New iMac advice

Discussion in 'iMac' started by robjulo, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. robjulo macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    #1
    Strongly considering the new iMac 27 inch. I currently have a late 2012 model, 3.4ghz i7 with 24mb of ram and a 1TB fusion drive.

    My needs are fairly simple. Most of the 27inch models will easily handle almost all of my needs, however I am a casual gamer as well and would like to bootcamp with Windows 10.

    My question is the best iMac option for this combination of uses. I'm leaning towards the i7 for some future proofing with the Radeon 580 and 2TB fusion drive.

    My question is mostly about the storage options. I considered going with the 512gb SSD, instead of the 2TB fusion and adding a 2tb external drive, but am concerned whether I will be able to set up bootcamp with that sort of setup.

    My secondary question is thoughts on whether the i7 is worth it over the i5. The only really heavy usage will be the occasional gaming. I won't be doing any hardcore video editing or anything like that.


    FWIW, I considered the option of getting a MBP, building a windows machine and purchasin a monitor. I really don't want to do this as I just purchased the iPad 12.9 to try and replace my laptop. Plus, I'm not a hardcore gamer, just casual, so this seems to be a bit of overkill and clutter I do not want.

    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. jlseattle macrumors 6502

    jlseattle

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle WA
    #2
    I would definitely not go the route of purchasing an external monitor and building a computer. I would put as much money into the 27" iMac that you can.

    I went with the $1999 version and was able to play WoW and Heroes of the Storm in medium settings without any issues. I did get the fusion drive but would recommend going to the SSD over the fusion and getting the basic ram and upgrading the ram with non-apple ram (less expensive). Otherwise, the i7 processor versus the i5 I think are negligible for casual environments. You'll see more value if using high processing intensive applications (photoshop or video editing).

    What games are you looking to play on it? BTW the iMac isn't built for high end gaming. It's more of a casual gaming machine anyway.
     
  3. mpainesyd macrumors 6502

    mpainesyd

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #3
    Look at using Parallels for running virtual Windows 10 within macOS instead of Bootcamp. That could give you more flexibility for using an external drive.

    I would stick with a Fusion drive because the iMac will be optimised for this configuration.
     
  4. jlseattle macrumors 6502

    jlseattle

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle WA
    #4
    If you end up getting an external drive for data, get the highest speed SSD drive. It will be quicker than the spinning platter drive.
     
  5. trsblader macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    #5
    The i7 is not worth it for you. Most games do not take full advantage of CPU, and even fewer take advantage of hyperthreading. For only casual gaming, I don't even think you need the high end i5. Base model, or mid level is more than enough. As for future proofing, if you aren't doing tasks that take advantage of the i7's capabilities, then you aren't really future proofing you're just spending extra money.

    Not sure I understand the concern. Are you worried about whether 512gb ssd is enough for bootcamp, or are you worried you can't put bootcamp on an external drive? There are tutorials out there for getting it on an external drive. If yo're wondering if it'll fit on the 512, it really depends on how much space you want for both mac and bootcamp as to whether it'll fit or not.
     
  6. iMi macrumors 6502a

    iMi

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2014
    #6
    What kind of games do you play? Some games will take advantage of the faster CPU.

    By the way - I went with the i7/580/2TB Fusion option. The CPU upgrade was only $200. It's replaceable, sure. But it would cost at least $350 and the process of taking apart the computer if your needs change or you decide to upgrade later. The SSD prices Apple charges are insane. In the future, it would be much easier to replace the hard drive than it would be to replace the CPU. The 2TB version has a healthy 120GB SSD portion. It's a good compromise between speed and capacity. The GPU is a no brainer in my opinion. There is a fairly significant performance difference between 575 and 580 and, given how the iMac configurations work, the upgrade cost is almost negligible. GPU is soldered on, so no upgrades down the road either. That's why I went with this configuration.
     
  7. robjulo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    #7
    Ok, thanks. Yes, I was worried the 512 was not going to be big enough (in fact, I know it's not). I will check out those tutorials about putting bootcamp on an external drive and then make a decision.

     
  8. cheezeit macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    #8
    I went i7 / 580 / 2TB fusion. If I need more storage / faster I'll buy a external ssd and run Mac OS off that and still keep my warranty intact.
     
  9. Trebuin macrumors 65816

    Trebuin

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Location:
    Okinawa, Japan
    #9
    Your gaming depends on the games. I would go with the i5 for that, but upgrade the graphics if you do any 3D gaming (wow, fps, sim type, etc). If you just play things like puzzle quest, then you can go bottom of the line. Also, games really should be played at half the resolution of the 4/5k due to pixel demand on the cards. There's some good advice above such as buying aftermarket memory, & you'll want a min of 16gb for parallels if you go that route. I found most games play fine in parallels with about a 5-10% performance drop which is nothing with the new vid cards & half res. Read all the feedback.
     
  10. glazball, Jul 5, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017

    glazball macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    #10
    I am a soon-to-be new iMac owner myself - it should be here in less than a week - and I went with the stock 2TB Fusion. However, reading other members posts, I'm starting to wonder if I should have gone with 512GB SSD instead. I really like the thought of no spinning platter and could add external storage later.

    Can you explain further on what you meant by being optimized for this config? Are you referring to how the OS will optimize the Fusion Drive?
     
  11. trsblader macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    #11
    As suggested by a couple others in the thread, consider parallels as well. If you're just doing casual gaming, parallels (or any other VM software) would be a great alternative and I do casual gaming from mine all the time. Not all VM software is free, but it lets you move your VM to any disc you want without having to partition and all that stuff. The VM becomes just a file like everything else, you drag and drop where you want it, and tell the VM software where to look for the file.
     
  12. mpainesyd macrumors 6502

    mpainesyd

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #12
    Yes - my understanding is that macOS swaps files between SSD and HD to optimise performance of the built-in Fusion drive. Frequently used files tend to be stored on the SSD. Using an external SSD/HD would likely not use this optimisation.
     
  13. geoelectric macrumors 6502

    geoelectric

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    #13
    It's better if all your files are on the SSD than some of them.
     
  14. Mejoco_LC475 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2017
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #14
    I ordered my late 2012 iMac with an SSD (750 GB), although a big cost at the time (around £900), it's more than paid for itself in extending the working lifecycle of the computer, starts up in what seems like seconds and still zips along after four and a half years of use.
     
  15. Velin macrumors 65816

    Velin

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Location:
    Hearst Castle
    #15
    I read these forums a lot. And the general tenor is, people regret getting a "fusion" drive. And many people discuss the noticeable improvement when moving from fusion to a full SSD. Spinning platter is old tech. I would seriously avoid it in my base machine. The internal SSD dedicated memory controllers allow for very fast data transfers; you want this in your machine.

    So, the much better route is to get the internal SSD. You need storage for video, photos, audio, data? Get a 4 terabyte external WD platter, they are cheap. Need it to be blazing fast? Then get a thunderbolt SSD, the 2017 iMac has two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports in the back with theoretical 40GB throughput. Still pretty cheap.

    We always get SSDs in our iMacs. The performance is fantastic. Never, ever going back to an internal platter. It's a mistake.
     
  16. MistrSynistr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    #16
    SSD makes all the difference. I have a fully loaded i7 32gb 2015 iMac at work with fusion and a 2015 i5 iMac 24gb SSD at home and my iMac at home is faster.
     
  17. Robbo1 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    #17
    Everything I've read about bootcamping off an external seems like the process is pretty hit or miss. An easier, hybrid option is to boot camp off the internal with a smallish (40GB) partition that just contains Win 10 and the steam client and then put all of the Win games on an external drive (SSD or conventional)
     

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