Lots of iMac questions!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by xactophobic, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. xactophobic macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
    #1
    Hi! I was hoping that you guys could help me decide on a few things before I purchase an iMac!

    I have decided on getting the 27" iMac but I don't know if I should do a custom build. I do graphic design work, so it'd be nice to open Illustrator/InDesign/PhotoShop at once while surfing the internet. (That scenario wouldn't happen a lot but it'd be nice to have that option.)

    I don't plan on buying more RAM since I've been told that's something I can do later.

    I also would like suggestions for an optical drive that can play blu ray movies (commercial, not ripped stuff) but that can also be used to play cd's and dvd's...basically turning my iMac into a TV when needed. I also want the drive to write dvd's and cd...blu ray would be optional. It'd be cool for it to be USB 3.0, but I'm not sure if it's worth it. I'd value your opinions on this!

    I also have waited because I want it to come with Mavericks pre-installed. I have read it varies in other forums. I'd like opinions from people in the US, since that's where I am. :)

    Should I get the 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 or 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5? Why? Assuming I go with the latter, should I upgrade that to 3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7? Why?

    For storage, what would you recommend and why?

    For graphics, what would you recommend and why?

    Sorry for all of the questions, but I plan on having this computer for a while and it's expensive, so I'd like to make the best decision, in terms of my use.

    Thank you for reading this (sorry it's so long) and for your opinions.
     
  2. tomwvr macrumors regular

    tomwvr

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    Location:
    Frederick Maryland
    #2
    I have a 2012 Late 27 inch iMac

    Here is what I would recommend in this order

    1) Get the best video card you can afford
    2) Get the best drive you can afford - ssd first - if you cannot afford ssd get a fusion drive
    3) I would upgrade the processor to the best I5 you can afford - unless you really want to go all out for the I7 but I think it would be overkill.

    That is the order I would choose the upgrades - and BUY APPLE CARE

    Tom
     
  3. xactophobic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
    #3
    Thanks Tom!

    Does anyone have ideas on a blu ray player so I can use the iMac for a dual purpose? (Computer and TV)

    Can anyone confirm if Mavericks will 100% be installed if ordered online?

    Thanks again!
     
  4. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #4
    I too recommend getting at least a Fusion Drive. As for Mavericks, if you do a custom build, yes you will definitely get Mavericks on it. If you order an off the shelf configuration from Apple there's a small chance you might get one that was sitting on a shelf for a while but most likely will get one with Mavericks.

    If you walk in to an Apple Store, it's hit or miss depending on when their inventory is from.
     
  5. xactophobic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 20, 2013
    #5
    Thanks for the confirmation on the fusion drive! As for Mavericks, it's just another reason to get a custom build! :)
     
  6. AppleDApp macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

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    Jun 21, 2011
  7. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    Agreed, really the Mavericks worry is unjustified. If you have to just upgrade straight away.
     
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #8
    By now (late December) it will have Mavericks but even if not the upgrade is just clicking "OK" and waiting a bit. It's free. BTW you will have to go to the Mac App Store to download and install the iLife and iWork stuff.

    For your use case I'd not worry at all about the CPU. Get the fastest disk you can afford. and a couple external dries for backups These can be slow. Then buy as much RAM as you can. The low-end CPU would rarely be pegged so going with a faster one would not help.

    But had you said "video", then I'd say get all of what I said then after that the fastest CPU you can afford because transcoding video always pegs the CPU to 100%
     
  9. xactophobic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 20, 2013
    #9
    You guys sold me on getting the SSD, but I'm confused by the statement: "The low-end CPU would rarely be pegged so going with a faster one would not help." What does that mean? Sorry!
     
  10. Jambalaya, Dec 22, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013

    Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    They mean the standard CPU will not be used to the maximum so paying a premium for a faster one is not a good use of the budget, better to spend on ram (upto a point) a drive (size vs SSD)
     
  11. xactophobic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 20, 2013
    #11
    Thank you!

    Anyone have thoughts on a blu-ray player? I've seen other posts about Macgo and MCE Super-BluDrive. Any thoughts on either or these, or something totally different? Should I get something with USB 3.0 or should I ignore that since I care more about playing commercial blu rays.

    Any thoughts on the Apple TV?
     
  12. AppleDApp, Dec 22, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013

    AppleDApp macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #12
    I love mine. I've cut the cable with mine. Two apple tv's + unlimited internet Saving a ton that way. How do you want to use it?
     
  13. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 21, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    As above I love mine. Particularly good if you have an iPhone or iPad with the remote app which lets you control it and access content either from those devices or your Mac which is in another room/study. AirPlay works pretty well (not flawless) so you can for example be browsing social media and have a video linked which you watch on tv, it's also fun to AirPlay games to tv whilst using the mobile device as the controller. I also rent movies from iTunes and ther eis Netflix, access to your YouTube/Vimeo channels and Flickr/Photostream. If you where going to hook your iMac upto a BlueRay and use it as a tv then the AT3 would be a bit of a duplicate.

    Personally I think anyone with an iPhone/iPad and a decent TV should buy an ATV, it changes the way you "watch tv"
     
  14. macthefork macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2013
    #14
    We use this disk drive. It will play Blu-Ray, DVD and CDs and will record to them, too. Since Apple desn't support Blu-Ray, you'll need something like Toast to burn them, and also one of the many small apps to play the Blu-Ray disks.

    You can read more about it in Apple Discussions here.
     
  15. xactophobic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 20, 2013
    #15
    I don't know much about the ATV, but I may hold off on that for now, since what I really want is to be able to play my blu-ray movies. I have Amazon prime, but I don't think ATV supports that, and I don't plan on getting any sort of movie subscription. I may keep my eyes open when they release an updated ATV, it's not high on my list right now...I was just curious about it.

    Sounds like blu-ray watching will be a bit of a pain no matter what road you take, but I guess I can work around that.

    If I were to hold off on buying more RAM, and decide to buy some from amazon.com or something and possibly attempt to install it myself, would it still be under warranty?
     
  16. impedimentus, Dec 23, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013

    impedimentus macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    #16
    No need for a fusion drive or internal SSD

    I have a late 2013 27" iMac with the nVidia 775 GPU and the 1TB hd. I boot from several external SSDs connected to a Thunderbolt port. I use a Seagate goFlex Thunderbolt adapter. The adapter can be had for as little as $79 and I can use any SSD I want (currently us a 250GB Samsung 840 EVO, but I also can use a Crucial 512GB) - any SSD will work. Boot time is 16 - 18 seconds.

    LaCie TB adapters will work also, but the Seagate doesn't require any external power and it is compact and portable.

    I added 16GB memory to the 8GB that came with the iMac for 24GB total (cheap upgrade, no waste of original memory). The machine is a screamer and I'm not tied to expensive Apple internal drives. Plus, I have the flexibility to add ANY SSD I want and can easily create backups.

    No need to listen to all those folks yelling "BUY FUSION, BUY AN APPLE SSD", both are a waste of $$$ IMO.
     
  17. AndrewMRiv macrumors regular

    AndrewMRiv

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    #17

    Good job on your decision on a 27" iMac! I just got one a few months ago and love it!

    As for the CPU, based on what your needs and Apple's absurd price to upgrade to an i7, I recommend the base CPU.

    For storage, I'm not the biggest fan of the fusion drive. In addition to the speed benefits of the SSD, they are less likely to fail since they don't have moving parts in them. The fusion drive combines the SSD with an HDD so you can have the large capacity of a regular HDD mixed with the performance of a SSD. Since a regular HDD is in the mix, you're still just as likely to have the drive fail. Not that fusion drives are bad! It would take some bad luck to have a HDD fail on you, but I'm just stating my opinion on why I think you should go for a regular SSD and store your Applications on it. You could even get an External Hard Drive to save all of your other files! If that is a bit too much hassle, then you can get the fusion drive :).

    For the graphics card, I use a lot of photoshop and the baseline GPU has been good to me. I am not too experienced with Illustrator or InDesign so I am not sure as to how graphically demanding those Apps are. Hopefully someone else with more knowledge can chime in on that one but I would likely assume that the one included would be more than enough. I would think the only reason to upgrade the graphics card would be to have better gaming performance or something along those lines.

    Out of curiosity, what computer are you currently using, what are the specs, and how is it treating you? That will help us figure out how much RAM you should eventually get :D
     
  18. xactophobic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 20, 2013
    #18
    Thanks for that info! My comp is pretty old, (I bought my 17" MacBook Pro in March '07) so I'm sure you guys will see why I want a major upgrade! It only has Lion since it doesn't support ML or Mavericks! Boo to that!

    Processor 2.33 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
    Memory 2 BG 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
    Graphics ATI Radeon X1600 256 MB
     
  19. AndrewMRiv macrumors regular

    AndrewMRiv

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    #19
    No problem! And 2gb is not much at all! How has it treated you? Are you constantly pushing it to its limits and experiencing the computer freezing up for a bit or is it usually okay?

    The iMac 27" comes with 8gb which is more than enough for the common user. For you, it could be enough but it wouldn't hurt if you later wanted to upgrad to about 16gb or so if you wanted the extra headroom.

    Good luck with it! No matter what you will love it! Take it from me. I have only ever owned MacBooks and the Late 2013 iMac 27" is beyond amazing.
     
  20. xactophobic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 20, 2013
    #20
    Yeah, it seems like it takes forever to start up and opening Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign at the same time is a nightmare.

    When I got it, it was great but now I never want to do much on it as far as doing design work, because it takes so long. It's been a good computer, but I need the speed so I don't have so much waiting around time. :)

    I've waited so long, so I'm excited about getting something new! I'm a lot more aware of specs now, so that's why I've been asking questions because I want to keep this one as long as my MBP! :)
     
  21. AndrewMRiv macrumors regular

    AndrewMRiv

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    #21
    Makes sense! Either way, this will be a HUGE upgrade! My suggestion is to start off with 8gb of RAM and it lags on you when running all 3 at the same time, you can choose between upgrading to 16 or 32gb of RAM based on how much more you need. Many people have been successful with ram from Crucial and OWC. I think the prices are similar last I checked but more people seem to buy from crucial.

    Good luck!
     
  22. xactophobic thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 20, 2013
    #22
    Thanks for your input! Merry Christmas! :)
     
  23. AndrewMRiv macrumors regular

    AndrewMRiv

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    Oct 29, 2013
    #23
    Of course! Merry Christmas to you too :D
     

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