Is the 2019 iMac a good value today?

Surrylic

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 26, 2010
201
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I believe that not long ago the prices were dropped on some models, and the 2019 iMac is old enough that there should be a number of refurbished models... but when they were originally announced I was really disappointed that the fusion drive was still a thing. I plan to go SSD only, and I do some photo and video editing (I use a Sony a7r iii, so the files are pretty large with the 42 megapixel sensor).

It's been almost a decade since I've bought a Mac and I'm so behind I honestly have no clue how the OS or applications like Lightroom/Photoshop/Premiere Pro/Davinci Resolve/CaptureOne/etc. will run on the different models. I'm way out of the loop on the power of the processor and RAM options these days.

Do you guys believe that the 2019 iMac is still a good value, or should we wait for another update (that will hopefully make SSD standard)? Which models have the best value and/or can run the things I'm looking at?
 

mmomega

macrumors 68040
Dec 30, 2009
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DFW, TX
I believe that not long ago the prices were dropped on some models, and the 2019 iMac is old enough that there should be a number of refurbished models... but when they were originally announced I was really disappointed that the fusion drive was still a thing. I plan to go SSD only, and I do some photo and video editing (I use a Sony a7r iii, so the files are pretty large with the 42 megapixel sensor).

It's been almost a decade since I've bought a Mac and I'm so behind I honestly have no clue how the OS or applications like Lightroom/Photoshop/Premiere Pro/Davinci Resolve/CaptureOne/etc. will run on the different models. I'm way out of the loop on the power of the processor and RAM options these days.

Do you guys believe that the 2019 iMac is still a good value, or should we wait for another update (that will hopefully make SSD standard)? Which models have the best value and/or can run the things I'm looking at?
I purchased my 2019 i9 refurbished with a 1TB drive, phenomenal machine for me. I do photography and video as well. Same cameras. A7R2 and A7R3 uncompressed RAW.
I also have a Sandisk 2TB external as my "scratch disc" local storage.

At least the model I have, 9900K, this is the highest performing chips on the market for a Mac outside of getting into iMac Pro territory and the future Mac Pro.
 

Dutch60

macrumors member
May 18, 2019
39
14
I recently bought the 2019 iMac. i9/vega/2Tb SSD and 64Gb memory. I shoot with the A7RII. No problems; works fine. I plan to buy the A7RIV and I hope my new iMac deals with those even larger files as well.
 

colodane

macrumors 6502a
Nov 11, 2012
797
264
Colorado
Yes, it is an excellent machine. Definitely get the SSD and purchase directly from Apple - either Built to Order or Refurb.
 
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thedeske

macrumors 6502a
Feb 17, 2013
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Whatever you do go with an SSD rather than Fusion, particualrly the 1TB Fusion model.
Agree - I know a couple of people who wanted the Fusion for capacity but discovered it was a bad idea, as in failed spinners 2-3 years into ownership. I think there's still a place for HDD in backup storage, but onboard SSD is really the way to go these days.
 
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AlaskaMoose

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Apr 26, 2008
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Agree - I know a couple of people who wanted the Fusion for capacity but discovered it was a bad idea, as in failed spinners 2-3 years into ownership. I think there's still a place for HDD in backup storage, but onboard SSD is really the way to go these days.
I bought an iMac (the mid-priced one), with a 2TB Fusion drive, and have been very happy with it. I use this iMac for photo editing with OneOne's Photo Raw 2019, DXO Photo Lab 2, and a standalone CS6 app. When saving very large edited photos, the first one may take a few seconds, but the rest are saved quite fast.

Buying an iMac with a SSD may be nice, but the Apple-installed SSD's are too expensive. For that reason alone I feel that the iMac is overpriced. Yes, the cost probably is similar to a PC with the same specifications, but an iMac with 1TB SSD plus a price tag that's equal to the same iMac and a 1TB Fusion drive would make it more of a bargain. I would never buy an iMac with a SSD smaller that 1TB.

I got a good deal under a military discount, and purchased an extended warranty. When the warranty is over I can replace the Fusion drive with a 2TB SSD. I did the same with a 2011 iMac that I still use for photo editing, except that I replace the hard drive with a 1TB SSD.
 
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robgendreau

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
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The iMac is the best value in Apple equipment IMHO.

A lot of that has to do with the display. It goes for $1300 alone. P3 gamut, nicely calibrated out of the box, and as high a resolution you can get right now.

It helps that Apple lowered the price a bit on SSDs, and that you can still add RAM purchased elsewhere.

It's a tried and true workhorse; not cutting edge but more than most need and probably still the best bet for still photographers. I haven't checked lately but some might be adding say that fast Samsung external NVMe as a boot drive in lieu of the Fusion drive. Via Thunderbolt it's quite fast. The iMac doesn't have a T2 chip I think, but some of us consider that a plus.
 

Ledgem

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Jan 18, 2008
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A lot of that has to do with the display. It goes for $1300 alone. P3 gamut, nicely calibrated out of the box, and as high a resolution you can get right now.
That makes it good value for a single purchase, but it's questionable in the long run. By comparison, if you buy the monitor and use it for a good, long time, it can easily last you through multiple computer upgrades. With something like the Mac mini you're buying the computer, but with the iMac you're buying the computer and the screen again every single time. I don't disagree that it's pretty amazing to get the screen and computer for what Apple charges, though. It's a pity they removed the ability to continue using the iMac purely as an external display.

@Surrylic I don't think you should have any concerns about performance. I'm using a 2015 27" iMac and have no problems editing photos from a GFX 50S (50 megapixel files). Granted, I use Capture One over Lightroom, which I've heard may explain a lot. I do video editing but don't do 4K, however there are reports that even the 2018 Mac mini can handle single 4K streams without difficulty. The system should serve you well.
 
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