iMac Purchase Advice (Urgent!)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by novi4ok, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. novi4ok macrumors newbie

    novi4ok

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2018
    #1
    Hello!

    I’m about to place an order for an iMac and I need some advice on which configuration to get from the two below:

    21.5 inch iMac 3.6GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 512GB or 256GB SSD Radeon Pro 560 with 4GB video memory Magic Mouse 2

    iMac 27inch 3.4GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 256GB SSD Radeon Pro 570 with 4GB video memory

    I plan to use it for coding, academic coursework, graphic design, occasional gaming, etc.

    Is there a big difference between an i5 or i7 processor? Are these configs good for long-term use? What others would you suggest? I’d prefer not go over 2k USD (I'm not in the US so the prices are higher here unfortunately).

    I plan to get an external SSD drive as well since I don’t like having too many files and stuff on my computer so I am okay with 256/512gb as I heard the SSD drive would be better than a fusion one.

    Thank you!
     
  2. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000

    nambuccaheadsau

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    #2
    256GB SSD is not large enough. Get the 512GB and avoid a Fusion Drive. Also the 27" iMac is much better than the 21.5". User upgradeable memory for starters.
     
  3. novi4ok thread starter macrumors newbie

    novi4ok

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    Apr 4, 2018
    #3
    What about the i5 or i7 processor? If I were to get the 27 inch with 8gb ram, 512ssd and an i5 3.4ghz is it still better than the 21 inch configs I posted above? Thanks!
     
  4. Sciuriware macrumors 6502

    Sciuriware

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    #4
    From the expected usage: choose the slowest CPU and load the box full of memory.
    It's a money trade off that gives you more speed than a fast CPU.
    ;JOOP!
     
  5. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    #5
    I would suggest the 27" with 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD. With the 27" it is extremely simple to upgrade the RAM while everything else is behind the glued in display. The 27" is overall a faster machine with a better graphics card and a larger display and easily upgradeable RAM.
     
  6. Sciuriware macrumors 6502

    Sciuriware

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    #6
    Start with 16Gb memory, otherwise you can never upgrade to 32Gb without wasting money.
    The fusion drive is as fast as a big SSD, if you concentrate on 200Gb worth of files.
    I wrote an app that reads my favourite files every hour, causing them to settle on the SSD part.
    ;JOOP!
     
  7. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    #7
    Is there any reason for buying one now?

    New iMacs are normally released around June, may be better to wait a couple of months if you can.

    As for specs, 27" for upgradable memory, avoid the fusion at all costs would be my advice. I would also personally ignore the advice above regarding memory. Always buy the lowest ram you can from Apple when it's user replaceable. Apple charge $200 to go from 8GB to 16GB. You can buy 16GB (2x8) from crucial for $191 here: http://www.crucial.com/usa/en/imac-...4ghz-intel-core-i5,-2017)-imac18,3/CT10559878

    And you'll still have your 8GB to use, giving you 24GB total.
     
  8. novi4ok thread starter macrumors newbie

    novi4ok

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2018
    #8
    Hi,

    Thanks for the link and advice! Yes my laptop broke after 7 years and I urgently need a new unit for work so I thought I would just get an iMac since it’s more powerful than a MacBook pro.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 5, 2018 ---
    Thanks! Do you think a fusion drive with an i7 processor will be as good as a 27inch with an ssd?
     
  9. willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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    #9
    No. Get pure SSD if you can.

    Get 27” and less RAM then buy your own RAM for cheaper and put in yourself.
     
  10. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #10
    The i7 will give you hyper threading in apps that can make use of virtual cores, probably not essential for a student. The ssd will speed up everything immeasurably no matter your workload or use case. It’s your choice but an ssd in a 27 inch with user upgradeable ram (add 16gb for 24gb total) and an i5 would probably be my choice with the best gpu I could afford as that’s the most likely thing to impact longevity. If you can wait (I realise that’s not likely) then this years model should have hex core and vega graphics of some sort.
     
  11. novi4ok thread starter macrumors newbie

    novi4ok

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2018
    #11
    Thanks a lot! I wish I could wait but unfortunately I can’t.

    I decided to go for this set up
    iMac 27inch
    • 3.4GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz
    • 8GB 2400MHz DDR4
    • 512GB SSD
    • Radeon Pro 570 with 4GB video memory
    I am also considering this version:
    27inch
    3.5GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz
    8GB 2400MHz DDR4
    256GB SSD
    Radeon Pro 575 with 4GB video memory

    I use an external drive for most of my files. But I guess a 512gb ssd is more important than a faster processor?
     
  12. willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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    #12
    If you generally use an external drive for most files all day, go with the slightly faster processor. I could be wrong but I think your choke point is going to be your external drives’s connection.
     
  13. mlody macrumors 6502a

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    Location:
    Windy City
    #13
    The jump from i5 3.4 to i5 3.5 is soo insignificant, I would not even bother with it. Save yourself money and invest it into something else for the computer
     
  14. willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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    #14
    Does that model not also get the upgraded GPU as well?
     
  15. mlody macrumors 6502a

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    Windy City
    #15
    It does have improved graphics, you are right. How much better the video is, that I cant comment on.
     
  16. alkar macrumors regular

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    Jan 12, 2008
    #16
    Don't get a fusion drive. Performances aside it's noisy as hell.
     
  17. theluggage macrumors 68040

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    Jul 29, 2011
    #17
    How much internal storage did you have on your old machine, and how did you get on with that? If 256GB was OK for you on an old MacBook and you are in the habit of keeping most of your files externally, it will be OK on a new iMac.

    The difference in the two processors/GPUs is not likely to be huge - but its not something you can expand or supplement after purchase. You can always look up the benchmark results. Again, what are you upgrading from? Unless your old laptop iwas a top-end quad i7 and your work takes advantage of hyperthreading then either iMac is likely to be a useful upgrade.

    I mean, I'd get the faster CPU and the 512GB HD if I could afford it - hopefully this is going to last you for another 5+ years so there's no point penny pinching - but if cash was tight I wouldn't rule out the slower CPU and only 256GB and put the money saved towards a 3rd-party DIY RAM upgrade.

    As for waiting - yeah, it will be frustrating for you if new hex-core iMacs come out in June, but nobody here has the remotest clue as to whether or not that will actually happen so you could just as easily wait in vain. Nor does anybody know what new "unfeatures" Apple may add to the next gen of iMacs - higher prices, no upgradeable RAM, fewer ports...
     
  18. willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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    #18
    Sound advice.

    Also, it isn’t called “unfeatures;” it’s called “courage.” :D
     
  19. novi4ok thread starter macrumors newbie

    novi4ok

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    Apr 4, 2018
    #19
    Thanks a lot! I had about 256gb on my macbook pro and with the external drive it was enough.

    I delete/reorganise my files on a regular basis anyway so I think that should work for me.

    So I ordered the midrange model but with a 256 ssd and I will get extra RAM from a third party. How much RAM would you suggest? Is it worth expanding it to the full 64?
     
  20. theluggage macrumors 68040

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    Jul 29, 2011
    #20
    Not for the sort of applications you mentioned! industrial-strength 4k+ video editing, compositing huge, hi-def multi-layer bitmaps, Audio production with large orchestras of sampled instruments etc. are the sort of things that have people looking for 64 GB RAM. Again, nothing magical has happened in the last 6 years to make you need vastly more RAM than in your MacBook Pro. 16GB is more than enough for general use.

    The 5k iMac comes with 2x4GB sticks. Sweet spot is probably to get a 16GB (2x8GB sticks) upgrade kit (from Crucial or similar - use their RAM finder to get the right chips) and put those in the two vacant sockets giving you 24GB total, with a future upgrade path to 32GB or 48GB by replacing the original 4GB sticks if you need it.
     
  21. novi4ok thread starter macrumors newbie

    novi4ok

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2018
    #21
    That’s good! I will pick one of those up then, really appreciate the help. I just hope I didn’t make a mistake with the SSD but will see how it goes:)
     
  22. willmtaylor, Apr 5, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018

    willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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    #22
    For your use case 16-32GB of RAM should be more than sufficient.
     
  23. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #23
    You should generally default to no on all upgrades. If you intend to order from a third party retailer, order the machine first. See how it runs with the base amount. If it's tight, then order an upgrade. Gaming is the most demanding application mentioned, and it may be fine with 8GB. This stuff becomes kind of a discussion because even minor outliers can often benefit quite a bit from extra ram. I think this was particularly true with some of the OSX versions from 5-8 years ago, specifically Lion, Mavericks, etc.
     
  24. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000

    nambuccaheadsau

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    #24
    Whilst Apple may announce new model line ups at WWDC in June, they are invariably released at year's end and known as 'late" whatever year, and generally become more fully available early in the New Year.

    Apple have announced they are abandoning Intel chips for their own so there may not be a model announced this year subject to how far they have reached in design and manufacture of these chips.
     
  25. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #25
    No, you can't generalise like that. While that was true last year for the iMac Pro and the Homepod, those were brand new product categories that didn't directly compete with major existing products. The updates to the regular iMac and MacBook Pro ranges were available pretty much immediately. Apple are not going to pre-announce an update to an existing product six months before it is actually available - go google "Osborne effect".

    In the past, roughly speaking, "early 20xx" models have been launched out of the blue (barring rumours) at ~March press events, "mid 20xx" models at WWDC and "late 20xx" models at October press events.

    However, the main thing is we don't know what is going to happen. New hex core iMacs would be plausible, but by no means certain. Personally, I don't think they're likely to make a top end hex-core i7 iMac 5k that would start to compete with the entry-level iMac Pro, and if there was going to be a major iMac re-design we'd probably be seeing leaked case photos by now (remember the MBP with TouchBar?) but I really, really wouldn't bet a penny on either of those.
     

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