iMac Performance Question

Discussion in 'iMac' started by LRO, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. LRO macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2012
    So, I'm going to try and not rehash a common thread - I've been a long term lurker, and although each new "When's a new imac coming?" topic brings a bit of hope that this time there will be some new sources with welcome info, it does get a bit frustrating for everyone I'm sure.

    I'm now, like many others, preparing for the possibility that there is no spec bump until September, October, hell, maybe later. Frustrating - I've played the game for a while, but it's now at the point that I'm putting off work (not paid, but I'm an enthusiast chomping at the bit to get started) because I haven't yet got my first imac to use (long term Windows, used imacs at college). I even bought a new desk ready - with nothing on it. I bought that before WWDC!

    My basic brain-pick is this. I'm setting up as a freelance producer, with views to later start a production company (I know I will need to upgrade big style for the latter :p). I do across the board, my passions film and music, a creative writer in both field. Love it.

    Basically, I will be using the iMac to edit Canon 7D HD footage on final cut pro, using after effects too probably. I'll be using Logic to record guitar inputs through an interface and doing a large bulk of recording work (high quality, full album demos.)

    I want the machine to be able to handle these tasks quickly, and be able to cope if I do multiple work streams at once.

    It's got to the point now where money isn't even an object. I've had the money for the top spec you can choose 27" imac sat in a savings account since April. Each month, "but the new one will be here soon..." and unable to justify using the money when a higher spec machine is APPARENTLY on the way.

    The question to all the enlightened out there, is when this 2012 iMac drops, is the performance and benefits going to be so significant that it is a bad PERFORMANCE decision to buy to 2011 top spec. The best option in each category ticked (think it's £3300). If there's no very-early-august update, I'm considering just saying "******* this" and buying the 2011, but I don't want to make that investment if the performance of the speculated Ivy Bridge upgrade is a huge difference and hugely noticeable.

    That's pretty much all I care about now. The 'money for old tech' has long gone numb on me since I am looking at a desk with a cardboard box on it. I can't edit on a cardboard box ;), and waiting 2/3/4/5 months for a 2% performance increase is dumb. It's now very much, whether this presumed processor upgrade will be like buying a fiesta when I could've waited 2 months for a ferrari.

    Many thanks, apologies if this thread has been discussed or is in a incorrect section.
  2. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    I would get a refurbished 3.1 or, preferably, a 3.4 and then get some speedy Thunderbolt storage, such as the Promise Pegasus. Buy 32 GB of RAM (4x8 sticks aftermarket). Frankly, even a 2012 2.6 classic MBP would be fine to start out on what you're doing (just max out the RAM to 16 GB aftermarket and put in a SSD, like the Samsung 830 and the machine will fly). When your venture starts to take off, you can always keep the old Mac and buy a new Mac Pro or something similar next year or the following, if you find yourself needing more processing power. When you're running a company it makes sense to just buy new computers every year. I have 4 Macs now and it's great.

    Watch out for me on one of those hoarding documentaries in the next couple of years. :)
  3. NunoBerny macrumors regular


    Feb 12, 2012
    Lisbon, Portugal
    I'm playing the waiting too, to get my FIRST iMac.

    For me, the frustration factor is USB3. That and the fact that (maybe) the new iMacs will come with bigger HDs and RAM as standard.
    The performance, to my extremely untrained eye, wouldn't be much of a drawback to me, unless the new one is way faster.

    But buying the 2011 and then seeing the 2012 come out with all of the above would really make me regret not waiting...

    But,if the "end of the July" release fails...I don't know...
  4. LRO thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2012
    It's a difficult situation when you don't have a mac at all I think. You want to take the plunge but don't want to be out-of-date in a month. You've started the journey behind already!

    It looks like we may have to turn to plan B.

    Thanks for the suggestions theSeb. I may even think about getting a new mbp (probably non-retina, save some bucks) and buy a non-mac 27" screen and have a setup that way.

    My thoughts are then that when the new imac comes out, I have my option for 'portable recording/editting' solved so I have done a step that I should realistically take further down the line, but my hand has been forced my the long wait for an imac update. As long as those MBP's would handle what I'm trying to do. Still alot of money though.

    As I say, I don't want this to turn into another Mac 2012 bitch fest, but it's tough coming up with a Plan B that doesn't feel like your wasting money. But if the machine will handle my workflow fine, then I guess that will have to be the option.
  5. macmastersam macrumors 6502a

    Sep 14, 2011
    Essex, england
    if you are in no rush, i would say hold out and wait for a new iMac, then upgrade to the highest config iMac as possible (except the RAM - buy that aftermarket as it is cheaper! :apple:), get 32GB aftermarket RAM and you are good to go IMO. maybe even get a second monitor to help move 2 things at a time :D if money isnt an issue here, and you have a ton of space on your desk.
  6. LRO thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2012
    My only issue here is that say it IS september, not that anyone knows, that's another 3 months of me not doing anything, as I have no mac at all currently. I have a PC, but that isn't running Final Cut Pro obviously. I'm just getting very frustrated that I can't get started... 2012 will have gone and I will have recording nothing, edited nothing...

    I know I SHOULD wait, it's just that nothing is getting done. And the want is beginning to creep into need. Toying with my options. Thanks for your advice though, it probably is the most sensible lol
  7. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Well my 27" maxed out 3.4 I7 with the 2GB GPU option and 16GB of RAM is doing pretty much the tasks you want to do, and it does it well....I know it's an expensive machine, but top spec is where you need to be if that type of work is your desire...Add to it a Pegasus R4 (Thunderbolt) and your good to go. I know it's frustrating, but I'm lucky enough not to be in my upgrade year, and am planning on a Mac Pro next year.

    Attached Files:

  8. AndyCarolan macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2012
    If you were to get a 2011 iMac, it will be far better than having nothing at all and will of course be a very capable machine for many years to come :)

    Dont forget that Resale values on Macs is pretty good, so if you did decide to upgrade, you would probably get a big chunk of your cash back anyway
  9. LRO thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2012
    Perhaps may be my option, I may get the 2011 and then save,save,save,save to buy the mac pro redesign.

    Presuming that the 'Mac 2012' is merely a spec bump, is the Ivy Bridge a massive improvement on Sandy bridge?

    It's good to know that setup does the job for what I am looking to do, I would be getting the same spec as you. Still running well after a year later of use?
  10. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    You'll get about 10% improvement in CPU power. There will also be an increase in GPU power, but that one is more difficult to predict. However, these will not be massive increases that would revolutionise your workflow and the current 3.4 iMac will serve you well.
  11. ggpike macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2006
    I picked up the base 21" model for my wife yesterday and have a Samsung SSD arriving today. Once that gets here I'm taking the still boxed iMac and SSD to a nearby Apple Authorized Service Provider who will install the SSD plus more memory themselves which will enable me to not break AppleCare or warranty. That way I know the machine will be viable for a long time to come and still be serviceable. Might be something to look into if you're wanting to add SSD at today's cost and for significantly less and still have support in place. Check with your AASP before you take the plunge though.
  12. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Sooth as silk, the Ivy Bridge CPU coupled with a large SSD WOULD be an increase in performance though...trouble is, we just don't know when. It's just speculation until Apple decide to pull the trigger.
  13. LRO thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2012
    As a PC user and employed technician, its such a culture change going to buy a mac. That there is literally one set of specs (that can be upgraded, but its one set of hardware essentially) in one machine. And that for 'improved specs' you actually have to wait for the company to decide to put it in. It's a very bizarre problem when looking at it through 'pc user' glasses.

    Think personally I'm going to wait until the 1st of August and then buy the 2011 iMac or the 2012 MBP with external screen, depending on cost efficiency. (More than like likely 2011 imac). I will then check back constantly for 14 days so I can return it if the imac is released... if not then I will not visit the apple website or MacRumors until I see an iphone 5 advert on the tv, so I can't see the Mac 2012 unveiled and be disappointed lol. Not that I will be disappointed, but more in a financial sense.
  14. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    Today's post unfortunately has some credibility.. I still have a sliver of hope but Sept-Oct for new iMacs looks more likely. Apple kind of painted themselves into a corner with manufacturing issues and now they're going to have a big bang month with more products than people can spend money on.
  15. jackoatmon macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2011
    I do a great deal of 1080p video editing on my 2011 iMac 27" 6970m 2gVRAM 16gRAM 3.4hgz. That's why I bought it. I also shoot Canon DSLR.

    And it never, ever slows down on me or gives me any problems, no matter how many effects and whatnot I do. It renders ultra fast and transcodes to Prores in the background smooth as butter and very fast.

    It's fantastic for video editing and though there will always be a spec bump in the future, the current gen is way more than sufficient for serious video editing and motion graphics.
  16. LRO thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2012
    That's great to know Jack, thank-you for your input. I half wish I never even looked at the MacRumors "when to buy", because I just would have gone for it and would've been blissfully ignorant.

    Although 400 days old, it still sounds like it does the job I need it for, and I'm sure there are ways around USB 3. It does also raise the point, that what if there is a spec bump released in September... but without retina. And a retina imac is rumoured for early 2013 with yet another spec tweak. This waiting game could become a difficult circle. I'll wait until the 1st as I say, but probably go for it - as it sounds like it will do me well for a long time and at least then I can get started!

    It may not be 100% sensible, but judging by the helpful comments, it's not a bad idea either. It's the nature of technology.

    If only I hadn't tried an imac and got hook on FCP in college! 7 and lightworks would've been fine ;)
  17. tomgomes macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2012
    MacBook Pro Retina

    I just bought the new MacBook Pro Retina with 512 SSD memory upgrade and 16 GB Ram upgrade. I do a lot of graphics, video, multi panorama stitching etc.and I can tell you that this machine is everything you want. I can load a thousand raw images (canon 7D) in Adobe Bridge using the USB 3.0 ports and be up and running very quickly. I used to have to go out and have lunch while I waited for the images to download and then for Bridge to render the thumbnails to the point of being workable. With more and more Thunderbolt devices entering the market (I just ordered the WD 4GB thunderbolt drive for backup) waiting days are over.
  18. LRO thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2012
    Hi Tom, Could I ask what your setup is? Do you have an external monitor?
    My other option was of course the MBP with screen that would then go portable when I get my Imac 2012, later than planned. It's good to hear it handles everything well and quickly, I always still feel like the old Desktop > Laptop advice for editing still applies.
  19. iMacFarlane macrumors 65816


    Apr 5, 2012
    Adrift in a sea of possibilities
    Two things:
    For the USB3 'workaround' for a 2011 iMac you mentioned above: Thunderbolt to USB3 adapter. Solved.

    My two cents:
    I've been waiting for "the New iMac" since January, hopped on this forum in April, can't believe it's already the end of July and still no 2012 model . . .
    I 'lost' my iMac (we'll leave it at that), so in order to build towards my goals as an iOS dev, my 2006 Dell Inspiron laptop just wouldn't do. I bought a base 13" MBP to hold me over. It was $1200. Yes, it set me back, but I'll still get a beefed 27" iMac when they drop later (this year?). Then, I'll still have my MBP for portability. I know for your case and your interests you need screen real estate, but if you are indeed starting out as a hobbyist/enthusiast, why not cut your teeth on the MBP and really get to know what you're doing, then go nuts on your top specced 27" iMac later on? I would imagine if you had enough cash in the bank to afford the absolute top specs on the 27" iMac, the price of the base MBP wouldn't be prohibitive.

    And by the way, the computer rocks. It blows the doors off of my 2009 21.5" iMac in every way.
  20. LRO thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2012
    That's a good point - do you think the bottom end MBP would handle what I'm looking at doing? I'm unsure with how it would handle it. I would probably get a DELL 27" screen as a tie-over I'd probably total $1800 ish? I could then save for the 2/3/4/5 months til iMac 2012, and then I'd still have my portable option after than plus a screen.

    I was considering the totally top spec mbp, but your suggestion makes, alot of sense finance wise - if the specs can handle the job.

    Frustrating - many, many options I could take come 1st of August!
  21. angusmcfisher macrumors member

    Dec 18, 2009
    I am a freelance music producer and composer and have been in a similar situation to you. My MBP 2009 isn't able to sustain many high-end plugins such as LASS, Symphobia etc. so I have been waiting for the latest iMac for a long time.

    I've just bought the 2011 iMac 3.4Ghz, and if when the time comes that I want the newer iMac, then I shall just sell the 2011 iMac on eBay. Frankly, my creative output couldn't afford to be hampered any longer, and if I lose £200-300 in the process then it has still been worthwhile because I've been able to get on with work. I suggest you just buy it now, and adapt as necessary.
  22. LRO thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2012
    Angus did you just buy? I totally agree on the time lost. I've had demos ready to record since February, and planned to get going "when the new imac comes in March" lol. I'm sure you in the same field understand what that frustration feels like.
  23. angusmcfisher macrumors member

    Dec 18, 2009
    Absolutely. I've been waiting since March too but my most recent project suffered an awful lot on the MacBook Pro - so much so that I realised I couldn't hold out any longer.

    As for whether the base MBP would suffice for your needs, I would have to say it depended on what you were looking to achieve on both avenues:


    For Logic related work, I can record any number of channels without a problem, running each channel with any number of FX and getting away with simply Freezing tracks. If you are primarily a Recording Engineer then I'd say that any MB will suffice, be it a 2012 MacBook Air or a 2009 MacBook Pro. It might actually be worth looking into an older generation 17" if you're interested in the screen estate.

    However, if you (like me) do a lot of sequencing using high end sample libraries then I would suggest that you go for the 2011 iMac.

    Another thing which may be worth considering is purchasing Vienna Ensemble Pro which allows you to spread the load between many machines. Even though I've bought the 2011 iMac, should this inevitably cease to be enough then I can enhance it by networking another computer and using its processing power with mine. Even Mini's are good for this.


    For video, my 2009 MBP struggles to use FCPX. I'd certainly recommend an iMac or 2011 MBP 17" for this.

    Hope this is of some help.
  24. WesCole macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2010
    And where would a person find these Thunderbolt to USB3 adapters?
  25. tomgomes macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2012
    I have the Thunderbolt display with my superdrive connected, Lan line connected and will add my new WD Thunderbolt HD when I receive it in a few days. The Thunderbolt display is designed to be a docking station....all I have to do is connect the power cable and Thunderbolt a key on my bluetooth keyboard and I'm in business. I have my printers connected through my network.
    The Thunderbolt display is fantastic, but the only drawback as a docking station is USB 2 connectivity. I'm sure the next generation Thunderbolt display will have USB 3.0.
    I forgot to add that the Macbook retina has an incredible display. I use it in the new "Large Mode"(they don't use resolution numbers anymore) which is the equivalent of you see a lot of real estate on a 15 inch screen.

Share This Page