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Paratriplel

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
251
59
Hello everyone.
As always, the TS I wrote got a bit long, I guess I would advice you to just start reading and when you feel that I'm just off topic, jump down to the bottom to see the question.


A few weeks ago I purchased an 27” 5K iMac (3,7 GHz i5 6-core model but with a CTO a 512 GB SSD) I myself bought and installed an extra of 2x16GB of RAM in it for a total of 40 GB’s of RAM.

When I got it I tried it out for a few minutes before I went on and made a clean install and installed the software I use, most important Logic Pro X and Fusion 360 and also price applications and a few minor applications.

Was I impressed? Not really, I come from a MacBook Pro 15” mid 2015 which it runs fine (at least on Sierra because as soon as I install High Sierra and Mojave it begins restarting itself randomly and since Apple has been unable to fix it the 20 something times I’ve asked them for assistance, have not tried Catalina on it which of course could be working just fine) but has very loud fans, the fans on the 27" iMac I can barely hear even when I'm listening for them (big plus!).

The only difference performance-wise I've noticed is that software opens faster and that the Macbook Pro have a couple of moments where it "freezes" for a few seconds and have a few more crashes here and there.

Which of course is great but I paid $3000/$2700 for this iMac and I guess I just expected a bit more but I'm not saying I'm not satisfied with it, I just expected a bit more and started thinking "what if" as in "What if I returned it and:
- Got the 3,6 GHz i9 version instead of the i5 3,7 GHz?
- Wait for the next refresh?
- Get a MacBook Pro 16"? (Notice I've been using my MBP a lot more than before since I unplugged it from all cables and moved it into my living room and bedroom instead of my studio)


Reason I'm doubting this computer is not only built on too high expectations from the start and future speculation but also:

I had not used the computer for 24 hours until I saw the spinning ball, only for a few seconds but still. It has re-appeared a few times since then (less than 15 but more than 5 times).
Fusion 360 (my main 3D-modelling software) has crashed 3 times in less than 4 weeks (I've not used the computer more than 2-3 hours a day if you spread out the total usage over this timeframe. Want to point out that it might have been due to trying to model something that's not possible but usually that just bring an error-message basically saying "not possible due to x", and it could just be the software that is the issue here because no other application has crashed.
I just haven't had this much issues with my MBP from 2015 using Fusion 360 (but I do have different versions installed since my MBP can't run the latest version, at least I think it can't but haven't tried) and it is a bit worrying since my iMac is brand new and released one year ago and my MacBook Pro is 4 years old.

Though I have to mention, the iMac hasn't had it's fans to even ramp up for more than 1 seconds. I'm serious.
It really seems to handle the heat dissipation really well with the 3,7 GHz i5.


Anyway, I like my iMac and it will probably not disappoint but due to me calling Apple the first week telling them my concerns they offered me to try it out for a month instead of 14 days.

Now that month has soon gone and I need to decide about this, I'm really not sure what to do here and I'm looking for you smart peoples advice here.
I talked to them yesterday and asked if they due to Corona virus still even want to take it back and it wasn't any issue and the person I talked to offered to create a return case already and if I haven't decided when TNT or whatever transport company calls me up to schedule the pickup I can just tell them I've changed my mind or scheduled something like Friday and have a few extra days to think about it, if I change my mind then I can just cancel the return (but then that's my final decision).

If a new iMac is coming out in 2 or 3 months, sure I can wait for it and use my MacBook Pro until that time. If the timeframe is more like 10 months it's a bit more tricky but I guess doable.

My thought about going MBP 16" is just that I realised I appreciate the mobility but I really don't need portability or that kind of power when I'm mobile.

I also actually have 2 MBP's the one from 2015 and another one that I've recently spent a lot of money on because I had it repaired due to a swollen battery and also had some more RAM, a new battery and 2 new fans.
So I guess I really don't believe I need a 16" because I've already got them but sure it's nice to have my newest computer with me in the living room and bedroom (guess I could remote connect to it and it's almost as if I had it with me) and for music I can always make my setup have it somewhere else than right in front of me if fan noise is terrible but I always realise there's a lot more computer for the money when going for an iMac, if Apple had just updated it with just some better cooling without taking away the RAM accessibility.


Anyone here that can give me some advice?

Question 1
Should I keep it or return it?

Question 2
If I return it should I:

A) Get the i9 (that was actually what Apple Ireland said I should do, when the Apple-employee that I talked to, called them up and asked them for some technical advice and explained my situation, they also said that the GPU was fine)
B) Wait for the next iMac-refresh
C) Get an MacBook Pro 16"
D) Get a maxed out Mac Mini (are the T2-chip audio-issues sorted out yet?) I already have two 27 screens and would like to add get a 32"-34" extra wide at some point.
E) Save up to a Mac Pro (I seriously would if the upgrades wasn't so crazily priced)

Or just freely let me know what your thoughts are. I'd really appreciate some advice here.
 

Rodan52

macrumors 6502
The reality here is you won't be doing anything for a little while, in case you haven't heard Apple has closed all its stores.
Secondly, you obviously need the i9 CPU for your purposes and stop wasting your money on extra RAM. A 2015 MBP might benefit from 16GB but more than that will not be usable.
Lastly the 16" MBP sounds like it would be ideal and you don't have to carry it around if you don't want to.
 

sublunar

macrumors 68020
Jun 23, 2007
2,059
1,399
I'd return it, yes.
The iMac at the moment could be refreshed in 0-6 months time. You also overlooked the iMac Pro which, to be fair, is overdue a replacement though.

Aren't T2 audio issues resolved by using an external Thunderbolt dock (which will have its own USB controller)? Does a 16" MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt dock fit what you are trying do? The extra screens can then be fitted off a suitable dock.
 

Paratriplel

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
251
59
Thanks for your replies.

Yes stores are closed but it’s business as usual for orders online which is what I believe is more common than people walking in to purchase a new Mac but I might be wrong about that.

About wasting money on ram, I got the iMac with 2x4GB of RAM and 8 is a bit small and 16GB could be alright but means I could run out but I’m not using my computer for anything other than a tape machine + MIDI sequencer so therefore I don’t really use that much ram but buying another set of 2x4GB of RAM wouldn’t really have cost me that much less so I felt why not.

I don’t believe Apple will abort any releases they had planned for the upcoming quarter because there’s a lot more to building production lines and building up stock than most realize and just imagine the cost of aborting a release and going back to producing the old model. Sure we all have to rethink our lives now with the Covid-19 virus in it and a lot of people will loose their jobs but that doesn’t change the fact that Apple will want a piece of the money that people do make instead of just storing the new models “until things go back to normal” which could take weeks, months or years. That way they are also risking if releasing yet another product with ancient technology. Now’a the time to release new some new mobile products and I believe that is why they went on with releasing the MacBook Air and if this situation keeps going on and people need a more powerful computer at home maybe the new iMac will be released at WWDC.
You might be right about new products but I really think it’s very possible to see new products within 3 months (we’ll be past most of June by then) and I could hang on to my MBP from 2015 for that time and sell the RAM I bought if that is what the verdict from you guys is.

I think I’d be happy with the 16” as well the only thing worrying me is the fan noise, haven’t had a chance to hear it in person yet and went with the iMac because I still believe it will be more stable than a laptop as thin as MacBooks still are but now I’m again considering getting one.
I haven’t noticed any lacking in the iMac’s processing power but the again I’m just going by fan ramping up and my iMac hasn’t ramped up it’s fan.

If the iMac actually will benefit from the i9 in a way that is worth $500/€450 or at least half of it I’d absolutely go ahead and order that configuration but is there a way to actually try our my current CPU in away I better fan understand how limited it is?

The iMac Pro I feel is not in my range of interest mostly due to it’s price, its 3 years old now the no-upgradeability of it.
I mean the Mac Pro is a lot more expensive but it seems to have gotten a lot more thought & attention into making it a pro machine, not that it seems that people are unhappy with the iMac but for me that don’t care about the the tone of the display / it’s colors and just want a powerful machine that will last me at least 5 years but preferably the double I don’t feel that the iMac Pro with it’s focus set on video and photography folks is not for me. I’d actually rather take the iMac in a non AiO configuration/tower if I could, I haven’t felt my iMac throttle and if I keep I'm sure I’ll be happy with it but that thought of maybe being even happier with another computer, newly released is nagging on me. I’m trying not to be greedy but also not being stupid and buying when I should have a little patience.

Yes you’re right. A thunderbolt 3 dock seems to solve the issues. I’d much rather have an update either software or hardware/T3-chip solving it though but as long as you can get by it’s alright), I’ve not planned on getting an audio interface without Thunderbolt 3 connection possibilities anyway but you never know, there are a few good ones out there with USB connections and I am actually looking to switch from my Apollo x8 (therefore I just want to make sure my options are not limited)

Really appreciate you guys giving me some advise, helps me see this more clearly and that no matter what I do I’ll not be unsatisfied because there’s nothing wrong with my current iMac (except Catalina maybe) but when spending these kind of money I want to spend them right.
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Oh. My current thoughts goes. Give it one last try and if I’m not convinced call Apple on Monday and let them know I’d like to return it, wait until I’ve decided or something new is released and either get the i9 iMac (if you still believe this would benefit me, I mean I don’t want a hotter CPU without the need for the processing power) or get a MacBook Pro (but lowest base/stock model is $2900/€2700 and I wouldn’t know if the CPU in it is enough or if I should get the CTO option and I wouldn’t want to get it without 32 GB’s of RAM for future proofing if not for something else.
I could of course also go for either a “maxed out” Mac Mini or if I could find a second hand new Mac Pro (if a lot of people are loosing their jobs for real people might sell their new Mac Pro but it would of course feel wrong to benefit from other people’s misery but if they are still selling I guess why not, would still spend every penny I can if I would go that route so maybe not very tempting anyway).

So as you see I’m considering almost all options... so back to square one! ?
 
Last edited:

sublunar

macrumors 68020
Jun 23, 2007
2,059
1,399
If there's music work to be done then an iMac, quiet though it may be, it won't ever be as good a putting a headless machine (be it Mini or Pro) in a different room or a sound proofed case :)
 

Paratriplel

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
251
59
If there's music work to be done then an iMac, quiet though it may be, it won't ever be as good a putting a headless machine (be it Mini or Pro) in a different room or a sound proofed case :)
Yes you’re absolutely right there. Myself I’ve given this some thought, having limited space and all that, I first had intended to purchase a new MacBook Pro (1 year ago or more) and have my workstation setup both but with a place for the MacBook in front of me but also have it placed it placed at the side of my workstation and have a acoustic absorber around it / between me and it (but still very open for ventilation). But that’s the best I can do. There’s not a cheap enough thunderbolt 3 cable to run to another room even if I had one. :D
When music is running I will probably not even hear a ramped up fan but I know from my 2015 how annoying it is and as long as I get something just as powerful as it is (but with a more quiet fan / less hot computer) I’ll be able to do my thing. That’s also why I question a more powerful CPU is the answer to my problems.
 

sublunar

macrumors 68020
Jun 23, 2007
2,059
1,399
Yes you’re absolutely right there. Myself I’ve given this some thought, having limited space and all that, I first had intended to purchase a new MacBook Pro (1 year ago or more) and have my workstation setup both but with a place for the MacBook in front of me but also have it placed it placed at the side of my workstation and have a acoustic absorber around it / between me and it (but still very open for ventilation). But that’s the best I can do. There’s not a cheap enough thunderbolt 3 cable to run to another room even if I had one. :D
When music is running I will probably not even hear a ramped up fan but I know from my 2015 how annoying it is and as long as I get something just as powerful as it is (but with a more quiet fan / less hot computer) I’ll be able to do my thing. That’s also why I question a more powerful CPU is the answer to my problems.

And that's the basis of where I could see Apple doing a non-pro headless machine. The quietest Mac possible would require a serious heatsink and possibly some sort of insulated case. Apple may even decide that H class CPUs are better to cool.

Could Apple even switch to H class CPUs in the next mini and improve the heatsink for an even quieter experience?
 

Rodan52

macrumors 6502
I'm surprised you mention fan noise. I and my wife have had MBP's since 2010 and we have never had one (so far) with noticeable fan noise. I use Macs Fan Controller to customise the fan speed as we live in the tropics so it's hot and with high CPU demand apps I like to run it a little cooler but even then it's hardly audible.
 

spiderpumpkin

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2014
282
242
Besides performance you don't say much about the computer. Do you like the size of the screen, does it fit on your desk like you want?

Sounds like you must have wanted it because you ordered it. I'd return it and reorder one with the Vega GPU to see if that helps.
 

Paratriplel

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
251
59
My 2015 MacBook Pro has terrible fan noise from the start, it was the first thing I contacted Apple about (and they couldn’t help) before the sudden restarts begun. It could be a defect computer I got but it has worked and works fine besides getting a bit hot and the fan.

The 16” MacBook Pro has had a lot of post in threads on another forum about it’s issue with fan noise and I believe people said they solved it by setting the fan to spin higher from the start and that way it never really ramps up to the levels that are really disturbing.

Rodan52: have you used your MacBooks with an external screen or just as it is?

Yes I ordered it because I wanted a new computer and had settled on a stationary computer because I wanted to have not have to worry about power and heat issues.
Screen size is fine but I would have wanted bigger if possible. I had wished to get a 34” (preferably a few of those inches extra width and one or two extra height) and not have to worry about multiple screens, I really have issues handling several windows on several screens. Desk is 1500 cm so I can fit two 27” but with my studio monitors on stands begins the desk there’s a bit or issue where I have to angle the two screens a bit (which I would wish to not have to do but whatever).

If the Mac Mini was a little more it would have been perfect for me but now Apple just offer the mini and then the next step is the Mac Pro for non AiO computers, which is so stupid because a Mac Mini Pro / Mac Pro Mini would really have been perfect for me and a lot of other people but it would probably have started way too high in price but if it was €2500 in base configuration (even if just equally to the iMac I currently have) as long as you could upgrade it to a well fitted computer for audio production for less than €3500 and had no issues with throttling / heat, is quiet and preferably future proofed.

I don’t see the iMac as a bad computer though I just don’t want to have missed out on a better computer around the corner. I mean WWDC is not far away now and the iMac might be refreshed and redesigned and I listened for fan noise when opening two YouTube videos and visiting Mac rumors and I can hear it, not terrible but I hear it spin up slightly.

Yesterday I was sure about returning it but today I’m a bit confused again. I also have to think about accessories like the RAM I bought (which I can sell), the small TB3 docking station (just to connect my second monitor, had to try it out before return period was gone because the MBP I have is having the fan noise issue when a second screen is connected, it’s actually what seems to **** it up...) which might not be needed when I buy another one (but probably I’ll have use for it)
If I return the iMac I can buy it again but if I don’t return it “I’m stuck with it” (could be a nice thing or it might feel like a mistake because exactly what I want comes out in 3 months, I could sell it then or course so nothing permanent).

The only downside is of course that I’ll have to go back to using my MacBook Pro again which actually feels pretty alright if I know it’s not for a long time. When I ordered it I was feeling very inpatient but that urge to get a new computer has been satisfied and I can now wait a while if needed. I though however feel like it’s wrong to return it but Apple is approving it and I have given them a lot of money in the past and will give them a lot of money in the future so maybe I shouldn’t feel so bad about it, they said the most important thing is that I’m satisfied so I guess it’s a good time to think about how I feel about it... if I just wasn’t so confused!
 

ridgero

macrumors regular
Dec 16, 2017
196
512
There are alot of satisfied musicians, who use an iMac i9.

Even if a new iMac comes out, I don't think it will outperform the i9 by much. The fan noise seems to be pretty low on the i9 - according to many posts (gearslutz, vi-forum).
 

Paratriplel

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
251
59
There are alot of satisfied musicians, who use an iMac i9.

Even if a new iMac comes out, I don't think it will outperform the i9 by much. The fan noise seems to be pretty low on the i9 - according to many posts (gearslutz, vi-forum).
I’ve only seen people complaining about fan noise on the MacBook Pro 16” but I’ve read about two people who has their i9 iMacs fried and that was the reason I decided on getting an i5 instead of an i9 actually but I’m sure all non disfunctioning i9 iMacs works fine! Not sure that interested in paying the extra €470/$500 for it though but that’s only because I’m scared of heat and fan noise without really needing the extra power but I guess there no such thing as too much power as long as it doesn’t come with a downside!

It’s not because I need or want a more powerful computer than the current iMac that I already have I’m thinking of returning it, if that was the case the i9 probably would be an easy decision. Maybe the GPU should be upgraded though, if it’s actually something that affects the 3D software, is it? People have told me it is but also that it isn’t and that it’s mostly used for video but I’m a novice here. I’d like to learn more though but googling only confuses me about these type of things.
Anyway Apple will take a while to return my money and I don’t mind sitting on them for a month or two so hopefully I’ll be able to purchase the right computer and hopefully a refreshed or even redesigned one with a little patience but er don’t know what Apple plans to release or not so I guess we can only speculate but rumors seems to point to an updated or refreshed iMac so if I go along with the decision of returning it, the only risk that I actually take is being without a new computer for a while.
Could wait until August or September but I prefer not to. The little money I actually make with my private computers will not be arrested.

Reasons for not keeping the iMac is mostly due to chance of getting better cooling, bigger screen size, less bezels, better future proofing / newer technology, more for the money spent and of course better performance.

But if I knew I only would get one of the above I wouldn’t bother returning it and that one is not bigger screen size or better cooling (not that it has been a problem yet).

I’m sure the i9 is better in a lot of ways and maybe it doesn’t even add heat or fan noise
 

Paratriplel

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
251
59
I assume none objects to the plan of returning this iMac, to give this purchase some more thought and waiting 2-3 months more to see what’s on the Mac-computer releases horizon.
 
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