Here's what I'm waiting for to buy an iMac. Critiques welcome!

TheDauterive

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Aug 8, 2013
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I'm planning to buy a new iMac to replace my aging Mac Pro, but I'm holding out for the following features:

1. Thunderbolt 2. This seems like a no-brainer to me. The original Thunderbolt is already a legacy interface, so there's no reason to buy an iMac without its successor unless I have to.

2. USB 3.1. This is less of a no-brainer. The fact that it represents a very substantial speed increase over USB 3 is enticing, but it may be another year before it actually starts shipping with PCs, let alone Macs.

3. Lastly, Broadwell processors. Considering the heat issues some iMacs have had in the past, the die-shrink and resultant drop in heat production represented by Broadwell is really attractive. But again, this is likely a year away at least.

Any predictions for how long it will take for this machine to arrive are welcome as are suggestions that I'm being ridiculous waiting for some (or all) of these features. Thanks in advance for your advice!
 
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maflynn

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Broadwell has been delayed so you may be in for a sizable wait.

Also there's no guarantee that we'll see USB 3.1 (unless its built into the broadwell chipset).
 

yjchua95

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I'm planning to buy a new iMac to replace my aging Mac Pro, but I'm holding out for the following features:

1. Thunderbolt 2. This seems like a no-brainer to me. The original Thunderbolt is already a legacy interface, so there's no reason to buy an iMac without its successor unless I have to.

2. USB 3.1. This is less of a no-brainer. The fact that it represents a very substantial speed increase over USB 3 is enticing, but it may be another year before it actually starts shipping with PCs, let alone Macs.

3. Lastly, Broadwell processors. Considering the heat issues some iMacs have had in the past, the die-shrink and resultant drop in heat production represented by Broadwell is really attractive. But again, this is likely a year away at least.

Any predictions for how long it will take for this machine to arrive are welcome as are suggestions that I'm being ridiculous waiting for some (or all) of these features. Thanks in advance for your advice!
All your arguments make sense, in my opinion.

Perhaps argument 2 may not make as much sense as the others though, because Thunderbolt 2 would smoke USB 3.1 :)
 

theluggage

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Jul 29, 2011
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1. Thunderbolt 2. This seems like a no-brainer to me.
...and its probably a no-brainer that the next iMac speed-bump will include it. Probably more important for the improved DisplayPort/4K video support than the data bandwidth.

2. USB 3.1. This is less of a no-brainer. The fact that it represents a very substantial speed increase over USB 3 is enticing, but it may be another year before it actually starts shipping with PCs, let alone Macs.
...then manufacturers will have to start shipping peripherals that use it. By which time, USB3.2, Thunderbolt 3 and TurboNutterWireless 2020 will be coming 'real soon now'.

The question with USB3.1 is, of course, are you actually going to buy the sort of specialist equipment that makes use of those speeds? TB1 and USB3 are already faster than most single hard drives - you need RAID and/or PCIe SSDs to actually take advantage of them.

Missing item:

* Affordable 1TB+ internal SSD

Putting spinning rust inside a no-user-servicable-parts-inside all-in-one just doesn't make sense to me. If you're happy with a ~256G system SSD and using an external for everything else then, fine.

Unanswerable question:

Will the 27" iMac continue?

Currently, there's no really viable "Retina/4K" path for the 27": UHD in pixel-doubling mode makes system text/icons too big for a 27" display, native UHD makes them too small. You'd have to run in scaled mode to get a sensible amount of real estate. Roll on 5K...

What makes more sense from a display perspective is a 21.5" retina iMac - going UHD neatly pixel-doubles the existing 1080p screen.

The alternative is to fix OSX to make it DPI-independent (like Windows), then hit developers with a big stick until they properly support it (unlike Windows).
 

PatriotInvasion

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I'm planning to buy a new iMac to replace my aging Mac Pro, but I'm holding out for the following features:

1. Thunderbolt 2. This seems like a no-brainer to me. The original Thunderbolt is already a legacy interface, so there's no reason to buy an iMac without its successor unless I have to.

2. USB 3.1. This is less of a no-brainer. The fact that it represents a very substantial speed increase over USB 3 is enticing, but it may be another year before it actually starts shipping with PCs, let alone Macs.

3. Lastly, Broadwell processors. Considering the heat issues some iMacs have had in the past, the die-shrink and resultant drop in heat production represented by Broadwell is really attractive. But again, this is likely a year away at least.

Any predictions for how long it will take for this machine to arrive are welcome as are suggestions that I'm being ridiculous waiting for some (or all) of these features. Thanks in advance for your advice!
My take:

1.) Even nearly 3 years after it's initial release, there is a dearth of Thunderbolt 1 peripherals that make sense from a cost standpoint vs USB 3. I have a 1TB LaCie Thunderbolt HDD connected to my 256GB SSD iMac and the speeds are more than sufficient for occasional data transfers of 50+GB. Even a Thunderbolt 2 equipped iMac will be waiting around awhile for affordable peripherals to attach to it. To me, this shouldn't be a reason to wait, but depends on how much you would actually use Thunderbolt.

2.) If you're planning on using Thunderbolt, not sure why USB 3.1 would be a huge draw.

3.) My mid-2010 iMac used to get quite hot. My new late-2013 model seems much cooler but only had a it a week so who knows. That said, Broadwell won't be life changing vs Haswell.
 

Gregintosh

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I am holding out for a retina display. That's going to make a visual difference for everyone, all the other things have virtually no real world implications at all for any but the most dedicated professionals (and even then I doubt someone could tell the difference).
 

PatriotInvasion

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Missing item:

* Affordable 1TB+ internal SSD

Putting spinning rust inside a no-user-servicable-parts-inside all-in-one just doesn't make sense to me. If you're happy with a ~256G system SSD and using an external for everything else then, fine.
I agree, but I think more likely the next model may have a more affordable 512GB SSD. However, if the OP is intersted in Thunderbolt 2, than he most likely needs more storage than 1TB anyway, in which case, a 256GB or 512GB SSD would be fine.

Unanswerable question:

Will the 27" iMac continue?

Currently, there's no really viable "Retina/4K" path for the 27": UHD in pixel-doubling mode makes system text/icons too big for a 27" display, native UHD makes them too small. You'd have to run in scaled mode to get a sensible amount of real estate. Roll on 5K...
My prediction is they go with pixel-doubled UHD on the 27" with the 1920x1080 real estate as "Best for Retina". People will get used to the real estate just as anyone going from a MackBook Air to a 13" rMBP would...or from the 15" cMBP's 1680x1050 high-res option to a 15" rMBP. If power users want to scale to 2560x1440 than they're welcome to.

Other option is to release a 24" Retina/4K iMac which would be a compromise between physical screen size, pixel real estate, and UI scale. This would likely come out alongside the older models much like the rMBP did.
 
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yjchua95

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My prediction is they go with pixel-doubled UHD on the 27" with the 1920x1080 real estate as "Best for Retina". People will get used to the real estate just as anyone going from a MackBook Air to a 13" rMBP would...or from the 15" cMBP's 1680x1050 high-res option to a 15" rMBP. If power uses want to scale to 2560x1440 than they're welcome to.
I think it'd be more likely if Apple used a real estate of 2560x1440 as 'Best for Retina', with a raw resolution of 5120x2880, for the 27".

Meanwhile, for the 21.5", Apple would still stick to a real estate of 1920x1080, giving a raw resolution of 3840x2160 (proper 4K).
 

Macman45

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Jul 29, 2011
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Thunderbolt is great, but you need to spend a lot of money to get full benefit of it. my R4 cost £839 retail, and although I did get a discount for testing, it is and will remain my only T/Bolt device for now.

USB 3 is a quantum leap from 2 and I have a 4TB HDD external that is plenty quick...even streaming and real-time editing of video is fast enough.

Broadwell, according to sources is hitting a major barrier, it's not just cooling, it's about microns....the mind can't comprehend the "thin" as described.

So OP: I'd buy one now...USB 3.1 may well increase speeds a bit, but we are reaching the point where cables and hubs won't cope.

I am in the process of upgrading my R4 to 12TB, but the way the world of I.T. is headed, and the ever constant need for more storage, my own opinion is that we will probably all use cloud storage in the next decade.

My desk has enough on it already:)
 

PatriotInvasion

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I think it'd be more likely if Apple used a real estate of 2560x1440 as 'Best for Retina', with a raw resolution of 5120x2880, for the 27".

Meanwhile, for the 21.5", Apple would still stick to a real estate of 1920x1080, giving a raw resolution of 3840x2160 (proper 4K).
Obviously this is true in theory. The problem is there is no hardware on the market that can support a screen resolution of 5120x2880. All discussion on a "Retina" iMac has been focused on 4K resolution and ways to implement it into the iMac line, but even 4K is on the fringe of what the latest hardware can support. 5120x2880 is multiple years away.
 

yjchua95

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I am in the process of upgrading my R4 to 12TB, but the way the world of I.T. is headed, and the ever constant need for more storage, my own opinion is that we will probably all use cloud storage in the next decade.
Tell that to backwater places like where I come from (Queenstown in New Zealand), where the fastest internet is only like around 120 KB/s :D

Cloud storage is pretty much out of reach for most of the world, except for USA, Canada, most of Europe, major cities down under and a number of major cities in Asia (Kuala Lumpur may be considered as a major city to some, I live there currently, but the average internet speed is only around 60KB/s).
 

Macman45

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Tell that to backwater places like where I come from (Queenstown in New Zealand), where the fastest internet is only like around 120 KB/s :D

Cloud storage is pretty much out of reach for most of the world, except for USA, Canada, most of Europe, major cities down under and a number of major cities in Asia (Kuala Lumpur may be considered as a major city to some, I live there currently, but the average internet speed is only around 60KB/s).
I did qualify the statement by saying I don't expect this to occur overnight, but industry wide it will come...The more data a workstation has to access, the more devices you have to have, and the more chance of failure comes in.

I presently have the R4, a 4TB Seagate, a WD 2TB external, and as i posted, am about to upgrade the R4...it's a knock on effect..the R4 becomes an R12 meaning that the 4TB seagate needs to be upgraded to mirror the new capacity...it's a never ending cycle.

NZ?


Sonic Altar Land...

OT, but a band I know well..:)
 

PatriotInvasion

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Tell that to backwater places like where I come from (Queenstown in New Zealand), where the fastest internet is only like around 120 KB/s :D

Cloud storage is pretty much out of reach for most of the world, except for USA, Canada, most of Europe, major cities down under and a number of major cities in Asia (Kuala Lumpur may be considered as a major city to some, I live there currently, but the average internet speed is only around 60KB/s).
Yikes. God bless you. Now I feel kind of bad about complaining that my internet was slow through Verizon FiOS at just 15MB/s. I just upgraded to 50MB/s. #perspective
 

yjchua95

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I did qualify the statement by saying I don't expect this to occur overnight, but industry wide it will come...The more data a workstation has to access, the more devices you have to have, and the more chance of failure comes in.

I presently have the R4, a 4TB Seagate, a WD 2TB external, and as i posted, am about to upgrade the R4...it's a knock on effect..the R4 becomes an R12 meaning that the 4TB seagate needs to be upgraded to mirror the new capacity...it's a never ending cycle.

NZ?


Sonic Altar Land...

OT, but a band I know well..:)
A decade would be a pretty optimistic figure :D

I'd say perhaps in 30 years...then only backwater places would get 20 Mbps :p

----------

Yikes. God bless you. Now I feel kind of bad about complaining that my internet was slow through Verizon FiOS at just 15MB/s. I just upgraded to 50MB/s. #perspective
Hell, 10 Mbps is already way faster than what I experienced back in Queenstown, and I'm happy with it :D

I currently reside in Malaysia now, and my workplace's got a 10 Mbps per employee connection :)
 

propower

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Jul 23, 2010
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TB2 - only matters if you need storage access speeds over 1GB/s

USB3.1 only matters if you need USB speeds faster than 550MB/s

Broadwell only matters if you Need whatever incremental improvement it has over Haswell

Sounds like you need a machine that doesn't exist yet -or-
You don't need a new computer and can wait for your shopping list to come true :)
 

yellowtruck

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Aug 9, 2013
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I ain't no tech but i'd like to think the boundaries of what can be incorporated into a new imac would be just as surprising as the 64bit processing thingy in the iPhone 5s at the time of its announcement. Let’s hope for a surprise advancement that is industry leading. I also hope the SSD become the norm. I am one of those users who maxes out processing power with video and sound editing so any additional addition to processing power is warmly welcomed and appreciated. As of 2007 the imac has met my processing demands quite well till it crashed last year and the power supply thing, on the inside, had to be changed twice – only working once before shutting down for good.
I found I could compose music using garageband since day one Feb of 2004. Now, I NEED a new imac but want to wait until the refresh comes – and I scrape up the money and credit combo like last time, to buy a new top of the line one. Extremely bummed about not have anything at the moment. Anyone wanting to doneate an old one or sell it cheap so I can just get by til September, find me on my youtube channel “Varvorines” and my GB music too : (
 

mmomega

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I understand people wanting the latest thing before purchasing but IMHO unless you are actually pushing the boundaries of Thunderbolt or USB 3 I personally wouldn't wait, especially not on the USB 3.1 matter considering if you want 3.1 speeds you have that already with Thunderbolt.
Personally I've never had heat issues with the iMacs, I currently have an 07,08 20" and 09,10,11,12 27"ers and a '13 on the way. Sure I'd look at iStat and think it was warm but every model is still working.
 

theluggage

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TB2 - only matters if you need storage access speeds over 1GB/s
...or if you want to connect a 4K display.


Obviously this is true in theory. The problem is there is no hardware on the market that can support a screen resolution of 5120x2880.
Apparently 10.9.3 is going to have support for 'scaled' 2560x1440. That would mean that the screen is rendered internally at 5120x2880 in 'retina' mode, pixel-doubled where needed, then downsampled to 3840x2160 for the UHD screen.

Time will tell whether this (a) looks good (1920x1200 looks pretty good on the rMBPs that I've seen) or (b) introduces excessive lag (I'm guessing that the dual GPUs on a nMP will eat that job for breakfast, but an iMac with Iris Pro or a mobile GPU...?)
 

PatriotInvasion

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Apparently 10.9.3 is going to have support for 'scaled' 2560x1440. That would mean that the screen is rendered internally at 5120x2880 in 'retina' mode, pixel-doubled where needed, then downsampled to 3840x2160 for the UHD screen.

Time will tell whether this (a) looks good (1920x1200 looks pretty good on the rMBPs that I've seen) or (b) introduces excessive lag (I'm guessing that the dual GPUs on a nMP will eat that job for breakfast, but an iMac with Iris Pro or a mobile GPU...?)
That's correct, but the post that I was responding to was written as if there would be a Retina iMac with a native resolution of 5120x2880. I think we can all agree that we are a long way away from that.

Also, having had the 13" rMBP, the scaled HiDPI resolution options are functional, but certainly take away from the true "Retina" crispness that the "Best for Retina" setting provides. Apple will always ship the machine with "Best for Retina" as the default setting, so just because 10.9.3 can off screen render at 5120x2880 and scale down to 4K doesn't mean there is hardware support for true native 5120x2880.

Thus, that's why I think any 4K/Retina iMac will have a screen real estate of 1920x1080 pixel doubled to fit the native 3840x2160 4K display - on both the 21.5" and 27"...unless they do this on a 24" display to have a compromise between screen size and UI element size.
 

xgman

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TB2 - only matters if you need storage access speeds over 1GB/s

USB3.1 only matters if you need USB speeds faster than 550MB/s

Broadwell only matters if you Need whatever incremental improvement it has over Haswell
"Need" in many cases is quite subjective though . . .
 

theluggage

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Thus, that's why I think any 4K/Retina iMac will have a screen real estate of 1920x1080 pixel doubled to fit the native 3840x2160 4K display - on both the 21.5" and 27"
OK, but I wouldn't touch that 27" (either in iMac or Thunderbolt Display form) unless the scaled "looks like 2560x1440" mode worked well - both in terms of quality and performance.
 

dvoros

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When will we hear news about an updated iMac? Its like the company decided to not make them anymore. Whats the story?:confused:
 

PatriotInvasion

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OK, but I wouldn't touch that 27" (either in iMac or Thunderbolt Display form) unless the scaled "looks like 2560x1440" mode worked well - both in terms of quality and performance.
Yea, it's an interesting conundrum Apple is probably dealing with internally for those focused on the iMac and a 4K/Retina path. Many like you and I would view a 4K 27" iMac with a real estate of 1920x1080 as a downgrade despite the upgrade in sharpness because most are now used to 2560x1440.

That's why I see the 27" 4K rout potentially being a different product in terms of screen size. Either slightly smaller to make 1080 acceptable or bigger to run 4K native and have it be usable...although I think that would be well over 30", so unlikely.

All that said, I think a high end 27" with a beefy graphics chip could handle a "looks like 2560x1440" scaled mode without a huge problem. Especially the next spec bump.
 

SpyderBite

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GPU is the biggest contributor to heat build up in both PCs and Macs. Heavy gamers and people using their equipment for complex graphic design are really the only folks that are affected by any kind of heat dissipation. Every day users should seek other solutions if overheating is an issue such as faulty hardware, computer placement (ventilation), Trojans, etc.

It's been many years since a CPU required more than a simple fan/heatsink to accommodate any heating.