need iMac processor opinion?

majaca

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2013
47
1
Need to replace a 2012 iMac w/a shot display, it’s given me many very good and satisfying years of use.
I can wait a few months if someone thinks an iMac update will be in the near future?

Here's my Q:

Old iMac processor is:
3.4GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz w/16GB 1600MHz DDR SDRAM - 2X8GB

SO, I’m building my new one online and need advice on the 2 processor options (i5 v i9).

Please know that the extent of use of this computer is simply to browse the Internet, check SM, store family pictures (1,000’s of them😳) and do simple, basic tasks. I do not edit videos or anything in depth.

With that said, the two processor choices I have are (see screenshot):

As you can see, if I upgrade from the i5 to the i9, it brings a price increase of $380. Now, I don’t mind paying it, but if I don’t truly need it, I’d rather not spend the $400. If you look at the PC that I am replacing, it had an i7, more GHz than the i5 I’m considering, but old processor had only Quad-core where as the i5 (& i9) has 6 cores.

I talked to an Apple tech guy on the phone yesterday and he assured me that picking the i5 with the 6 cores alone in itself is going to be an improvement from my old iMac’s i7 processor. He said that I do not need to upgrade to the more expensive i9. I was very happy with the performance of the old Mac I'm replacing, and I would like the performance of the new one to be at least equal or better. The Apple tech guy assured me that the performance will be an improvement if I choose the cheaper i5.

Main thing I like is a pretty quick speed and one thing I do often is to have many tabs open at once (sometimes up to 10+)😂.

It’s a big purchase for me and I want to make the right choice. I don’t want to get the computer and be regretful that I should’ve invested in the i9.

Again, the only thing I use this computer for is basic Internet browsing, checking emails, uploading pictures and watching YouTube videos here and there.

I’m also including a screenshot of the “memory” that I will be choosing, which is similar to my old computer with an improvement in the DDR. If you guys have any advice on that, also let me know.

Thanks for your help on helping me pick the right processor...
 

Attachments

Tekguy0

macrumors regular
Jan 19, 2020
180
187
i5 should be plenty quick. Both will thermal throttle under heavy use, so during sustained workloads there will not be much difference.
 

seggy

macrumors member
Feb 13, 2016
80
30
As the guy above says, if you actually need the i9 the iMac Pro is a better choice to actually use beyond bursty tasks, and the 8600 will be faster than the 3770. If you do anything graphics related I'd opt for the Vega.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sikh

majaca

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2013
47
1
As the guy above says, if you actually need the i9 the iMac Pro is a better choice to actually use beyond bursty tasks, and the 8600 will be faster than the 3770. If you do anything graphics related I'd opt for the Vega.
Uh I don’t think you read my post thoroughly? Or, you’re posting on the wrong thread. Also in the post above yours, the guy doesn’t mention the iMac Pro OR a graphics card? smh

I said I use my computer for very basic tasks.

I’m asking about which processor would be good for me, I never mentioned a graphics card.

Also no idea why you would recommend a $5000 iMac Pro. Thanks for your help, but you really need to read more thoroughly before answering.
 

seggy

macrumors member
Feb 13, 2016
80
30
Uh I don’t think you read my post thoroughly? Or, you’re posting on the wrong thread. Also in the post above yours, the guy doesn’t mention the iMac Pro OR a graphics card? smh

I said I use my computer for very basic tasks.

I’m asking about which processor would be good for me, I never mentioned a graphics card.

Also no idea why you would recommend a $5000 iMac Pro. Thanks for your help, but you really need to read more thoroughly before answering.
Maybe you're the one who needs to read.

As I said, if you ACTUALLY NEED the i9, then due to the limitations of the iMac chassis, you're actually better off going for a similar-on-paper spec of the iMac Pro.

Otherwise the i5 is fine - as I said, "and the 8600 will be faster than the 3770".
 
  • Like
Reactions: patrick.a and Sikh

ondert

macrumors 6502
Aug 11, 2017
437
731
Italy
Sir, in your case the basic i5 model will be sufficient for many years. However, it’s better to wait until WWDC 2020 to see if Apple will reveal new iMac.
 
  • Like
Reactions: majaca

sco

macrumors newbie
Apr 11, 2013
13
0
Brisbane, Australia
I have a 2017 iMac 3.8Ghz i5. I drive it hard as I'm a software developer running virtual machines and XCode at the same time. It runs well. So I think you'll be fine with an i5. Best to spend extra money on getting an SSD. This will give you much more noticeable improvements to speed.
 

ericwn

macrumors 601
Apr 24, 2016
4,373
2,674
I’d get the i5 and be happy. My iMac at home isn’t used that much right now but it has served me through various use cases, job changes etc for about 7 years already. Lots of RAM and a SSD kept the experience fresh.
 

majaca

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2013
47
1
I have a 2017 iMac 3.8Ghz i5. I drive it hard as I'm a software developer running virtual machines and XCode at the same time. It runs well. So I think you'll be fine with an i5. Best to spend extra money on getting an SSD. This will give you much more noticeable improvements to speed.
Thank you, I think the i5 would be fine, I think that question is settled for me.

Now, I'm torn on 3TB Fusion drive or 2TB SSD?
Mac I'm replacing is 3TB Fusion and I've had no issues? So, why change and for more $? I'm open though to the SSD...I just don't know a lot about it. And, my main thing is, which one (fusion vs ssd) is more apt to LOSE MY PICS/VIDEOS and which one would last LONGER?

I've read that SSD doesn't necessarily remain 'fast' as the more stuff it stores, the more it slows down.
Read here: https://pureinfotech.com/why-solid-state-drive-ssd-performance-slows-down/

Then, I also found this and it sort of freaks me out because the most precious thing I store on my Mac is photos of my children! I would die if I lost them. This article drew my attention...specifically this- 'ssds can lose data in as little as 7 days'!

Read here: 205382-ssds-can-lose-data-in-as-little-as-7-days-without-power
 

majaca

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2013
47
1
I’d get the i5 and be happy. My iMac at home isn’t used that much right now but it has served me through various use cases, job changes etc for about 7 years already. Lots of RAM and a SSD kept the experience fresh.
How much ram?
- - Post merged: - -

 

CWallace

macrumors 604
Aug 17, 2007
7,156
3,083
Seattle, WA
  1. CPU: i5 is fine for what you need. i9 is not worth the price upgrade and will drive your fans louder to keep it cool since it draws about 50% more power at base clock and power = heat.
  2. RAM: Buy it with 8GB and then get a 16GB (2x8GB) upgrade kit from Crucial, OWC or another quality provider. That way you get 24GB and save $100 or more compared to what Apple wants to go from 8GB to 16GB (which is the minimum you really want).
  3. Storage: SSD is much preferable over SSD, but at least with the 2TB/3TB Fusion Drives you get a 128GB SSD, which should hold macOS and your most-often used applications.

    Note: Chances are decent Apple will soon be doubling the capacity of SSDs for the same price based on what they have done with the other Macs when they announce the new model. So if you can wait, I would wait as you might be able to get a 2TB SSD for what a 1TB SSD upgrade currently costs.
 
  • Like
Reactions: majaca and Tekguy0

ericwn

macrumors 601
Apr 24, 2016
4,373
2,674
How much ram?
- - Post merged: - -
16 or 24 are nice to have. Personally I do need more to load drum samples into GarageBand and I went with 32GB from Crucial- they sell Mac specific RAM bundles.
 

kschendel

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
1,054
332
Buy the i5 with 8 GB ram, add a 16GB kit for $80-ish or a bit less. Regardless of how you handle storage, you need a backup; get a relatively cheap 1 or 2 TB (or larger if you have more space used now) portable USB drive and hook it up with Time Machine. Any storage device and and eventually will fail; only back up the data that matters to you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: majaca

NewUsername

macrumors member
Aug 20, 2019
74
54
CPU: according to Geekbench, the new i5 would be 30% faster for single-core and 65% faster for multi-core than your current iMac. That should be all right. As a general rule, CPU upgrades are usually not worth the money, unless your workload is particularly CPU-heavy.

RAM: honestly 8GB would probably also work for you, but 16GB is always better. I would wait for the iMac update at least until WWDC. Good chance they’ll make 16GB standard, then you can settle with that. If you want to buy the current model, get 8GB RAM and add 16GB to it yourself (extremely easy to do).

Storage: I would choose SSD, not only because it’s faster but also because SSDs don’t fail as often as HDDs. But: it is a lot more expensive. Again, wait until the next update, it might drop Fusion Drives altogether so then you only need to choose the SSD size. In that case, the bigger the better, if you are used to 3TB you might want to go for 2TB SSD or even 4TB SSD (they'll probably offer that on the new models). Be prepared to spend a lot of money on that though.

If you want to be much cheaper off, get a small-sized internal SSD (even 256GB or 512GB will do), buy an external SSD (e.g. a 2TB Samsung T7) and store your photos over there. Much cheaper and still plenty fast.

If you want to be sure you won’t ever lose your photos, why not store them on iCloud? 2TB iCloud storage is $10 a month; sure, that’s a lot of money in the long run, but having all your files in the cloud means that even if your house burns down, you’ll still have all your files. That’s invaluable I think.
 
  • Like
Reactions: majaca

majaca

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 1, 2013
47
1
CPU: according to Geekbench, the new i5 would be 30% faster for single-core and 65% faster for multi-core than your current iMac. That should be all right. As a general rule, CPU upgrades are usually not worth the money, unless your workload is particularly CPU-heavy.

RAM: honestly 8GB would probably also work for you, but 16GB is always better. I would wait for the iMac update at least until WWDC. Good chance they’ll make 16GB standard, then you can settle with that. If you want to buy the current model, get 8GB RAM and add 16GB to it yourself (extremely easy to do).

Storage: I would choose SSD, not only because it’s faster but also because SSDs don’t fail as often as HDDs. But: it is a lot more expensive. Again, wait until the next update, it might drop Fusion Drives altogether so then you only need to choose the SSD size. In that case, the bigger the better, if you are used to 3TB you might want to go for 2TB SSD or even 4TB SSD (they'll probably offer that on the new models). Be prepared to spend a lot of money on that though.

If you want to be much cheaper off, get a small-sized internal SSD (even 256GB or 512GB will do), buy an external SSD (e.g. a 2TB Samsung T7) and store your photos over there. Much cheaper and still plenty fast.

If you want to be sure you won’t ever lose your photos, why not store them on iCloud? 2TB iCloud storage is $10 a month; sure, that’s a lot of money in the long run, but having all your files in the cloud means that even if your house burns down, you’ll still have all your files. That’s invaluable I think.
If the iMac is updated, will the current options go away that day (of the WWDC)?
Also, is there something that make you say they may make 16GB standard?

And, I did recently opt in for the $10/mo iCloud storage option. How many photos and videos will that hold? Right now, I have close to 10k photos and ~1300 (mostly sub-10 minutes each, save for Christmas days - which are around an hour).

Thanks!
 

CWallace

macrumors 604
Aug 17, 2007
7,156
3,083
Seattle, WA
If the iMac is updated, will the current options go away that day (of the WWDC)?
If they announce immediate availability, then yes.


Also, is there something that make you say they may make 16GB standard?
I think it is just wishful thinking. Only the 16" MacBook Pro comes standard with 16GB - everything else is usually 8GB with some higher-end configurations including 16GB. Maybe the $2299 configuration will go to 16GB from 8GB, but I expect anything lower-spec will stay 8GB.


And, I did recently opt in for the $10/mo iCloud storage option. How many photos and videos will that hold? Right now, I have close to 10k photos and ~1300 (mostly sub-10 minutes each, save for Christmas days - which are around an hour).
That is a 2TB plan so it depends on how large your photos and videos are. My iPhone 11 Pro Max photos average between 3MB and 6MB each and my movies shot on it average around 2-3MB per second.
 

NewUsername

macrumors member
Aug 20, 2019
74
54
I think it is just wishful thinking. Only the 16" MacBook Pro comes standard with 16GB - everything else is usually 8GB with some higher-end configurations including 16GB. Maybe the $2299 configuration will go to 16GB from 8GB, but I expect anything lower-spec will stay 8GB.
The 4 TB3 model 13" MacBook Pro now also has 16GB standard, and it has the same entry price as the 27" iMac ($1799). But it is true that that is just speculation from my side. I could see them make 16GB standard on all 27" models, but they could also keep 8GB for the base 27" and reduce the upgrade cost to $100.

The big question is, though, whether we'll really see an iMac update by WWDC. The shipping times have been very long for a very long time, which makes me wonder whether there is really an update incoming or it really is just a supply chain issue. However, I would still wait until WWDC regardless unless a new iMac is really urgent.
 

SkiHound2

macrumors regular
Jul 15, 2018
189
121
You don't need the i9 for your uses. The i5 is a 6 core processor and benchmarks are very similar to the i7 that was used in the 2017 iMacs. The advantage of the i9 isn't going to be apparent unless you're doing tasks that exploit the additional cores and threads. You'd be better off using the money on an SSD. In the 27" iMac you can easily upgrade ram. There have been rumors of a new iMac, though when it will actually appear and what it will bring to the table are not known. I do quite a bit of pretty heavy photo editing. After much internal debate I purchased the top tier i5, upgraded to SSD, and then added ram. The only time I feel like I could use more processing power is if I apply DxO prime noise reduction to a large number of photos; that is very processor intensive and more cores/threads would speed that process.
 

NewUsername

macrumors member
Aug 20, 2019
74
54
Shipping times of the 21" in Germany and the Netherlands are back to normal again.

If the same happens with the 27" there might be nothing happening until Mini-LED next year. Would also make sense given the pattern of the last few years (2015, 2017, 2019, 2021). Good thing is that will be a huge update then, definitely with a redesign, all-SSD etc.

But for now, better to wait until WWDC, just to be sure.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.