iMac 27" Pre-purchase questions

Discussion in 'iMac' started by alex_sch, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. alex_sch macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2018
    Hello :) I need to upgrade my late 2012 Imac 27" / i5 / 16gb Ram / Fusion Drive / Gtx 580 2gb. I've been delaying this purchase since spring last year, hoping for a late 2018 update to the iMac, but seeing how that didn't happen, I think I need to pull the trigger and upgrade regardless.

    I'm using the iMac for work (mainly beauty, fashion & commercial photography) and since the files these days are getting bigger and bigger, I'm starting to run into issues during retouching - especially when working zoomed in @ 100% +, it regularly stutters and freeze up, there’s lag when I apply brush-strokes etc. Saving stuff "takes ages", like 90-120 seconds for a 1gb + files and even more the times I work with files at 2gb +. As a sidenote, I am aware that the 16Gb ram is an obvious issue, but I always keep 4-5 gb ram free and have at least 500gb of free space on the hdd. Either way, I'm not a "hardware wizard" by any means - and most of my colleagues are using Windows, so I figured I might ask some of you in case you have anything to add.

    My main questions (or need for reassurance, haha) before I pull the trigger and purchase are these

    - if I go for a maxed out regular iMac 27 2018 (i7 4.2ghz/2 Tb ssd/64gb ram) I will obviously experience a significant increase in performance compared to my late 2012 Imac 27" / i5 / 16gb Ram / Fusion Drive / Gtx 580 2gb, right ?

    - does anyone know what kind of ssd’s that are in the iMac 2018 - and if there's a difference in the speed/quality of the internal ssd's in the 2018 iMac compared to the ones in the iMac Pro ?

    - is the i7 cpu in the 2018 iMac at least the previous generation, or is it older ?

    - I don’t plan to do any video-editing at this time, so am I correct when I assume that the fewer, faster cores i7 processors would be better for single tasks, like saving a psd for example - rather than the multicores cpu’s in the iMac Pro ? Or is the difference negligible ?

    Also, if anyone here also use this or similar iMacs for extensive photoshop work - are you happy with the performance ?

    I normally have an "upgrade-philosophy" to upgrade when I need to and not when I want to, and I can’t really wait much longer since it’s starting affect my workflow and turnover times - so it’s either a new iMac/iMac Pro or possibly switch back to a Windows computer which I’m not really that keen on since I’m already heavily invested in the “Apple-universe” with MacBook Pros, iPads and iPhones, iCloud etc

    Thanks for reading and any comments or suggestions are appreciated :)

  2. AlaskaMoose, Jan 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019

    AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    Is there a 2018 iMac? Not trying to be a "smart moose," just think there isn't a 2018 iMac. I too would like to upgrade my 2011 iMac to a 2018/2019 iMac, and the 2018 Mac Mini is out of the question for me.
  3. alex_sch thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2018
    Hehe, you're of course correct - it's the latest 2017(?) model I am referring to :)
  4. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    I imagine that a 27" iMac with an i5 should be plenty for photo editing. I have been thinking about such an iMac (i5) with minimum RAM a 1TB drive, then I could replace the drive with an SSD, and buy Crucial RAM. But I have no idea if those upgrades would be possible. I am currently using a 2011 iMac for light photo editing using a standalone CS6, and the NIK Software bundle, but the time to upgrade nears, although I replaced the 1TB hard drive with a SSD, and have never had a single issue with it.
  5. alex_sch thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2018
    I believe you can easily upgrade the ram yourself, but for a drive-change to SSD I think you have to open the whole thing and it would probably be smart to have it done by qualified people unless you're very tech savvy and have the equipment.

    When it comes to editing images in Photoshop, I think the hardware needed probably would depend on what kind of editing you do, the size of the image-files and how frequent you will want to save the file(s) during editing. I edit alot of 50+ mp files that during retouching tends to be quite large, and often zoomed in at 100% + and will want to save every 10 mins or so. I am not sure if a fully specced iMac 2017 is "overkill", but I am sure that my late 2012 with an i5 is not capable of performing the way I need it to do in order to maintain an acceptable turnover time (and my sanity ).
  6. dapa0s macrumors newbie


    Jan 2, 2019
    Yes, it will be a big, possibly huge leap in performance.

    They are pretty similar. According to this website The 2017 iMac (there is no 2018 iMac) has better read and slower write speed on its SSD's compared to the iMac Pro. Both are very fast though.

    It is older, and it has 4 cores and 8 threads, instead of 6 cores and 12 threads. The iMac 2017 has the i7-7700k, which is almost 2 years old now. Here is a website that shows the difference between the i7-7700k and the newer i7-8700k.

    That being said, the i7-7700k is definitely fast though.

    I don't use Photoshop or anything similar, but I would think that the difference will be negligible. The iMac Pro is definitely a better machine, and it keeps much cooler and more silent, because it has an improved ventilation and fans system.

    The iMac 5k from 2017 will probably be a great improvement for you, and if you can't wait, just get it. However, the iMac Pro would be an even better upgrade, but it all depends on how much money you want to spend, and it might be an overkill for you.

    The new iMac (2019) should be coming out soon though, but no one knows when exactly. So if you can afford to wait a few more months, it might be worth it.

    One advice: if you go for the iMac 5k 2017, definitely don't buy RAM from Apple - buy compatible RAM from anywhere else, and put that into your iMac, it will be much cheaper, and it is extremely easy to do.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009

    DON'T buy additional RAM from Apple. Get 8gb and add more yourself.
    Very easy to do on the 27" iMacs, there is a "pop open" door on the back.

    I think you'd do fine with the "midrange" 3.5ghz i5 CPU. Be aware that a number of owners have complained about fan noise on i7 iMacs.

    As for the internal drive, get an SSD of course.
    But I wouldn't pay Apple's ridiculous price for the 2tb or even 1tb version.
    I'd get the 512gb and plug in an EXTERNAL USB3 SSD -- MUCH cheaper. It will work fine.
  8. alex_sch thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2018
    Thank you so much for your comments and insight, and I'll def install the RAM myself then :) I would ofc love the more silent and cooler iMac Pro, but my wallet won't haha. Anyway, I usually listen to music on headphones or speakers while working so hopefully the noise will not be an issue

    I don't think I can wait much longer though, so I guess I'll place an order tonight and just pop a sedative if they launch the new 2019 iMac next week, haha
    --- Post Merged, Jan 14, 2019 ---
    Thanks for the advice :) I think just will have to deal with some fan noise though - and "drown" it with music if it gets annoying ;)
  9. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000


    Oct 19, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    2019 will probably be announced midn year. If you need it buy it, use it and be happy.

    And go for the SSD as the fisho advises. Do NOT buy a Fusion or platter drive.
  10. Dezlboy macrumors regular


    Sep 10, 2008
    Nothing to add, except I almost did a Danny Thomas spit take. :p
  11. imaccooper macrumors 6502


    May 29, 2014
    North Carolina
    If you haven’t already bought the machine I’ll echo a lot of the same advice here. I have the 2017 top line i7 just like you are talking about and run photoshop almost daily. Did a 2gb file a month or so ago (large banner) and it did pretty well. Saving that took maybe 10 seconds tops and I’ve got chrome, calendar, messages and probably 5 other things up while doing it.

    I went with the higher end i7 because I do some video work, and I do have the fan spin up often when doing video, but not really when photoshop is going. With that said, the i5 should be more than adequate.

    I went with a 256 ssd and external drives. I wanted to save some money and it doesn’t give me trouble but I wouldn’t mind having spent the extra couple hundred for the 512 and the extra room. More space seems like too much of a premium to me, but that is personal preference.

    As for ram, 100% agree that you go with the base 8gb and grab an upgrade set. I bought 16 gb (2x8) crucial at the same time and installed it immediately. The computer has 4 slots and comes with 4x2 ram so you can add the two 8s and have 24gb of ram in about 5 min.
  12. right mind macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2018
    I purchased a new iMac right before Christmas. I got the 27" 4.2GHz i7, 8GB RAM, 2TB SSD, Radeon 580 video card. I decided to go big with the SSD because a Samsung T5 2TB external drive cost about $369 less then the 2TB internal drive. My last iMac lasted me for 9 years so I opted to spend the extra $$. I can buy external SSD when the price comes down.

    I also bought 32 GB of Crucial memory and installed it for a total of 40 GB of RAM ($215).

    I took a serious look at the base iMac Pro which was about $1200 more than I spent.

    The new iMacs will probably be out around mid-year but they'll be more expensive and I have a feeling you won't be able to upgrade the RAM anymore.

    Tip, B&H photo, no out of state sales tax.
  13. xzebra, Jan 16, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019

    xzebra macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2018
    Not trying to be rude, however I heard this last year when looking to purchase ;)

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