New User... First IMAC, Help me Choose :)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by bjackrel, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. bjackrel macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2012
    Hey everyone,

    PC user here ready to make the switch. I have done a lot of research on the IMAC the last month and I want one. I have the money to make the jump to the 27" but I want your opinions first. I think the best way is to explain what I will be using it for... here it goes!

    I work for a company called Moto Electric... I will be doing a lot of picture taking, putting it onto Iphoto, adjusting it, and uploading the pictures to the website (

    I also will be doing videos all the time.. planning to do a review on each vehicle which means I movie will be used quite a bit. I do not plan on playing games on the computer at all.. it will be at my desk in the office. Other than that, I will just be using internet along with any other cool apps like PhotoShop CS5 etc.

    I know I can get RAM for cheap... not worried about RAM. But do I really need the I7? What about the SSD.. I know standard they come with a 1TB HDD. What you guys think? Also.. what about the display.. 27" really worth the 400.00 for what I am doing?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    For photo work, the larger the screen the better. Go 27"

    For video work, the faster the processor the better. Go i7

    I primarily do photo editing on a larger scale so I opted for the 27", and on occasions I have to work with video the i7 processor is appreciated.

    RAM - as much as you can put in there will help out as well.

    SSD ??? This is something I am still considering.

    I might add in an SSD for the System/Boot/Apps ..... keep the 1TB open for projects being worked on.

    All of my final work product is copied off the iMac and replicated on three other physical drives. One of those drives is " off site " for added data security.
  3. karmamule macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2008
    Waltham, MA
    I played with the 21.5" and 27" at an Apple store and right away found I preferred the extra screen real-estate. Have you had time to use each of them at an Apple store? If not, I think that's the first thing to do. Some people find the 27" too wide, others love it. I also have use for the higher resolution because I like to code on it w/some reference books/web pages open to the side, so the higher res is fantastic for that.

    Also, how long do you want this to last? Are you the type that refreshes every year or two, or do you like to drive each purchase into the ground, so to speak? If the latter, definitely purchase the most powerful system you can comfortable afford.

    I got the 256 SSD/1 Tb HD and it is whisper quiet and very, very fast. It still would be plenty fast with just the 1 Tb HD, but the SSD knocks it into another level of performance.

    If I could only have afforded one of the two features it would be the 27" screen for me.

    Go to an Apple Store, fire up iMovie and see what the extra screen real-estate buys you. See if you really like it, or if it feels excessive. That's something that is very personal, and you have to answer for yourself. My answer was a resounding YES, but maybe yours won't be.
  4. bjackrel, Feb 16, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012

    bjackrel thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2012
    I will rarely use Photoshop and will probably be editing one picture at a time if I do... 27" still worth it. Also, what will the i7 do better than the i5 when doing video (my main concern)


    Thats a good suggestion, I will def go to the store and play with each. Now with that said... would you go with the SSD over the I7? Do I need the SSD + 1TB ATA to do the thing where you run your processor on the SSD and your files save to the 1 TB?
  5. karmamule, Feb 16, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012

    karmamule macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2008
    Waltham, MA
    If you do a built-to-order iMac by default Apple will stick the operating system on the SSD, and leave the 1TB hd open for you. I moved my user directory over to the 1TB drive where most of my documents will go, and will keep the SSD reserved for OS X and my more-demanding applications.

    The SSD will give you really fast startup/shutdown times, and applications will start faster. The i7 will give you the most bang for your buck in computationally intensive activities.

    I don't know a lot about video editing, so I googled "video editing system requirements". A common theme seemed to be that CPU was very important. One excerpt:

    We highly recommend Intel Core i7 processors.
    In the past we would recommend Intel over AMD for compatibility reasons. Then when Dual Core processors first came out we gave the upper hand to AMD. With the Core 2 Duo processors Intel re-took the top spot for video editing and with Core i7 Intel’s lead has only gotten stronger. While AMD machines will work, we think Intel is definitely the way to go for video editing. Those on a tight budget can go with a Core i5 for basic video editing.

    Another site said:

    What Type of CPU?

    In general, the rule for video editing computers is "the more powerful, the better," because faster and more efficient computers render fancy effects and titles faster. If the computer's hardware is fast enough, it might even allow real-time effects that keep you working on your project instead of waiting for your effects to render. In both the Mac and the PC world, higher CPU clock speeds generally make for better performance; thus a 2.8 GHz chip is not as fast as, say, a 3.2 GHz chip. The latest, greatest chips might be the 64-bit, dual 2.7GHz powerPC G5 for the Mac or the 64-bit AMD Athlon 64 4000+ for Windows machines, but new releases change this all the time. If you're editing HD material or film, then it would certainly pay to go for the most powerful processor available or perhaps even two paired together in a single machine. If you're just planning to edit DV, however, then the premium price you pay for the fastest might break the price/performance barrier. There is no shame in having a second-fastest machine if the cost savings are high enough, and they usually are.

    That point about real-time effects sounds interesting. Sound like something useful for the video editing you'll do?

    Start with googling that phrase I mentioned. There's a treasure trove of info out there, from people who know a lot more than I do! :)

    EDIT: As you can see that 2nd snippet is a bit older given the CPUs they're talking about, but the principle of "get a fast CPU" is clear. Keep in mind that google let's you restrict to more recent links, so you might want to limit to the last year or something to be sure you're not seeing really outdated info.
  6. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    Maybe this will help you choose the right processor....

    The moment you mentioned video editing, the i7 came to mind.

    When it comes to selecting a computer I apply the following three rules.....

    1) When it comes to processing power I believe in the following rule ....... It is better to have too much and not need it, then to need it and not have it.

    2) When it comes to system memory I believe in the following rule ...... It is better to have too much and not need it, then to need it and not have it.

    3) When it comes to storage space I believe in the following rule ...... It is better to have too much and not need it, then to need it and not have it.

    When it comes to iMacs you buy what cannot be easily upgraded first .... this would be the CPU.

    Memory and HDD/SSD can be added later.

    You can always had more RAM or Storage as needed...... but if you skimp and get the i5 and realize you need the i7, you're stuck.
  7. bjackrel thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2012
    Thats a lot of good info. Looks like I will be going with the I7 then. Correct me if im wrong though regarding the SSD. If i choose on the apple store site the 256SSD, does it automatically come with another region to store stuff or do I have to select SSD + 1TB? Here are the options it lists. What happens if I just get the SSD?

    Learn more

    1TB Serial ATA Drive [Subtract $500.00]
    2TB Serial ATA Drive [Subtract $350.00]
    256GB Solid State Drive
    1TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive [Add $100.00]
    2TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive [Add $250.00]
  8. karmamule macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2008
    Waltham, MA
    My *guess* is that they will configure it as one large space. But, regardless of how they configure it, you can use the Disk Utility to partition it however you'd like once you receive it.
  9. ZMAN Z28 macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2012
    I have to agree with Karmamule says about the I7 for video editing. The I7 is a better processor for demanding tasks than the I5. The I7 uses hyperthreading where the i5 doesn't. For most applications, you won't notice the difference, but video editing is one where you can see an improvement. I've never used a I5, so can't personally compare. I used windows I7 machines for video editing (Premiere Pro and Sony Vegas), and it works rather well depending on your resolution and movie size. That's all about to change when I get my new iMac on the 29th.
  10. arjen92 macrumors 65816


    Sep 9, 2008
    Below sea level
    The i7 will be better. But if you're just going to use iMovie even the macbook air will do. You'll notice the difference between the i5 and i7 when you export a movie. This will take a few seconds/minutes less (with ~3 minute videos) when exporting. If you really need this, go for i7, if you can spend the money go for i7. If you don't have the money, and you can spare a few minutes go for i5.

    The SSD is fun, but it only really makes apps launch faster and make the os feel more responsive. But on the iMac (2008) I always leave most programs open, so no need for fast booting.
    I do have an SSD in my macbook pro, photoshop launches in no time.

    Also you really don't need a lot of processing power for photoshop. Maybe sometimes for filters. My iMac 2008 slowed down a little bit when the photoshop file got bigger than 230 MB. If you're going to work on files that size or bigger, you might consider a faster processor. But for 5 MB raw pictures, even a macbook air would do.

    If you've got the money, I'd say do whatever you want. But if you're on budget (or you want to make a rational choice) go for what you need and don't pay extra for stuff you don't actually need.
  11. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    Depending on the quantity of video you're editing, you might want to Thunderbolt an external SSD rather than using the smaller-size internal one. Then the internal SSD becomes nice-to-have (and useful for boot-up times, super-fast page swapping, etc.) but not necessary.

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