High end iMac 5K overkill for basics?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Z6128, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. Z6128 macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2005
    New Jersey
    I'm looking to upgrade my dying 27in 2010 iMac with a new 5K iMac but not sure if I should upgrade the processor and gpu. I'm hoping to get 5+ years out of it.

    My biggest use for the iMac is managing my 2TB+ iTunes library and using it as a media server. Beyond that it will be used for internet videos, web browsing, email, etc.

    I am not a video editor, photo editor (beyond basic touch ups and importing in iPhoto), and I do not play games on my computers.

    Is the base retina iMac good enough to last for my needs for the next few years? Should I just upgrade one or the other processor or GPU?

    I do plan on getting the 256gb SSD and keeping my media files on a USB 3.0 external hard drive.
  2. YummyIceCream macrumors newbie


    Oct 16, 2014
    I had the same question too! I also only intend to use the iMac for web browsing, word processing, music library, and light gaming. I'm buying it with i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB Flash, and M290X Graphics.
    I think, as others have pointed out, that it really depends whether you think 5K resolution and the minor spec bumps are worth the extra money.

  3. macmee Suspended


    Dec 13, 2008
    My logic was that if I was spending the money anyway, that $300 for a longer lasting GPU would probably get me another year or two of use out of it which is very much worth it in the long run.
  4. Z6128 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2005
    New Jersey
    yea that's how i feel. just get the processor and gpu upgrade now and be done with it. this way i'm covered for years to come
  5. bwsteg macrumors 6502

    Sep 25, 2012
    Queens NY
    I only use my 5k iMac for web browsing, nothing else. And I upgraded everything except I went with a 256gb SSD. With the amount of money being spent, I figured I may as well have the highest specs possible to get 5+ years out of my machine.
  6. Z6128 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2005
    New Jersey
    i'm hesitant to do the upgrade since my current 4 year old iMac with a Core 2 Duo processor is still running fine for my needs. It's just my screen is broken.

    So with that the base i5 should be more than fine for years to come, right?

    My concern with the GPU is it will have a hard time driving the 5k display, but I would like to believe Apple wouldn't use a GPU that couldn't drive the display. I never plan on connecting another monitor and using a dual display. So part of me wants to think that the stock GPU will be sufficient for my needs.

    Just not trying to spend an extra $500 if I don't have to.
  7. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Right! You acknowledge your current iMac runs fine. Even the base i5 will be twice as fast, and much more if you consider the Fusion drive. GPU shouldn't be an issue with your intended usage.
  8. Z6128 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2005
    New Jersey
    That's what I'm thinking. I'm going for the ssd with the external UBS 3.0 hard drive. So I should see a huge jump in performance with that alone.

    The most intensive thing I'll put the computer under is converting video using hand brake maybe a couple times a week.

    I have a 15 rMBP so I'm already used to a retina screen. Figured it was time to update the iMac with the retina screen as my screen has been broken for about two years now and I'd rather invest in a new machine than go get it fixed.
  9. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    High end iMac 5K overkill for basics?

    Each upgrade does two things:

    1) Faster processor
    2) More vram

    3) Faster processor
    4) More threads (core utilization)

    1 matters if you do video intensive stuff (3d/games)
    2 matters if you run an external display
    3 matters if 15% matters
    4 matters if you do core intensive stuff

    For most people, the most likely need is #2. If everything else is no, GPU is still a good choice. CPU, probably not. I would do GPU + twice the SSD I needed in year one.
  10. BubbaMc macrumors regular

    Nov 15, 2010
    Base model is absolutely fine for your needs. No need to upgrade anything.
  11. 5iMacs macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2014
    I agree with BubbaMc, given your requirements (which are much like mine). I've been running with i5/M290X for 4 days now and it's great.

    *Do* buy $75 or $150 of third-party RAM to boost it to 16/24GB, it's actually pretty easy to blow past 8GB with heavy web browsing these days and things will stay snappy with the extra RAM.

    Even if you want an external monitor at some point, don't worry, it's fine, I've tested with a 4k monitor and it does not bog it down at all.

    As for longevity, well, a small improvement in CPU or GPU is not actually going to make a difference 5 years out. I really don't understand the logic there. You will still have a machine that is slower than entry level iMacs. On the other hand neither config will be 'obsolete' so what's the problem.

    Here's one other way of looking at it: I have been using a 16GB rMBP since launch. I've never hesitated to use it for anything because it's always really fast, but on paper it is significantly slower than the base 5k iMac, and by more than the difference between that and the maxed out config. I still love using it, of course. So if Apple had come out with a $1600 5k monitor that could magically have worked with the rMBP, I would have bought that in a second and just used my rMBP with it.

    And since for me it's all about the monitor, I'm just happy that Apple came out with a $2500 config, I was predicting $3000 before the launch.
  12. GolferChris68 macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2012
    This! If anyone is planning on keeping it for 5+ years, get the highest CPU and GPU options. And with the 5K display, I think the high-end GPU option is more critical than ever.

    On the other hand, if you think you will upgrade again when next year's model arrives, then maybe you go with the lower end.

    Personally, I'm planning on keeping this machine for a number of years, so I maxed out the CPU and GPU. Memory, I went with the base 8GB of RAM, and will purchase an upgraded RAM kit from someone like Crucial. The Apple overcharge on RAM upgrades is near-criminal.
  13. c.s. macrumors regular


    Nov 11, 2007
    I don't get the logic here. I still have a 2009 MacBook Pro that the family uses. Does it matter now if I had gotten a 2.3 Core 2 Duo or 2.6 Core 2 Duo? Whatever you get will be quickly outdated, so just get what you want. Either way you'll have a computer that works (likely) in 5 years, and the difference now will seem like nothing then.
  14. mnpmac macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2009
    What he said
  15. Roman2K~ macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2011
    Exactly my thoughts whenever someone suggests upgrades for futureproofing purposes.
  16. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    a 2012 macbook pro or imac is still not outdated...but yes between a 2010 imac and 5k imac there is a difference, maybe a big one. So i think from 4 to 4 years there are big updates..

    So for OP from 2010 imac to this 5k imac you will notice some differences in everything from booting..heating...safari..apps..even hardcore apps not to talk even the weight of the imac...since 2012 the 27" has around 9kg
  17. JustMartin macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2012
    If you don't do much screen work and you are using the computer mainly as a media server, then do you really need retina?
  18. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    retina is the future...it is ok for the eyes too..medical speaking

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