iMac 27" for graphic/web design and music production

Discussion in 'iMac' started by xomichel, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. xomichel macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    #1
    I'm planning on getting a 27" iMac soon and not sure what to get. I will be using it mainly for graphic design, web design, and music production. I plan on running either Adobe® CS5.5 Design Premium or Adobe® CS5.5 Web Premium AND Logic Studio regularly. Money is not too much of an issue but if the upgrade makes little difference, I would rather save the money. If it would be worth the money to upgrade I want to though. This is not my first Mac, I have a MBP but when I was buying it years ago I didn't look too much into the upgrade options and regret not upgrading and researching more before buying now.

    The options are:

    Processor
    3.1GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
    3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7

    Memory
    4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    16GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x4GB

    Hard Drive
    1TB Serial ATA Drive
    2TB Serial ATA Drive
    256GB Solid State Drive
    1TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive
    2TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive

    Graphics
    AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB GDDR5
    AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB GDDR5


    I'm not sure what the difference between the 3.1GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 and 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 processor options are. Would it be worth the upgrade? Other than that, so far I am planning on these options:

    Memory
    8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    Should I upgrade to 16GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x4GB?

    Hard Drive
    2TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive

    Graphics
    AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB GDDR5


    Help! Thanks for reading all this and any input!
     
  2. SR20DETDOG macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Location:
    Queensland Australia
    #2
    Don't worry about upgrading the 2GB HD 6970M, unless you know for sure you're going to need it just stick with the 1GB option.

    HDD & SDD are really just personal preference I guess, so go with what you want there.

    In regards to RAM your best option would probably be to buy the iMac with the standard 4GB and put an extra 8GB into the 2 spare slots yourself. It's a lot cheaper to buy it separately and really easy to install. 12GB should be plenty but even if it isn't just buy another 8GB and bump it up to 16GB, it'll still be cheaper than buying anything from Apple.

    As for the CPU, If you know you're going to be doing very CPU intensive work that can make use of hyperthreading then it's a pretty decent upgrade. Otherwise the i5 is still a very capable processor.

    Hope this helps somewhat :)
     
  3. DoghouseMike macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Get the RAM from somewhere else (like crucial) and you'll save yourself a bit on the prices that apple charge. Deffo 8, 4 is quite easy to fill. I'm not sure if the jump to 16 is as worth it, but it's one of those things you can do in a year or two for less money than you could do now, if you feel the need to.
    Otherwise, I'd go for the full upgrades, as you've listed, and get the i7, it'll be a decent amount quicker on most stuff, and will keep the computer "useful" for a lot longer too. Apart from raw clock speed, the i7 does the hyper threading thing too, doubling the cores and stuff. (or something)
    HD wise, the minimum I'd go for is the 1TB drive with the SSD. It's just such an awesome combination. The extra internal storage with the 2TB drive is a bonus, but it just seems like an awful lot of data to have in one place! I'd bag a decent size external drive for backups too, maybe eventually some sort of monster thunderbolt RAID setup.
    The GPU I'm not sure you'd see as much of a benefit from, but it is something that you'll never be able to change, so it can't hurt to max it out. At some point it'll make the difference between the speed you're doing something, or some software's minimum requirements, or something. And when you finish work and fire up some games, it'll let you use prettier textures and stuff too.
     
  4. xomichel thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    #4
    Thanks so much! I think I have pretty much decided on these options:

    Processor
    3.1GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
    3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7

    Memory
    4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    16GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x4GB

    Hard Drive
    1TB Serial ATA Drive
    2TB Serial ATA Drive
    256GB Solid State Drive
    1TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive
    2TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive

    Graphics
    AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB GDDR5
    AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB GDDR5


    The only thing I am unsure of now is the hard drive. I really want 2TB just don't know if I should add the 256GB Solid State Drive. I use up a lot of memory as is on my MBP with Logic Pro and Photoshop files along with my other documents/pictures and 18+ days of music in iTunes. I even had to buy an external hard drive because I ran out of space and I don't want to do that with this iMac. I want to make this my main computer I do everything on and it will be running Adobe Web or Design Premium and Logic Studio along with storing all files for those programs and others.

    I guess this answers my question to upgrade to 2TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive but it is expensive and I want to know what are the benefits of the 256GB Solid State Drive? From what I have read a lot of people prefer to have the 256GB Solid State Drive if they have the option.

    Thanks for everyone's help!
     
  5. lamboman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #5
    The SSD is going to be faster if you are opening up larger programs that have a lot to load. However, when it comes to actual usage once everything has loaded, you aren't going to see much difference.

    To be honest though, I'd go for it if I were you. The extra speed is good to have when you are going to be doing as much as you are.
     
  6. Error Type -43, Aug 30, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011

    Error Type -43 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    #6
    You'll be fine with any configuration listed there. Go full blown 16gb (from a third party, check Dealmac). Honestly, 8gb is enough but RAM is so cheap right now you might as well.

    I have a late-2009 quad i5 2.66ghz iMac and went with stock configuration. It now has 8gb ram. I went with the factory 1TB drive and basically use it only to house the OS and apps. Everything else goes on external drives - one for design and a silent, fanless drive for music recording. I am running: Pro Tools, the entire Adobe CS suite, etc. With this setup I can have multiple apps open, run multiple effects and virtual instruments within Pro Tools, pretty much anything without issue.
     

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