iMac retina for general user

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ohenriquez, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. ohenriquez macrumors member


    Dec 7, 2005
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Dear Members

    I would like to buy a new iMac but I have read some reviews that the general user would not notice the difference as they have to sit really close to the iMac to benefit from the retina and that if they sit at a normal distance, they would not notice the difference

    My use would be mainly writing, editing documents and browsing Safari

    I dont do video editing

    I also read that the older iMacs could be used as second display

    All in all, if as a general user, I would be able to work with sharper fonts and websites that look much better, I would prefer of course the retina version

    I have no access to a store in which I can compare both

    I don't want to spend extra money for an iMac that would look the same for general user

    Thanks in advance for any help
  2. teerexx52 macrumors 68000


    May 1, 2005
    Florida West Coast
    I would say there is no more of a general user than myself. I do some word processing, image editing, email, surfing. Been a Mac user for many many years and have had several iMacs. After having a retina Macbook Pro I always found the iMacs screen a disappointment. I decided to try the retina iMac and in my opinion the screen is nothing but spectacular. Yes, I notice the difference over the non retina iMac. Rather it is worth the extra money to you is something you personally will have to decide.
  3. TheralSadurns macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2010
    Well... there is no simple or easy answer to this question. But let me tell you about my own past experience.

    I helped a neighbor, who never had a Mac before, buy an iMac a couple of weeks ago. She's almost 70 but for her age more than in good condition with good vision etc..
    Her main motivation was a more or less maintenance free computer to work with documents and photos, and to create photo books.
    She is by no means an advanced user but wanted a 27" iMac to give her plenty of screen real-estate as well as the option to lower the resolution to make everything look bigger... should her eyes get worse in the next couple of years.

    We bought the base-line 27" iMac which is plenty powerful for her needs.
    One week later though... after she went back to the Apple Store, she decided she would rather have the Retina iMac which at first she deemed too expensive for her needs. The regular iMac was fine for her, but looking at them side-by-side in the store the difference was HUGE.
    The thing is, the non-retina iMac's display is already very very good. Hands down. But the Retina display is just so much better. She could see that with her 70 year old eyes. And so can I. And you don't even have to sit THAT close to it to.

    You'd be happy with either.

    What you should also consider is that though:
    The Retina iMac IS a lot more expensive, but it also houses more powerful components like a Fusion Drive standard. If you factor in these costs the price difference between retina and non-retina are rather small.

    I'm not sure this was of much help to you now... but okay...
    my point is... if you have the additional ~$800 to spend... spend it. You will not regret it.
  4. Steveatesh macrumors regular


    Oct 29, 2014
    North east England
    For your needs the retina will be perfect. Do a lot of general computing like you, plus photography. I have the base retina and I've never looked back.

    For general use it is astonishingly clear. Lots of screen room too to have different windows open.

    It's a clear winner for what you need it for.
  5. JonathanGennick macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2011
    I do a lot of writing. Older eyes. Lots of looking at text all day long. Retina hands down, imho. I've looked at both in the Apple Store. Text on the retina model is sharper.
  6. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    You will absolutely notice the difference and you're far more likely to regret NOT buying the retina iMac than you would saving money on non-retina.

    Eye fatigue is no longer a factor for me with my rMBP and I can't imagine ever going back.
  7. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    I find that the text in the retina iMac is larger and more easily readable compared to the normal 27" iMac.

    It's definitely a luxury, but one which is most welcome if you are willing to pay for it.
  8. Mindinversion macrumors 6502


    Oct 9, 2008
    I just purchased a Retina 5k iMac yesterday. I also have a custom built high end desktop PC running windows, and attached to it is a 27" Apple Cinema Display [2560 x 1440]

    I'm relatively close to them [both are between 12 and 14" away] but the difference is staggeringly night and day. When I zoom in on website texts you can really REALLY see/sense the improved clarity.

    Honestly I can't conceive of someone sitting SO far back from the screen that they can't notice a difference.

    And in all fairness, by the time you compare .. well .. "Apples to Apples" (I'm sorry, I'm sorry) by the time you add in a fusion drive or SSD, the difference in price is really nonexistent [again, that's personal preference, but I'm an SSD convert...I COULDN'T go back]

    Just food for thought.
  9. Korky macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2014
    I'd say I'm a general user too....always had windows based desktop or laptops.

    Something inside me wanted a Mac and I nearly purchased one in July/Aug time but thought I'd check nothing new was on horizon.

    It was and I waited...saw them side by side in Apple shop and bought the 5k.

    I use it for (very little at the moment) but surfing the net, playing music, getting in to photo editing and videos as I want to capture the little ones growing up.

    Only had it a couple of weeks and in the little I've got round to using it, it truely is immense.

    Yes it's a lot of cash but I have to say worth every penny whether it's a base spec or slightly upgraded to full whack!
  10. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    You can probably find somebody with a newer smartphone. Say a recent Samsung or Apple, with retina screens. Compare to a computer monitor. It's a HUGE difference.

    Yes, the optimal closeness for a 5k iMac is 16" vs 32" for a regular iMac, with normal viewing being about 24". So you'd still see the difference. And just slide it a bit closer.

    Or go for any one of the portable retina alternatives.

    Having a non-retina screen, unless you have specific uses for older tech, like color gamut issues, is like having an original iPhone. It's like having a screen door over you Mac. Yuck. Any new iMac is pretty expensive; I would either not buy anything than buy something with spinning hard drives or non retina screens.
  11. thalazy macrumors regular

    Jul 6, 2012
    In a van down by the river.

    I would totally recommend one to anyone. I don't do any photo editing or video editing or make apps. I surf the web, some light gaming and that's all. The display is amazing and just surfing the web on this thing is a sight to behold. I did go to a Best Buy after it was released and saw one in person. After I did that I knew I wanted one, went to an Apple store on Halloween and checked out both the Retina imac and the 1440p imac and while the 1440p screen was great, there was a huge difference in the detail. No jaggies in the icons and the crisp text. Checking out 4K video clips are also a big factor in the appreciation of this screen.
  12. MacGurl111 macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2010
    I first got the retina iPhone and couldn't go back to any other display. I find that even the HD displays aren't as clear as the retina. I love the retina and it is very easy on the eyes.
    I have a MBP 2010 model and a rMBP 15 inch, my daughter gave me her 2010 to clean while she was using my rMBP and didn't want to give it back to me. She asked if she could get a computer with the same screen. She said that my screen is so much clearer and easy on her eyes. She is only 10. :D

    In the past, I have found that when I settle for something less than what I wanted, I'm usually disappointed. If I just go with what I had initially wanted, I would have been happier. So, go with what you want and don't settle. You might end up disappointed. :D


    I saw the Samsung 4k curved screen. I drooled! I found out there was a 5k iMac and couldn't believe it. My husband didn't even believe me! LOL :p
  13. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    Things will look better.

    But, beware that website images will appear lower quality than what you're used to (unless they begin to offer 'retina' resolution images, like Apple's website). Not a big deal, and I'd get over it if I had a retina screen. Would be nice if the web world really rapidly adopted 'retina' supported graphics though.
  14. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    The classic (non-retina) iMac wouldn't do for me after having used a rMBP for two years, but I really wanted a desktop. So badly in fact I even got a 2010 iMac, but its display quality was much worse coming from the rMBP.

    After waiting five months I ordered my Retina iMac on launch day. The quality of this display is just as good if not better than the one on the rMBP and definitely worth the extra money.
  15. Mindinversion, Dec 14, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2014

    Mindinversion macrumors 6502


    Oct 9, 2008
    The optimal closeness should be relatively the same due to display scaling. The 5k iMac screen actually scales to a "best for retina display" which equates out to 2560 x 1440. Of course due to pixel density the image is a lot SHARPER. . but everything is roughly the same size..unless you play with the display settings.

    I'd argue this somewhat as I haven't noticed this at all, but it raises a question: Do alternative browsers [specifically Chrome] suffer from the same display scaling issues that plagued Windows machines until recently? I suppose I could check myself, but I've gotten so used to continuity handoffs from my iDevices that it doesn't even occur to me to use chrome these days...
  16. ohenriquez thread starter macrumors member


    Dec 7, 2005
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I will get the iMac Retina

    I am grateful for your invauable input

    Oh yes, the diaply quality justifies the price in my opinion
    It is interesting how the "experts" recommend the high spec model to the "power" user
    I would not accept compromise on display quality especially because I already have a Macbook Pro with Retina
    The higher specs also make this purchase a no brainer for me

    I do plenty of word editing, iPhoto, research, project management and presentations and I cann see myself taking advantage of this machine in years to come

    Thanks again for your help
  17. senseless macrumors 68000


    Apr 23, 2008
    Pennsylvania, USA
    The iMac easily has a 5 year life. The retina cost premium is $700, which is only $140 per year to have a much nicer viewing experience, fusion drive and other improvements.
  18. Mindinversion, Dec 15, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2014

    Mindinversion macrumors 6502


    Oct 9, 2008
    Food for thought:

    To save on manufacturing costs, all the RiMacs are going to use the same cooling solution [you don't have to source a second set of parts and have different assembly lines during manufacturing, etc]

    Those cooling solutions are built to the high end i7 with the M295x, which means if you get the lower end i5 with the M290x, you can actually push the hardware FARTHER while generating less heat and with an increased heat dissipation capacity.

    Which means, unless you're a professional A/V editor processing hog tons of video and absolutely NEED Hyper Threading, as a "power user" you'll probably get more straight line performance out of the i5 ANYWAY.
  19. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    I would recommend the M295X to anyone as it helps to cut down lag system-wide. I constantly hear people complain about lag on the M290X and I can't see what they're talking about :p

    If you don't mind that your iMac may produce slightly more heat while playing Candy Crush or that it kicks the fans on a bit more often, the M295X is a good buy. The cooling system was designed to handle the extra heat it produces.
  20. iPhisch macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2010
    Speaking of general use, after surfing and messing around with iPhoto all weekend then coming back to work and trying to use my 14" dell POS, I feel like I need to change my contacts. I can't even read this fuzzy, washed out LCD.
  21. cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502


    Apr 2, 2012
    Somewhere In Time
    New J-O-B

    It's time to find a job where Mac is the preferred computer. But you knew that already, didn't you? :)

    Back on topic
    I chose non-Retina because I couldn't really see much difference — I'm old and have crappy eyesight. If my local Apple Store had put the iMacs side-by-side rather than back-to-back I might have made a different choice.

    As it is, I'm very happy with my iMac. I upgraded from an 11" MBA connected to an old 20" Acer LCD. I do photo editing in Lightroom — no issues.
  22. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Not quite. The beauty of retina on the iMac is that it is adaptive. When I work with images in Lightroom, Aperture, Graphic Converter, etc etc (and ditto for video) the IMAGES are shown at 1:1, i.e. pixel for pixel. It doesn not equate to 2560x1440; if I move one to my other 2560x1440 monitor it doubles in size. But the UI elements (menubar, icons, buttons, etc) all stay the same, and as you note look the same size as on that 2560x1440 (just drawn twice as finely).

    The distance I'm referring to is the closest you can get before seeing pixels. The advantage in editing photos close up like that is well, awesome. It's amazing technology.
  23. Mindinversion, Dec 16, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014

    Mindinversion macrumors 6502


    Oct 9, 2008
    I'm REALLY lost here. . . what kind of "lag" are you referring to???

    GPUs do not cause system lag. If they run out of memory during something like gaming then, yes, it'll have to refresh and that can cause momentary freezes, but you won't see that on the desktop.

    And I wouldn't worry about a little more temp on candy crush either. 103c CPU on die temps while playing Diablo 3 and WoW, however, no thank you.
  24. ohenriquez thread starter macrumors member


    Dec 7, 2005
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I bought mine and upgraded to 3 TB as I need the space

    Thanks for your excellent advice

    The screen feels better than the rMBP or at least it is my impression
  25. Korky macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2014
    Have to say am loving the's an amazing piece of kit and i haven't really done anything other than general use with it yet

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