My first iMac, but which one will it be?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by rcr, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. rcr macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm just about to make the leap from windows to mac in the form of an iMac, but I'm not sure which one to go for.

    I've been to the Mac Store and both the 21.5 and the 27 inch screens have pro's and cons. I like the dimension of the 21.5 in terms of bulk on the desk, it's not too intrusive. Initially I thought the 27" oversized but when I actually sat in front of it the immersion seemed great, and I could imagine making use of all the screen real estate with tool bars, email, when editing video clips etc. So undecided on that, though I think I like the 27.

    In terms of specs, I would love to pay for the min specs, I've not got an awful lot of spare cash. Maybe if I tell you what I'll be using it for you can give me the benefit of your opinion and perhaps convince me one way or the other. Thing is, I presently have an i7, my wife an i5 and if anything it seems her system which cost a third of the price, runs better (at least for normal apps) so I'd like some honest opinions about the advantage of the i7 over the i5 or indeed the other way if that's what you think. I don't just want the i7 because it's best on paper, would there be a very clear difference?

    I will be using it predominantly for work (stage 6 architecture student) the programs I'm using are: AutoCAD 2011, PS, ID, SketchUp and I aim to start using Vectorworks Architect and will buy iWork instead of Office. I don't want to use windows at all so software will all be mac native (I will need to relearn AutoCAD on the mac I think)...

    From what I've seen on youtube, the 27" i5, 4GB RAM, 1 GB GFX seems to run really well, or do you think I would really benefit from upgrading gfx card to 2 gigs or the processor to i7? I will buy some crucial RAM later on and expand to 12GB myself. Or maybe you think the 21.5 inch would more suit my purpose, in which case is the 512MB GFX enough or is there a way to get 1GB on 21.5 inch? Whatever you think, please share with me so that I can make my decision well. I made such a bad decision with my last windows PC and I don't want to repeat the mistake!!!

    Thanks.
     
  2. Arcadeez macrumors member

    Arcadeez

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    #2
    If you do video editing, you have chosen a right system ... Mac!

    I think you definitely will go for 27" and top model like me (i7 3.4G). Video exporting will mainly consume CPU power. SSD or fastest video card will not help much. (or almost no difference)
    And I also recommend you to upgrade RAM (maybe after purchase) to at least 8GB. The activity monitor told me I always almost consume all memory... Then I upgraded to 16GB RAM. ;-)

    Anyway, welcome to Mac family!
     
  3. flat five macrumors 601

    flat five

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Location:
    newyorkcity
    #3
    architecture apps?
    no brainer.. 27"
    thank me later
    27"

    many of these apps (at least the arch/viz ones) can not utilize multiple cores for their calculations since those processes are linear in nature [in a similar way that 9 women can't combine efforts and grow a baby in one month.. it takes one woman 9 months to do it]

    the faster any single core (regardless of the amt of cores) is, the better the app is going to perform.

    this imac circa 2010 (dual i5 3.6ghz) is THE fastest mac ever made for running apps such as sketchup:

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/G0JN0LL/A?mco=MTkxNTU3Mzg

    that said, if you're going to be doing any rendering etc then the more cores the merrier..

    fwiw- my main apps are sketchup, rhino, & indigo renderer and i use them on a xeon 2.66 quad and an i7 2.6 and the apps run very well.. occasionally, i wouldn't mind a little speed bump but for the most part, i'm very happy with the speed i'm getting (ie- most of the modeling processes are instant with an occasional lag for the more intensive stuff)..
    but then again, i don't draw humongous models.. my sketchup models usually max out around 125,000 polys..
    once you get into the gigantic models (ie- an entire shopping mall full of details) then you'll appreciate a higher clock speed even for things like navigating the model..

    i know that the lowest specs current 27" imac would be absolutely great for these apps and any extra $pecs you pile on top of that will just be a bonus.

    fwiw, i highly (highly) doubt you're going to see a difference between a 512 and 2gb graphics card with these apps but-- in order to help future proof yourself, especially if you foresee yourself getting into rendering, then the higher spec'd versions will be beneficial.. many of the rendering apps are tapping into the gpu for increased speed these days.

    i'd honestly put any extra dough into a faster cpu as opposed to a better graphics card..

    off topic but.. make sure to get in on the mac rhino beta.. it's going to be free for at least another year or so.. the app is already incredibly stable and most of the rhino5 tools are working already..
    http://mac.rhino3d.com/
     
  4. rcr thread starter macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #4
    Hi, thanks for your thoughtful reply.

    At the moment I'm gravitating towards the 27" i5 with the 1GB card, then using the £240 I save by not getting the i7 or 2GB card to buy a ram upgrade to 12GB and putting the rest towards the student discounted CS5.5 design standard suite (80% discount as a student!) which seems like a great investment (and I should get now as I'm only a student one more year).

    I can afford to wait a little longer for a renders, I guess the difference will only be marginal as the i5 is seems pretty good anyhow. So long as everything runs smoothly without lag (rotating/loading models) I will be happy.

    Also working with large PSD's, do you know how that rig would deal with high res A0 images and multiple A0 sheet, In Design Projects?
     
  5. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #5
    I'd like to comment on that.

    Actually, the i7 on the new iMac will be faster. Its max clock is 3.8Ghz (on pair with the i5-680 CPU used in the 2010 model) while featuring better per-clock performance and higher cache.

    It also very possible be that the i5-2400 (the 3.1Ghz iMac) can beat the i5-680 on single-threaded applications due to increased efficiency of the Sandy Bridge architecture.
     
  6. rcr thread starter macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #6
    What would you say the likely differences in performance are between the new i7 and i5. I have heard in some cases that the i7's have problems because of their extra virtual cores... I'm no expert in computer processors so have no idea if this is true. Thus I enquire here :)
     
  7. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #7
    The only problem you'll have with the i7 is that you'll only be able to have two cups of tea between renders as opposed to three.
     
  8. rcr thread starter macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #8
    :)

    So the point is, operably there will be little or no difference, it is only speed of rendering that will be effected?

    I found this article http://www.barefeats.com/imac11f.html nice and clear to understand. The benchmarks about performance are pointless for what I'm trying to understand unless seen in the context of particular programs. Here the comparison with PS is useful and gives a clear impression of the difference.

    Know of anyone doing this kind of benchmarking of Architecture software on the imac?

    I'm thinking of doing some youtube stuff examining the software when I'm up and running, just as a beginning point for some sort of discussion.
     
  9. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #9
    Barefeats is a very good site, he's also on here every so often.

    I'd also recommend having a look at AnandTech, his reviews are usually pretty thorough as well. Can't say I know anyone doing Architectural suite comparisons specifically though, I'm afraid.

    The YouTube idea is a good one, there's a guy on a channel called TLD (Techfast, Lunch and Dinner) crap name, but he does some pretty good comparison videos from time to time. Just the usual suspects though, cinebench and geekbench.

    It'd be useful to have something that shows performance of more specialist suites, as there don't seem to be many places that provide that information.
     
  10. rcr thread starter macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #10
    Is it true that the 2GB card is only really of use if setting up more than one monitor? Rendering uses the cpu cores right?
     
  11. flat five macrumors 601

    flat five

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Location:
    newyorkcity
    #11
    in the past, yeah, cpu only.. lately though, a lot of the devs are figuring out ways to tap into the gpu which is a lot faster..

    a few of the render engines now using gpu alongside cpu:
    http://www.indigorenderer.com
    http://www.thearender.com
    http://www.refractivesoftware.com (octane)

    lots more to come i imagine.

    [edit- but before dropping a bunch of cash on gpu for rendering purposes, i'd be sure to check compatibility.. i'm not sure how well these new ati cards in the imacs will be able to utilize these features]
     
  12. rcr thread starter macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #12
    The Vectorworks website state that VRAM and better processor will effect the performance, but the base level 27 inch already exceeds their suggested specs.

    So I guess its just future proofing, personal preference and whether I want to spend the £260 difference on something else.
     
  13. rcr thread starter macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #13
    okay...

    27" i5 3.1
    1 tb HD
    4 GB RAM
    2GB VRAM 6970M
    apple keyboard with numeric
    apple mouse

    I will nip into the studio at uni and order tomorrow!
     
  14. rcr thread starter macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
  15. flat five macrumors 601

    flat five

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Location:
    newyorkcity
    #15
    nice.. you're gonna be hyped on that thing.
     
  16. rcr thread starter macrumors member

    rcr

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #16
    All set up, an extra 8GB installed, tried out the software I need (still waiting for photoshop cs5.5 to arrive)... Love it!!!

    So happy with the iMac. The problem is, I now want more Apple products!
     
  17. solowmodel macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    #17
    Good: Glad to hear it :)

    Bad: Buying Apple products is a slippery slope... :cool:
     
  18. jvmxtra macrumors 65816

    jvmxtra

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #18
    One of the best comment I have seen in long time.




    [in a similar way that 9 women can't combine efforts and grow a baby in one month.. it takes one woman 9 months to do it] :D
     

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