Late 2013 iMac MAX VS 2015 iMac Max

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jcr918, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. jcr918 macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2012
    So I have a late 2013 iMac with 32GB of ram and 4GB video card with fusion drive. I am debating on selling my iMac and upgrading to the new 5K iMac maxed out.

    How much of an improvement would I notice with video editing and photo editing vs my 2013 model. I am trying to decide if I should upgrade or wait a bit. I just got a 4K Camcorder so I am getting into 4K videos.
  2. aevan macrumors 68030


    Feb 5, 2015

    There will be improvements across the board - CPU is faster, GPU is faster and Fusion Drive/SSD is faster - but I don't think you'll notice any of those improvements in real life work. I do think your 4K videos will encode faster, though.

    The main reason to get the iMac 5K is really the screen.
  3. jcr918 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2012
    I think if I upgrade this time ill get the 1TB SSD over the fusion drive or am I wasting my money? I currently have a 3TB fusion and I am using about 100GB.
  4. Alesc macrumors 6502


    Nov 11, 2014
    As usual, I do 100% agree with Aevan ;)
    If you change, it is for the screen :)
  5. JustMartin macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2012
    If you're only using 100Gb of your current Fusion drive, then you're only using the SSD part anyway. So, on that load the 2Tb Fusion and 256 SSD are equivalent in the new models - choose one of those. The 1Tb SSD is not really worthwhile if you're only going to use about 10 percent of the space.
  6. randalf72 macrumors member

    Apr 25, 2014
    I'd personally get a bit more headroom than 256gb SSD.

    The original poster was saying that they did photo and video editing. If they decide to start handling 4k files then the storage requirements will go up.
  7. jcr918 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2012
    Yeah I do 4K video editing 256gb SSD is out of the question. I would for sure go with the 512gb SSD before the 256gb

    I am just trying to decide if I should go SSD over the fusion. From what I am reading the new fusion drives are a lot faster then my current 2013 fusion I am just wondering if I should skip the fusion drive and go 1TB due to the 4K video files or 512GB. My 4K Sony does 1GB per min it records at 100mbs 30FPS I am not using it much but I will more starting next year.

    I would also like to see some performance differences from the late 2013 iMac Maxed specs vs the new iMac 2015 Maxed. If there's a 20% increase from last gen 5K iMac I am wondering if that means I get about a 30% increase when photo & video editing?
  8. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    I have a top-spec 2013 iMac 27 I use for 4k video editing, and am getting a 2015 top-spec 5K iMac.

    The 2013 has Fusion Drive but most of my media is on a Pegasus Thunderbolt drive array. The 2013 iMac does OK for most HD and single streams of 4k. However it really slows down on 4k multicam and becomes very laggy. This requires transcoding to proxy media, which is no problem since FCP X supports that seamlessly. If you are using Premiere it does not have integrated proxy workflow so you'd be stuck.

    The 2015 top-spec model is about 20% faster from a CPU standpoint -- 14% improvement going from 3.5 to 4Ghz, and about 6% instructions per clock improvement from Skylake. I'm getting the 1TB SSD model, which will help for some things but typically H.264 video (even 4k) is not I/O limited but CPU or GPU limited.

    Skylake has an upgraded Quick Sync on-chip transcoder so it can handle H.265 and VP9 in hardware. These codecs are not yet widely used but are expected to rapidly increase in the future as 4k proliferates.

    We don't distribute 4k, but shoot in 4k because (1) It enables significant recomposition by the editor without loss of resolution in a 1080p project, and (2) Each 4k frame is an 8 megapixel still so frame grabs are very useful, and (3) 4k downsized to 1080p is slightly better quality than native 1080p.

    I'd recommend getting SSD because your 4k content will not fit on the boot drive even if it was 1TB. Some of our 4k cameras are sending 90 GB per hour to the output. Proxy media (essentially required for 4k multicam on iMac) increases this by about 60%, plus your regular media is still there. So one hour of 4k material by two 200 mbps cameras would be 2 * 90GB/hr * 1.6 = 288 GB. And that is with no render files, no scratch files, no optical flow files, etc.

    For practical 4k work of any significant size, it's far beyond the capacity of a 1TB SSD boot drive, yet you don't want to bog down a 3TB Fusion Drive boot partition with that, either. It essentially requires a high-performance external drive, typically an array, which means you may as well get the benefits of an SSD boot drive.
  9. jcr918 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2012
    Thanks I think ill pull the plug sell my current 2013 iMac and get the 2015 iMac with the 1TB SSD. This will more then likely be the last machine I can buy since I have a baby on the way and funds will be strapped so might as well get the maxed before the wife takes all the money LOL.

    Does anyone know if this new iMac can drive two 4K monitors at 60HZ?

    Also hows the 64GB of ram work I am trying to figure out the ram configuration I should go with for future upgrades or do I have to buy all new ram to get the 64GB. The plan right now is to go with 16GB of ram then get third party ram somewhere else.
  10. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    In most cases 16GB is enough, however I got 32GB because I run Parallels and that takes a lot of memory.

    I haven't seen a case in FCP X where I needed more than 32GB. My 2015 MBP has 16GB and 1TB SSD, and it does OK on FCP X, although I don't do as much editing on it.

    If you want to save money get the 8GB minimal config from Apple, then upgrade it with memory from OWC or Crucial. Yes for the 64GB config you'll need all new ram but that is an expensive upgrade and I'm not sure how much it's needed.

    For higher-end video editing you definitely want the 4Ghz i7 CPU and the M395X GPU. Most of your media should be on a high-speed external array so in theory the boot drive could be either SSD or Fusion but why not get the speed benefit of SSD since your media will be elsewhere?
  11. randalf72, Oct 15, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015

    randalf72 macrumors member

    Apr 25, 2014
    Well it is only my opinion and I'm sure that there are many others.

    If you can afford it (especially if the purchase is a tax deductible expense) then I'd go for the highest spec you can.

    Personally I've not gone for an SSD larger than 512gb because I can manage with that capacity for six to twelve months and at the point where I start to feel a touch constrained I'll get external storage. All going for the 1tb SSD would do is buy me a further six to twelve months before I still have to make the jump to external storage.

    I'm also not convinced regards Fusion as I believe it's a halfway step. all of the negatives of SSD's in terms of low storage capacities combined with the negatives of HDDs in terms of reliability. The only benefits are that it is faster than a HDD and cheaper than an SSD. That doesn't outweigh the negatives for me.

    The teardown of the latest iMac also shows the HDD part of the fusion is Seagate. A name that many have some strong opinions about.

    I was wondering how you were doing 4K video editing yet only using 100gb on your current iMac but if that is a future intention then it explains that. :)

    As I understand it video encoding is heavily processor dependent so you should be able to get a good feel from looking at a processor comparison between what you currently have and the 6700 i7.

    That said there appears to be little performance gain between the processors in the 2014 models and the new ones. I'm not sure what it is between the 2013 and 2014 models.

    Geekbench is showing a score of 4354 on a 64bit single core for the 2014 i7 model compared to 3913 for the 2013 i7 model.

    I would hazard a guess and say that the 2015 i7 will weigh in around 4800 if it is a 10% improvement on the previous CPU (all other things being equal) which is an increase of around 20% on the 2013 model.

    Hopefully we will get some real world benchmarks soon enough.
  12. jcr918 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2012

    I don't store 4K video on my iMac once I am done with it I process it to an eternal hard drive that's how I am currently under 100gb. But as soon as I dump a 4K on the iMac for video editing I am past the 120GB rang so I think the SSD will be a better option I just need to decide between the 512GB or 1TB. I am leaning towards the 1TB SSD due to the fact that more then likely this will be my last upgrade for a very long time so I might as well max it plus long term the SSD will last longer so there's less chance at hard drive failure.

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11 October 14, 2015