iMac 5k Upgrades/Suggestions

Discussion in 'iMac' started by nmock, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. nmock macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    #1
    I'm in the market for an iMac 5k, I'm in desperate need of a machine since my current 2009 MBP is slowly chugging along on the tasks that I use my current setup for. I keep holding off on my purchase because I'm always chasing the next release, but I think it's time. So, I am an iOS developer and the main resource hogs will be mainly:

    Xcode (IDE, simulator, Instruments.app)
    Photoshop
    Chrome (lots of tabs open)
    Mail/Spotify/Calendar

    Build times have been horrible on my MBP so I'm looking to get an improvement there. Also, my machine is too slow to run Xcode alongside the simulator and Instruments. With the large resolutions of devices nowadays, I am unable to fit the simulator fully onto my pre-retina MBP screen. I also tend to have tons of tabs open on Chrome and multi task with random utilities.

    I've had a retina MBP but unfortunately had to part with it, so I know I want the retina component if possible. I've upgraded the HD in my MBP to a SSD, so I don't think I could live without the SSD. Question is though, are any of the other components worth upgrading, mainly the CPU / GPU? Can anyone in a similar profession/similar use case scenario chime in on what would be a good setup? Again, don't mind spending the cash for components that will make a difference, but want to do it smartly. For now I am thinking about the base model with a 512GB SSD and doing the RAM upgrade myself. Any other thoughts?
     
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #2
    Well the best Mac you can buy is the most you can afford.

    If I were you, I'd get the i7 and upgraded GPU, plus a 256GB SSD instead. There's always external storage.
     
  3. ToroidalZeus macrumors 68020

    ToroidalZeus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    #3
    Best version is the i7 CPU, the M295X, and HDD or Fusion Drive because it includes the SATA port (for of the shelf SSD upgrades)

    But the thing is, the iMac is reportedly known to thermally throttle under demanding loads.

    You might be better off getting a Mac Pro (or hackintosh like me) and a 4K monitor instead.
     
  4. nmock, Feb 7, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015

    nmock thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    #4
    The question is in what areas would I see benefit with the upgraded graphics card? I don't do much video editing or games. Maybe the rare movie or YouTube video but that's it. Seems like the stock one would be able to drive the monitor fine or they wouldn't have made the base model the way it was configured, no? How about the CPU, how does that affect things?

    For each component, I'm just wondering in what areas would I see a benefit for in my particular use case. I don't mind spending the extra cash, but I don't want to go overboard...as long as the component will get the job done, I am fine with leaving it stock.
     
  5. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #5
    I prefer all SSD, but YMMV. It's true that means that you can't add something since the SATA connection wouldn't be there, but that might not be possible or extremely difficult anyway. Or not worth it vs Thunderbolt 2.

    I have the 295, 4.0. I've noted that some folks who have the i5 and 290 have a few more issues with Lightroom than I do. It's mostly a LR thing, but still. It's often in the Develop module, some stepping in the display of the image as you move adjustment sliders. The upgraded components can sometimes make up for crappy software. Haven't heard as much about PS, but check.

    PS and LR do make use of a faster processor, so that might be worth it.

    I have yet to get my riMac to misbehave; I did get the fan revved up by importing and creating previews for hundreds of RAW files, but that's it. The retina is SO worth it; that extra resolution is amazing.

    The MP is a great machine, but for a lot of photo work the riMac spanks it unless you get more cores in the MP. And it can't do 5k. And 5k is amazing. It would be worth even if the machine had a ton of other flaws...but it doesn't.
     
  6. Astelith macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2014
    Location:
    Spain/Italy
    #6
    That is not true, it does not throttle, even in full load... in the worst case scenario (stress test, so not real work) the fan will spin high rpm but the throttle is far away to enter, you need to have ad hardware malfunction to have it.
     
  7. ToroidalZeus macrumors 68020

    ToroidalZeus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    #7
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgTMxB-ffjM

    goto 3 min.
     
  8. Astelith macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2014
    Location:
    Spain/Italy
    #8
    I'm writing from a iMac 5k, the GPU hits 100° during gaming, so ? is designed to run at this temp and the performance are good, the fan is not even loud, it goes from 1800 to 2300 (the max is 2700) and for productivity is at minimum, complete silent.

    Try a 5K before writing in a forum crazy things
     
  9. ToroidalZeus macrumors 68020

    ToroidalZeus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    #9
    No, it's not "designed" to run at that temp. It's called inefficient cooling and your performance is being reduced from what it could be with proper cooling.
     
  10. roadkill401 macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #10
    And contrary to the two bickering about the 295X

    I have the i7 with stock graphics and upped to the 512SSD w/ 32gb ram. I run photoshop CS6 with no problems for my Canon 5D3. I have used Lightroom 4 but don't use it much, and yes when trying to whip through screens it is not smooth as silk but it have ZERO effect on my performance to do work as I don't spend even 1% of my time doing searches. I know where my photo's are and simply go to them.

    However, I do run VM's. I have run upwards of 7 vm's at once. Some are simple Linux boxes running 2gb ram, but have run Windows vm's with 4, 6 and 8gb configured and the mac still stays responsive.

    I run dual monitor and at no point has my fan in the mac gone above silent.

    Yes a faster video card might be nice but I failed to see why I would want or need it for the work that I do. I don't edit 4k video and don't see myself ever wanting to in the next 5-6 years that I expect this iMac to work for me.
     
  11. nmock thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    #11
    Can anybody else chime in? I will be getting SSD/upgrading RAM by myself. Bottom line is, I want to know if the CPU or GPU upgrade would be overkill for my particular situation. I don't edit videos or play games. Another option is to scrap it all and just go with 15' rMBP 2.5 ghz for same price as base model iMac 5k. Any performance comparisons between these setups? Which would I get better performance from? iMac has a bigger display to power...

    It seems hard for folks here to give a side by side comparison because they don't own both configurations of the iMac (this is in regards to the iMac), but if anyone has the base model and is using it for similar purposes that would at least give a baseline answer in regards to real world performance.
     
  12. roadkill401 macrumors 6502

    roadkill401

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    #12
    memory inside an iMac 5K can be upgraded where the rMBP cannot. The performance of the i5 in the iMac will be better than the rMBP as well. The real difference between the i5 and i7 is the number of threads per core, but that really only goes into real multithread applications that can handle 8 threads.

    ie an i7 2 thread core is not double the speed of an i5 1 thread core at the same Ghz.

    So in answer to your question, you really are paying the extra $300 for that .5Ghz bump to 4.0

    The Fusion drive does work well. what you don't get control over is what goes where. the iMac figures out what it thinks will give you the best performance with the data sitting either on the 1tb hard drive or in the 128gb SSD. The SSD part of the fusion is not as fast as a 256, 512 or 1tb dedicated SSD. How much data you have only you know. if you can live with an external hard drive for overflow or project data only you can tell.

    I originally ordered the iMac with the 256ssd but lucked out and found the exact same iMac in refurb with the 512ssd for $1 less than my order price so I jumped at the deal and am very happy. Otherwise i would have the 256.

    I got the i7 as I said, run multiple VM's that does use the threading so for me I looked at the $300 over the next 6 years as $0.10 a day. I could afford that bump. for piece of mind i bought the iMac with 16gb for piece of mind with applecare, and put in another 16 myself. You know your own comfort level.

    Personally i found the 8gb base apple to be a bit on the luggish side when i ran VM's. Photoshop was all right but i think it does run much better with the 16. no difference with 32.
     

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