you need to be OK with Intel...
 
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DSTOFEL

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 11, 2011
993
753
Right now you can get an i7, 5500XT, 1TB, 2020 27" iMac for $1799 Apple refurb. Need to add ~$150 for 32GB RAM. This is a lot of machine for the price, and is kind of a sweet spot for the 2020 iMacs in terms of performance/price ratio. (I have one, and also do PS and LR, and used to have a 2014). The display is improved from 2014/2015 (has P3 gamut) and speakers and webcam are nice.

I also have a 14" MBP M1 Pro, and I find their performances are similar. So I bet it outperforms the M1 iMac (or at least very close), and hard to beat the 5K screen for photo-editing.

Of course, you need to be OK with Intel...
I see this one (2020: 3.8 i7, 5500XT, 1TB 27” iMac, 32 GB RAM) for $2,309 (see link below). Can you send me the link that you see where this one is: $1,949 for 32GB Ram?

 

wilberforce

macrumors 68030
Aug 15, 2020
2,894
3,166
SF Bay Area
I see this one (2020: 3.8 i7, 5500XT, 1TB 27” iMac, 32 GB RAM) for $2,309 (see link below). Can you send me the link that you see where this one is: $1,949 for 32GB Ram?

2020 iMacs you can easily install your own third party RAM, one of their big advantages.
So, for example, this one:


and replace (do not add) the 8GB RAM with this 32GB RAM


or this for the "top" RAM brand:


There is nothing special about "Apple" branded RAM, it is made variously by Micron (aka Crucial), Hynix, Samsung.
 

DSTOFEL

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 11, 2011
993
753
2020 iMacs you can easily install your own third party RAM, one of their big advantages.
So, for example, this one:


and replace (do not add) the 8GB RAM with this 32GB RAM


or this for the "top" RAM brand:


There is nothing special about "Apple" branded RAM, it is made variously by Micron (aka Crucial), Hynix, Samsung.
Ah….thank you! I completely forgot about the ability to add the ram yourself on these iMacs. I did that on my 2015 iMac, but somehow just assumed that Apple had closed that option off for users to add their own RAM…like they have on most every other model. That would have been a huge mistake to buy one and pay Apple’s high price for additional RAM. Thanks Again!!
 
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webbga

macrumors regular
Feb 22, 2014
244
161
Cincinnati, Ohio
I just bought an M1 iMac (512 GB, 16GB Ram) to replace my 2015 27 inch iMac (3.3 GHz, I-5, 24GB Ram, 2GB Fusion, AMD Radeon R9 M395 graphics).

I bought the M1 iMac from Apple’s refurbished site for $1,609. I‘ve got 15 days to decide if I’ll keep it. Just wanted to share my overall initial impressions for anyone thinking of a similar move.

First off, my primary use case for the iMac is Lightroom/Photoshop (I’m a photography enthusiast…not a pro), Final Cut Pro for occasional video editing (nothing more than 4K). Other than that just basic streaming, email, internet, Office 365 type stuff.

Overall, The M1 is a great upgrade from a performance perspective. The M1 iMac blazes through Lightroom and Photoshop. My 2015 can be “laggy”. The “only” downgrade from this move in my opinion is the display.
  • I much prefer the 27 inch for Photo/video work: The 23.5 (actual dimensions) is quite a bit smaller than the 27 inch. I can make it work with the 24 inch, but I will miss the screen real estate of the 27 inch for this type of work.
  • The M1 iMac is really bad from a viewing angle perspective when compared with the 27 inch 5K display. If you are even slightly off axis (above, below, left, right), the M1 iMac display looks really washed out. This is not the case with the 27 inch display. I think the overall display quality is night and day between the two. The 27 inch also seems to have more contrast and deeper blacks. I find the M1 display “warmer” (even without true tone ”on”) than the 27 inc….not that this is necessarily good or bad…just an observatio.
The only other niggle is the M1 iMac sound. The sound is crisp and clear but the volume is low. I was hoping not to have to use my Bose Computer speakers with the M1 (ie less clutter)….but I’m going to need them.

So, if I can get over the display “downgrade”, the M1 iMac is definitely a keeper. The only other options I really have at this point is to go with the new “base” studio and the new apple 27 inch display (approaching $4,000 after everything’s said and done) or hold off a bit and see if Apple is going to give us a new iMac (ie 30 inch iMac Pro perhaps).
Thanks for the review. Your situation sounds similar to mine. I have a late 2015 27" iMac that still runs, but I am beginning to notice some lag time when I bring it up and when I run LR, Photoshop, and Luminar the system is using 15.20 of the 16 gig or RAM. I was so hoping for a new M1 all in one 27", but that does not look likely at this point. The 24" is a nice system, but it maxes out at 16 gig and I would miss the extra screen real estate. I am afraid a year or two down the road I would kick myself for not spending the extra $$ at the time and getting a system that would serve my needs for years to come.

My 27" will remain on my desk for the next few months while I assess the reviews coming in. Yours was helpful.
 

GDF

macrumors 65816
Jun 7, 2010
1,413
1,438
I think the new base Studio with the new Apple 27 monitor is your best bet. Plus, in the future you still have your 27 monitor and only have to upgrade the base computer, which saves on total costs.

I am hesitant to buy anything Intel when buying new, since Apple has totally left them. But, who knows anything can change in the future.

I tried the m1 iMac and coming from a late 2012 iMac with upgraded SSD and Ram, I did not notice huge differences in speeds for my use and really missed the 27 inch screen real estate too and ended up returning it. It still is a really nice iMac though!
 

Nicole1980

Suspended
Mar 19, 2010
696
1,547
I'd advise you to try the 27" 2020 5k before your 15days return expires. I spent considerable time with both the M1 24" and 2020 5k and the 27" was the clear winner for my specific needs. Plus you could pick up an amazing deal at the moment!
Agreed 100%. The only reason his 27" seems 'laggy' compared to the M1 is probably due to that horrid, aging fusion drive. Any recent 27" iMac that's SSD only will not seem laggy whatsoever compared to the M1 iMac.
 

Phil77354

macrumors 68000
Jun 22, 2014
1,925
2,032
Pacific Northwest, U.S.
I think the new base Studio with the new Apple 27 monitor is your best bet. Plus, in the future you still have your 27 monitor and only have to upgrade the base computer, which saves on total costs.

I am hesitant to buy anything Intel when buying new, since Apple has totally left them. But, who knows anything can change in the future.

I tried the m1 iMac and coming from a late 2012 iMac with upgraded SSD and Ram, I did not notice huge differences in speeds for my use and really missed the 27 inch screen real estate too and ended up returning it. It still is a really nice iMac though!
This is how I'm feeling as well. I'm not ready to spend the money necessary to get the separate Studio and monitor, so I'll give it some time. I may wait until we see what is announced in the next few months. There is no urgency for me, I'm following the reviews with interest and learning a lot about pros and cons. And I'm also waiting to see if the issue with the camera on the 27" monitor is resolved.
 
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Spectrum

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2005
1,801
1,114
Never quite sure
I realise this is an old thread...but my work colleague recently took delivery of an M1 iMac 24 inch (to replace their 27 inch iMac 5K), and, in my opinion, the 24 inch display is absolutely terrible in comparision. Even head on you can see a bit of wash out at the edges, but the worst is if you view the screen from the side or when standing (from above a bit).

At home I use a 21 inch 4K iMac as a general purpose computer - including for watching videos where wide viewing angles are essential, and it does not disappoint (as doesn't the 27 inch iMac). But...this 24 inch...just looks awful...like a laptop screen.

Is this just a bad example of the display or are they all like this, but few notice the downgrade?
 
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Onimusha370

macrumors 6502a
Aug 25, 2010
987
1,418
I realise this is an old thread...but my work colleague recently took delivery of an M1 iMac 24 inch (to replace their 27 inch iMac 5K), and, in my opinion, the 24 inch display is absolutely terrible in comparision. Even head on you can see a bit of wash out at the edges, but the worst is if you view the screen from the side or when standing (from above a bit).

At home I use a 21 inch 4K iMac as a general purpose computer - including for watching videos where wide viewing angles are essential, and it does not disappoint (as doesn't the 27 inch iMac). But...this 24 inch...just looks awful...like a laptop screen.

Is this just a bad example of the display or are they all like this, but few notice the downgrade?
I've personally not noticed a drop in display quality going from my 2014 5K 27" to the 24 inch, although my old 27" was obviously pretty old (only 350 nits brightness, no P3) so maybe that's why! I really hope there's a BTO for a mini LED screen in the M3 release, but I think the chances of that happening are close to 0 :)
 
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uller6

macrumors 65816
May 14, 2010
1,061
1,746
I replaced my iMac Pro with an M1 iMac. In my opinion the M1 screen is worlds better - brighter, more uniform, no IPS backlight bleed, no edge distortion, no off-angle color shifting. I think the M1 iMac is a better screen than the Pro Display XDR too (I’m using that as the primary display with the M1 iMac).
 
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Spectrum

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2005
1,801
1,114
Never quite sure
I replaced my iMac Pro with an M1 iMac. In my opinion the M1 screen is worlds better - brighter, more uniform, no IPS backlight bleed, no edge distortion, no off-angle color shifting. I think the M1 iMac is a better screen than the Pro Display XDR too (I’m using that as the primary display with the M1 iMac).
Interesting! I'm going to have a look in the AppleStore and see how they look. It could be that my colleague's setup has an issue with reflection washing out the screen. There is a window on the right side (90 degrees to the display) and a pale coloured desk reflecting light up at the screen.
 

colodane

macrumors 65816
Nov 11, 2012
1,039
476
Colorado
I've looked at the 24 inch iMac display several times at the Apple Store, and agree that it is superb. Although I'm presently using a 27 inch iMac, I could certainly be happy with the 24 inch.

In fact, I think it would be awesome if they released a 24 inch version of the studio display (at LESS than $1600).
Then the Mini Pro would make lots of sense.
 
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