Is 2017 (3.8) worth an upgrade from 2015 (3.2)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jharvey71884, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. jharvey71884 macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    Final Cut/Adobe Premiere user. Usually, make a VLOG a week. Also in Lightroom multiple times a week.

    I currently have a 2015 iMac....

    3.2 quad-core i5
    24GB ram (but way slower ram)
    1 TB HDD (7200rpm)
    2gb Radeon R9 M380
    256SSD external (sort of slow and old)

    Been offered $950 for it.

    Was looking at B&H and could get a 2017 iMac with a 3.8 quad, 8gb ram, 2 TB fusion, and an AMD Radeon Pro 580 Graphics Card (8GB) for $1629. I would upgrade the ram.

    The $700 worth the upgrade? For $800 I could get the 2019 iMac with a six-core, but the graphics card isn't as nice and just a 1 TB fusion.
  2. Ledgem macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    I haven't been checking the selling market to know if $950 is a fair value for your system, but I will say that I recently considered trading in my late 2015 27" retina iMac that has the options for maxed out CPU and graphics, along with a 512 GB SSD, along with an upgraded 32 GB of RAM. Apple's trade-in value was only around $760.

    The computer you're looking at through B&H strikes me as a poor proposition - I'd imagine a system like that would show up in Apple's refurbished store for less. But again, I have to admit that I haven't been watching the prices all that closely to say for sure whether it's a good deal or not.

    The big question I can lend some thought to is whether it's a worthwhile upgrade, and to that I have mixed feelings. If your current system is bogging you down then the answer is yes, but not because of the base system, itself. Rather, our 2015 systems are limited to Thunderbolt 2, and things are really taking off with Thunderbolt 3 (first introduced into iMacs with the 2017 systems). Just as an example of what you could do with it:

    1) If your graphics card is bogging down, you could get an external GPU. This will cost you a few hundred dollars but it's an upgrade you don't need to do immediately, and it can give you more power than anything you could buy in the standard iMac from Apple.

    2) You can run external SSDs at speeds faster than Apple's own internal SSDs. Needless to say, the cost per storage size is also more favorable if you do it this way, as opposed to buying through Apple.

    The only downsides to those approaches are having things hanging off your ports. If you're a minimalist and like to just see the iMac on your desk then the aesthetic may possibly be ruined. If that doesn't matter much to you, then you're gaining a lot of potential expandability.

    If your current system is running well enough for you then I'd say keep it, and upgrade later. For all the expandability of Thunderbolt 3 it remains to be seen just how far that can take systems and extend their usable life, or whether it'll just be another factor that only gives you an extra year or two. (For what it's worth, there are no rumors about Thunderbolt 4 at this time - the big development for Thunderbolt is that it's being handed over to USB and will technically merge with USB, which will then become known as "USB 4." That shouldn't impact any Thunderbolt 3 peripherals now or in the future.)
  3. jharvey71884 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    I am noticing my system getting bogged down when dealing with 4K Color Correction and LUTS in Final Cut from my GH4. Just slow with background rendering. 1080p is still fine. Also have tried to play around with motion and it is choppy.

    Looking at Ebay prices, 950 seems pretty fair.

    I think I want to upgrade. I guess what it comes down to is....better processor or better graphics? And with thunderbolt 3, the process might make more sense.
  4. Ledgem macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    Yes, it sounds like you'd benefit from an upgrade, then. As to processor versus graphics, given Thunderbolt 3's expandability, going with the better processor is the better option. You'll be able to get better graphics performance with an eGPU, but you won't be able to upgrade your processor. The only potential snag would be whether you need that graphics performance now, and whether you'd be able to buy an eGPU now if you do.
  5. jharvey71884 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    I would probably want to wait at least a year to get a eGPU...but I should at least see a 2x bump with the 2019 iMac graphic card (4gb) over my 2015 one.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    When I saw the title of your thread, I immediately thought "2015 to 2017 isn't a big-enough jump forward".

    But... then I read and saw you've been offered $700 for what you have now.

    In that case, if you can get the $700 in-hand, it's not that bad of a deal at all.

    Then again -- have you looked around enough at the possibility of getting a 2019 instead?
  7. Zen_Arcade macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2019
    Take the $950 and run.

    Then get a refurbished 27" 2019 - the extra cores make a big difference with FCP. I'm seeing the base 2019 27" for $1376; the upgraded version is $1601 (in the military/veteran store). At those prices, I don't think a 2017 makes sense at the price point you're looking at.
  8. jharvey71884 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011

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7 July 18, 2019