iMac stagnation? late 2015 vs late 2018 ..

mtbdudex

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 28, 2007
1,776
131
SE Michigan
My late 2015 27" iMac "seems" capable still for the tasks we do as a family with 3 kids ages 16/14/12 and my wife and I. However .... We are a 2 computer family + smart devices, iPhones all but the 12 year old - at 13 is when our kids get a smartphone.

I started looking at a 2nd desktop, the 2015 iMac is in the 2nd floor loft, thinking was putting another 27" iMac as kids computer in the basement craft/study room.
Kids do a lot of multi-media stuff, pictures/video, so looking for a iMac over a MacBook.
Yea - sometimes we "fight" over the 27" iMac, my photo hobby and them...

Looking at the 2015 specs vs the 2018, 3 years later I'm kinda shocked at the stagnation of the iMac series.
Seems like just speed bumps in the processor, but still a i7 as "best"processor? speed wise 5% by 4.2Ghz vs 4 Ghz, then the memory is 2.5Ghz DDR4 vs 1.6Ghz DDR3 .. so all told maybe the 2018 is ... 10-15% "faster" real world?

Forget the iMac Pro, that's uber expensive for home use, commercial people can write it off tax wise.

What's up with iMac stagnation? I dunno, I'd expect easily say 25-35% faster 3 years later, and what happened to that famous law ... Moore's law doubling every 18-24 months ...

Looking at the 2018 iMac, I am kinda perplexed at the 3TB Fusion drive - no bigger than 3 years ago, I'd think fusion drive would be like 1TB SSD for system and 6TB HDD for a 7TB Fusion drive by now, as SSD are way overpriced still.

Specs of the late 2015 iMac


Specs of the late 2018 iMac, $2.8k; I put 16GB RAM but would do the base + upgrade myself.




Note:
I posted this in the digital forum because .. it's where I still hang out and primary usage is photos/video and related still ....
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,209
5,554
The 2017 iMacs are very nice -- helped a friend buy and set up one earlier this year.

I expect the 2019 iMacs to appear in the April/May/June timeframe.
Like the Mac Mini, I wouldn't expect much in the way of changes to the "outward appearance" (other than perhaps Space Grey). All the improvements will be on the inside...
 

vertical smile

macrumors 68040
Sep 23, 2014
3,946
5,144
As others have mentioned the iMac that you are referring as the "Late 2018" is actually the Mid 2017.

You have to keep that in mind when comparing specs.

There might be another iMac coming out soon, but of course, no one knows when. There were threads on this forum that with posts saying that the new iMac would have been out last spring, which never happened. Then last summer, then fall, then late fall, then before the end of 2018...... All has not happened, obviously.

The point is that no one knows when it would happen. 10 months ago, I thought it was going to be out as early as the end of the year like the Late 2012's or the spring of next years. But, there still has not been any rumors related to the iMac, so I am thinking that it might be Late spring to early summer now.

If you can wait, I am sure that the specs will be much better than they are now. But again, waiting is no guarantee, as it could be 2020 before the next iMac comes out.

So, you can look at older Macs. The problem with a new one, is that they are so expensive for being so old. Even recent new ones hold their values really well.

You can check out Apple's Refurbished page, but usually the discounts are not that much versus sales at Best Buy and other places.


Did you consider getting a Mac Mini? The SSD upgrade prices really suck, but at least the RAM can be done at a later date.
[doublepost=1545928942][/doublepost]
What does this thread have to do with photography?:confused:
The OP posted this:
Note:
I posted this in the digital forum because .. it's where I still hang out and primary usage is photos/video and related still ....
There are probably better places for the thread...
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Back in 2015 I gave up on iMacs and chose a MBP which had exactly the specs I wanted right out of the box and offered more flexibility in terms of usage -- I could add an external monitor if desired, external peripherals if desired, etc., and of course it provides more portability than the iMac, too. I find it very disconcerting and disappointing that the specs on a current iMac are almost the same as my last iMac, which I had bought in 2012! Apple should not be still sticking 5400 rpm HDDs in their 21.5" iMacs in 2018 heading into 2019, but they are, which to me is appalling. When I started thinking about a new machine this year I didn't even consider an iMac at all.

I agree with others that probably this thread would have fit in better in the iMac discussion subforum rather than the digital photography forum, as it really is more about the machine itself, its specs and configuration rather than anything else, even though the intended use may be for working with digital images.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BluefinTuna

kanselmo

macrumors member
Jul 21, 2010
63
46
I have the same iMac as you, late 2015 i7, though I have a 512 gb ssd and only 2 gb of ram on the video card. I've been figuring on upgrading in the upcoming year, but looking at what's available, the next refresh would have to be a pretty huge one to really make it worthwhile. The longevity is great, on the other hand. Whether this computer stays with me or not, I expect it to still be running well years from now.
 

Darmok N Jalad

macrumors 68000
Sep 26, 2017
1,988
6,435
Tanagra
2017 base 5K user here, with no complaints (work in Lightroom). Part of your complaint could be aimed at Intel—namely the end of Moore’s law. Their improvements have largely been stagnant from Skylake up until recently, but now they have supply issues which turns into pricing issues.

One factor you haven’t included is the GPU. The best you could get in 2015 for the iMac was the M395, a 1792 shader at 834mhz with 2GB VRAM, versus the 2017 model with up to a Pro 580, with 2304 shaders at 1257mhz and 8GB VRAM. Even the base 2017 5K has a better GPU with more VRAM. The GPU upgrade is probably somewhere around 35% improvement.

That said, I do wonder what will happen to the iMac. If they drop in the now possible Intel 6C CPU with some sort of Vega GPU, that would get it dangerously close to the much more expensive iMac Pro. Apple kinda boxed themselves in when they launched the iMac Pro—maybe they just drop the 8C/16T model if they update the iMac?
 
Last edited:

mtbdudex

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 28, 2007
1,776
131
SE Michigan
Ok - so this thread got moved ... my point in posting it to the digital photography forum is I consider the art of photography has 3 core parts:

  1. Gear; the actual real physical tools used to capture the image; camera, lens, tripod ..
  2. Software; the actual media used to hold the image, manipulate it, enhance it, etc. Both computer hardware and software for digital, film / slide and darkroom methods for physical media
  3. Creativity; me/you/us/they; the person who can hold copyright to the image .. ; how and why each of us take what we do, perceptions, our brain , our style, technique, etc
It's a interactive scheme, and each of us focus's on 1 part of the other at times.
For me, the iMac allows me to be more creative, like having the right gear for the type of photography trying to accomplish does.

27" screen give much freedom to view/edit and multitask.
The huge Fusion drive - never worry about storage.
Mac = rock solid reliability.

Hence I was and am dis-appointed at 3 full years later no real change in the line-up ... as it affected my possible purchase timing, etc....

I'll probably make a thread on the 3 core parts of photography in the digital photo forum to further this discussion.
 
Last edited:

kschendel

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
1,027
322
A big part of the issue is Intel stagnation. There have been incremental improvements, but a 9th gen CPU really isn't all that much faster than a 2015 6th gen CPU (Skylake). I'm not sure we would even have seen the 9th gen improvements except that AMD Ryzen has given Intel a boot in the behind. (Ryzen can't yet match intel for max clocks or IPC, but right now they are the best value desktop CPU on the market, IMO.)
 

fathergll

macrumors 65816
Sep 3, 2014
1,389
781
Ok - so this thread got moved ... my point in posting it to the digital photography forum is I consider the art of photography has 3 core parts:

  1. Gear; the actual real physical tools used to capture the image; camera, lens, tripod ..
  2. Software; the actual media used to hold the image, manipulate it, enhance it, etc. Both computer hardware and software for digital, film / slide and darkroom methods for physical media
  3. Creativity; me/you/us/they; the person who can hold copyright to the image .. ; how and why each of us take what we do, perceptions, our brain , our style, technique, etc
It's a interactive scheme, and each of us focus's on 1 part of the other at times.
For me, the iMac allows me to be more creative, like having the right gear for the type of photography trying to accomplish does.

27" screen give much freedom to view/edit and multitask.
The huge Fusion drive - never worry about storage.
Mac = rock solid reliability.

Hence I was and am dis-appointed at 3 full years later no real change in the line-up ... as it affected my possible purchase timing, etc....

I'll probably make a thread on the 3 core parts of photography in the digital photo forum to further this discussion.

Regardless the answer to your question is what others have already stated. You are comparing a computer released October 13, 2015 to one released June 5, 2017. I would become more familiar with how Apple releases their products such as using the Wiki for Retina Imac and look at the iMac timeline for releases to give you a better idea. You will need to wait for the next revision for large updates.
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
390
The Sillie Con Valley
What's up with iMac stagnation? I dunno, I'd expect easily say 25-35% faster 3 years later
Actually, if you have a factory SSD, read/write performance doubled in 2017.

Even better, this can be made retroactive to the 2015 iMac by substituting a NVMe quad chip such as the Samsung 970 EVO in the PCIe bus.

2017 introduced the iMac Pro. Was that not a major upgrade? Apple kept the older design iMac available at the same prices but made it faster.

Other than that, this is a very tired subject duplicated in many older threads. I'm outta here.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,209
5,554
I sense that the 2019 iMacs are going to be "a nice jump up", upgrade-wise.

However, I'm NOT expecting much in the way of outward appearance changes (except for space grey). All the improvements will be INSIDE, which is "where it counts"...
 

theluggage

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2011
4,042
2,722
I sense that the 2019 iMacs are going to be "a nice jump up", upgrade-wise.
Well, all Apple need to do is update the processors to the latest "generation" and they'll gain two extra cores across the range - which will be the biggest speed bump for some time. At the moment, the Mac Mini out-CPUs the iMac for that reason.

However, I'm NOT expecting much in the way of outward appearance changes
Now that there are 65W, 6-core i7 chips that out-perform the current 91W 4-core i7, it would actually be a good opportunity to take advantage of the cooler-running chips to shrink and "de-chin/de-bezel" the regular iMac. I'm assuming that we can only have 2 Thunderbolt ports because of a lack of PCIe lanes (although maybe if they drop the SATA controller...?) - personally I'd settle for a DisplayPort or HDMI so you didn't have to "waste" TB/USB-C ports on external displays.

However, I've got a nasty suspicion that all we'll see this year is the Mythical Modular Mac Pro...
 
  • Like
Reactions: BluefinTuna

MandiMac

macrumors 6502a
Feb 25, 2012
656
304
It is quite funny. If Apple refreshes their Mac line-up every year, people complain about the updates not being useful. Apple heard this.

Now they‘ve switched to the „wait long enough so the updates are worth their money“ approach. Users are complaining that the updates take too long time. Nice :D

For my part, if we get all-SSD, redesigned cooling and some Vega/Navi graphics, I‘m sold, whenever it turns out to come.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PeterJP

mreg376

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2008
1,120
309
Brooklyn, NY
There's no 2018 iMac, so that's part of the problem. Every iMac configuration is outdated.
That may seem true, but the 27" 2017 iMac, which is still a very fast and capable machine, MAY be the last iMac with easy user-upgradeable RAM, AND Apple may bump up the basic price by 20% or so, as it has to many of its new offerings. So there is a school of thought to grab a 2017 27" now, or your future better-spec'd and RAM-rich iMac may be significantly more expensive.
 

MandiMac

macrumors 6502a
Feb 25, 2012
656
304
That may seem true, but the 27" 2017 iMac, which is still a very fast and capable machine, MAY be the last iMac with easy user-upgradeable RAM, AND Apple may bump up the basic price by 20% or so, as it has to many of its new offerings. So there is a school of thought to grab a 2017 27" now, or your future better-spec'd and RAM-rich iMac may be significantly more expensive.
I guess in Austria the new base price of the high-end model will be 2.999,00 instead of 2.599,00 because the new standard includes 512 GB SSD, 16 GB RAM and a better display.
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
"The base model 21.5-inch 4K iMac in particular has new 32 GB memory and 1 TB SSD upgrade options for the first time." Yep -- and they STILL offer the baseline model starting at 5400rpm HDD and 8 GB RAM!!!! The unwary who go into the Apple store and just buy one "off the shelf" are going to be mighty disappointed when that painfully slow HDD and small amount of RAM fail to be as responsive or speedy as they should be, especially when Apple's own OS is now designed to work more effectively and efficiently with SSD.