Help an illustrator buy first iMac!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by cherrycat, Jun 20, 2018.

  1. cherrycat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2018
    #1
    Hello!

    I am an illustrator working mainly in Photoshop, but I also use Illustrator and InDesign for some of my work. I do a lot of traditional work too, so I'm always scanning at very high resolution. When I'm working I have Photoshop running working with pretty large files (I do most of my work for print), ten or more internet tabs open, sometimes InDesign running at the same time and quite a few images and folders open too.

    I'm slowly getting into video editing as well (using Photoshop and Premiere Pro) and once I get the iMac I will start using iMovie and then quite possibly transition to Final Cut Pro after some time. I will most probably not edit 4k footage as I don't have a camera which supports 4k and I'm not planning to buy a new one anytime soon.

    I'm looking into getting an iMac in the near future and I am a bit confused and overwhelmed. Right now I'm using a Windows pc, that's what I've been using all my life, but I've had other Apple products for quite a few years now (iPhone, iPad..) and I absolutely love them so I really want to switch to an iMac as well for quite a few reasons.

    Right now I'm looking at the 27" 2017 iMac but I'm confused as I'm not sure which one would be most suitable for me and my work. I want something to help me do my work efficiently, but I don't want to spend money on a maxed out iMac just because.

    The Windows pc that I'm currently using has the following specs: Intel Core i3-3240 CPU 3.4 GHz, 8GB of RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 (total available graphics memory of 4096MB and dedicated video memory of 2048MB) and 500GB of storage (although I'm using an external drive too for storing many files). This PC does work, I would be lying if I said it didn't, but it is slow and it freezes a lot and I really have to be careful about what files are running and when, otherwise it freezes and I risk losing them. Also, the monitor I'm using is absolutely horrible and the upgrade to a 27" 5k monitor is one of the big reasons of wanting the iMac.

    Video editing is a whole 'nother story though as I find it very frustrating and basically impossible to have a decent experience on this pc. I tried making a very simple, 2 minute long stop motion video using photos taken with my iPhone (so no crazy resolution or anything like that) in Photoshop using the timeline feature and also in Premiere Pro and it just refused to replay the video smoothly. It was only after finishing and exporting that I could see the frames in real time.

    I know I certainly need more than 8GB of RAM, as it seems that my current computer is using 80%+ of it for my basic workflow. However, I don't know much about the other specs and I don't really know which is more important over which for the work I am doing.

    I've tried looking around the forum and reading about what other people's experiences were (i5 vs i7, fusion drive vs SSD and so on) but I still cannot wrap my head around to choose a personalized configuration for my type of situation. Considering the specs of my current computer, I'm guessing that even the 27" 2017 base model iMac would be a huge jump for me, but I really want to get something that would best suit me as I want to keep using the iMac for many years.

    While I understand the basics of specs, I don't really know which program benefits from what and so on and I would absolutely love to hear your opinion.

    Would my workflow really take advantage of the boost that the i7 4.2 GHz has to offer, or would it perform just as well with the i5? While I was looking around the forum I saw that many said that the i7 is pretty noisy, which I don't think I would like. And if the i5 is good enough, are the 3.8 or 3.5 really worth the money over the 3.4?

    I see that pretty much everyone suggests choosing SSD over the standard 1TB fusion drive so I'm guessing that it is worth upgrading? How would that benefit my workflow? Do you think that the 256GB SSD would be enough for me? Or would it be worth investing in the 512GB SSD upgrade?

    And what about the 4GB of video memory vs the 8GB? Which parts of my workflow would benefit from that? I see that the 8GB of video memory only comes with the 3.8 i5 and the 4.2 i7 so it is also much more expensive than the 4GB.

    I plan on buying the 8GB of RAM from Apple and upgrading it myself because I know I would save some money and it seems pretty easy to do on the 27" model. Do you think upgrading to 16GB would be enough? Or should I be looking at an upgrade up to 32?

    Maybe the easiest answer would be to max out everything and I'm sure it would run like the wind, but unfortunately I cannot spend all my money like that, so that's why I'm trying to find the best solutions.

    I would really love to hear your advice! Sorry for such a long post!
     
  2. EugW, Jun 20, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018

    EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #2
    Hex-core i5-8500 or i5-8600 2018 iMac, hopefully to arrive in October.

    Internal 512+ GB SSD, plus external storage as needed.

    Assuming RAM is user upgradable in the 2018 models, get it with 8 GB and add 16-32 GB for a total of 24-40 GB.

    4 GB RAM for the GPU is sufficient.
     
  3. alien3dx macrumors 6502a

    alien3dx

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    #3
    For temp usage, upgrade your drive to SSD, your proc and graphic card shouldn't be much problem. If can upgrade DDR3L to motherboard put 16 GB.

    About mac, just wait a little bit to end of the year. Temp upgrade 100 dollar for 128 GB SSD and if can get ram cheaper DDR3L for temp usage till year end.
     
  4. cherrycat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2018
    #4
    Thanks so much for your reply and advice!

    Wow, is the hex-core that much better than the quad? And will they release the new iMac in 2018? I've heard a few rumors but if they don't I'm not sure I can wait another year till 2019... And if they do I'm guessing it would be more expensive than the 2017, right?

    Good to know that the 4GB RAM for the GPU is sufficient!
     
  5. EugW, Jun 20, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018

    EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

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    Jun 18, 2017
    #5
    I wouldn’t bother upgrading the Windows PC now if you’re buying a new iMac in a few months.

    The i5-8600 is as fast as the i7-7700K for multi-core workloads like video rendering.

    No guarantees on the new iMac release date though.

    New pricing I’m predicting will be similar but there will be discounts on the old models from major retailers. However, most of the clearout 2017 models will be Fusion models - not recommended.
     
  6. cherrycat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2018
    #6
    Thank you for the reply!
    So I understand you think Apple might release a new iMac this year which would be better for me to get than the 2017 one?
     
  7. alien3dx macrumors 6502a

    alien3dx

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    #7
    Yes they will. I'm using the 2017 base 21 for my job, 8 GB only. If i want to edit something i will edit in my laptop because i only do have adobe collection cs4 as legally and not transferable license between mac and windows. Only transferable windows 2 windows license. If you paid adobe subscription, it shouldn't be much issue about software. Anyway i know you want to move to new platform as your computer pretty ageing 2013.

    If you all-ready have use mac, transition should be easy. Like me , it takes me time to understand to keyboard short cut and how to maximise the os.
     
  8. cherrycat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2018
    #8
    Yeah, I was thinking of still getting the discounted 2017 one if the 2018 iMac comes out but I'm guessing the custom upgrades would not benefit from any discounts...
     
  9. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

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    Jun 18, 2017
    #9
    The refurb store sometimes has configurations you may want. But, it’s hit or miss and the discount is only usually about 15%.

    IMO a hex-core i5 in 2018 at current full new pricing would be a better deal.
     
  10. cherrycat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2018
    #10
    Good to know! Yes, I'm paying for the adobe subscription already.
    I expect it to be a bit difficult at first, but I'm very excited to learn the new shortcuts and transition to mac os!
     
  11. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

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    Feb 17, 2016
    #11
    Wouldn't it make more sense for you to get a Surface Studio?

     
  12. cherrycat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2018
    #12
    I see... unfortunately I can't really go the refurb route because the only refurb iMacs I've seen in my country are older iMacs, certainly not 2017 models.. And buying from overseas would imply shipping costs that would add up.

    I know that the fusion drive is not the best option, however I would love to know your opinion regarding some price comparisons that I've found:

    Retailer: i5 3.4GHz 1TB fusion 27" - 2350$
    iStyle: i5 3.4GHz 256SSD 27" - 2700$
    iStyle: i5 3.4GHz 512SSD 27" - 3000$

    If I go for the i5 3.4GHz 512SSD I'm looking at 650$ more than the 1TB fusion drive model.

    Retailer: i5 3.8GHz 2TB fusion 27" - 2580$
    iStyle: i5 3.8GHz 2TB fusion 27" - 3150$
    iStyle: i5 3.8Ghz 512SSD 27" - 3440$

    If I go for the i5 3.8 512SSD instead of the 2TB fusion drive I'm looking at a difference of almost 1000$

    Are additional 650$ to 1000$ really worth it for the full SSDs?
    Also, a total cost of more than 3000$ is pretty much out of my price range...
    I think another interesting comparison would be the i5 3.8GHz 2TB fusion 27" (2580$) vs i5 3.4GHz 512SSD 27" (3000$) or 256SSD (2700$)

    I would love to hear what you think!
     
  13. 960design macrumors 68030

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    Apr 17, 2012
    Location:
    Destin, FL
    #13
    Wow! You have been getting along with an i3 for this long! You have the patience of a saint.
    Just as EugW stated. New i9 intel chips are coming out, hopefully being added to the new iMacs.

    Normally, I say do not wait on tech, get what you need when you need it. In your case you do not NEED it, so I would recommend waiting to see if we get the i9 in the near future ( 3 months or so ).

    Hoping on an...
    iMac27 with 10core i9, 16GB of RAM and SSD 500GB or whatever comes with it.

    Then use the SSD for working projects and iCloud for completed projects. You will probably have to scale up beyond the free 5GB, but the price is very reasonable for the security of offsite backups. Personal Note: I live in a hurricane area, floods or hurricane can take away the house, local backups are not really that secure; not to mention random acts of theft or fire. I like the security and ease of iCloud backups for my important projects.
     
  14. cherrycat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2018
    #14
    Thanks for your suggestion! I've seen that one but although it looks really cool and useful for an artist, it isn't really what I'm looking for as I already have a good graphic tablet as well as the iPad Pro with Apple pencil. From what I've seen the Surface Studio is much more expensive than the iMac, at least in my country, and I really want to switch to mac os.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 20, 2018 ---
    Haha, I guess I've just gotten used to the computer being annoying and slow...although it's quite infuriating!

    I see, that would sound amazing! And yes, now based on your and the others' suggestions, I plan to wait a few more months in case a new iMac comes out -unless I see some crazy discount for the 2017 iMac until then!

    Thank you so much for your advice! And wow! iCloud sure does come in handy in your case!!
     
  15. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

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    Jun 18, 2017
    #15
    NEVER consider getting the 1 TB Fusion drive. It only has a 32 GB SSD incorporated. In the very least consider a 2 TB Fusion drive, as it incorporates a 128 GB SSD. However, I still recommend getting a proper SSD and then get external storage as necessary. It's a desktop after all, so it won't be carried around, and in that context having an external drive isn't a big deal.

    If you want to save money, then get the 2018 i5-8500 3.0 GHz or i5-8600 3.1 GHz hex-core when it comes out. It will be much faster in multi-core stuff than that i5-7600K 3.8 GHz. And in single-core it will still be comparable. Hell, even the i5-8400 2.8 GHz would be an excellent choice.

    https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-coffee-lake-core-i5-8400-cpu,5281-7.html

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I'm not expecting any i9 iMacs.
     
  16. Icy1007 macrumors 65816

    Icy1007

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    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    #16
    I probably wouldn't count on an iMac refresh in 2018. Early 2019 (February?) is more likely in my opinion.
     
  17. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

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    #17
    Why? The CPUs are all already available. As for the GPUs, it depends on what Apple uses. They could refresh right now with 500X series, or else later with Vega.
     
  18. Icy1007 macrumors 65816

    Icy1007

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    Cleveland, OH
    #18
    Apple is already using the latest from AMD with the Radeon Pro 5XX series. I would HIGHLY doubt they'd use Vega in the standard iMac as that would reduce some of the iMac Pro's relevancy. Apple isn't going to release a refresh unless they can refresh both the CPU and GPU for the iMac. They also wouldn't likely go to Nvidia.

    There is also the rumor that they are going to be releasing a redesign of the iMac, but I don't think that rumor holds much water.
     
  19. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

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    #19
    Apple is technically not already using the latest from AMD. They are using 500 series. The latest is 500X series. 500 and 500X are almost identical, but there are slight differences. But that's besides the point, because both are already available.

    Vega will come to iMac for sure. It's just a matter of when. It could be later in 2018, or in 2019. Remember, Vega is a whole generation, not just a couple of GPUs, and Apple can use the appropriate tiers for the appropriate Macs. However, if they don't use Vega, then there is no point for the iMac refresh to be delayed until 2019, since 8th gen CPUs and 500X series GPUs are already available.
     
  20. dachshund44 macrumors newbie

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    Jun 18, 2018
    #20
    Try to get at least the 256GB SSD, or 512GB, instead of the Fusion drive, mostly for reliability. The spinning drives eventually fail. Good that you're already putting data on an external drive. My only opinion about CPU is that I've read that the lower speed options will do fine for what you're using, and the top i7 configuration tends to have loud fan noise. Get the 8GB of memory and buy additional memory from Crucial, etc. It's easy to add to the 27" models. Very easy.

    Regarding editing video, the iMac will come with iMovie, which is perfect for learning. When you want to move up you can move up to Final Cut Pro X etc.
     
  21. Icy1007 macrumors 65816

    Icy1007

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    #21
    I don't see any mention of a "500X" series on AMD's site.

    The Radeon Vega is only two GPUs, the Vega 56 and Vega 64. The GCN architecture does not allow for more than 64 compute units. They could release lower clocked Vegas for the iMac, but they won't put anything equal to what is in the iMac Pro into the standard iMac any time soon.
     
  22. cherrycat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2018
    #22
    I see, so I understand it would not be a great idea to get the 1TB fusion even if I find it for a good deal.

    If we compare the 2017 models I understand it would be better for me to go for an i5 3.4GHz with 256GB SSD or 512GB SSD than go for the i5 3.8 2TB fusion drive? Even if the 3.8 2TB fusion drive would be 200$ to 400$ cheaper?

    Thank you for the link, the 2018 ones sound like a good idea from what I gather. Do you happen to know which tasks benefit from the 6 cores rather than the 4 that the 2017 models offer?
    --- Post Merged, Jun 20, 2018 ---
    Thank you for the replies! I see, I guess I'll wait a couple more months to see if anything happens and if not I'll go for the 2017 iMac
     
  23. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

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    #23
    https://www.amd.com/en/RX-series

    That was my point. Vega for the iMac (and MacBook Pros) is coming later.
     
  24. cherrycat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 20, 2018
    #24
    I see, I guess I'll have to really consider the 256GB SSD as one of the best options. Do you think it would be enough?

    I've kind of cut the i7 out of my options based on your and the others' responses, but are the i5 3.5GHz and 3.8GHz worth the money over the 3.4GHz?

    Yes, regarding the 8GB of RAM, that's pretty much how I'm planning to go about it!

    I will certainly use iMovie in the beginning!
     
  25. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

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    #25
    How long can you wait? The point of my many posts here is to tell you that if you can wait a few months, you can pay for an i5 and get the performance of the 2017 i7.

    However, if you buy now, you'll get a significantly slower 2017 i5 machine for that price.
     

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27 June 20, 2018