More RAM or Faster Processor: Graphic Design Edition

Discussion in 'iMac' started by heyhector, Jan 28, 2016.

  1. heyhector macrumors newbie


    Jan 28, 2016
    My co-workers will be upgrading to the retina iMacs this year, but due to a strict budget we can either get an i7 processor with 16 gigs of RAM or an i5 with 32 gigs.

    We're a group of designers so we'll be running Photoshop, Illustrator, inDesign and Lightroom. No video production.

    Which of these configurations will be better suited to run this software?
  2. Sirmausalot, Jan 28, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016

    Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2007
    Get the i7. Most people don't get even close to using 16GB of RAM, let alone 32GB. The budget solution is to add 2X4GB sticks, or if you can stretch a little, add 2X8GB for a 24GB RAM total. (edited for clarity)
  3. heyhector thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jan 28, 2016
    Can you explain the 16gb/24gb bit? I'm not sure I understand.
  4. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    16 gig is 2 8s with two slots open. Add two 4s ($58) for 24 or add 2 8s ($108) for 32. Prices from Other World Computing.

    EDIT: I re-read the quote you were replying to. I don't understand either...

  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Get the i7 and if need be you can upgrade later since the 27" iMacs have upgradeable ram.
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Assuming you are talking about the 27 inch, it's never clear, then as others have mentioned you can upgrade the ram yourselves at a much cheaper price, 2x16gb installed will give a total of 24gb in each machine which will be more than enough for most use cases.
  7. briloronmacrumo macrumors 6502


    Jan 25, 2008
    If an i5 is chosen and later it seems slightly under powered for your use, it is difficult, if not practically impossible, for a non-technician to upgrade it to an i7. However, if you get the i7 ( like the others I'm assuming a 27 inch iMac here ), it is relatively easy to increase the ram. Plus there are several reliable ram vendors selling their product at reasonable prices ( compared to the higher prices Apple charges for CTO/BTO builds ). Bottom line: get the i7.
  8. AlexisV macrumors 68000


    Mar 12, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    Forget the processor and RAM - you NEED to make sure you get an SSD drive.

    I'd even get an i5 with 8Gb RAM and 512Gb SSD over any of your two options.
  9. brerlappin macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2012
    As a designer myself, I would go with the i7 since the processor can't be upgraded later. Then you can always add more RAM if you need it when budget allows.

    Also note that when it comes to the Adobe apps themselves, you'll need Adobe CC. In CS6, Photoshop & Illustrator are retina but InDesign and Acrobat are not and will look slightly blurry on the new iMac's display.
  10. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

    Nov 5, 2015
    What area of design are you involved in?

    Yup. I work in design and print production. Forget about the i7 completely. My guess is that it will be totally unnecessary for your work. The i7 would be applicable for video production.

    Your primary concerns should be (in this order): SSD, RAM, processor.

    Any current quad-core processor should be fine. An SSD (some fusion configuration or full SSD preferably) will have the biggest impact on how snappy the system feels - how quickly the system will save, how quickly new apps open, scratch writes, ect. Get at least 16GB of RAM for Photoshop, Lightroom, and any complex vector art in Illustrator. InDesign will run on almost anything built new today.

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