My first iMac after 7 years: lost lost lost

Racineur

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 11, 2013
299
61
Montréal, Québec
Hello, I will bee having a new iMac in a few weeks. Will replace my old faithful white iMac Intel C2Duo late 2006/2.0ghz/2 Ram/160DD). I keep my Macs a very long time as you can see. My needs: numerous short text docs on Word or Pages. Normal browsing Safari/Firefox/Chrome. I'm a more than enthusiastic photographer shooting 25% RAW 75% Jpeg. I PP my photos in Aperture 3, LR 4, Capture NX 2, Elements 11, DxO Optics Pro 8 and sometimes Pixelmator 2. I mostly adjust brightness, lightness, WB, Exposure, Burn there, Light here, resize, sharpen, vignette, etc. Never done any video editing, no gaming at all but AngryBirds, Peggle and Pinball HD.

10 friends say: buy iMac Core i5 2,9 GHz, 8 Go, DD 1T, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M. Will meet all your needs.

8 others say go for: Intel Core i7 3,4 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M

2 last say: Intel Core i7 3,4 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX.

I've read the the threads on the GeForce. Can't understand all that's said. Considering what I do require small power, I should go with my 10 friends. But considering I will be keeping the iMac at least 7 years, I should go for the 2 friends. And there's the MOR solution of my 8 friends. Money is no object but I don't like overkill machines that I will never use at their max.

In a nutshell: what would be the benefits of the i7?

In a nutshell: what would be the benefits of the 680MX?

Lastly: what about the combo i7 and GTX 675M?

I would appreciate a lot if you could help me. I've read many answers but they mostly apply to gaming and video editing.

Thanks a lot
 

negativzero

macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2011
564
50
For your needs, even a Mac Mini would be sufficient. Just get one with a fusion drive and you're all set.
 

tom vilsack

macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2010
1,880
62
ladner cdn
I say keep the 2006 Imac but replace the 160hd with a nice ssd (intel or samsung)...you will be shocked at how much a difference it will make with your older Imac!
 

Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
If you don't game etc. then you really do not need the I7 or the larger GPU. I have a new 27" which is maxed out, but I do a lot of video stuff as well as using the Mac for X-Plane which eats memory and VRAM. Spec for the newbie is the maxed out I7 with 2GB GPU, 32GB RAM and a 3TB fusion drive.

Trust the folks who say you don't need to pay out for that kind of power....You have been doing fine with a CTD, so even the lower end Imac is going to amaze you in terms of performance.
 

Chippy99

macrumors 6502a
Apr 28, 2012
973
27
Let me put it this way:

I have an old 2011 Mac Mini 2.3GHz dual core, base model. But with 16GB Ram and an SSD installed.

Two days ago, I upgraded to a shiny new iMac - i7, 680MX and 256GB SSD.

And here's the thing. In general use, the Mini is just as fast, or faster. It certainly starts up quicker and shuts down quicker. And apps open instantly. Yes, at video and audio encoding, the iMac is on a different level altogether, but for what you want it for, you don't need an i7 or 680MX.

I would however get an SSD in it, or a Fusion drive. That's a must imho.
 

Jedi Master

macrumors regular
With as long as you keep it, get a 27" either CPU and fusion drive

With as long as you keep it, get a 27" either CPU and fusion drive.


Part of the reason is you can upgrade the memory, and have a large canvas to work on.

If you can afford it.

Regards,
Jed
 

FreakinEurekan

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2011
3,395
332
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Depending on our budget - since you keep the machine for a long time, buy as much machine as your budget allows.

If your budget doesn't allow "max config" then these are the priority items based on your usage:

1. SSD or Fusion (I'd suggest SSD because of how long you keep the machine, spinning disks do wear out eventually)

2. RAM. If you're getting the 27" you can add it yourself, if the 21.5" you'll want to max it out when you buy it.

3. CPU. If you haven't run out of money yet, go for a quad-core to give the machine a more useful long-term upgradability.

4. GPU. Based on your use you won't see a lot of benefit, just get the better GPU if you have nothing better to spend money on.
 

forty2j

macrumors 68030
Jul 11, 2008
2,585
2
NJ
Money is no object but I don't like overkill machines that I will never use at their max.
7 years is a really long time to own a computer. If this is a trend you wish to continue, by the end of it you'll be using it at its max.

In a nutshell: what would be the benefits of the i7?
Honestly, very little. Outside of the very minor bump in GHz, the main benefit in the i7 is the ability to run 2 threads per core, which is useful for certain math-heavy tasks (extremely complex spreadsheets, weather simulations, statistics programs, etc.) and not useful at all in the general case.

In a nutshell: what would be the benefits of the 680MX?
The 680mx is a tremendous card that will be very useful for years to come. Nothing you're doing uses it to its fullest right now, but GPU usage is the kind of thing that grows in weird ways over time, especially beyond the typical 3-4 year replacement cycle, and this isn't a part you can upgrade later. It could be that in 2020 when HTML 7 is all the rage, the 680mx with it's maximum video RAM offering in this generations cards will be the only card that can render it well, keeping your Safari use enjoyable rather than an exercise in watching the spinning beach ball. There's nothing guaranteed here, it's just future-proofing that I would recommend if you keep your computer forever.

You haven't mentioned storage, but in your situation (and money not being a problem) I would definitely go all-SSD both for the performance benefit and for having no spinning mechanical parts that can fail.

So, in summary, my recommended iMac for you:
3.2 GHz i5
680MX
8 GB RAM (standard; easily upgradable later)
768MB SSD
 
Last edited:

currahee2100

macrumors regular
Feb 9, 2009
177
48

In a nutshell: what would be the benefits of the 680MX?

Lastly: what about the combo i7 and GTX 675M?

I would appreciate a lot if you could help me. I've read many answers but they mostly apply to gaming and video editing.

Thanks a lot


The gpu and cpu is more helpful if you are doing video editing. After Effects can advantage of a gpu to do some rendering. The bump in cpu power can helo lower rendering times significantly. If all you're using is image editing software like photoshop then you are better off with the base 27" imac. A trivial bump in performance may let photoshop render images a quarter of a second faster or less. At this point the i5 will be able to handle everything you throw at it. Also don't mind the post about HTML7 nonsense. If we all need gtx 680mx clas cpus in a few years we truly would be all screwed.
 

Racineur

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 11, 2013
299
61
Montréal, Québec
My first iMac after 7 years:

Hi again and thanks so much for these more than helpful hints. So I'll go for the 1999$ iMac with the Core i5 3,2 GHz, 8 Ram, GTX 675M and 1TB fusion drive. About the last, do the 128GB of the SSD drive add to those of the 1TB? Making a total of 1.2TB or they are subtracted to the 1TB making actually 800GB? Maybe bizarre question but struck my mind this afternoon.
Thanks much
 

flynz4

macrumors 68040
Aug 9, 2009
3,125
35
Portland, OR
Hi again and thanks so much for these more than helpful hints. So I'll go for the 1999$ iMac with the Core i5 3,2 GHz, 8 Ram, GTX 675M and 1TB fusion drive. About the last, do the 128GB of the SSD drive add to those of the 1TB? Making a total of 1.2TB or they are subtracted to the 1TB making actually 800GB? Maybe bizarre question but struck my mind this afternoon.
Thanks much
The 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD are concatenated into a single volume. The capacity will look like the sum of the two. OSX will automatically put the most used blocks onto the SSD.

I think this is a really good solution... and I would have a hard time recommending that anyone buy just a plain HDD system anymore (except possibly for a hobbyist who wants to make modifications).

/Jim