iMac 27" return and CTO?

famous600

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 8, 2010
705
1
So I recently picked up the top of the line 27" iMac. However I am currently having buyers remorse and need you to sway me! The computer will be used for Photoshop, final cut and some very very light gaming. My wife plans to start a photography/videography business and I'm wondering..... Would the i7 and 4gb graphics card be a vast improvement? I know the SSD obviously would. But not being into photography and photoshop I really don't know what to expect. Thanks!
 

jav6454

macrumors P6
Nov 14, 2007
16,872
1,530
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
All the specs really depend on how you use them. In your case, Photography really benefits in bigger RAM environments.

Take your pick on that. Also, as per GPU, it'll only help if your usage will contain 3D modeling. However, if OpenCL is very well supported, then it'll help a tad with CPU tasks (such as video encoding).
 
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famous600

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 8, 2010
705
1
All the specs really depend on how you use them. In your case, Photography really benefits in bigger RAM environments.

Take your pick on that. Also, as per GPU, it'll only help if your usage will contain 3D modeling. However, if OpenCL is very well supported, then it'll help a tad with CPU tasks (such as video encoding).
Gotcha. Upgrading the ram is easy peasy.
 
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iMikeT

macrumors 68020
Jul 8, 2006
2,304
1
California
I have a 27" 2011 iMac that I use for photography. I ordered it BTO and it's maxed out at 3.4Ghz quad-core core i7, 2GB AMD 6970M, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB HDD. I'll probably add an SSD to it one day when prices are much more reasonable and considering doubling the RAM to 32GB.

This computer runs Photoshop CS6 and a couple of related CS apps as smooth as butter. I have done some light video editing with it in iMovie and it seemed to make it just fine. Anything like heavier like Final Cut or 3D rendering and I think I might just peg the needle with this computer. Though, I have done a few things in Photoshop that have nearly pegged the needle but that was due to handling extremely large files. As far as everyday processes and tasks goes, email and web surfing, I can see myself still using this iMac for at least another 6 years.

From a hardware standpoint, that stock iMac you bought should perform just fine. I'm taking photography classes at a local community college and they have stock 21.5" 2011 iMacs with 8GB of RAM that run Adobe CS6 just fine.

This is how things break down piece by piece:

CPU
The i7 does have advantages that the i5 does not like hyper-threading. But between my 2011 iMac's 3.4Ghz i7 and the 2013 iMac's 3.5Ghz i7, at best it's probably only a 10% improvement in terms of performance.

GPU
This is where the system will really sing especially with graphics intensive apps. Though, I'm not a big fan of Nvidia graphics.

RAM
RAM is RAM so buy the amount you think you'll need and what you'll be able to afford. Max it out if you can afford it.

HDD/SSD
Obviously SSDs have clear advantages over HDDs in terms of read/write speeds. The disadvantage is course is the price per gigabyte.

Also, don't mistake fast read/write speeds as an increase in raw performance. I once visited an Apple retail store and one of the guys tried to sell me on a MacBook Air because it had an SSD and it could read/write files off the hard drive faster than a MacBook Pro. I then asked which of the two could encode a video faster and he gave me a blank stare.

If you're looking into doing serious video work, look at buying a Mac Pro instead.


Ultimately, do what ever you feel is right for you and your wife as long as it doesn't break the bank.


On a side note, I have worked as a professional commercial photographer and it's much harder than people think when attempting to break into the business. I encounter a lot of people who try to break into the business and fail miserably. If your wife is looking to do weddings and other event-type photography, as I suspect, the competition is abundant and many retail clients are scraping the bottom of the barrel and shopping based on price, especially in this economy. Unfortunately, many photographers are more than willing to oblige for the sake of getting some work. I don't mean to burst the dream but it's something worth thinking about before investing more money into what could end up being just an expensive hobby.
 
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