Help me decide/spec a new iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by appleisler, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. appleisler macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Location:
    Hobart, Australia
    #1
    I currently have a BTO maxed out mid-2011 iMac - it's THE best computer I've ever used and I have loved it for the past 5.5 years. However, I am noticing some sluggishness and slow downs especially when accessing the spinning Macintosh HD2 so it's days are numbered - whether that is months or years who can tell...

    I need to decide whether or not to upgrade before the end of the financial year (30 June) as I have had a good year and so will benefit from the tax deduction and I currently have the time to commission/transition to a new machine. I realise the risk if they bring out a late 2016 machine but even the late 2015 is going to be a massive jump in performance plus getting retina. Late 2016 would mean I lose the tax advantage and I will be too busy to make a transition to a new machine for at least another 6 months.

    I am a consultant/share trader. As a consultant, I work with PDFs, Word & Excel. For my trading, I work with Excel plus a Windows charting program called Market Analyst 8. I literally run Windows 10 in Parallels 11 for this one program.

    If I upgrade, I will definitely get the 1TB flash drive for storage. I want the computer to last like my last one so I am open to upgrading both CPU and graphics card but want to make sure I am not 'over-speccing (sp?) for my use case.

    My son (who is only 12 but a Windows nut) tells me the i7 will make a difference for the Windows virtual machine and Market Analyst - is he right?? And what about the graphics - is the 290 with 2gb enough or should I get the 295x with 4gb? Given I want to get longevity, should I just max everything out like I did before or could I potentially save a few hundred to spend on upgrading the RAM (which I will do regardless with OWC).

    I'm finding it hard to track down good links comparing the two graphics options and the 2 CPU options - either articles or other threads which would be much appreciated. I guess the hard part is finding info on what you need if you have to run parallels and Windows (Market Analyst are planning a web-based version of their software but it's 1-2 years or more away so until then I am stuck with a 60gb lug of a thing on my iMac)....

    Thanks in advance...
     
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #2
    You don't need any upgrades to be honest, unless you are doing intensive video editing or 3d modelling or gaming etc, although your son is right about the i7 and a virtual machine.
     
  3. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2016
    #3
    Your current iMac should be more than sufficient for the task.

    If your iMac has a regular hard drive (and it sounds like it does), then upgrading to a SSD would likely solve your problem with beach ball.
     
  4. appleisler, Jun 26, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016

    appleisler thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 31, 2010
    Location:
    Hobart, Australia
    #4
    Yes I think with an SSD upgrade, it could push on awhile but I am not keen on attempting this myself and there is not even a reseller locally so sending away my iMac full of data isn't a great option - not even sure where to find someone to do it for me. How hard is the process?

    Also keen to go retina...

    ETA: actually there is a local company who is an authorized repairer...so how much of a difference will I notice? I already have the OS and my apps and docs I work with on the 256gb SSD while my iTunes and Photo libraries and archived stuff reside on the big old spinny Macintosh HD 2.

    Biggest slow down lately was a 30 page PDF that had charts pasted on every page even though both app and document were on the SSD. I've currently got 16gb RAM but could also think about further boosting this?
     
  5. tubeexperience, Jun 26, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016

    tubeexperience macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2016
    #5
    It's easy. You can do it yourself.

    Guide: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+27-Inch+EMC+2429+Hard+Drive+Replacement/7555

    Upgrade Kits:
    https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIYIMACHDD11/

    Note: make sure you install the In-line Digital Thermal Sensor Cable to control the fan
    --- Post Merged, Jun 26, 2016 ---


    Having a regular hard drive is the bottleneck right now. Upgrading to the SSD will make a big difference.

    Also, make sure that your AASP install the In-line Digital Thermal Sensor Cable or your fan will spin at maximum speed all the time.

    Do a fresh install of OS X and clean out the dust to further improve performance.
     
  6. appleisler thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 31, 2010
    Location:
    Hobart, Australia
    #6
    "Having a regular hard drive is the bottleneck right now. Upgrading to the SSD will make a big difference."


    Can anyone explain why Macintosh HD2 creates a bottleneck - this is not a fusion drive - I literally have one SSD and one normal hard drive and I control what goes where so all my working docs, my apps, my OS as well as an entire VM of Windows 10 in Parallels for Market Analyst (now called Optuma) are on the SSD already.
     
  7. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    #7
    I have a similar set up (split fusion on a late '15 retina) (I'm assuming your SSD is internal?).

    On the 120gb SSD I keep the OS, system files, and all apps.

    From your comment earlier it seemed like you kept the apps on the HDD too, you don't want to do that. Apps benefit from being on the SSD, they get a speed boost, whereas documents and media files don't gain much from being on the SSD vs the HDD.

    If you organize your files well like mine, there shouldn't be a bottleneck. I'm certainly not getting one.

    Everything that benefits from a speed boost is on my SSD and all the rest of my data is on the HDD. And I'm getting some amazing speeds.
     
  8. appleisler thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 31, 2010
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    Hobart, Australia
    #8
    Yes. This. I do have my files organised like you do. That's why I cannot quite understand tube experience's point that I am better off getting a new SSD for my mid-2011 iMac than I am from getting a new late-2105 retina iMac??? I read somewhere that the 2015 is about 7 times faster than the 2011. Plus retina :))
     
  9. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #9
    eh, I'd recommend just to get the new one.

    The joy experienced from buying the new machine aside, you're getting a faster, better performing machine, and retina.

    Retina is so nice on the iMac.

    There's always the option of keeping on upgrading your old machine or just saying screw it, it's time for a new one, and getting a brand new and better one.

    I always recommend people to just buy the new one because it will result in a higher level of enjoyment for the buyer.

    Basically, upgrading your old machine is what you do when you can't afford a new one. lol
     
  10. appleisler thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 31, 2010
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    Hobart, Australia
    #10
    OK so back to the original question then (yes I can afford a new iMac) - if I want to run Optuma/Market Analyst on Windows 10 via Parallels 11 AND I want longevity from the machine, should I max it out? I am prepared to do so but want to make sure its not overkill. I think I should get the i7 but how much of a benefit will I get from the m395x with the extra 2gb of video memory for this type of use case?

    I intend to get the 1TB SSD regardless so really its just the graphics that I am uncertain about.
     
  11. Nyy8 macrumors 6502a

    Nyy8

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Location:
    New England
    #11

    Hey OP! Sorry these guys are fighting in your thread when you were just looking help. I do IT Consulting for a living so maybe I can provide some insight.

    I've looked up Optuma and it looks to be a more CPU Intense app then GPU, looks like number crunching and data which is almost always done by the CPU. If you are running Windows in Parallels, the i7 has "hyper threading" which means it has 4 cores, and 8 threads. Without going too much into it, hyper threading helps to speed things up when you are doing multiple things at the same time by being able to better divide the workload. I have videos I can link if you are more interested, video is only ~5 mins long on the hyper threading explanation. I would get the i7 if you have the money.

    GPU is a waste of money, unless you plan on gaming on your iMac or letting your son game on it. The M390 is more then you will ever need from a GPU.

    If I can help you with the move from one computer to the other let me know, I've probably migrated 100 Macs now at this point.
     
  12. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    #12
    OP you will like your new computer. That screen is a beauty.

    Actually, I am spoiled by it.
     
  13. appleisler thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 31, 2010
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    Hobart, Australia
    #13

    Hi Nyy8 - thank you! This was the information I was looking for! I'm not sure if I will migrate across or set up the machine as a new one just moving across the files that I need. Haven't looked into transferring the parallels VM but a fresh install of windows is probably nice to have as well...
     
  14. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #14
    [MOD NOTE]
    A large number of posts were removed due to the bickering and arguing that was not helpful to the OP.

    Please stay on topic, civil and respectful.
     
  15. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    Feb 17, 2016
    #15
    If it's the case that the app is CPU intense, then running it in Windows on Parallel might not be appropriate.

    Obviously, running a visualize copy of Windows on Parallel as oppose to running Windows natively on Boot Camp causes a performance penalty.

    The OP should set up Windows on Boot Camp to be able to properly utility the hardware and see if that solves his issue.
     
  16. appleisler thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 31, 2010
    Location:
    Hobart, Australia
    #16
    I'm prepared to suffer a performance penalty because I am only running one windows app (in convergence so I can pretend windows is not there :cool:) whilst also running multiple mac apps - usually Mail, Preview and/or PDFPenPro, Excel (mac version from office 365) etc. If I have to reboot into windows to run Optuma then I lose my preferred apps and OS for everything else.

    The long term plan for Optuma is that it is heading to a cloud-based web version in a year or two. And then parallels and windows will be a distant unpleasant 60gb memory for me:D

    In the meantime, I am beginning to wonder if I should wait for the 2016/17 iMac update before pulling the trigger. I lose the tax deduction this year but will be able to claim it for the next year after all. The late 2015 is getting a bit long in the tooth if there is a Fall 2016 update (if that gets delayed into 2017 it might not be so long toothed)...
     
  17. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #17
    Virtualization offers advanatges over a boot camp install. Technically both have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you don't want to boot out of OS X macOS, or as you noted running a single program, then parallels/vmware/virtual box makes more sense. I did this for years because MS Office had been better in Windows then OS X.

    Bootcamp is a nice alternative if you want the best performance.
     
  18. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    #18
    Why? Just add an SSD, and the machine is flying again.


    If you only run one OS at a time with those apps, the i7 will most likely be a complete waste.


    Unless you plan to game on it, don't waste money on GPU upgrades.
     
  19. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #19
    OP, I'm chiming in late here. There's some great advice here that I'll supplement here from my own experience. First, I need new iMacs to replace some of our aging Macs (I own a small company, with about 25 Macs - rMBPs, iMacs, and Mac Pros) and some of our PCs - and I'm also up against our fiscal wall, so to speak.

    Cutting to it, there's no way I'm spending money on current Macs as I am pretty sure they're going to be updated to - at a minimum - new port configurations. But, some of our Macs - including iMacs - are going to fully serviceable in my company's new configuration. We use PD 11, using that environment for several Windows-specific app and some older Mac apps that don't work in the latest Mac OS environments, along with one Win XP-specific app that we need to keep around.

    There are several 2009 i7 iMacs we use that still are serviceable, work perfectly, and are still productive/billable. I purchased the i7 variants at the time only because I forecast that we'd be keeping them in service for several years. The iMacs had the 7200 RPM spinner - each has been upgraded in the past two years with an SSD. They'll be working in my offices for at least another 1-1/2 years, and there's no envy with their users.

    My advice? Keep your iMac for now, but consider an upgrade to an SSD - and pick the best SSD for your iMac, a Samsung 850 Pro. We've installed the Pro in 10 Macs - several Mini Servers and several iMacs; we tested the Pro against the EVO as an OS device and IMHO the EVO is a waste of money as an OS drive. I'll agree with T'hain Esh Kelch, in that add an SSD and the end result will be like you just bought a new iMac, and I'll add to that by choosing the right SSD will make you not miss a brand new iMac.

    I have a CAD tech working on CAD drawings, using ArchiCAD 19 - on a 2009 27-inch iMac with an i7 processor and maxed out RAM. With an 850 Pro, that Mac flies and boots up in seconds. Our Mini Servers also are serviceable Macs with the same SSD as their OS drive.

    Spend a bit of money on a decent SSD, and wait a bit for Apple to sort out its bits with the new ports. FWIW, we do like and use Windows - our best, most reliable Windows PCs are Mac running Windows in Boot Camp or in Parallels Desktop...
     
  20. mr.steevo macrumors 65816

    mr.steevo

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    #20
    Personally, I'd wait for the next iMac to be released. Not because I know of some great feature that will be released but simply because it will be 18 months newer technology and it doesn't sound like there is really a compelling reason to upgrade immediately.
     
  21. appleisler thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 31, 2010
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    Hobart, Australia
    #21
    Thanks guys - you know that mid-2011 already has a 256gb SSD? So I don't even think I need to upgrade the other drive...
    --- Post Merged, Jun 28, 2016 ---

    Mr Steevo - this is exactly the conclusion I've reached. It's not worth getting an iMac approaching end of its cycle just for the deduction as my mid-2011 is still ok, albeit showing its age a bit.

    I think I might see if I can get it running better....my last nuke 'n' page was pre Yosemite so it might be time for another when Sierra gets here...
     
  22. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Mar 21, 2014
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    Portland / Seattle
    #22
    I do. The SATA drive in those Macs pretty much suck green, hairy balls when compared to the 850 Pro. Otherwise, I would not have wasted your time. Take a bit of time to read up on the 850 Pro as OS drives, they pretty much blow away other SSDs in this regard...
     
  23. appleisler thread starter macrumors member

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    #23
    You're the first person to tell me that part - I am now reading up on the 850 Pro....
     
  24. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #24
    See my post and associated link here:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/ssd-worth-the-upgrade.1970957/#post-22866250

    I'm not a huge fan of CNet, but our tests of the Pro were borne out. I'm still a fan of the EVO but IMHO it has its place. There just aren't any better consumer storage SSDs than the 850 EVO or any better consumer OS SSDs than the 850 Pro.

    My only other comment on this bit is that, if you can hold out a bit longer, don't buy just yet. I haven't seen any posts here in MR, the 48-layer design of the EVO is already shipping and the PRO is almost out - the sales on the the EVO are on the already-outdated 32-layer design of the EVO. If you can get a screaming deal on an 850 EVO or PRO then go for it - I'm waiting...
    http://www.thessdreview.com/feature...en-48-layer-3d-v-nand-performance-comparison/
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/9652/...llout-4tb-850-pro-1tb-850-evo-m2-more-in-2016
     
  25. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    San Francisco
    #25
    Those are some great speeds. What a great little unit.

    4tb is some serious size.
     

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