iMac Late 2015 27" 5K Impressions

AusMacFan

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 31, 2010
41
21
So after much waiting and deliberation, I have just purchased a new 27" iMac. The model I bought was the highest stock configuration, 3.3Ghz i5, AMD m395, 2tb fusion drive etc.

Originally, I wanted to get this config but swap out the fusion drive for the 512gb SSD, but for whatever reason my education discount was even more in store than it was online ($410 off vs $280). This meant that upgrading to SSD would have cost me approximately $400 more (after discounts), and that is not even considering the cost of a good external 2TB drive I would inevitably get as a media drive. I did this knowing that the apple store has a 14 day return policy so that if I found the fusion drive to be too limiting, I could always bring it back and get the higher model.

Anyway, here are my impressions so far:
  • The screen is beautiful, as we all knew it would be. I very fussy with displays, but the screen calibration is really nice, unlike my early 2013 rMBP which had an overly-cool white point straight out of the box and a gamma which was too high.
  • The fusion drive has been good so far. It boots slightly slower than my rMBP (with upgraded OWC ssd), but launches applications noticeably faster. Black magic benchmarks it at about 700mB/s read and write, which is honestly a bit concerning as the new SSD's are supposed to bee much speedier than that. [EDIT] further testing suggests that read speeds are more along the lines of ~1500MB/s as others have mentioned with their new fusion drives.
  • Performance is generally good, I haven't noticed any stuttering so far.
  • The new keyboard feels strange. I have seen reviewers say that it doesn't have less travel than the previous wireless keyboard, but I disagree. To me it feels a lot like the keyboard in the new macbook. Honestly I kind of like the feeling, but time will tell if I keep using it or swap it out for something else.
  • I am not a fan of the new magic mouse, just like I was not a fan of the older one. To me, the biggest problem is the plastic material they use on the top of the mouse; it's just not frictionless enough, and I could see myself really liking the mouse if it had a smooth glass top.
Honestly my biggest complaint with the computer is that the bezels are just so large! I have a feeling that we may see a redesign when Intel releases Kaby Lake, and if that happens I will probably sell this one and upgrade; yet another reason why I didn't want to spend a whole lot on it.

I will be keeping an eye on the benchmarks for the new ssd models. If they tend to be noticeably faster I might change my mind about the fusion drive, but so far it has been pretty great.
 
Last edited:

MandiMac

macrumors 6502a
Feb 25, 2012
655
304
Great for you!
Do you happen to have Steam or any other game-related stuff, and are you satisfied with the performance there?
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,852
30,369
Boston
Education discount was more in store than online? This is in the US?
I know that many schools sell computer equipment and its less then if purchased it online from apple. Perhaps the OP bought it from his school's store.
 

AusMacFan

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 31, 2010
41
21
Great for you!
Do you happen to have Steam or any other game-related stuff, and are you satisfied with the performance there?
I have a dedicated gaming PC which is a few years old at this point, but the graphics cards were recently updated and it would absolutely cream even the top BTO iMac, so honestly I haven't even installed steam. If I did play any games it wouldn't be anything demanding.

Education discount was more in store than online? This is in the US?
This is from an apple retail store in Australia. Honestly I was pretty shocked and checked the online education store straight after; sure enough it was far more discount in store.
 

Richie2000

macrumors 6502
Jul 10, 2010
274
86
West Sussex UK
Good to see some initial thoughts.

The Fusion Drive performance does seem lower than I would have expected too. Could it be due to Spotlight indexing and it may pick up speed once completed?
 

scottish

macrumors 6502a
Aug 10, 2011
816
475
Guess
This is from an apple retail store in Australia. Honestly I was pretty shocked and checked the online education store straight after; sure enough it was far more discount in store.
The UK edu store has two levels of discount, wonder if it's the same in Australia?
 

AusMacFan

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 31, 2010
41
21
Good to see some initial thoughts.

The Fusion Drive performance does seem lower than I would have expected too. Could it be due to Spotlight indexing and it may pick up speed once completed?
Possibly. I'll do another test in a couple of days to see if there's any difference.
 
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eoren1

macrumors 6502
Aug 17, 2007
367
19
With talk of gamma, did you try to hardware calibrate the screen? I'm wondering if you can judge how well it does in the Adobe RGB color space. Reviews so far haven't touched on how good the screen is in anything other than sRGB or the new DCI-P3 spaces.
 

AusMacFan

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 31, 2010
41
21
With talk of gamma, did you try to hardware calibrate the screen? I'm wondering if you can judge how well it does in the Adobe RGB color space. Reviews so far haven't touched on how good the screen is in anything other than sRGB or the new DCI-P3 spaces.
I have an x-rite colorimeter so I'll give it a check with dispcalgui when I get a chance. The display does have a pre-configured Adobe RGB profile though.
 
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eoren1

macrumors 6502
Aug 17, 2007
367
19
I have an x-rite colorimeter so I'll give it a check with dispcalgui when I get a chance. The display does have a pre-configured Adobe RGB profile though.
That's great to hear AusMacFan! No one has commented on the pre-configured profiles. Can't wait to hear what you find with the colorimeter. Thanks!!!
 

fathergll

macrumors 65816
Sep 3, 2014
1,389
781
So after much waiting and deliberation, I have just purchased a new 27" iMac. The model I bought was the highest stock configuration, 3.3Ghz i5, AMD m395, 2tb fusion drive etc.

Originally, I wanted to get this config but swap out the fusion drive for the 512gb SSD, but for whatever reason my education discount was even more in store than it was online ($410 off vs $280). This meant that upgrading to SSD would have cost me approximately $400 more (after discounts), and that is not even considering the cost of a good external 2TB drive I would inevitably get as a media drive.
That was similar to my reasoning for purchasing my stock configuration 2014 retina iMac. They were selling stock config iMacs a month after they were released for $200 off with no tax and free shipping. So upgrading to a custom order 256 SSD option was like $400 extra and 512 SSD would have been around $600 extra.


I have a feeling that we may see a redesign when Intel releases Kaby Lake, and if that happens I will probably sell this one and upgrade; yet another reason why I didn't want to spend a whole lot on it.
You could end up spending in the low $2k range or the mid $3k range and not get that much of a different experience depending on your needs. That’s half the purchase price just to get some marginal gains. In some cases it’s absolutely needed(especially for work) but many times it’s not.
 

Gr81MB

macrumors 6502
Dec 4, 2007
312
108
So after much waiting and deliberation, I have just purchased a new 27" iMac. The model I bought was the highest stock configuration, 3.3Ghz i5, AMD m395, 2tb fusion drive etc.

Originally, I wanted to get this config but swap out the fusion drive for the 512gb SSD, but for whatever reason my education discount was even more in store than it was online ($410 off vs $280). This meant that upgrading to SSD would have cost me approximately $400 more (after discounts), and that is not even considering the cost of a good external 2TB drive I would inevitably get as a media drive. I did this knowing that the apple store has a 14 day return policy so that if I found the fusion drive to be too limiting, I could always bring it back and get the higher model.

Anyway, here are my impressions so far:
  • The screen is beautiful, as we all knew it would be. I very fussy with displays, but the screen calibration is really nice, unlike my early 2013 rMBP which had an overly-cool white point straight out of the box and a gamma which was too high.
  • The fusion drive has been good so far. It boots slightly slower than my rMBP (with upgraded OWC ssd), but launches applications noticeably faster. Black magic benchmarks it at about 700mB/s read and write, which is honestly a bit concerning as the new SSD's are supposed to bee much speedier than that.
  • Performance is generally good, I haven't noticed any stuttering so far.
  • The new keyboard feels strange. I have seen reviewers say that it doesn't have less travel than the previous wireless keyboard, but I disagree. To me it feels a lot like the keyboard in the new macbook. Honestly I kind of like the feeling, but time will tell if I keep using it or swap it out for something else.
  • I am not a fan of the new magic mouse, just like I was not a fan of the older one. To me, the biggest problem is the plastic material they use on the top of the mouse; it's just not frictionless enough, and I could see myself really liking the mouse if it had a smooth glass top.
Honestly my biggest complaint with the computer is that the bezels are just so large! I have a feeling that we may see a redesign when Intel releases Kaby Lake, and if that happens I will probably sell this one and upgrade; yet another reason why I didn't want to spend a whole lot on it.

I will be keeping an eye on the benchmarks for the new ssd models. If they tend to be noticeably faster I might change my mind about the fusion drive, but so far it has been pretty great.
How is the backlight bleed on these models? Still the same as the late 2014 5k iMacs?
 

AusMacFan

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 31, 2010
41
21
How is the backlight bleed on these models? Still the same as the late 2014 5k iMacs?
That's something else I should have mentioned in my original write up. I have been very, very happy with my panel. There is almost no light bleed apart from a gradual bleed in the bottom right corner, which difficult to notice even when the display is showing a black image at full brightness in a pitch black room. I know bleed has been an issue with other 5k iMacs, and even my mother's 2013 21.5" has pretty bad bleed, so I may end up keeping the fusion drive model for the panel alone!
 

3587

macrumors 6502a
Mar 23, 2008
687
55
Nice. I just pulled the trigger on the 27" iMac 5K i7 4.0GHz/32GB RAM/512SSD. I'm pumped for the retina display...
 

loekf

macrumors 6502a
Mar 23, 2015
622
206
Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Nice. I just pulled the trigger on the 27" iMac 5K i7 4.0GHz/32GB RAM/512SSD. I'm pumped for the retina display...
You won't regret it. The first time you're working behind this screen... it's amazing.. true beauty.

I'm typing this from the new keyboard I bought for my 2014 model. Like the topic starter mentioned it's kind of strange. The keyboard is quite flat and the keys have much less travel (depth). It's an interesting design decision from Apple. It's like typing (indeed) on a notebook or Macbook (Air ??). However, the layout is better I think than the old model.

Magic Mouse 2 is nicer than the old one. The clicks feel firmer I think.

Pairing is simple. Cable in, connect and done. Keyboard indeed still works when connected.
 

3587

macrumors 6502a
Mar 23, 2008
687
55
You won't regret it. The first time you're working behind this screen... it's amazing.. true beauty.

I'm typing this from the new keyboard I bought for my 2014 model. Like the topic starter mentioned it's kind of strange. The keyboard is quite flat and the keys have much less travel (depth). It's an interesting design decision from Apple. It's like typing (indeed) on a notebook or Macbook (Air ??). However, the layout is better I think than the old model.

Magic Mouse 2 is nicer than the old one. The clicks feel firmer I think.
I'm excited!
 

richpjr

macrumors 68040
May 9, 2006
3,101
1,371
Thanks for the mini-writeup. That is likely the exact same configuration I will get.
 

AusMacFan

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 31, 2010
41
21
That's great to hear AusMacFan! No one has commented on the pre-configured profiles. Can't wait to hear what you find with the colorimeter. Thanks!!!
Do you know what software I can use that will give me % coverage of colour spaces? i1 Profiler and dispcalGUI will only let me profile/test against srgb.
 

3587

macrumors 6502a
Mar 23, 2008
687
55
You won't regret it. The first time you're working behind this screen... it's amazing.. true beauty.

I'm typing this from the new keyboard I bought for my 2014 model. Like the topic starter mentioned it's kind of strange. The keyboard is quite flat and the keys have much less travel (depth). It's an interesting design decision from Apple. It's like typing (indeed) on a notebook or Macbook (Air ??). However, the layout is better I think than the old model.

Magic Mouse 2 is nicer than the old one. The clicks feel firmer I think.

Pairing is simple. Cable in, connect and done. Keyboard indeed still works when connected.
Can you use the keyboard without having Bluetooth turned on if the Lightening cable is attached? I get too much interference with my other mouse, so it's the only BT device I can have.
 

loekf

macrumors 6502a
Mar 23, 2015
622
206
Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Can you use the keyboard without having Bluetooth turned on if the Lightening cable is attached? I get too much interference with my other mouse, so it's the only BT device I can have.
Yup, should work. If the keyboard is plugged in and charging, it works wired, not via BT.... if you check the BT config panel you see it's inactive, but it's still working. I didn't try to switch off BT. My mouse and touchpad still work via BT.
 

halfcamerageek

macrumors member
May 31, 2011
40
3
Do you know what software I can use that will give me % coverage of colour spaces? i1 Profiler and dispcalGUI will only let me profile/test against srgb.
There are some tools that allow graphical comparison of ICC profiles. ICCView.de is a free one. Share your profile .icc file somewhere and I'll work on it.

I'm on the fence about the new iMac. The improved color gamut was one of my past dealbreakers, so now I'm very much interested in knowing how capable the new LCD panel really is.