iMac Upgrade Options for heavy photo and light video

Discussion in 'iMac' started by usethisname, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. usethisname macrumors newbie

    Dec 5, 2012
    hey guys! I know there are already a lot of threads about he new iMac but I was hoping for some specific advice about my choices.

    Background: I currently have a 15" MBP from this August. It is an Apple Care replacement from an MBP that crashed (originally bought in May 2010). I haven't yet bought Apple Care for the replacement machine, as I would rather put that money towards a new set-up and just ride this thing as long as it will go without a warranty. For some time I have been trying to move away from MBP and get an iMac + macbook air set-up. I also have a 1st-gen iPad I got as a gift that I rarely use. Tablets just aren't my thing.

    Usage: Daily, all day. Everything from Pages, Keynote, Excel for school and work to processing RAW images in Aperture, light video editing with GoPro, and Adobe CS6. My current MBP can't really handle Aperture smoothly, and it can be both frustrating and a deterrent to even take pictures. I am also edging into some bioinformatics and occasionally do light programming in Perl, work in linux, and process extremely large data files.

    I've been reading forums all day and have come to these conclusions:
    • No fusion drive. Instead get an external SSD down the line (LaCie?) and have more space, and get internal 3TB. Does this sound realistic? Will the external SSD work seamlessly with internal HHD?
    • Can't decide between the i5 or i7. I want to future-proof to some extent, but can't see how the i7 noticeably helps my workflow (extensive photo editing, but no video editing aside from amateur GoPro).
    • Update the graphics card? I never game, and do very minimal video editing. I use photoshop, but not on a daily basis. I could see myself getting heavier into graphic design in the next couple years though. And I do use CS6 fairly often.
    • I'll definitely upgrade to 32GB of RAM in aftermarket options.

    I can technically afford a completely tricked out machine save for 768GB SSD. However, I think it's ridiculous to just spend it because "more is better". I want a machine that will serve my needs and leave me growing room, but don't want to pay extra for stuff I won't really use. So I want to draw the line somewhere. i7, fusion, or graphics card?
  2. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    I would entertain the 3Tb Fusion drive and pass on the i7 and GPU upgrades.

    32GB RAM and you're good to go right out if the box pretty much.
  3. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    The cpu and gpu upgrade options shouldn't really make a difference here. I'm assuming we're talking about creative suite applications. You can look up each function application by application. With the possible exception of Premiere and After Effects CUDA processes, nothing is going to really change between those gpus. I might be tempted to verify that both support at least OpenCL 1.2 at a hardware level, but that's about it. The i5 vs i7 is also a wash. Neither is comparable to a 2010 era macbook pro. These are both quad cpus. The i7 has hyperthreading. If you have any bottlenecks, they'll be hard drive related at that point. 32GB of ram is enough to basically halt the use of scratch disks for most people. If you want to be conservative, order 16GB, add to what is already there, and buy the other 16 if necessary. Aperture could still take some time to build thumbnails and stuff, but that's more an issue of time to read data. If you're storing all of your data internally, that's another thing. Anyway they'd all work for this kind of use. For that kind of thing, I personally prefer lightroom. In terms of getting a nice look with decent control on files you're going to process, I think Phocus and Capture One give the nicest results.

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