Is the iMac right for me?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by iMacAmy, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. iMacAmy macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2013
    I use a late 2012 iMac 27" i7 at my work for graphic design....but other than than software use, I'm pretty oblivious to hardware pros/cons and I'm looking to purchase an iMac for home use. I've done some research, but much of the technical language is over my head.

    My primary purpose will be graphic design using the Adobe Creative Suite but I will also be doing music recording. No gaming or coding, but the possibility of light video editing is there. Also, I have an external hard drive that I'll store most of my work on.

    My question is, what do I NEED? I'm considering the basic $1800 27", which is pretty close to the top of what I can afford. Do I need an i7 over an i5? Is the SSD the right choice over HDD? It comes with 8GB but my understanding is it is pretty easy on the new models to add more....?

    Any input is welcome.
  2. AllergyDoc macrumors 65816


    Mar 17, 2013
    Utah, USA
    I bought the 27" iMac last week, the basic model with 8GB of RAM and the 1TB hard drive. The RAM is easily boosted to 24GB for $100. The hard drive, should it prove to be too slow for your needs, can be supplemented with an external SSD drive for not a lot of $. I can't comment on the processor or performance as I don't do as demanding tasks as you do. I write, blog, surf the web, and process photos I take.
  3. richard13 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2008
    Mill Creek, WA
    Judging by what you need the iMac for the base 27" model is just fine. I don't see any of the upgrade options as being absolutely necessary to what you want to do. They would be nice, to be quite honest, but perhaps not needed. Just don't expect the base model to be as speedy as the top of the line one. As AllergyDoc mentioned you can always upgrade the RAM later on for cheap (and yes you can do it yourself). Other options like upgrading the CPU, GPU and HD should be decided before you purchase as they are much more difficult if not impossible to change later.

    You say you work with an i7 iMac at work. Do you know how much memory it has? What HD it has? What about the graphic card?
  4. iMacAmy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2013
    It has 16GB memory and 1TB HD....I can't recall the rest off the top of my head. It works great for everything I do at work, which is exclusively graphic design on Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. Adding the recording/mixing component for my home use is foreign territory for me. :)
  5. richard13 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2008
    Mill Creek, WA
    Well, maybe you can gauge your experience with the one at work with the one you intend to get at home. This can sometimes be hard to do and especially for someone who doesn't have a lot of knowledge regarding hardware but i'd imagine it's possible. If you live near an Apple Store maybe you could visit and see first hand. They usually have a few different models on display for you to play with and you can get some advice from the Apple Store employees.

    Good luck to you and please let us know what you eventually do. :)
  6. /V\acpower, Mar 20, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013

    /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2007
    Honestly, the baseline 1800$ iMac is more than enough for what you need.

    If you want more RAM eventually you can easily buy some yourself and install it, (it doesn't affect warranty and the design of the iMac is made for it to be easy).

    Honestly, if you want more performance, paying for the Fusion Drive (SSD combined to Hard drive) will make a more significant different in your day to day usage than paying to get an i7 instead of an i5. Basically having an SSD in here will make loading of every app you use often, and files, way faster.

    But as it is, this is a very capable machine.
  7. Andrew*Debbie, Mar 20, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013

    Andrew*Debbie macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2010
    North Wales, United Kingdom
    The base 27" iMac will do everything you need.

    Only RAM can be added later. Everything else has to be done when you order the machine. Since you can always go back and add more RAM there isn't any reason to get it now.

    Will you be doing a lot of video editing? 3D? Heavy photoshop batch processing? All of those will go faster if you get the next model up.

    I don't see any reason to get the SSD. Especially since you will be using an external disk to hold your work. If you can afford it, the fusion drive will get you speed advantage of the SSD at a fraction of the price. With either one, the computer will start faster and apps will launch faster. It won't make much difference in how fast things run once launched.

    For your planned use, I'd prioritise funds like this:

    Base 27" iMac 2.9GHz i5 660M Graphics
    Apple Care
    Adobe CS6
    Audio editing software
    Recording hardware. You are going need something beyond the built-in microphone.
    Good headphones or studio monitors. You need to hear what you are editing.
    Fusion Drive
    Upgrade to the $1999 3.2GHz 27" iMac with 675MX graphics.

    EDIT: The new iMacs don't have an optical drive. You will need a USB super drive to install CS6. Alternatively you could get an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.

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