iMac 3.4 (570) vs 3.8 (580)

adgjqetuo

macrumors member
Original poster
May 29, 2012
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1
So I bought the base 5k 3.4 iMac last weekend for $1,550 but this week I saw the 3.8 version is on sale for $2,099 at Best Buy. I use my iMac for raw photography editing and recently got into some basic video editing with my new drone using premier. I’d also like to compile a bunch of my 4K iPhone family videos using the program at some point.

I noticed out of the box I’m getting memory errors for during RAW photo processing so I have an additional 16GB chip on order due to arrive today.

While I’m still within my return period, is it worth considering the $549 upgrade to the 3.8 with the 580 GPU? Or should my current setup be fine for my needs long term? I have little interest in gaming.
 

Jerion

macrumors member
Mar 31, 2016
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If 3D work and gaming isn’t something you want to do with the machine, the 580 upgrade will be mostly (not entirely, but mostly) wasted. Once you install the extra RAM, you should take a look at how your system resources are being taxed (Activity Monitor would do the trick) during one of your working sessions. If you’re seeing CPU usage hitting the ceiling, then the i7 might be a worthwhile upgrade. If you’re seeing disk usage smashing into the ceiling, then you might want to return the machine for one with an SSD or a bigger fusion drive (which will have a larger SSD as part of it). If nothing seems especially taxed, then enjoy the computer in front of you and get on with taking excellent photos.
 
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mreg376

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Mar 23, 2008
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Good advice by @Jerion. But what I am concerned about is your getting memory errors. Normally you should not get memory "errors" even if your applications are not seeing the amount of memory they'd like. You should be getting only slower performance. If there is another problem going on you may very well add additional memory and get the same errors. Might be reason enough to return the machine.
 
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adgjqetuo

macrumors member
Original poster
May 29, 2012
45
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Thanks for keeping me grounded!

The error was while I was mid-editing and it just said “low memory” and then it prompted me to save and close. I re-opened it and I would get 3-4 more pictures in and it would come across again.

I’m unsure if the program itself gave the error or my MAC did. I was using Digital Photo Professional. I’ve only seen the error while using the program.
 

Jerion

macrumors member
Mar 31, 2016
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Thanks for keeping me grounded!

The error was while I was mid-editing and it just said “low memory” and then it prompted me to save and close. I re-opened it and I would get 3-4 more pictures in and it would come across again.

I’m unsure if the program itself gave the error or my MAC did. I was using Digital Photo Professional. I’ve only seen the error while using the program.
RAM is like that. Either you have enough, or you don’t. It’s possible your app might have a memory leak, which would be deeply unhelpful and torpedo performance no matter how much RAM you have, and you might want to check out alternative options if such an error keeps popping up after you’ve boosted the amount of RAM in the machine.
 

adgjqetuo

macrumors member
Original poster
May 29, 2012
45
1
Thanks! I’ll keep what I have and maybe invest the money into upgrades.

I have the 1TB fusion drive but I’m running everything off a 4TB external. Would SSD still benifit me even though I store all my data via an external drive?

Also, my two 4GB existing ram pieces are in slots 2&4, does it matter where I place my new single 16GB chip? I ordered OWC brand and hoping it works as I just read for one user it didn’t. However their website said my configuration was when I purchased it.
 

jerwin

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Jun 13, 2015
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How old is this Digital Photo Professional?

Open "About this Mac."
Select "System Report"

One that opens, open Software, and then Applications

i.e, this sort of thing

Screen Shot 90.png


Scroll down to Canon Digital Professional and check the Version Number, and the 64 bit Intel column. If it's not 64 bit, more RAM won't help.
 

_Refurbished_

macrumors 68020
Mar 23, 2007
2,148
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How old is this Digital Photo Professional?

Open "About this Mac."
Select "System Report"

One that opens, open Software, and then Applications

i.e, this sort of thing

View attachment 766322

Scroll down to Canon Digital Professional and check the Version Number, and the 64 bit Intel column. If it's not 64 bit, more RAM won't help.
It’s a 64 bit program.
 

adgjqetuo

macrumors member
Original poster
May 29, 2012
45
1
adgjqetuo should make sure that he's running the latest version, then.
It shows 64bit = No...

Maybe I can see if there’s a 64 version out there somewhere.

Either way more RAM can’t hurt - it’s the first thing I’ve been reading that should be upgraded. Anyone know which slot it should be inserted in? It’s a single 16GB chip.
 

adgjqetuo

macrumors member
Original poster
May 29, 2012
45
1
Ok so I found an x64 version - it seems much more laggy but no memory errors. Hopefully the new thing of Ram will go a long way.

You mention it’s better in pairs, would it be worth buying a second 16 GB chip so I have 40 GB total or is that overkill?
 

jerwin

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It's overkill. If you have money to burn, look into an SSD instead.

(no first hand experience with Premiere, though. I have heard that it likes RAM)
 
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_Refurbished_

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Mar 23, 2007
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So I bought the base 5k 3.4 iMac last weekend for $1,550 but this week I saw the 3.8 version is on sale for $2,099 at Best Buy. I use my iMac for raw photography editing and recently got into some basic video editing with my new drone using premier. I’d also like to compile a bunch of my 4K iPhone family videos using the program at some point.

I noticed out of the box I’m getting memory errors for during RAW photo processing so I have an additional 16GB chip on order due to arrive today.

While I’m still within my return period, is it worth considering the $549 upgrade to the 3.8 with the 580 GPU? Or should my current setup be fine for my needs long term? I have little interest in gaming.
I would return your computer while you still can.

The 1TB Fusion is going to be a huge bottleneck for the system. Upgrade to either the 2TB Fusion (128GB SSD inside) or, if you're able, get one with a 512GB SSD. I decided on getting the 512GB SSD. My external storage will be all done via SSD. You can get an internal 1TB SSD for less than $200 or a 2TB SSD for $300. Then use an external SSD enclosure to get cheap, fast, external storage. I don't recommend saving money by using spinning drives anymore, unless they're in a RAID array in a professional environment. SSD's have dropped enough in price where you can get a reasonable amount of storage for "acceptable" prices.

Mind you, this may not fix the "lag" for that particular program, but you will certainly see a noticeable increase in speed throughout various computing tasks and applications.
 
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jerwin

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The 1 TB fusion drive has (iirc) 32 GB of flash. On some imacs, it's 24GB.
The 2 TB fusion drive has 128GB of flash.

The 580 imac comes with the larger fusion drive. So you could buy the more expensive machine, and get some improvement-- and credit the faster GPU/CPU-- when the extra flash is what's really helping....

BTW-- Apple does not recommend pairing a 1 TB fusion drive with a large memory imac. I expect this is because when the imac sleeps, it can copy the contents of RAM to a non-volatile storage, and remove power to the RAM. Then, it can copy this non volatile storage back into RAM. If that's flash, great. If that's spinning rust, it's slow. So, if you have 40 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of flash....
 

adgjqetuo

macrumors member
Original poster
May 29, 2012
45
1
Hm, wish I read the rest of this earlier (I was out of town) - the sale is over now so in order for me to upgrade I’d have to return to B.B. at my original price of $1,550 and buy at Apple for $1,899 ($100 upgrade for SSD). That would be $400 with tax for an SSD upgrade. Not to mention I had a $125 gift card too so it’s really even more if I buy directly from apple.

Would it be better to just boot from an external SSD? It seems to be working well now though, although I noticed the Rember app took 3x longer to run post upgrade then with the stock 8GB ram - but it seemed to pass.
 
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mreg376

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Mar 23, 2008
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It's not just $400 for the SSD upgrade. It's $400 to get what will hopefully be a headache-free experience for several years.
 

adgjqetuo

macrumors member
Original poster
May 29, 2012
45
1
It's not just $400 for the SSD upgrade. It's $400 to get what will hopefully be a headache-free experience for several years.
Wow, it’s that bad? Sorry for being ignorant on the situation but is it just a speed issue or a known inevitable failure issue?
 

mreg376

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2008
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Brooklyn, NY
Wow, it’s that bad? Sorry for being ignorant on the situation but is it just a speed issue or a known inevitable failure issue?
Haha I think we're getting ourselves all turned around. I was referring to your problem of the memory errors. If they're solved with the additional RAM you're good to go.
 

_Refurbished_

macrumors 68020
Mar 23, 2007
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Wow, it’s that bad? Sorry for being ignorant on the situation but is it just a speed issue or a known inevitable failure issue?
Kinda like buying a Ferrari and then being stuck in the right lane. Sometimes you’ll be able to drive fast, it’s still a cool car, but most of the time you’ll be slowed down.

Also, if you go the full SSD route, Best Buy doesn’t sell iMacs with SSDs. You can save a bit of money buying from a site that doesn’t have sales tax in your state. BHPhoto or Adorama come to mind.

An SSD will be more reliable than a Fusion drive. The Fusion drive has two separate drives that could fail. I wouldn’t be too concerned though, just keep a backup via Time Machine and if your HDD fails in the future, have a repair shop install an SSD you purchase yourself. It’s not that much money. That’s also an option you have if you don’t like the performance of your computer in a year.

The decision is yours!
 
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adgjqetuo

macrumors member
Original poster
May 29, 2012
45
1
Kinda like buying a Ferrari and then being stuck in the right lane. Sometimes you’ll be able to drive fast, it’s still a cool car, but most of the time you’ll be slowed down.

Also, if you go the full SSD route, Best Buy doesn’t sell iMacs with SSDs. You can save a bit of money buying from a site that doesn’t have sales tax in your state. BHPhoto or Adorama come to mind.

An SSD will be more reliable than a Fusion drive. The Fusion drive has two separate drives that could fail. I wouldn’t be too concerned though, just keep a backup via Time Machine and if your HDD fails in the future, have a repair shop install an SSD you purchase yourself. It’s not that much money. That’s also an option you have if you don’t like the performance of your computer in a year.

The decision is yours!

Is it only the base 1 TB fusion or all fusion? Would the higher end 3.8 with 2TB fall into the same category? Trying to avoid ordering and waiting a couple weeks as my return period ends very soon and I don’t want to be without a computer as I do a lot of photography for a side job.

Also, I’ve been using two external non SSD USB 3.0 3TBs for all my data storage because I didn’t want to pay extra through Apple originally- one is my primary the other is my nightly backup. Does that kind of negate the whole thing?

If I can get the 3.8 for $400 more should I just do that? I can drive one state over for tax free and use my teacher discount. Would that be a more headache free way to go?
 

_Refurbished_

macrumors 68020
Mar 23, 2007
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Is it only the base 1 TB fusion or all fusion? Would the higher end 3.8 with 2TB fall into the same category? Trying to avoid ordering and waiting a couple weeks as my return period ends very soon and I don’t want to be without a computer as I do a lot of photography for a side job.

Also, I’ve been using two external non SSD USB 3.0 3TBs for all my data storage because I didn’t want to pay extra through Apple originally- one is my primary the other is my nightly backup. Does that kind of negate the whole thing?

If I can get the 3.8 for $400 more should I just do that? I can drive one state over for tax free and use my teacher discount. Would that be a more headache free way to go?
Need 2TB Fusion minimum. 1TB is the slower drive w/ less internal SSD storage. Processor won’t matter much.

Your external storage, if being used for work, may slow you down. That’s something easily fixable down the road though. If you’re using RAW files, SSD external storage will be helpful. Really depends on your workflow. I wouldn’t be concerned with it unless you feel like you you’re not getting the performance you want.

My SSD iMac took almost three weeks to get here (arrives Monday). It got delayed a week because Apple is a cheap company (let’s save that for another thread!). I’m glad I waited though.

While the 2TB Fusion drive isn’t as good as a full SSD solution, its 128GB of SSD storage is still a ton better than what you currently have and may be a good compromise given your situation. I would take the road trip and purchase the faster iMac.
 
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pier

macrumors 6502a
Feb 7, 2009
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I have the 1TB fusion drive but I’m running everything off a 4TB external. Would SSD still benifit me even though I store all my data via an external drive?
Of course. Apps and system stuff still runs from the internal drive.
 

adgjqetuo

macrumors member
Original poster
May 29, 2012
45
1
Thanks for all the advice everyone! I purchased the 3.8 at $2,099 flat.

It’s not the full SSD but since everything is saved on an external I think it will suit me.
 
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