Is the GPU in the base 27" sufficient for image processing, etc.?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ragamoffyn, May 23, 2011.

  1. ragamoffyn macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    #1
    Hi. I'm considering buying either the high-end 27" iMac with the 3.4Ghz i7, or the base 27" machine with the 2.7 i5 CPU. Where I live, the price difference between the two is a little over $600. Currently, the main thing keeping me from the cheaper base i5 machine is concern about its GPU.

    The most-intensive things I would be using the computer for include some heavy-duty Photoshop work (not at the level of professional photographers and digital artists, but maybe approaching that -- image sizes of 200MB+ and such). I would also probably be watching movies or TV (either streaming or via hard drive) while working on photos or other documents. I'm not much of a gamer, but there's a chance I might get back into WoW or some FPS in the near future.

    Thanks to many of the discussions here, I think that the 2.7Ghz i5 would be sufficient for my needs. It may be a few seconds slower than the i7 in some everyday tasks, and perhaps upwards of 30 seconds slower in some intensive Photoshop tasks, but I can live with that -- it's still better than my current machine.

    However, I know almost nothing about VRAM and graphics cards. Will the half-gig GPU in the base 27" hinder any of the above tasks on that mammoth display?

    Thanks much for any help.

    (BTW, I know I could compromise and get the high-end 27" with the 3.1 i5 CPU. However, that's $300 less than the i7, and if I'm going to spend upwards of $3000 for a computer, anyway, I figure I might as well spend a little more and get the best...)
     
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #2
    More than sufficient. VRAM is only an issue for 3D apps like gaming.
     
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Finland
    #3
    GPU doesn't have a big role in photo editing. Just go with the base 27" and use the extra $ for RAM and other upgrades and accessories.
     
  4. wesleyh macrumors 6502

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    Mar 23, 2007
    #4
    Won't the video card get used more in the future by use of the core imaging api?
     
  5. macjunkie33 macrumors member

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    OH
    #5
    Can the GPU ever be upgraded? Or is it the same as the laptop line. You are stuck with what you've got?
     
  6. Georgio macrumors 6502

    Georgio

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    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    Essex, UK
    #6
    Photoshop is more dependent on system RAM not the VRAM of the GPU so much, so the 512mb would be fine assuming you have at least 6GB of system RAM.
    But....you mention aboout a return to Wow and to be honest you would really need the 1GB 6970 to be able to appreciate the eye-candy.
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Dec 10, 2008
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    #7
    Theoretically yes as the GPU resides on a separate MXM board but the replacement parts cost honey and it is not exactly a simple surgery.
     
  8. ragamoffyn thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 8, 2011
    #8
    Darn about WoW. I assume running it at 1920 rez would be fine for the frame rates, though...?
     
  9. Entourage12 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    #9
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMHfTWZxQjE

    That's a video of the base 27 inch iMac playing at all "High" settings including the buggy Liquid Detail and Sunshaft options, hovering between 30-50 fps while recording.

    I'll get this iMac tomorrow and run the same test but I guarantee people are drastically underestimating the 512mb card. This user also has other recordings of the new iMac in action for Portal 2 / L4D2 and it performs just fine.
     
  10. ragamoffyn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    #10

    Excellent. Thanks for the link. I never even thought to look on youtube for something like this...
     

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