Help :) Which iMac to buy?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by track12, Aug 2, 2016.

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  1. track12 macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Hello! I am looking to buy an iMac for my real estate office. I decided on a desktop because it will motivate me to keep and do all of my work within the office. Unfortunately, I know very little about technology. I am comfortable with apple because I have an iPhone and an iPad. My hope is to utilize the three together. I need a desktop that will be enough power/storage to upload pictures and videos of homes and do/store basic paperwork such as spec sheets, contracts etc. I will spend whatever necessary but do not want to be wasteful on overkill. I have considered buying a used iMac on ebay but I'm not opposed to buying new. I am also curious if anyone has a preference on the 21.5" or 27" screen size. There are so many options I am overwhelmed!! Thanks in advance for any help you may have to offer!
     
  2. IngerMan macrumors 6502a

    IngerMan

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    #2
    I think you should decide what screen size you would prefer. For what you are doing either size will work. The 27" has upgradable RAM where the 21" is you get what you purchase because it is soldered in. The 27" has dedicated GPU which will help in video work. Many members including myself have purchased from the Apple refurbished store listed on the bottom of their web page. I just checked and these 2 models are pretty solid and great savings of over $300. Same warranty and you can get apple care on them as well.

    Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 3.35.52 PM.png Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 3.37.50 PM.png
     
  3. track12 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    I think the 27" would probably be better. Thank you for your input! Do you have any opinions on the late 2013 models? Would I be better off to go with this newer one that you linked?
    Thanks again!
     
  4. IngerMan macrumors 6502a

    IngerMan

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    #4
    You are only going to save $100 or so. I would want the Skylake processor which is 2 steps above the 2013 model I believe. The graphics card is updated as well in the 2015. If your not in a hurry you can wait till fall to see if they have a new release, the 2015 will just drop further in price if they do. It is usually October but no guarantee, some feel it maybe after the new year.
     
  5. mpe macrumors regular

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    #5
    Either 21.5" or 27" is probably good for what you want to do on it. Broadwell vs Skylake discussion is pointless. Both are very good. The entry level CPU from 21 inch is actually slightly faster than the one from entry level 27 inch, despite older architecture. The i7 broadwell from 21inch is a great performer thanks to the L4 cache.

    If you want compact size, get 21 inch, if you have space for 27 go for that one.

    Just make sure and get either 256GB or bigger SSD or 2TB/3TB fusion. Any other storage option is a lemon. Be very careful and do not buy any configuration (except for high-end 27inch model) without paying extra for storage.
     
  6. smacrumon, Aug 2, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2016

    smacrumon Suspended

    smacrumon

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    #6
    Hi. First, I should mention the MacRumors Buyers Guide is suggesting "don't buy" at this time unless you need to, updates to iMac are expected soon based on previous year's releases. The current line were last updated in October 2015. Learn more at: http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#iMac

    So, when buying iMacs, I keep it simple. iMacs are powerful devices and can do a lot. My 2008 model still works well. My 2011 model runs swell too. Both purchased brand new. My general rule is to go with the base model. I doubt you would ever need to upgrade the 8GB of RAM memory based on your description. Also, 1TB of storage would be sufficient I believe as well (that roughly equates to up to 1000 hours of video, 500 hours movies, 300000 photos, 15000 hours of music).

    For you, based on the type of work you will be doing, the entry model in 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac would be more than suitable. You'll be able to upload pictures and videos of homes and store basic paperwork such as spec sheets, contracts with no problem. You'll also be able to edit videos if you need to.

    I would get an iMac that has the Retina display, it has a higher number of pixels which means crisp high quality text and images.

    ---

    I think 21.5-inch would be a great size, they are quite large when you're sitting/standing in front of them. But you might like to visit your local retailer to have a look at the differences between the screen sizes. I'd recommend:

    21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display - Current model - $1,499
    Comes with:
    3.1GHz Processor
    1TB Storage -- lots of space to store video
    3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor
    Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz

    8GB of onboard memory, configurable up to 16GB
    Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200
    Retina 4K 4096-by-2304 P3 display -- good sharp display

    ---

    If you decide 27-inch is a better suit, then I'd recommend:

    27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display - Current model - $1,799
    Comes with:
    3.2GHz Processor
    1TB Storage
    3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor
    Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    8GB (two 4GB) memory, configurable up to 32GB
    AMD Radeon R9 M380 with 2GB video memory
    Retina 5K 5120-by-2880 P3 display

    ---

    From: http://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/imac

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    Feb 17, 2016
    #7
    Honestly, I would go with a cheapest storage option and upgrade later.

    A Samsung 850 EVO 2TB SSD, for example, costs $630.

    Apple charges $900 for a 1TB SSD.
     
  8. track12 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    I did see the don't buy status :/ How accurate are these and how much does the price typically drop if there is a new release? Thanks!


     
  9. buster84 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 7, 2013
    #9
    I have a fully loaded Imac 27 2013 model and its been great for the last 3 years. If you can get your hands on a 2013 model with a 3.5ghz i7 then id highly suggest it as long as you dont need a 5k monitor. I find the 2560x1440 resolution to be quite good and its still an amazing screen, but If you find that you need it or really want the 5k monitor then stick to the newer ones. Take a trip to the apple store and look at the computers, they should still have the older models to compare with.
     
  10. smacrumon, Aug 3, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016

    smacrumon Suspended

    smacrumon

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    #10
    The Mac Rumors Buyers Guide is excellent at giving the history of product updates. From the Buyers Guide, for the past 6 years, Apple has released some kind of update to iMac each year. So based on that, an update sometime this year would be expected, but history doesn't always predict what Apple might do in the future.

    Pricing for iMac is generally static, so at most, a price drop of $100 might occur, but probably unlikely. In the case there is no price drop, you would expect some better specifications for the same price when updates come.
    Sometimes, the Apple Store has the lowest price, but my tip is to keep an eye out for percentage off discounts at retailers that stock the iMac that you want.

    When I bought my last iMac, I was able to get around a $200 discount off the original retail price. At the time, Apple had just announced their new line of iMacs and there were clearances on brand new but superseded stock at some electronic retailers. It was a good buy in my opinion as the new models weren't technically that much better than the stock being superseded.

    At the time of my last purchase, iMac with Retina displays weren't available. However, if I were to buy a new iMac today, I'd definitely go with a Retina screen (4K on 21.5-inch and 5K on 27-inch). The quality image is just much better in my opinion. It's worth having a look at a 21.5-inch Retina and non Retina screen in store, side by side. You might find the difference compelling to get Retina or maybe you might not find it essential in which case you could get a lower spec 2.8GHz Processor 21.5-inch display at $1,299 that would still be suitable for your needs. Current 27-inch models all have Retina screens. (Worth noting the prices quoted here don't include taxes.)

    For your info, here is the Retina screen (left) and non Retina screen (right) very close up. You can see that the greater pixel density on the left makes the image quality incredibly better.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #11
    I'd go with the base 27" iMac, and opt for the 256GB SSD, going on the OP's stated usage.
     
  12. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    #12
    I agree with this whole heartedly except I would reccomend the 2tb fusion for the endless photos etc you will want on there as a real estate agent.
     
  13. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #13
    that's the rub, and I agree, I guess in rethinking my recommendation, the 2TB may be a better fit. I suppose the OP should chime in again and refine his storage needs to better help with our advice.
     
  14. MistrSynistr macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Never ever ever ever get a iMac with a HDD.

    Always get an SSD, even if you need to pay up for it.
     
  15. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    #15
    You can just upgrade later.
     
  16. buster84 macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Those are interesting photos; however, they feel a little untruthful since that kind of pixel density on a 27in is hard to see. My computer to me looking at it as close as possible looks like the left photo and nothing like the one on the right and mine is not a retina. Yes i understand there is a difference but that photo on the right looks more like a camera issue.

    As a side note, Ive taken many photos of my screen and if done correctly you dont get the checkerboard look, and the one on the right looks like the camera caused it. Unless your using a Macro photography with a good SLR these checkboards sneak into all kinds of photos, especially cell phone cameras.

    I'm not saying that your lieing, the resolution difference is more than double and can definitely been seen and it definitely doesn't look like the photo in real world usage (not putting your eye within 1mm of the screen). This is definitively something the op needs to see for himself visually in person and why he should visit the mac store before buying to decide what works best for him.
     
  17. smacrumon, Aug 3, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016

    smacrumon Suspended

    smacrumon

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    #17
    I hope you're not saying I'm lying or being untruthful! Those images are zoomed in as I stated. Below is another good example of Excel zoomed in, standard vs Retina.

    I personally can see the difference between non-Retina and Retina displays, mostly around things like text. Text is not sharp on non Retina displays. Sure, the thread starter should visit a store to see for themselves.

    Here are the technical details on PPI from http://dpi.lv

    Apple iMac - 27″ - 2560×1440 - 109 PPI / Apple iMac - 21.5″ - 1920×1080 - 102 PPI
    Apple iMac Retina 4K - 21.5″ - 4096×2304 - 219 PPI / Apple iMac Retina 5K - 27″ - 5120×2880 - 218 PPI


    My view is that the thread starter doesn't seem to need an over spec machine (or the cost) based on the stated requirements -- "Storage to upload pictures and videos of homes and do/store basic paperwork such as spec sheets, contracts etc." These aims could easily be achieved with the most basic/cheapest iMac in the range, although I think the base Retina models I described initially are the better balance.

    I use a 2011 machine with much lower specs than that of the current base model available today, and it performs fine with heavy design, video and development work.

    <-- Standard display - zoomed in - Retina display -->

    [​IMG]
    --- Post Merged, Aug 3, 2016 ---
    Almost all iMacs in the current range come with 1TB (which equals 1000GB) -- That's a lot of storage space. It roughly equates to 1,000 hours of video, 500 hours movies, 300,000 photos, 15,000 hours of music. Or to compare it to iPhone storage, the storage of the iMac holds over 60 times the amount an iPhone 6s 16GB holds. That's a lot!

    Sure, it would be nice to get super fast SSD storage. From the sound of the thread starter's future use, they are unlikely to notice the difference between SSD and HDD in the use of their iMac. Is there a compelling reason for SSD? Also, if the thread starter gets just SSD, then they will reduce their storage from 1TB (1000GB) down to 256GB, one quarter the amount unless they are keen to spend big on storage. But if you can afford to buy SSD, then add:

    256GB SSD Flash Storage + $100.00
    512GB Flash Storage + $400.00
    1TB Flash Storage + $900.00


    I think this just needs the simple stick applied here. 1TB HDD is plenty of storage.

    I personally still haven't filled my 500GB drive.
     
  18. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #18
    The issue is not space, but rather the 1TB Fusion drive has a paltry 24GB of flash, where as the 2TB model uses 128GB.
     
  19. smacrumon Suspended

    smacrumon

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    #19
    All iMacs come with 1TB of HDD hard drive (no flash), except for the two highest spec 27" drives which come with a Fusion drive (with flash).
     
  20. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #20
    And my point was that the 2TB fusion drive is better then the 1TB fusion drive because it uses 128GB of flash, compared to the 24GB in the 1TB fusion drive
     
  21. smacrumon Suspended

    smacrumon

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    #21
    Yes, I understand that. Strange how 24GB is all that is included. When I think of fusion, I think of half/half, not 1/40.
     
  22. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #22
    Always check the AppleInsider price lists before purchasing an Apple product. Remember to purchase it from out of state to avoid sales tax. Good sources would be MacMall, Adorama, B&H, and a few others.

    http://prices.appleinsider.com/#Current_Generation
     
  23. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    #23
    Not having flash storage is the biggest speed bottleneck on modern computers by a long way.

    Some flash is always better than no flash, but unless your use is particularly light 24gb is just a flash cache for the hard drive, the 2tb fusion however is just almost as fast as SSD in many use cases.
     
  24. smacrumon Suspended

    smacrumon

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    #24
    Interesting. However, apart from boot time and local file copy operations which would be faster with SSD, what about once an app is loaded into memory or transferring data from USB-- Are there going to be any noticeable differences once an app is loaded into memory or transferring data from USB?
     
  25. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    #25
    It depends on your use but everything is just that bit faster, got a huge library of photos to scroll through instantly loading thumbnails makes it smoother and easier to use. Or in game loading for your favourite games is instant, video editing rendering can really use those sustained read/write speeds to provide a speed advantage over HDD. Also the consistency of speed is much more consistent accross the disk as it fills up where as HDD slow down and fragment further causing delays and hiccups in long term appications like scientific data analysis and video rendering

    It's not night and day like with the OS and app opening but the more of this stuff you do the more the time savings add up.
     

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