HELP with Configuration for 5k iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by JaySuperstar, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. JaySuperstar macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    #1
    I am bent on getting the retina 5k iMac and am at a standstill with my decision on configurations. Best suggestions for what I do and may do?

    Things that I currently or potentially may do:

    -Browse/Surf (obviously)

    -Gaming (may return to LOL, perhaps some other games like civilization, sims, minecraft, guild wars, maybe wow? lol) I leave the big titles to my awesome PS4

    -Running windows for white hacking learning/testing (I have purchased parallels, which I use on my current rMBP) idk if bootcamp would be a good option, considering I've heard it has issues with fusion drive, but not sure how windows on parallels will run as well with it.

    -coding (for some classes i'm taking)

    -my girlfriend takes photos and videos as a hobby (perhaps I may get into editing some picture and maybe create some videos for her in the future)

    -I am always on my computer daily, as I plan on doing business with selling and perhaps earning money with websites (not sure if this will impact decisions)

    I wish to know everyone's thoughts on which config is best to accommodate these tasks

    -Processor: i5 or i7

    -Memory: 16GB or 32GB? or perhaps 24GB lol (I will start with 8GB and purchase the RAM upgrades elsewhere (need best place to buy for quality and price))

    -Storage: 1TB Fusion, 256GB Flash, 512GB flash (strains my budget)
    VERY IMPORTANT I want to be cost efficient but also want to want to cover my needs efficiently (I am currently using 337/512GB flash on my rMBP after a little over 1yr, granted I don't mind deleting some things I don't use)

    -Graphics: M290X or M295X (would this be a huge impact on potential gaming, basic photo, video editing)

    I would appreciate any feedback, honest opinions, and suggestions ;)
     
  2. Fez Vrasta macrumors member

    Fez Vrasta

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2015
    #2
    Go for the M295X, all these pixels are difficult to move.
     
  3. KiXeR macrumors member

    KiXeR

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2014
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #3
    I´m temted to buy i5/m295x and 512GB SSD but i´ll wait for refresh later this year.
     
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #4
    Well

    For gaming the graphics card is everything with that pixel dense screen, max this out

    The rest comes down to preference:

    RAM 24gb more than enough for your use forever.

    HD Fusion is great but windows will be on the spinner not the SSD portion for paralells other than that this is a great option for speed and size compromise. A 256Gb will be fast but you'll need space for VMs and external storage for files and photos etc.
     
  5. JaySuperstar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    #5
    Thanks, so I will definitely go for the higher end graphics card, for RAM I will probably upgrade it to 24GB max and probably at a later time.

    I may pony up the extra $s for the 512GB SSD

    ----------

    Their better not be a refresh later this year :mad: if one happens next year, i'll be okay with it.
     
  6. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Location:
    Folsom, CA
    #6
    Just a question...if you are cash poor why not consider getting a refurbished machine from Apple's online store? They become available in various configurations but you need to be ready to buy because when they show up, they sell quickly. This option can save a lot of money.
     
  7. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #7
    Also good advice

    Yeah especially with a desktop the refurb option is great.
     
  8. JaySuperstar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    #8
    I get a discount on Apple products so it becomes more of an option to get it as new
     
  9. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #9
    HELP with Configuration for 5k iMac


    It will likely be late this year, judging by Apple's regular update intervals.

    Some dependencies on the Skylake/Broadwell situations, of course.
     
  10. JaySuperstar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    #10
    Yeah, this may be true.

    I noticed your signature says you returned your 5k iMac, any specific reasons as to why?
     
  11. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Location:
    Folsom, CA
    #11
    OK, you get a 15% discount? That is what refurbs are at?
     
  12. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #12

    I disagree with Apple's decision to rely on thermal throttling instead of appropriately redesigning the product to cater for the hotter components. From my research, the i7-4790K CPU and the M295X GPU in the 2014 iMac are hamstrung by the cooling system.

    The throttling appeared to have a direct impact on my usage on a couple of old games I play occasionally and the fan noise was irritating - much louder than a 2010 iMac doing the same tasks, albeit faster. I was also told that my GPU was reaching unsafe temperatures by Apple tech support (105-108C).

    In short, I was not satisfied with the product given the price I paid (no cheap US prices in the UK!). I am simply waiting for the next refresh before buying. The screen was incredible.

    I had this build, by the way:

    i7-4790K
    24GB RAM (16GB from Crucial)
    M295X
    512GB SSD
     
  13. JaySuperstar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    #13
    My discount is 25%

    ----------

    Gotcha, do you think a fan controller such as smcfancontrol would help against thermal throttling by keeping the system cool? I know this would still provoke the noise, but I am curious if that will help keep up performance. Also do you think you received a defective unit? or was it just the model overall?
     
  14. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #14
    HELP with Configuration for 5k iMac


    Unfortunately not, the i7/M295X iMac will run its fan at 2,700rpm when under full load. You cannot push that any further. The reason thermal throttling occurs is because the iMac can do nothing else to cool the component in question. Simply, if you choose the i7 or M295X components, you will experience thermal throttling to varying degrees when you push them. Under load, the fan noise of the 5K iMac is about twice as loud as the 2013 iMac. The extent to which these things matter is completely subjective and specific to your usage.

    If mine was defective, there's a hell of a lot of defective units. All my benchmark/thermal tests were in line with the others available on this forum and now elsewhere online.

    This is a good video with a fair summary. Gaming is nothing more than an example of heavy CPU + GPU utilisation (watch from 2 minutes in): https://youtube.com/watch?v=tgTMxB-ffjM
     
  15. JaySuperstar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    #15
    I have a late 2013 macbook pro, does it sound louder than it's fans at high speeds? (If you know what that sounds like) You have seen my first post and what I typically do. In your opinion, do you think I would experience issues with thermal throttling? Or ramped up fan speeds?
     
  16. fathergll macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #16
    I personally think the safest overall bet in your case would be the following(I don't think RAM is worth discussing. 16 GB is fine);



    i5
    256 SSD
    295x


    This would account for a budget as well. The main reason I would get the 295x is because of misc lag issues when using Yosemite with the 290x. Apple may fix this with a software update but as it stands right now there is some lag at times with the 290x.

    If you don't have an external you may want to bump the SSD up to 512 GB
     
  17. AlexJoda, Apr 8, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015

    AlexJoda macrumors regular

    AlexJoda

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2015
    #17

    It seems that it might make more sense to choose the M290X. In the Arstechnica forum I was able to compare my M290X i7 to a M295X i7 with the benchmark tool Unigine Heaven 4.0. The guy with the M295X stayed all the time at 99C running the test, which might be not so good for his computer:


    "It´s interesting to compare this to my RiMac with i7 and the M290X. it looks like the M295X GPU is indeed throttling because my M290X is only a little bit slower than your M295X (about 8% slower, the difference between a 3.5 and 2.3 Teraflops GPU should be much higher). The temperature reaches a maximum of 86C with only a little louder fan noise than normal. This looks much healthier to me and should give a longer life to my iMac.

    My M290X I7 results:

    1600x900 "Extreme" preset:
    FPS: 26.2
    Score: 660
    Min FPS: 14.5 (this is much higher than the M295X. This looks like a throttling effect...)
    Max FPS: 59.5
    Render: OpenGL
    Mode: 1600x900 8xAA windowed
    Preset Extreme

    2560x1440:
    FPS: 12.3
    Score: 311
    Min FPS: 6.0
    Max FPS: 26.6
    Render: OpenGL
    Mode: 2560x1440 8xAA fullscreen
    Preset Custom
    Quality Ultra
    Tessellation: Extreme

    This are the results from the guy with the M295X i7:

    1600x900 "Extreme" preset:
    FPS: 28.5
    Score: 717
    Min FPS: 8.9
    Max FPS: 63.5
    Render: OpenGL
    Mode: 1600x900 8xAA windowed
    Preset Extreme

    2560x1440:
    FPS: 13.5
    Score: 340
    Min FPS: 6.3
    Max FPS: 28.9
    Render: OpenGL
    Mode: 2560x1440 8xAA fullscreen
    Preset Custom
    Quality Ultra
    Tessellation: Extreme"
     
  18. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #18
    HELP with Configuration for 5k iMac


    I don't know I'm afraid. Only reason I know it's about twice as loud as the 2013 iMac is because it was tested here (see end of article): http://barefeats.com/imac5k9.html

    An increase of 10dB is almost exactly 'twice as loud'.

    For your usage, it would only be the gaming that will bring about any loud fan noise/throttling. The M295X typically throttles less than 15%, which isn't a disaster. Guild Wars 2 was one of the games I ran - it was playable at very high settings in 4K on Win 8.1. Pretty good. But the fan was blasting - that didn't change even down at 1080p. On OS X, it ran like a dog.

    I would suggest the same build as fathergll has mentioned above. This build makes use of the M295X and puts your Windows partition on the SSD, not a slow spinning HDD. You would rarely benefit much from the i7, and it'll only exasperate the heat/fan noise.
     
  19. AlexJoda, Apr 8, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015

    AlexJoda macrumors regular

    AlexJoda

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2015
    #19
    I opted for this configuration:

    i7
    256 SSD
    290x

    The i7 brings real improvements over the i5 and cannot be changed later on. The 295x will be throttled under heavy use to nearly the same performance as the 290x, but with much more heat. The 256 SSD is about twice as fast in writing compared to the fusion drive and can be used with Windows too.

    I added a Thunderbold SSD case to the setup with a 512 GB mSATA Samsung SSD. This cost about the same as the difference to the 512 SSD setup from Apple but gives me 265 GB more space and more flexibility, because the Thunderbold case can take another mSATA SSD (ZOTAC mSATABOX).

    By the way: I did not experience any additional lagging that is not related to Yosemite itself....
     
  20. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #20
    In the M295X benchmark thread on here, the M290X achieved scores about 10% lower than the M295X. Elsewhere online across various benchmarks the M295X ranges between 10-20% performance boost over the M290X.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1835628

    I've no opinion on the matter, just a couple of bits that might help the OP...
     
  21. JaySuperstar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    #21
    Thanks, I'll probably have to go for 512GB SSD because I do not have any external storage, I want thunderbolt, but they get pretty costly.

    Are the lag issues completely gone using a 295x? Or just minimal?
     
  22. JaySuperstar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    #22
    This is definitely an interesting argument for the two graphics options, the temp does sound like its running pretty high

    ----------

    I played guild wars 2 and stopped for a while until all of the new expansions I hear coming out, I'm curious to know, what FPS were you getting when running it on 4k in windows? Fan noise doesn't typically ruin my experience, so if I can get amazing visuals with decent frames, then I can set aside the noise, I'd probably have the volume up loud or use headphones anyways lol.

    Also when you said it ran like a dog on OS X, is it better to play games like that, on windows or OS X if you have both options?

    ----------

    Thanks for the insight, I am still weighing the 295x vs 290x in terms of having it be worth it. If I don't game as often as I think I would, would I experience greater performance on the 295x without throttling?
     
  23. fathergll macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #23


    The only reason I suggested the 295x is because there was definite lag issues with Yosemite and 290x. Apple just released a software update and I'm glad to report the 290x model is running much better with Yosemite.

    If I were the TS I would wait a little bit for the rest of the reports to come in about 290x
     
  24. JaySuperstar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    #24
    Yeah I'll be getting it in the next few weeks. Does the new updates make the 295x run even better as well?
     
  25. andy9l, Apr 9, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015

    andy9l macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #25
    HELP with Configuration for 5k iMac

    If I remember correctly, it was in the 20-30FPS range but I didn't do extensive testing in 4K. 1440p was fine (2560x1440), which is exactly 1/4 of the native resolution of the iMac - good for scaling (1px = 4px). This will appear to you the same as a non-retina iMac would. The game would run in 1440p very well even with ultra/high settings, from what I remember.

    The Mac client for GW2 is still beta, and it's far worse than running Windows in BootCamp and playing natively.

    You can get great visuals from games on this iMac. You should also bear in mind this isn't a gaming computer and it will be outperformed by proper desktops with desktop-class GPUs.



    Even with throttling, the M295X will outperform the M290X.


    There are very few 'common' OS X problems with the M295X. Early days saw some weird artefacts, but they were not specific to the M295X and got patched up pretty quickly.

    ---

    A quick note on the term 'throttling' with regards to the M295X GPU. The card uses AMD technology called 'PowerTune'. Essentially this is used to dynamically control the clock speed based on a number of variables. Simply put, it looks at upcoming instructions to predict power draw, and it regulates its own temperature.

    This means the card core clock speed will fluctuate (making it hard to detect thermal throttling). However, in the case of the 5K iMac it can be seen that the GPU reaches 105C and then the 850MHz turbo-boost speed is rarely seen. Further clock speed throttling also occurs in some case. This tells us that PowerTune is now lowering clock speed to regulate the heat, first and foremost.

    My point is, the card is built with variable clock speeds in mind. Don't get caught up in measuring clock speed because it'll look worse than it is. Just try it with your usage, and if it's fine, it's fine. Don't worry about overheating/failure. You've got AppleCare for that.
     

Share This Page