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novetan

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 3, 2010
393
10
I need some basic advise as I’m not technology savy. Perhaps this may have been answered before. I did searched but got drown in a sea of half related queries but nothing covering my case.

I hv been using MBP 17” for last 6 yrs and things started to get a little choked here and there, with ferries wheel appearing occasionally. Most of my usage are Photoshop related working from RAW files (no gaming). I like to consider changing to 21.5” iMac.


Since I’ll be spending a good part of my salary and intend to use the iMac as long as possible, I want to ensure the new spec is sufficient not to face any choking issue. Here’s my question:

1) Can I see any significant difference between a normal display and 4k? I don’t mind getting he normal display and saving the $ to upgrade on essential things.

2) The normal display comes in 1.6Ghz and 2.8 Ghz. The 4k display comes in 3.1 GHz. Assuming display quality is of minor difference, which speed would you recommend? Is there a need for me to upgrade to 16GB of RAM, bearing in mind most of my works are photoshop CS6, Adobe Bridge, Lightroom, minor video editing, and iTunes, 3 to 4 of these programs will be opened at any one time.

3) I may even consider 27”. Will the most basic spec of 5k beat the highest spec of 4k”, like i5 vs i7?

4) Is there a big leap bet HHD and Fusion drive?

5) Will the new iMac able to support Snow Leopard using bootcamp? I have some usable old programes that won’t able to run on version later than SL.


Thank you
 

tonyunreal

macrumors regular
Feb 25, 2010
234
38
I'm probably in the same boat as you, and here's my thoughts:

1) Can I see any significant difference between a normal display and 4k?
Unless you have really bad eyesight, the answer is yes, the retina screens bring pleasure to the eyes. If you work primarily under OS X / macOS, I suggest the retina models.

2) The normal display comes in 1.6Ghz and 2.8 Ghz. The 4k display comes in 3.1 GHz. Assuming display quality is of minor difference, which speed would you recommend?
The 21-inches (both retina and non-retina models) come with previous generation (Boardwell) i5 processors, the CPUs are all capable of your daily workload, but if you want to push processing power to the limit, the 27-inch retina models have better CPU (and better GPU of course, but the retina screen may put more stress on the GPU so performance could differ between tasks).

Is there a need for me to upgrade to 16GB of RAM, bearing in mind most of my works are photoshop CS6, Adobe Bridge, Lightroom, minor video editing, and iTunes, 3 to 4 of these programs will be opened at any one time.
I consider 16GB to be minimum for productivity workstations. Again, the 27-inch models have user upgradable memory slots, it might be better value-for-money to consider buying an 27-inch and upgrade memory yourself, instead of paying the Apple Tax to get 16GB on 21-inch models.

3) I may even consider 27”. Will the most basic spec of 5k beat the highest spec of 4k”, like i5 vs i7?
Yes. The 27-inches always have better specs, checkout the spreadsheets in the Wikipedia article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMac_(Intel-based)#iMac_with_Retina_display

4) Is there a big leap bet HHD and Fusion drive?
The 2TB fusion drive provides better performance than hard drives (especially the under performance 5400rpm drives in the base 21-inch models). Don't buy the 1TB fusion drive, Apple cut its spec to crap.

5) Will the new iMac able to support Snow Leopard using bootcamp? I have some usable old programes that won’t able to run on version later than SL.
Don't think so. If you need Snow Leopard, you are stuck with pre-2011 models.
 
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Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
582
Finland
1. Since you're editing photos, yes. The 4K panel isn't only higher resolution, but also has a wider colour gamut.

2. Get at least the 2.8GHz. The 1.6GHz is dual core and much slower than the rest.

3. Yes.

4. Yes.

5. No.

If I was you, I would get the base 27" 5K iMac with 2TB Fusion Drive. Then upgrade RAM to 16GB from aftermarket. You could consider a refurb in case you want to save some $.
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,729
2,153
I'm probably in the same boat as you, and here's my thoughts:

1) Can I see any significant difference between a normal display and 4k?
Unless you have really bad eyesight, the answer is yes, the retina screens bring pleasure to the eyes. If you work primarily under OS X / macOS, I suggest the retina models.

2) The normal display comes in 1.6Ghz and 2.8 Ghz. The 4k display comes in 3.1 GHz. Assuming display quality is of minor difference, which speed would you recommend?
The 21-inches (both retina and non-retina models) come with previous generation (Boardwell) i5 processors, the CPUs are all capable of your daily workload, but if you want to push processing power to the limit, the 27-inch retina models have better CPU (and better GPU of course, but the retina screen may put more stress on the GPU so performance could differ between tasks).

Is there a need for me to upgrade to 16GB of RAM, bearing in mind most of my works are photoshop CS6, Adobe Bridge, Lightroom, minor video editing, and iTunes, 3 to 4 of these programs will be opened at any one time.
I consider 16GB to be minimum for productivity workstations. Again, the 27-inch models have user upgradable memory slots, it might be better value-for-money to consider buying an 27-inch and upgrade memory yourself, instead of paying the Apple Tax to get 16GB on 21-inch models.

3) I may even consider 27”. Will the most basic spec of 5k beat the highest spec of 4k”, like i5 vs i7?
Yes. The 27-inches always have better specs, checkout the spreadsheets in the Wikipedia article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMac_(Intel-based)#iMac_with_Retina_display

4) Is there a big leap bet HHD and Fusion drive?
The 2TB fusion drive provides better performance than hard drives (especially the under performance 5400rpm drives in the base 21-inch models). Don't buy the 1TB fusion drive, Apple cut its spec to crap.

5) Will the new iMac able to support Snow Leopard using bootcamp? I have some usable old programes that won’t able to run on version later than SL.
Don't think so. If you need Snow Leopard, you are stuck with pre-2011 models.

OP I agree wholeheartedly with this brilliant post, don't buy the 1.6ghz low spec it's just a MacBook Air inside. The other iMacs are all decent enough for your use with desktop processors and enough graphic power. Do get some sort of SSD, 2tb fusion or better as above.

Yes the 27 inch will probably be better bang for your buck especially with user upgradeable ram.

You can't easily roll most macs to any OS before they were released and snow leopard is a definite no no.
 

maflynn

macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
73,682
43,706
3) I may even consider 27”. Will the most basic spec of 5k beat the highest spec of 4k”, like i5 vs i7?
I like the 27" because you get a better CPU and GPU

4) Is there a big leap bet HHD and Fusion drive?
Somewhat with the 1TB Fusion drive (which has 24GB SSD) and more so with the 2TB Fusion (as it has 128GB SSD).
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,588
12,697
IF you can buy the 27", buy it.
You will never regret having done so.


However, if you get the 27", try to get the 2tb fusion model.
The SSD portion of the 1tb fusion model is only 24gb in size -- not large enough.
The 2tb fusion version has a 128gb SSD portion.
 

novetan

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 3, 2010
393
10
Tks so much all for detail explanation and help. The consensus is to get the 27" with 2 tb. OK, I'll zero on that and I truly believed shld be good money well spent. After all you guys are the expert.

Just a final thought. All replies confirmed it won't able to run Snow Leopard even if i were to install Boot camp. I would able to get a vendor to install SL OS in the Boot camp. I'm just curious why with Boot Camp and a separate SL OS not able to run?

Tks
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,729
2,153
Tks so much all for detail explanation and help. The consensus is to get the 27" with 2 tb. OK, I'll zero on that and I truly believed shld be good money well spent. After all you guys are the expert.

Just a final thought. All replies confirmed it won't able to run Snow Leopard even if i were to install Boot camp. I would able to get a vendor to install SL OS in the Boot camp. I'm just curious why with Boot Camp and a separate SL OS not able to run?

Tks

It's all down to Kexts and drivers etc snow leopard just won't run on the modern hardware. It is possible to run snow leopard as a VM with VMware fusion and a copy of snow leopard server (and only the server edition) but it'll be pretty poor performance and look awful as SL has no scaling or drivers to support a 5k screen.
 

HBOC

macrumors 68020
Oct 14, 2008
2,497
234
SLC
the late 2014 27" iMac uses a faster video card than the 2015 (newest model). You can get this refurbished for around $1700 (i almost bought this exact model from overstock.com last month - but went with a MBP).

I use mine for photography as well.
 

tonyunreal

macrumors regular
Feb 25, 2010
234
38
Tks so much all for detail explanation and help. The consensus is to get the 27" with 2 tb. OK, I'll zero on that and I truly believed shld be good money well spent. After all you guys are the expert.

Just a final thought. All replies confirmed it won't able to run Snow Leopard even if i were to install Boot camp. I would able to get a vendor to install SL OS in the Boot camp. I'm just curious why with Boot Camp and a separate SL OS not able to run?

Tks
Boot Camp = Windows.

Boot Camp won't let you run a second OS X partition, nor would you need it. You can have two OS X installation side-by-side, as long as the versions you install are supported by your Mac.

Most Macs today can't run any version of OS X released before the date the specific Mac was released. Let's say you bought an 2011 MacBook Air at launch date, it was packed with Lion 10.7.1, but it was no ordinary 10.7.1, it was a special release with specific drivers added to support this machine. Any version after that (10.7.2, 10.8.0 etc) are packed with the drivers you need, and Apple made sure that it runs on all the supported Macs they released including your MacBook Air. But if you want to go back before the earliest version you had (10.7.1), the operation system won't boot because it lacks the drivers needed to support your machine, or some other code fundamentally required won't be there.
 

novetan

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 3, 2010
393
10
Boot Camp = Windows.

Boot Camp won't let you run a second OS X partition, nor would you need it. You can have two OS X installation side-by-side, as long as the versions you install are supported by your Mac.

Most Macs today can't run any version of OS X released before the date the specific Mac was released. Let's say you bought an 2011 MacBook Air at launch date, it was packed with Lion 10.7.1, but it was no ordinary 10.7.1, it was a special release with specific drivers added to support this machine. Any version after that (10.7.2, 10.8.0 etc) are packed with the drivers you need, and Apple made sure that it runs on all the supported Macs they released including your MacBook Air. But if you want to go back before the earliest version you had (10.7.1), the operation system won't boot because it lacks the drivers needed to support your machine, or some other code fundamentally required won't be there.

Hey tks Tony.

Tks for the detail explanation
[doublepost=1470714898][/doublepost]
It's all down to Kexts and drivers etc snow leopard just won't run on the modern hardware. It is possible to run snow leopard as a VM with VMware fusion and a copy of snow leopard server (and only the server edition) but it'll be pretty poor performance and look awful as SL has no scaling or drivers to support a 5k screen.

Noted with tks.
 

Lankyman

macrumors 68020
May 14, 2011
2,083
832
U.K.
Perhaps a much better question/answer would be - given Apple's undoubted lack of interest in their computer division at present would I be an idiot to buy one?
 
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dwig

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2015
905
447
Key West FL
Lr: Storage drive speed is the primary concern. Get a Fusion Drive (hybrid HDD & small SSD) or pure SSD.

Ps: This wants RAM and more RAM and it wants a fast processor. Drive speed is of less importance but can impact performance. If you are using PS to create simple web and other screen display sized images, any current iMac will be fine. If you are doing stitching, compositing, HDR, or producing large files (e.g. 40"x60" at 300ppi or larger) the more basic iMac models will bog down quickly. 16gb RAM would then be a minimum and you would be best off with an i7.
 

novetan

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 3, 2010
393
10
I like the 27" because you get a better CPU and GPU


Somewhat with the 1TB Fusion drive (which has 24GB SSD) and more so with the 2TB Fusion (as it has 128GB SSD).

Hi Maflynn,

I little confusion and pardon for my ignorant.

Thought if I were to get 2Tb fusion drive version, its either I get the 2tb fusion drive, or ditch the 2TB fusion drive and substitute with either 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD.

So what is this 24Gb and 128Gb SSD?
 

maflynn

macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
73,682
43,706
So what is this 24Gb and 128Gb SSD?
Perhaps I was unclear.
1TB Fusion drive is a combination of SSD and hard drive. The SSD portion is only 24GB while you get a 1TB hard drive
2TB Fusion drive contains 128GB SSD and a 2TB hard drive.

Ultimately if you forgo the Fusion drive and opt for a SSD only solution, you can opt for a 256, 500 or even 1TB SSD, though the price goes up quite a bit for each upgrade.

I like the SSD, but my storage needs are such that the 512GB SSD was too small, and the 1TB SSD was ridiculously priced

tl;dr
2TB Fusion is a great compromise of speed, storage and price, but ultimately the best performance is a straight up SSD
 
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circatee

Contributor
Nov 30, 2014
4,442
3,008
Seriously, listen to @maflynn He helped me when I bought my 2TB iMac late 2015. Initially, I bought the 1TB iMac 27" and within 3 days, I returned it and upgraded to the 2TB. I then upgraded the memory myself to make it 16GB. Then I add a 3TB external drive for Time Machine backups ;)

PS: if I could afford it, I'd get a 1TB SSD drive in my iMac :(
 

Floris

macrumors 68020
Sep 7, 2007
2,381
1,473
Netherlands
My advice is to just forget about HDD and focus on SSD internally. If you want storage, usb3 or thunderbolt is fast enough for a couple of external hdd ones (that way you also have a /timemachine and /manualbackup, as well as /media and /dropbox out of the way. SSD is significantly faster than HDD disks. The fusion drive helps, but I rather have 256 SSD than 16 .. the fusion drive really only uses SSD for starting an app and macOS. Doing any video editing or photoshopping and rendering out it struggles just like a normal HDD (especially 4k material).
 

novetan

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 3, 2010
393
10
Perhaps I was unclear.
1TB Fusion drive is a combination of SSD and hard drive. The SSD portion is only 24GB while you get a 1TB hard drive
2TB Fusion drive contains 128GB SSD and a 2TB hard drive.

Ultimately if you forgo the Fusion drive and opt for a SSD only solution, you can opt for a 256, 500 or even 1TB SSD, though the price goes up quite a bit for each upgrade.

I like the SSD, but my storage needs are such that the 512GB SSD was too small, and the 1TB SSD was ridiculously priced

tl;dr
2TB Fusion is a great compromise of speed, storage and price, but ultimately the best performance is a straight up SSD

Hey, tks so much for the clarification.
 

MistrSynistr

macrumors 68000
May 15, 2014
1,702
2,082
You must get an SSD, then once you have that down, you move onto other components. If you work with photography and RAW files (as I do) I'd try to head towards the 27" model. It's beautiful.
 

novetan

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 3, 2010
393
10
Update:

After gathering advise here, finally decided on 27" 2TB fusion and upgrade to 16G ram using outside vendor. Now problem is I hv to crank my head up and turning my neck left to right. Screen is huge ! Hope I can get over and use to it soon.

However, is this native to EC? Nothing come out when right click on the magic mouse 2. So I can't pick a prefered program I want to open, neither can I copy and paste, or open another window. Just no menu when right click.
 
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circatee

Contributor
Nov 30, 2014
4,442
3,008
Update:

After gathering advise here, finally decided on 27" 2TB fusion and upgrade to 16G ram using outside vendor. Now problem is I hv to crank my head up and turning my neck left to right. Screen is huge ! Hope I can get over and use to it soon.

However, is this native to EC? Nothing come out when right click on the magic mouse 2. So I can't pick a prefered program I want to open, neither can I copy and paste, or open another window. Just no menu when right click.

Check the mouse settings. I believe there are some options you have to turn on...
 

tonyunreal

macrumors regular
Feb 25, 2010
234
38
Update:

After gathering advise here, finally decided on 27" 2TB fusion and upgrade to 16G ram using outside vendor. Now problem is I hv to crank my head up and turning my neck left to right. Screen is huge ! Hope I can get over and use to it soon.

However, is this native to EC? Nothing come out when right click on the magic mouse 2. So I can't pick a prefered program I want to open, neither can I copy and paste, or open another window. Just no menu when right click.
Turn on "secondary click" in mouse settings. It's defaulted to off.
 
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