Help on iMac purchase needed

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Apostolos, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. Apostolos macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2018
    I’m about to get a new iMac and the last couple of weeks I spent many hours watching videos and reviews on YouTube and reading this nice forum. I’m still unable to understand what configuration suit my needs better based on the below factors:

    I must choose one of the following due to budget limitations
    1. Apple iMac 27" Retina 5K 3.2GHz i5/8GB/1TB/Radeon R9 M380 2GB RRP 1370€ (iMac 2015)
    2. Apple iMac 27" Retina 5K 3.4Ghz i5/8GB/1TB MD Radeon Pro 570 4GB RRP 1600€ (iMac 2017)

    I can Imagine that SSD of 512GB or maybe i7 and 8GB of Vram will ideal but I cannot afford it.

    What I need the iMac for?

    Apart from casual use (YouTube, surfing the net) the main reason that I’m replacing my old trusty Mac Book Air (late 2011) is because I’m planning to purchase a DJI drone and I want to be able to post the videos. The specific drone is creating 4K footage with 30 fps and 100Mbps. At first I was sure that both configurations can manage the files with ease but reading the forum and watching all these reviews I realize that it’s not an easy task for either of both!

    Then I learned about transcoding with software like Editready and others similar products.

    Help me answering the following questions making me feel confident for my purchase or to start looking for a pc (i hope not).
    1. Will I be able to use software like adobe premiere, da vinci resolve etc to post my videos from my drone, gopro hero 4 silver and Samsung galaxy Note 8?
    2. If yes is prerequisite to transcode the files first?
    3. The post procedure, inserting video files and perform basic processing will be a pleasure experience or a nightmare?
    4. Will I be able to watch 4K videos and movies smoothly?
    5. Trancoding a video means that its quality is reduced?
    6. In da vinci resolve software there is an option called “optimize media” which somehow improving the jerkiness in video preview. Is this a transcoding method?
    Kindly note that I’m not a pro video editor by any means. My post workflow will be some color correction, a few transitions, some text adding. I’m planning to attend some Youtube videos to improve my very basic skills in post and thats all!

    Here is sample of my post using iMovie..

    Will one of these 2 iMacs do the trick and make me feel happy with the purchase? Is anything that I’m missing or I should be aware of?

    I will buy after the purchase an external SSD and upgrade the RAM to 16 or 32GB

    Thanking you in advance for the time you spend reading my inquiries. I’m so anxious for your feedback and apologies for my bad English :)
  2. iMacDonald, Feb 16, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018

    iMacDonald macrumors member


    Oct 27, 2016
    This guy proves here you can do at least do basic 4K video editing in FCPX on the base 27 iMac 2017. Note he upped his fusion drive to 2TB (think that comes with bigger 128GB SSD) and upped his RAM to 40GB.
    Considering he would also have had to run screen capture software this is quite encouraging I think.

    Personally I would still go for full internal SSD. I would never buy any computer with fusion or HDD now. I think it makes the biggest difference with regards to bottleneck speed at the moment. Even if you can only afford 256GB or 512GB (ideal). The problem is you cannot upgrade the HDD easily and Apple puts in all sort of constraints with that. I think an SSD would be a wise investment you would not regret in a few years time. Perhaps you could drop the Applecare extension if you were considering that for now and upgrade to full 3 years in 10 months instead saving some money in the mean time.

    Having said that fusion is probably not the end of the world as of course it does contain some SSD optimisation that you would benefit from quite a bit over a plain HDD. But 32GB SSD is small vs 128GB that the guy shows so could make difference with editing. I still think full SSD might be a better reliable option if you intend to keep mac for long time. My 5 year old macbook pro came with flash storage too. When I upgraded late 2009 imac with full 1tb Samsung Evo SSD it was like a rocket and booted faster than a work 2013 iMac (with HDD). The new NVME SSD flash cards that come on the iMacs are faster than that again!

    I wouldn't consider the 2015 model because of low Ram on the graphics card.

    Of course you will get better possible performance from PC for each euro spent but no 5K screen and your stuck with Windows (shudder).
  3. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009

    I'm guessing that you are not in the USA.
    I don't know what the ordering options for Apple are where you are.

    I would recommend the 2017 iMac.
    BUT... can you spend $100 (US) more?
    If so, order it with the 256gb SSD (instead of the 1tb HDD).

    I know that 256gb "is not much" space for an internal drive.
    But with today's Mac OS and apps, SPEED is more important.
    The HDD iMac will seem slow.
    The SSD iMac will be MUCH faster.

    For more storage space, plug in a USB3 external drive. They're cheap.

    Note: IF you can get an iMac with a factory installed SSD where you are -- you'll have to "special order" it (from Apple's build-to-order page). I don't think you can buy one at an Apple store....
  4. Apostolos thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2018
    @iMacBastard & @Fishrrman thanks for writing such a detailed reply, your support is much appreciated!

    I know that the SSD, even 256GB is much better than 1TB Fussion but there is specific offer and cannot be changed. my other option is to pay 2.500€ which is not possible.

    The 1TB has 32GB of SSD is that correct? The remaining 970GB is plain 7200 RPM hard drive? How many GB's of SSD disc space the MacOS is using? The point of having a larger SSD is to install the frequently used apps for better (faster) user experience? It will be that bad buying 1TB if there is no other option? Do I have any other workarounds?
  5. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    Check the Apple refurb store.
    You may find an SSD model for the same price as a fusion drive model
  6. Apostolos thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2018
    I live in Greece (Europe) and I don't have access to refurbished iMac products unfortunately :(
  7. Precursor macrumors 6502a


    Sep 29, 2015
    Have you considered purchasing from USA? I purchased mine from B&H Photo website and shipped it from there using
    Yes I also had to pay customs fee but it still turned out to be much cheaper than the official Apple Store price here (we're not very far from each other).
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    If your buying options are limited, buy the best one you can.

    Then... pick up a USB3 external SSD, plug that in, and set it up to be "an external boot drive".
    This is VERY easy to do on the Mac. Child's play.
    It will run MUCH faster than an internal platter based hard drive.
  9. OBirder macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2015
    I second that.

    OP, you may want to look into the Samsung T5. Has variable sizes and a USB C connection. The 2017 iMac has two USB C ports. You can get >500 MB/s. Great as boot drive and working drive.

    Then you can store completed projects on your internal drive.

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8 February 16, 2018