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apple2385

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 10, 2019
7
0
I'm moving halfway across the country early next month. Getting my current desktop out there would be a hassle and my parents kind of want me to leave it for them anyway.

I'm thinking about an iMac because it would be simpler than having to worry about getting a desktop and a monitor seperately. And the systems I'll be using at my new job will be iMacs, so it may be easier just to have my home machine be one as well. But there's a few conerns.

1) The price. I think I'd want at least the $1,299 model if not the $1,499 model. With a boost to 16 GB a must, that bumps it up even higher, Apple's memory or not. I probably could get a better spec Windows desktop with a new monitor for less. About 2 years ago, I spent about $1,000 for an i7-8700 Win10 desktop with a 512 GB SSD, a 2 TB HD, 16 GB RAM and a GeForce GT 1030 GPU.

2) The size. After having a 24 inch desktop monitor for a few years, I've gotten used to that size and wouldn't mind something a little bigger. But the 27 inch iMac is probably just too much, especially with a 16 GB RAM boost. I'm not sure if I want to go down to 21.5.

3) Are my uses right for an iMac? It'll be mostly web stuff, Word, streaming as well as some minor photo and video editing.

I'm not new to Macs, having owned a PPC Mac Mini not long after those came out.
 

weaztek

macrumors 6502
Aug 28, 2009
304
136
Madison
Either an iMac, Mac Mini or Windows desktop would work for you.

I went from a 27" iMac to a Mac Mini with a 32" monitor and absolutely love it.

My video editing friends have moved to Windows because of the lower cost of hardware. I have a ton of Mac software so I can't go that route.
 
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theluggage

macrumors 603
Jul 29, 2011
5,037
4,048
1) The price. I think I'd want at least the $1,299 model if not the $1,499 model. With a boost to 16 GB a must, that bumps it up even higher, Apple's memory or not. I probably could get a better spec Windows desktop with a new monitor for less. About 2 years ago, I spent about $1,000 for an i7-8700 Win10 desktop with a 512 GB SSD, a 2 TB HD, 16 GB RAM and a GeForce GT 1030 GPU.

That said, the 4k and 5k iMacs can be good value for money, but that value is almost entirely in the display:

The 21.5" 4k has a true 4k - i.e. 4096 pixels wide - display (4096x2304) - not the "UHD 3840x2160" of most so-called 4k displays. The 27" 5k is - well, 5k, and both of those are "wide gamut" P3. There's not a lot of choice of alternative displays with those specs and if you do find one it will cost you.

Of course, that "value" depends on what those display specs are worth to you - they're lovely displays by any definition, but if 24" is your sweet spot, if you want a 30"+ monitor that you can use in raw 4k, if you want a matched pair, if you absolutely must have a matte finish (although the antiglare coating on the iMac is pretty effective) or (the big annoyance for me) if you want to be able to use the display with other equipment, then the iMac suddenly looks a lot less attractive.

One consideration with displays & Macs - mac OS isn't very "scalable" graphically speaking, and - in terms of system menus, icons, window furniture size - 27"@5k and 21.5" @ 4k (or UHD) are, for most people, the sweet spots for running MacOS at "optimal" screen resolution - so the two iMac sizes make good sense. (Long complicated lecture on poorly understood subject of Mac screen modes omitted) and if you go with a 24" or 27" "UHD 4k" display you may need to use a sub-optimal "scaled" mode to get your screen the way you like it. Now, just to be clear, these modes are very good quality - just a hint "softer" than optimum mode - so forget any bad experiences of non-native resolution on standard-res displays - but they also put a bit more load on the GPU.

...which is the problem with the Mac Mini, which only has the most basic of integrated GPU and takes its video RAM from main memory. Certainly, I wouldn't touch the 8K RAM model if I wanted to run a 4k/UHD screen, and I wouldn't touch... well, the Mac Mini at all if I wanted a pair of 4k/UHD or better screens (sorry, but external GPUs... on a desktop??? just to run a pair of 4k displays smoothly???).

Also with the iMac - friends don't let friends buy the 1TB hard drive or 1TB fusion (which only has a silly 32GB SSD portion) versions - the 2TB/3TB fusion drives have bigger SSD portions and are more credible, but personally I'd go with a 512GB minimum SSD and keep bulky/archived files on an external or NAS. As for RAM, the 27" is easily user-upgradeable (just pop the hatch and plug in the chips) and with third-party RAM from (e.g.) Crucial you can add 16GB (-> 24GB total) for half the price that Apple want to add 8GB...
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
21,498
7,758
Agreed about an SSD rather than a fusion drive or HDD.

Have you thought about a 2018 Mini?
Easy to pack up and carry along...
 
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TGM85

Contributor
Aug 29, 2005
138
243
I probably could get a better spec Windows desktop with a new monitor for less.

That’s pretty much always going to be the case when you're shopping for a new mac.

Don’t buy a mac if you're just going to compare it with a windows machine at the same specs. That's like comparing a Mercedes GLS to a Ford F-150. They both might have a 3.5 liter engine, but the driving experience is going to be vastly different.

Are my uses right for an iMac? It'll be mostly web stuff, Word, streaming as well as some minor photo and video editing.

In your case, I would consider a used or refurbished imac or a used mac mini. No need for to pay premium for the latest and greatest iMac if you're going to be browsing the web, do some light word processing and edit some photos.
 
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Starfia

macrumors 6502a
Apr 11, 2011
743
411
That's an undersung plus about the iMac in my opinion – the single-unit design really does save on space and clutter.

Home versus work: there's no particular compatibility you'll gain with work by using an iMac versus any Mac running the same version of macOS.

I go against popular opinion in still enjoying my Fusion Drive – I think it really does offer the high capacity of a spinning drive and something like the performance of an SSD most of the time. But if I bought a new iMac today, I'd go for a passably-sized internal drive and attach one or more (finally more affordable) higher-capacity external SSDs for things like video projects or a larger photo or media library.

I probably can't go back from a 27" display – it's a premium compared to the smallest available, but I've used and profoundly appreciated it for hours almost every day for years.
 
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macintoshmac

macrumors 601
May 13, 2010
4,409
4,365
I'm moving halfway across the country early next month. Getting my current desktop out there would be a hassle and my parents kind of want me to leave it for them anyway.

I'm thinking about an iMac because it would be simpler than having to worry about getting a desktop and a monitor seperately. And the systems I'll be using at my new job will be iMacs, so it may be easier just to have my home machine be one as well. But there's a few conerns.

1) The price. I think I'd want at least the $1,299 model if not the $1,499 model. With a boost to 16 GB a must, that bumps it up even higher, Apple's memory or not. I probably could get a better spec Windows desktop with a new monitor for less. About 2 years ago, I spent about $1,000 for an i7-8700 Win10 desktop with a 512 GB SSD, a 2 TB HD, 16 GB RAM and a GeForce GT 1030 GPU.

2) The size. After having a 24 inch desktop monitor for a few years, I've gotten used to that size and wouldn't mind something a little bigger. But the 27 inch iMac is probably just too much, especially with a 16 GB RAM boost. I'm not sure if I want to go down to 21.5.

3) Are my uses right for an iMac? It'll be mostly web stuff, Word, streaming as well as some minor photo and video editing.

I'm not new to Macs, having owned a PPC Mac Mini not long after those came out.

Since you don't seem to mind portability that much, I suggest a Mac mini if you are not doing intensive graphics-heavy stuff on the computer. That way, you have the macOS software ecosystem with the flexibility of fine-tuning the peripheral hardware aka monitor, mouse, keyboard, to your liking.
 
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