Help me buy a new iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by tar59, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. tar59 macrumors newbie

    Jun 6, 2017
    I have been waiting forever to replace my 27 inch 2011 iMac and I just need some help figuring what to order. My 2011 iMac has 1tb memory and 20gb of ram and it has been struggling for about 2 years.

    I do a lot of graphics mostly in Illustrator some PS. I use a lot of large image/photo files in my work but no video. I use a dell 24 inch monitor as my second monitor.

    So 27 inch, 2tb minimum.

    Do I go for the 3.6ghz Intel Core 1.7?

    And then can I get away with 16gb? (I assume I can't move any ram I have in this system to the new one because of compatibility). Can I upgrade later? It just seems to much more to go up to 32gb in Aus.

    I really do not know much about what I need :) so maybe someone can help and tell me what they would order!

    I am desperate to get my order in ASAP.

  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    You can upgrade the RAM later in the 27" iMacs, so buy with as little RAM as possible due to the Apple tax. Also I'd avoid Fusion drives as they will be comparatively slower and less reliable. Go pure Flash.

    If you have lots of content/files you need to work with, it'll be cheaper to have those on an external USB 3 1TB/2TB HDD. Don't let a large amount of content force your hard towards a Fusion drive.

    Personally I would go for the 4.2GHz i7/8GB RAM/512GB SSD/Radeon Pro 580 8GB as that thing will be unstoppable. Then upgrade the RAM later.
  3. tar59, Jun 7, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2017

    tar59 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 6, 2017
    Thanks so much for your speedy input!

    Ok I wondered about the SSD but the price! I have to access lot of content files everyday so if I add an EHD that would work? I use a back up EHD and I do have another for random storage but I don access them all the time. That would still work dragging my content files from an EHD? And not drive me mad?

    That is food for thought. I think it makes sense and works out the same price exactly as the 2TB fusion with 16gb ram.

    Really dumb question does the SSD need to less ram and still run faster?
  4. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Well 512GB should still give you ample room for a project before you need to drag and drop for the next one. If you're constantly working with large amounts of content then a Fusion drive will be more frustrating than anything else, due to the performance deficit.

    Read/write speeds on these SSDs are incredibly quick. It'll be hugely beneficial in both the short term and the long term to go pure Flash. In my experience, people tend to need less storage than they think and they adapt to less storage easier than they thought.

    Not to say you don't need 2TB! But anybody here would take 512GB PCI-e Flash & USB HDD over a 2TB Fusion any day of the week. The performance difference is so insane that you'll be saving time in the long run, even if you need to drag and drop content before each project. 100%.
  5. meady100 macrumors member

    Oct 9, 2011
    As others, I would advise you in the strongest possible terms to avoid a fusion drive and go SSD. You can have loads of external storage that will be plenty fast enough through USB3.
  6. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    The biggest speed advantage in general use comes from having your operating system,applications, temporary files, virtual memory etc. on the SSD. The "sustained transfer" speeds are the ones that get bragged about, but I suspect that the most dramatic effect is the "seek time" which comes into effect when accessing a lot of small files simultaneously.

    ...personally, unless money was no object, I'd go for the 512GB SSD option. You can get a lot of stuff on 512GB if you're not doing video. The other thing that might make me plump for a larger internal storage would be using Windows in Boot Camp or with Parallels/Fusion.
  7. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    RAM is user upgradeable a 16gb kit will give you 24Gb for all your needs. As the others say pure SSD is the way to go with your media files stored on external storage.

    You can also upgrade your external drive to a thunderbolt 3 or USB C connected SSD at some point in the future and never know it wasn't installed in the machine.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    If I was buying a new iMac, I'd get the 27" model with 8gb of RAM (user expandable later), and to save $$$ I'd probably just get the 256gb SSD (which adds only $100 to the price).

    Many folks will shout "that's not enough storage!" -- and I agree.
    But I'm not into paying Apple an additional $700 for a 1tb SSD, no thank you.

    However -- since the iMacs now have TBolt3/USB-c, I'd pick up an EXTERNAL USB 3.1 Gen 2 SSD, and just use that for additional storage. 512gb would be about the right size.

    I'd then set up the 256gb internal with the OS, apps, and my [basic] account. I'd use the external drive for storing files and large libraries such as movies, music, photos, etc.

    Unlike 95% of Mac users, I have no problems whatsoever managing multiple drives. I actually believe things go easier that way. Particularly where backups are involved.
  9. statik13 macrumors regular


    Jun 6, 2008
    I'm a fan of figuring out what I need and bumping it up a notch, so I ordered the 27" i7 with a 512 gig SSD and the base 8 gig ram (to be upgraded to 24 gig on arrival)

    Agree with the crowd here; Moving parts have no place in a computer these days. Solid state will have it running quieter, faster and more efficiently as well as remove one of the components most likely to break on you. I'd much prefer to go SSD and then buy a few external drives for projects & backups.
  10. tar59 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 6, 2017
    Thank you everyone for your input! You definitely changed my decision and I have it ordered now!

    The only thing we did on a whim was the 1tb SSD. Probably not that smart financially but felt as I use my macs for 6 or more years that was ok.

    I really appreciate the people that took time to give me advice!!

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