Need some buying advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Rogzilla, Nov 4, 2016.

  1. Rogzilla macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2007
    Hi all! I'm going to apologize in advance for the length of this but I don't have time to make a shorter post and I tend to ramble when I don't know what to do.

    I currently use a 2012 Mac Mini was the low end with the only upgrade being a 1TB HDD. It does most of what I need it to, although when I work on large scale, complete illustrations in Photoshop, it can be pretty slow. And forget about upgrading to mac OS. I tried it and my computer was so slow, it took nearly 15 minutes to launch Photoshop and open a file! I had to use Time Machine to revert back to El Capitan.

    So, I'm in the market for a new computer and was hoping to see some new iMacs. My first Mac was a 2006 iMac and I loved it. But, alas, there were none and now, I'm uncertain what to do. I can, in theory, wait for the new iMacs, which are rumored to be sometime in early 2017. I can do my work as of right now, it can just be slow. Plus, a more recently upgraded Mac is more likely to be supported for later OS updates. It may also have one or more USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, which will allow a bit more future proofing of accessories since I know these computers can last a while.

    But the truth is, I also don't always NEED to have the latest OS and I don't really know what benefits USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 really offers. And what if Apple drops all ports BUT the USB-C/Thunderbolt 3? A big part of the reason I'm not getting a new MBP is the added price of getting a docking station/dongles on top of the already premium priced laptop. Add to that the fact that it sounds like there really isn't that big of a benefit with the new Intel processors vs the ones currently in iMacs (something about Lakes, Kaby Lake? Crystal Lake? Lake Placid?). I guess the graphics update might be good, but I'm not a hardcore gamer (although I wouldn't mind better graphics). I would like to try some CG modeling (Zbrush for example) and I suppose better graphics card would be better for that.

    There is the option of going PC. I recently got my wife a new ASUS laptop for gaming and its really nice. Windows isn't as bad as it was when I left. I could easily just buy/build a desktop PC and upgrade/maintain as needed.

    So TL/DR: is there really any benefit to waiting for a new iMac? If I can wait, should I?

    Bonus question: What would the benefits be of USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, assuming they even added that? Truth be told, I don't know much about it other that its the latest trend and Apple seems to be gearing up to go all in on it.
  2. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    Sounds to me like you just want to get some work done and don't care how it happens.

    If you're surviving, sort of, with a 2012 Mini, then I'd suggest that you look at a used / refurbished 2014/2015 vintage iMac, with SSD or at least Fusion drive. It will be a good deal cheaper than a brand new machine, and given that Intel has been a bit stuck in a bog recently, I don't think you'll see a machine with a really significant speed improvement for at least another year. (Incremental yes, significant leap no.)

    USB-C is probably more of an advantage to Apple than to users, in the sense that it reduces the number of driver chips, interfaces, sockets, and what-not that has to be engineered into a machine. If it lets Apple spend the engineering resources somewhere more interesting, I'm all for it. From the user perspective, there's not much to gain from it short term, IMHO.

    Windows is improving, but it was a really low bar to start with. Windows works just fine for many people, fine. I still can't stand to use it, even occasionally.
  3. theatremusician macrumors member


    Dec 17, 2013
    Don't get rid of the 2012 Mini. It is user upgradable. Max out the RAM and give it an SSD instead of the spinning drive. Also, use a dedicated SSD scratch disc for your Adobe products. Do these things, and your 2012 Mini will feel like new.
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 68040


    Dec 19, 2004
    I agree with the SSD upgrade. Max out the RAM. Since you use Adobe CC a lot get a 1TB Samsung 850 Pro. Due to the higher write endurance. You'd be amazed at how much those two upgrades will help.

    If you did go the Windows route you could build a monster of a media rig. With a few 4K screens, i7 6850k, 32GB RAM and 1TB OCZ RD400 NVMe SSD. Perhaps even a Samsung 960 Pro/SM961. Anything beyond a GPU which can drive all those screens is a bit of a waste for your uses. Perhaps a Radeon Rx 470.
  5. Rogzilla thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2007
    Thanks guys! I'll look into updating the RAM and SSD. Looks like I can do both for less than $400. Hopefully, that'll extend the life of my Mac Mini until Apple gets their desktop game together.
  6. theatremusician macrumors member


    Dec 17, 2013
    Also get an external SSD to use as a scratch disk. It's so important for the Adobe stuff.
  7. Rogzilla, Nov 5, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2016

    Rogzilla thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2007
    What is a scratch disk?

    EDIT: Never mind, did a quick google search. I knew that Photoshop would do stuff like that but never realized I could assign that to an external drive. I'll look into that too. How big of an external drive should I get?
  8. theatremusician macrumors member


    Dec 17, 2013
    Unless you're working on huge files, the scratch disc doesn't have to be tremendous, but it should be dedicated. An SSD of 256GB should do I'd guess.

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