Help me choose a desktop

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Ana_in_va, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. Ana_in_va macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2017
    I'm a PC user and I'm in need of a new computer. I have recently decided to buy my first ever Mac. We decided on a desktop because I want to have a machine in a dedicated space (instead of using it to multi-task).

    Can you please help us decide if the 21 or 27 inch is better? I will use it for web browsing, basic document stuff, and learning photoshop elements. I thought the 21 would suffice for this. But I'm leaning towards the 27 because my partner is an attorney and occasionally works home from the weekends. It seems the 27 would allow them to work on 2 documents side by side. At work they have 3 monitors, so right now working at home on their laptop is a pain. The price difference between both is OK for us.

    Is this a good enough reason to get the 27? Will it be too big for all other tasks? How far away do I need to be sitting from the monitor to avoid eye strain with such a big screen? I'm trying to figure out if our desk is even big enough or if I need to get something with a keyboard tray. The roundup on iMacs says to wait to buy one but I can't tell from all these rumor websites if there is actually something new coming soon, and if a newbie user like myself would even be able to notic any "new features".

    Last question - thoughts on the Magic Trackpad? At the store it seems like my finger would end up hurting from the pointing but maybe I'm not used to it.

    Thanks all!
  2. nss_gabriele macrumors newbie

    Oct 12, 2016
    My 2 cents:
    - they'll upgrade the iMac in October (they say); if you can wait, wait, the upgrade will be major;
    - if you have a "standard" desk (and not a small table / children desk) 27'' is perfect and a screen is never too big
  3. colodane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2012
    Assuming that both the price and space are not an issue, then the 27 is the better machine. You can get it with a selection of higher performance options. See the numerous threads on this forum for advice on how to select the options for the kind of work you will be doing. Just to highlight one thing you will find - get a solid state drive !

    As was mentioned above, there should be new iMacs announced hopefully later this year. If at all convenient, I'd recommend waiting until then to make your purchase.

    I LOVE the TrackPad! Will take you perhaps 4 hours to get used to it, but you will be glad you did. If for some reason you don't, mice are cheap.
  4. Lunder89 macrumors 6502


    Oct 16, 2014
    I do have a 27" 5K iMac, and having that large a display makes a big difference, when working with documents in split mode. You can put it daily close to you, and just turn down the brightness on the screen, if it feels too bright. But some distance is preferable.
    Going for the lowest end 27" iMac, will do well for you. Just make sure to update the harddrive to at least the 1 TB Fusion drive. Otherwise, it will be extremely slow. If budget isn't a too big issue, go for a pure SSD config. It is a little pricy, but well worth it. (And Colodane managed to post about just before I was done writing, and it is a very good advice)

    The new iMac rumored, will likely see the market around October (as already mentioned). It will feature the new USB-C, and most likely some new graphics cards. Apple say that will focus a model for the pros, but I suspect that will get very expensive, and for your needs, a little over the top.
    I don't know if it will be a major update...
    Besides, demands will be high (I suspect), so it will likely be a little difficult to get the first couple of weeks or months.
    I bought my iMac in may 2016, and don't expect Apple to introduce anything to new iMac to make me jealous.

    I don't have a magic trackpad, so I can't say. I hate using trackpads in general, I don't even like the Magic Mouse, and use something else.

    Those are my thoughts, hope it helps :)
  5. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Any reason is a good reason to get the 27". The extra screen real estate comes in handy for everyone at one time or another.

    Only thing I would recommend when picking a model is getting 2tb fusion, 3tb fusion or SSD (in any size you feel is adequate) storage option. The speed of the storage makes the most noticeable speed difference in day to day task.

    Your task for the machine don't seem to warrant waiting 6 months or so but that is up to you.
  6. danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

    Mar 12, 2005
    27", I couldn't live with a 21" anymore.

    The most important option you will choose is the drive. I'd go with an all flash SSD, but the 2TB fusion is also a very good option.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Get the 27", you will never regret buying the bigger display.

    Some do's and don'ts:
    DON'T buy an iMac that has only a platter-based hard drive. Too slow! You'll regret it!
    DON'T buy an iMac with the 1tb fusion drive. The SSD portion is only 24gb -- too small!

    DO buy an iMac with the 2tb fusion drive. It has a 128gb SSD portion and a 2tb HDD portion.
    DO buy an iMac with a "straight" SSD if you want one. VERY fast.
  8. Ana_in_va thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2017
    Hello everyone,
    Thank you so much for your feedback. I really appreciate it. We will be getting the 27 in the current model.

    I read a ton about the fusion drive vs the ssd flash last night on various websites and the forums here. At first I was confused - I thought fusion had SSD in it, but I think I get it now. Looking at the options the prices jump significantly and I'm mostly concerned I'll be buying something that's too much for our very basic needs.

    Is the recommendation to go with at least the 2TB fusion drive which brings up the price to 2299? For the same price I can get the 256 flash ... though then I was reading I have to be doing some external hard drives.... Not sure why I would want to do that if this is a brand new computer. For 2500 it goes to the 512 but that's a lot of money, and I'm a very basic user. Or is the 1799 entry model fine and just leave it at that?

    This is why I haven't bought a computer since 2011 - I get overwhelmed by what it all means....Thanks for making me help sense of this!
  9. Lunder89 macrumors 6502


    Oct 16, 2014
    Let me simplify it a little.
    Fusion drive is a combination SSD and regular harddrive. The point is the operating system and your most used files and apps are stored on the SSD part, and everything else on the regular harddrive.

    And this is then where it gets confusing.
    No fusion drive, and 1 TB fusion drive use 5400 RPM harddrives, and they are enormously slow. Buying either of these will make the computer feel cheap. It can't load anything of the harddrives fast, and makes everything slow, it will never feel fast.

    The other ugly thing about the 1 TB Fusion drive is that it only has 24 GB SSD. That will do for macOS and a few small apps. Everything else will be on the slow harddrive.

    The 2 TB Fusion drive is more expensive, because not only is the SSD drive now 128 GB, the 2 TB harddrive is also a much faster 7200 RPM drive. Those two in combination makes the Mac feel far more speedy and fast. Things will load much faster, much more will fit on SSD and help make the Mac super fast.

    256 GB SSD is a little cheaper yes, but you also get 256 GB pure SSD, which reads and writes around 1,0 to 1,2 GB per second (real world use).

    1 TB Fusion drive is a budget solution, that might work for a while. But it will get painfully slow.
    It can't be upgraded later, so this is a bad place to save money.
  10. Ana_in_va thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2017
    Thanks lunder89 for the explanation. Good point that this is not something that I can upgrade later.

    What do you recommend between 2TB fusion, 3TB fusion, 256 flash or 512 flash for an non-gamer, entry level Mac user? Thanks all!
  11. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    Pure SSD will always beat a Fusion drive in the general case. Some workloads (hard to predict exactly what) will be almost as fast on a Fusion as on pure SSD, and a few won't. So it's really about money.

    If you can afford it, given whatever your space needs are, go straight SSD. if you aren't sure that 256 Gb will cut it, and don't want to pay for 512 Gb SSD, get the Fusion. 2 Tb vs 3 Tb is just a matter of space, as far as I know.

    For most casual use, the Fusion will probably perform well enough that you won't be kicking yourself for not getting the SSD. So, if you really aren't sure what your space needs might end up being, get the Fusion.

    (As a reference point, we have a couple thousand photos, not a lot of music, and several years worth of random documents on an iMac and it's using just under 240 Gb. The 256Gb SSD would be too small. Also, if you're going to set aside some space for a Bootcamp partition to run Windows in, don't forget to allow for that when you decide.)
  12. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Depends on what you are going to be doing. If you never plan on using over 256gb of storage then that would offer the best user experience. If you plan on keeping a ton of media on the system then the 2TB Fusion maybe a better option. 512gb and 3tb Fusion are extensions of both respectively.

    You won't go wrong with any of those options unless you run out of space. Then you'll need to external storage. For my personal usage I would go with the 2 or 3tb Fusion drives however I probably use more storage then most people.
  13. Lunder89 macrumors 6502


    Oct 16, 2014
    Cynics has mentioned it already. Your choice depends on how much stuff you store on your Mac.
    Personally, I went for 512 GB SSD. But I also play games, edit videos, screencasts. And coming from a MacBook Pro, that was all SSD based too, I couldn't go back. So whenever I am done with a project, I move to my external harddrive.

    Try to see how much space you use on your current computer, if you use well over 256 GB, then the 2 TB Fusion drive, sounds right.

    If you have a lot of files you just keep around, because you can't/won't delete them, then a small 2,5" 1 TB external USB 3.0 drive, will get you quite far. And it can hidden behind the Mac easily.

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