Help buying an iMac Retina

Discussion in 'iMac' started by cain772, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. cain772, Feb 7, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015

    cain772 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Location:
    Tijuana, Mexico
    #1
    I need some some on purchasing a new iMac 27” Retina. I would like some advise on what to buy and not to buy. I also would like advise in buying a NAS for my growing collection of pictures,music and movies. This is how I have it configured:

    4.0GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz
    8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB (I am going to replace it with Crucial 32GB kit in the future
    3TB Fusion Drive
    AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4GB GDDR5

    I have an old iMac from 2008 that is starting to show its age and that is the reason I have this new iMac configured with the latest chip,graphics, and storage. I mostly do web browse and do light photo editing. Any advise will help in this investment that I hope will last me at least 7 years. Also if you can recommend some speakers to here music during parties.

    Thank you all in advance
     
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #2
    Instead of the 3TB FD, I'd recommend a pure 512GB SSD instead for pure speed and reliability.
     
  3. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #3
    Agree with yjchua. If you're already planning on investing in NAS or other external storage, I strongly recommend you avoid a Fusion drive and go for a 512GB SSD, especially with the top-end iMac build you've proposed.

    Questions to ask are:

    1. Do you have more than 400GB of data you need to access on a very regular basis?

    2. If so, do you have anything against the use of external storage, which could be more than 5x faster than the Fusion drive?

    3. If the answer to 1 and 2 is yes, then would you prefer all your content to be on one arbitrary iMac, or on a NAS that will share it across all devices you own, including said iMac?

    If your answers are yes, yes, iMac, then a Fusion drive is your only option. Otherwise the SSD is your best option.
     
  4. edjrwinnt macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Location:
    North Ridgeville, Ohio
    #4
    If you are planning on using it for a while like the one it is replacing than I would get one with a fusion drive, so you have two hard drives in it if one dies. Unless you don't mind using an external drive if your single internal drive dies, or if you have to have a faster, larger drive. If that is the case then go with just the SSD option.

    I replaced the mechanical drive in my late 2009 iMac and I'd rather not have to do that again, so that is why I chose the Fusion Drive option. I only use my hard drive for applications so I only use the SSD portion of the Fusion Drive, but I still have all the extra space if I need it down the road.
     
  5. ioxakoyba macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    #5
    It is also possible to defuse the fusion drive, which would make 120 GB SSD + 3 TB HDD (7200 rpm). Installing OSX (and for e.g. Windows with Bootcamp) on the SSD space and all the other files (like images, games, etc. that doesn't require so critical HDD speed) does give you the pretty much same performance + 3 GB of storage. And all internal.

    (of course this requires some tinkering, like defusing the HDD and reinstalling OS X etc. but if thats not a problem, 3 TB Fusion drive is the best bang for buck.)
     
  6. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #6
    I'd also recommend 512 SSD over 3TB Fusion, but it's not a huge deal. You probably won't notice the speed diff. I chose all SSD mainly because I'm sick of having HDDs die in my iMacs and not being able to get at them.

    Since USB and Thunderbolt is so fast, you really aren't penalized that much by using external over internal storage, and even for booting if have to (say a clone).

    BTW, I saved a bit of money on essentially the same configuration by going through Expercom.com. The discount wasn't huge, but instead of having to swap out RAM you can buy through them at the non-Apple prices, so that 16GB or 32GB is a lot cheaper. Whether you also save on taxes probably depends where you live. I've bought several computers through them; they're great.
     
  7. Rass macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2015
    Location:
    Brisvegas, Australia
    #7
    I have:
    4.0GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz
    8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    1TB SSD
    AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4GB GDDR5

    The SSD is *amazing* .. when I turn on the machine, I get the chime and then a moment later the login prompt appears and when I enter my password, it's at the desktop with everything loaded.

    My reason for the 1tb SSD was that I could add external spinning disk without a worry, but upgrading the internal drive would be a pain in the backside. I run it as a 750gb OS X and a 250 Windows partition for when i feel like games.
     
  8. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    #8
    Your configuration looks fine. The 3TB Fusion will work great if you decided to store a lot of your stuff on the internal drive. If not, go for the internal 512 SSD and keep all of your pictures, music and movies on external drives. Just be sure to keep backups!

    Seven years is a long time, both for spinning drives and SSD's (yes SSD's do fail). It's likely you will be buying a new iMac before then.
     
  9. cain772 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Location:
    Tijuana, Mexico
    #9
    Thank you everyone

    Thank you everyone for being so help and for all the advise. After considering of your advise and my needs I am going to go with the iMac retina with:

    4.0GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz
    8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM (I am going to upgrade to 32GB) later
    3TB Fusion Drive
    AMD Radeon R9 M290X 2GB GDDR5

    I do a lot of video conversion and Aperture editing, would it be beneficial to get the AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4GB GDDR5 instead of the AMD Radeon R9 M290X 2GB GDDR5. Or is the added graphics just a waste for someone that doesn't do a whole a lot of video editor and a gamer?
     
  10. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #10
    Better to get 4GB of M295X.

    And I'd advise against the 3TB FD. Get a 512GB SSD instead. Having an FD in there could hobble its full potential sooner or later.

    Oh, and Apple's 16G upgrade pricing is pretty reasonable. It's also easier to upgrade to 32GB from this point, because you only have to buy another 2x8GB.

    If you go with 8GB, you have to remove the 2x4GB that came with it and buy another 4x8GB sticks to bump it to 32GB.
     
  11. ioxakoyba macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    #11
    Considering the SSD on the iMac 5k is only a two line device (resulting somewhat slower performance compairing for example to similar Mac Pro), it feels much premium to pay such huge Apple extra for the SSD:
    http://macperformanceguide.com/iMac5K_2014-flashDriveSSD.html

    Besides Fusion drive HAS - albeit smaller - SSD which you can defuse solely for OS X use gaining the very much same performance. It doesnt then much matter if tou save ylur photos, games, backups and larger apps on the 7200rpm HDD side, which you have then 3 TB to spend for.

    But m295X is a way to go, if you are not afraid of the higher GPU temps and possi le throttling.
     
  12. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    #12
    Yes, it would be good to get the M295X especially if you are working Aperture and video. Definitely wouldn't hurt.

    Agree, the 3TB Fusion will be fine for your purposes.
     
  13. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #13
    Two lanes is still plenty fast already even for my 4K video editing needs (I'm a cinematographer). In fact, the I/O performance between the 512GB in my retina iMac and the 1TB in my trashcan nMP is almost identical.

    So it's worth the Apple premium.
     
  14. cain772 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Location:
    Tijuana, Mexico
    #14
    Again thank you for all the helpful advice. All of you are helpful to someone that knows little about computing.
     
  15. ioxakoyba macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    #15
    Even if you may have already made your decision, I just wanted to link you all this - though old - video comparison about Fusion Drive vs. SSD drive:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlUoW9F18SI

    As you can see the boot time is even faster with Fusion Drive? Explanation? The fusion drive HAS SSD too - but in addition to that it can simultaniously read files also from to HDD side. So it works little bit like RAID1 in reading times.

    However, even though the boot comparison may be proven little bit faster, of course large SSD is faster as whole, if you store large amount of data on the disk. Usually it doesn't matter if you store images, games, apps and so on, but if you do video editing or such, then the large SSD may be better choise. Expensive though.

    It still would go with Fusion drive. I did with mine (arriving in 2 weeks of time).
     
  16. JeffyTheQuik macrumors 68020

    JeffyTheQuik

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Location:
    Charleston, SC and Everett, WA
    #16
    You can two step the memory upgrade. I have 24GB on mine, after putting 16GB in after I purchased it. I'll add the other 8GB (as a 16GB upgrade) when I need it.
     

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