Need help spec'ing out new iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ItalianBoston, May 25, 2018.

  1. ItalianBoston macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    Boston
    #1
    Hey All!

    I am in the market for a 2017 iMac 27" and am looking for options on what I should select for specifications.
    I also know from reading here and elsewhere that the memory (RAM) is user upgradable and will be buying it from the Apple store with the base 8GB. Looking for options on where I should purchase the additional RAM from as well as how much.

    How I will use the iMac:

    -Heavy photo editing of large RAW files in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
    -Editing of video in Adobe Premiere Pro on occasion with some 4K video mixed in with 1080.
    -Rest of the use will be general email and web use.
    -I'd possibly be looking to hook up at least 1 maybe 2 external monitors in the near future.

    I look forward to your options, thanks!
     
  2. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #2
    What's your price range?

    I'd say the only crucial thing is to either get full-on SSD or to get a 2+TB Fusion Drive, since the 1TB Fusion Drive only has a 24GB SSD and it'll feel slow a lot. After that, I'd upgrade GPU and CPU last.

    Regarding RAM, get the cheapest compatible you can really. Since you'll be running at JEDEC SPD pretty much any compatible stick should work as well as the next. That means you want PC4-19200 SO-DIMM memory at CL15, CL16 or CL17, for latencies between 12.5ns and 15ns depending on the CAS latency. I believe Apple uses CL17 for their own memory. If you're changing all the RAM sticks for new one, CL15 will be a tad faster, but not really noticeable, and if you're only adding, it'll run at the speed of the slowest chip, which if I'm right will then be CL17, again, at 2400MHz.
     
  3. ItalianBoston thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    Boston
    #3
    $3000.00 is my price range.
     
  4. Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2017
    #4
    Wait for WWDC, it's right around the corner and you might be able to get a better computer for the same price. Or you could buy the current models for less.
     
  5. ItalianBoston thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    Boston
    #5
    Was thinking about ordering before WWDC, and if they annouce an upgraded model at WWDC I'll just cancel or return the computer and buy the upgraded one.
     
  6. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    #6
    I would stick with these priorities

    1. Graphics - most important imo, as over time, this seems to be the weak link for Macs. If you get the highest tier 27" iMac, the 3.8GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz, then it comes with a Radeon Pro 580 with 8GB of VRAM. So, $2,299 to start.

    2. Drive - The model above comes with a 2TB Fusion, but if you can afford it, I would get the 500GB SSD option, for $200 more, or $600 more for the 1TB SSD. If it was me, I would just get the $500, and get external drives for the video storage. So, $2,499 or $2,899 depending on what size drive.

    3. Processor - This I am unsure about, as I have read that the i7 on the iMacs have been causing over heating issues. Having the i7 will be nice for your video work, but I am unsure about if the benefits would out-weight the potential heat issues. If you want to upgrade this, it will be $200. So, the i7 upgrade will be $2,699 with the 500GB SSD, or $3,099 with the 1TB SSD.

    4. RAM - Do this yourself, as it will probably be much cheaper. Although, I have read that RAM prices are kind of high right now, and Apple's RAM upgrade prices are not that much more. If you do upgrade, I would go with the 16GB, which is $200 more. That way, you will have two 8GB RAM sticks in there, and if you upgrade your RAM in the future, you can just get two more 8GB sticks for a healthy 32GB of RAM. So, if you went with the 500GB SSD, i7, and 16GB RAM, then you would be at $2,899.


    My recommendation:
    • 3.8GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz
    • The above includes the Radeon Pro 580 with 8GB of VRAM
    • 512GB SSD
    • i7
    • 16GB RAM
    For a final price of $2,899 before any discounts or taxes. If you want to drop to just the i5, that will leave you with plenty of cash to purchase some decent external drives for video storage.
     
  7. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #7
    I recommend the highest end base configuration, changing nothing except maybe the drive to an all SSD if you want that, though I personally think the Fusion works well enough with the 2TB variant.

    Also; The RAM advise from here isn't bad at all:
    It's extremely unlikely the iMac will see a refresh at WWDC if you look at the rumour mill.
     
  8. Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2017
    #8
    If we follow your logic nothing will be announced at WWDC except maybe a MBA/cheaper MB and X style iPad Pros. OSs are going to be about stability and performance so nothing much to say about them. No MBP, no MP and no Mac Mini either. That would be quite a boring keynote :D

    OTOH adequate CPU replacements from Intel have been ready for some time and Apple usually updates its iMac to follow those releases. It would look very bad for the only decent non-pro Mac desktop to stay for too long on the last CPU gen when everyone else already made the switch.
     
  9. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    #9
    I agree, and I would add that I wouldn't be surprised if a new iMac would launch until the end of the year or 2019.

    I have a few educated guesses why I think this.

    One obvious thing would be the lack of rumors. There was only one recently, and the timeline of that one was maybe the end of the year.

    Another reason is that the iMac Pro has not been out that long. A new iMac might cannibalize iMac Pro sales.

    i think I remember a few WWDCs that didn't have any new Macs with it.
     
  10. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #10

    That's definitely happened in the past, yes. I can't really remember one without hardware at all, but without Macs, yes. But then either iPod, AppleTV or similar instead. - Or actually; Was there any hardware when they revealed Swift?
     
  11. Glmnet1, May 26, 2018
    Last edited: May 26, 2018

    Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2017
    #11
    Could you please share them all? I'd be really interested in hearing them because I plan to buy one on the next refresh and from my understanding it's obvious that there will be a refresh in the next few months but if you have convincing arguments that it's "extremely unlikely" I'd love to hear them because I'd reconsider my buying plan.
     
  12. Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2017
    #12
    I'm willing to wait until October for a refresh and I agree with you that it's far from certain to be at WWDC. The lack of rumors for a simple chip upgrade would be understandable though.

    This, IMO, is like saying that Apple can't update the iPad or the MacBook because of their Pro counterparts. Apple has always been able to keep separate product lines for different markets while makong sure they all sell well.
     
  13. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    #13
    Let me start by saying that I have no idea when Apple will refresh the iMac. I doubt anyone on this forum knows for sure, and if they do, they probably would not tell anyone. My thoughts on the matter are based on my on observations and guesses, not from some secret source I have. So, I could be totally wrong, and Apple might refresh the iMac as early as tomorrow.

    As for my thoughts, I named a few already in the post:
    Here are some other guesses:

    WWDC is typically software focused, not saying an iMac refresh couldn't happen, I looked it up and last WWDC the iMac was refreshed with the mid-2017 iMacs. But, I also looked it up, and in the past 11 years, only once was the iMac refreshed during the WWDC, and that was last year.

    The iMac is overdo for a major redesign. An argument could be made saying that the iMac was already redesigned with the 5K, but I consider the last major one to be Late 2012. Maybe Apple might hold off on a refresh to do a redesign. I guess it could be done at the WWDC, but for reasons I already mentioned about possible cannibalization of the iMac Pro, Apple might hold off a bit for a redesign.

    No GPU - I can't remember where I read about it, but I remember seeing that there is not a suitable GPU for a refreshed iMac. That leaves Apple with a choice to reuse the same GPUs as the 2017's, or use the one in the iMac Pro, which again, could cannibalize sales of it.

    I think this is more likely than at the WWDC, Apple has had many iMac refreshes/launches/announcements during October.

    I wouldn't base your purchases off of my guesses, as clearly I have know idea when. I would recommend going by this:
    If you need it, get it. It is not once an iMac refresh/redesign happens the 2017 iMacs will be crap.
    If you want it, but can wait, just wait. I am not sure how badly you need a new iMac, but as long as you can get by with what you have, the next iMac might be worth the wait.
    Lastly, be careful what you wish for. The new iMacs might be out at the WWDC, and it could be a situation like the 2014 Mac Minis where they were considered a downgrade from the 2012s. The next iMac could have soldered RAM, no user replaceable parts, and less ports. Who knows, you might end up getting the 2017 iMac anyway.

    These are just guesses, I would base your decision on when to get an iMac on other things, such as needs and wants.

    I assume you are referring to this comment?:
    I would say that in the past, the Pro line of Apple products were differentiated from the rest of the product like based off design, specs, and for the Mac desktop line, expandability and user replaceable parts. Having the Pro and non-Pro lines so different enabled Apple to release/refresh them at the same time or close together. For the iMac, I think that the Pro version is not so differentiated from the non-Pro version, that having an update of the cheaper non-Pro so close to the Pro could take away potential sales from the more expensive Pro line.

    I agree, at least until recently. Before, there was only a few "Pro" Apple products, and they were very different from their non-pro counter parts. Now, there are more Pro products that are not that different from their non-Pro counterparts.
     
  14. albool macrumors newbie

    albool

    Joined:
    May 27, 2018
    #14
    You could actually get two extra 8GB sticks for less than $200 giving you 24GB RAM total. That's pretty sweet, and if you want to go for 32GB in the future you can always sell the stock 8GB from Apple.

     

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