iMac comparisons

Discussion in 'iMac' started by dphershman, Oct 26, 2015.

  1. dphershman macrumors newbie

    dphershman

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #1
    I've been watching discussions here about the new iMacs and have considered getting one, but I must admit that I'm confused. The question I'm trying to answer is which variation of the new machines is the best fit for the work that I actually do.

    My current machine is a MBP late 2011 (i7 2.5ghz, AMD Radeon HD 6770M 1024 MB) using mostly Lightroom 5, Photoshop 6 and doing some light video work in Premiere 6.

    Here are three upgrade options I'm looking at
    • upgrade the HDD in the MBP laptop to an SSD and simply continue to work as I have
    • get the 21.5 with either the i5 or i7 but with 16gb ram and a 512 gb SSD
    • get the 27 with either the i5 or i7 with 8gb ram (upgrade later) with either the 2gb or 4gb graphics cards.
    What in real life terms would the difference between the cpu and gpu configurations in the two models of iMacs mean for my work applications? (Haswell vs Skylake cpu and integrated vs discrete gpu) When one reads the posting by Adobe that the version of LR that I use (LR5) doesn't even use a GPU, while the newest version only uses one within the development module, it seems that the choice of graphics cards isn't all that important.

    Given that my current machine runs fine, perhaps the best option is just to upgrade the laptop with an SSD and wait until Apple comes out with a (perhaps) improved desktop model next year.
     
  2. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #2
    Do you currently experience any bottle necks? Like a process you start and go get a cup of coffee because you know its going to be awhile?

    As you already know the storage device will make a massive difference in pretty much all task. That alone would make your MBP feel like a new machine however don't let that detract from other existing bottle necks...a 5400 RPM HDD can keep an i7 fed while encoding a video so a faster processor can be beneficial.

    EDIT : Meant encoding not rendering...duh
     
  3. dphershman thread starter macrumors newbie

    dphershman

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #3
    I shoot with a Nikon D800 in RAW, so switching to a 100% view in Lightroom brings everything to a halt for about 30 seconds while it loads a 42 mb image file. Not bad, but repeat it a few hundred times and it gets a bit tiresome. Basic editing in Premiere is fine, but encoding an HD video means taking a long break from the machine while it does its thing, typically 20 minutes for a 4 minute HD video.
     
  4. cupcakes2000 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    #4
    I'm a photographer, and last year I upgraded from a 17" macbook pro 2010, to a fully maxed out 27" 5k iMac late 2014.

    Buy it. It's unbelievably good at what we use it for.
     
  5. fathergll macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #5

    The one important detail you left out is how much will the SSD cost you? Are you installing it yourself...paying someone else?
     
  6. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #6
    I process many D800/D810 files in LR. You have to generate 1:1 previews, else any machine will be slow when going to 1:1 view. The preview generation process itself is not very I/O intensive -- it is mostly a multithreaded CPU job. The more faster cores the better. Same thing for export.

    Video encoding to H.264 or long GOP formats is also CPU-bound, not GPU *or* I/O bound. Encoding/decoding is inherently sequential and cannot be GPU accelerated. The only real breakthrough is Intel's Quick Sync, and for some reason Premiere does not support that. FCP X does, and that's why it's about 4x faster on export of H.264. I just did a test export of a 4 min 1080p video -- it took 52 seconds on my 2015 iMac 27 using FCP X.

    That said Xeon doesn't have Quick Sync so the Mac Pros are often slower than an iMac at encode/decode.

    I have no idea why Premiere doesn't support Quick Sync. Back in CS6 there was a 3rd party plugin for this. I don't know how well it worked but it's not available for CC.

    Even though LR and Photoshop use the GPU for highly specific functions like liquify, I'm not sure how much difference it makes in general. For video effects the GPU is more important. If you got an i7 with M395X it would be a big improvement over your current machine, regardless of the exact editing software.
     
  7. dphershman thread starter macrumors newbie

    dphershman

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #7
    a 1TB SSD for this model of MBP is around $400. I can install it myself.
     

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