Opinions on 27" iMac base model

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mikecsmith, May 25, 2019.

  1. mikecsmith macrumors newbie

    mikecsmith

    Joined:
    May 25, 2019
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    Hey,

    New member looking for advice on iMac's so treat me gently :)

    I'm a full-stack developer working on backend, frontend and mobile applications (mostly JavaScript, RoR and Objective C). The vast majority of the coding I do isn't particularly CPU intensive, but I am working on an AR project at the minute which means I occasionally have to work with Cinema 4D/Blender/XCode rendering DAE files. I'm not involved in creating them - we have an awesome person doing that for us, I just open them to view them and occasionally tweak a texture so not particularly intensive.

    About the most intensive tasks I perform on a semi-regular basis are running the iOS simulator, running Android Studio (sometimes both at the same time) and occasionally converting client videos to HTML5 friendly formats with ffmpeg. Mostly though it's just Visual Studio Code building web or mobile interfaces for data driven apps.

    Now the preamble and use case stuff is out of the way...

    I got an amazing discount on a 27" base model 2019 iMac via an old university email address which I'll be pairing with a 27" 4K monitor for a second screen as my daily workstation.

    The store I purchased from provides huge discounts for non-customised Macs (customised are available but the discounts are no where near as good). I ended up purchasing the base 2019 27" iMac with this loadout:

    i5-8500 CPU
    8GB RAM
    1TB Fusion
    AMD 570X 4GB GPU
    4 year warranty included

    But I'm wondering if I should return it (currently unopened) and exchange it for the standard high tier config:

    i5-9600KF CPU
    8GB RAM
    2TB Fusion
    AMD 580X 8GB GPU
    4 year warranty included

    For a bit of context, along with the base model I also purchased:

    2x8GB DDR4 2666mhz RAM sticks to take me up to 24GB RAM.
    A Samsung X5 512GB SSD to use as an external boot drive for macOS. I'd have preferred an internal SSD but would have lost the awesome discount by customising.

    I'm not overly concerned by the GPU as I'd rather run an eGPU so I can hotswap with my MacBook Pro as well.

    Big reason I'm having buyers remorse is the CPU, I'm looking to keep this system for the next 3-4 years minimum and I have no real experience with the intel 6 core CPUs. I've got a Ryzen 2600 in my Windows PC and am running a 2016 15" Macbook Pro as my daily driver for development (which can crawl due to thermal throttling when running XCode and Android Studio at the same time).

    The price difference between the base model and the high tier version is approx £400 GBP and I can't work out whether I'd be better putting that towards an eGPU now and not worrying about the processor or foregoing the eGPU for at least 12 month and taking the upgraded CPU.

    Any thoughts or opinions gratefully received!
     
  2. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    #2
    I personally think the i5 if fine for what you mentioned, and should be fine for a while.

    This would be one area I would be concerned about, and not just for long term, but short as well.

    The 1TB Fusion Drive in the 2019 iMac only has a 32GB SSD, if you consider getting the 2TB Fusion, that one has the much larger 128GB SSD.

    Apple nerfed the 1TB Fusion Drives back in 2015 when they went from a 128GB SSD to a tiny 24GB SSD. Apple increased the 1TB Fusion to a 32GB SSD back in 2017, and kept it the same for the 2019.

    All 2TB and 3TB Fusion Drives have a 128GB SSD.

    But, I would go a step further and suggest a SSD instead of a Fusion Drive, but I know that Apple charges a ridiculous amount for the upgrade, so get what you can afford.


    The GPU is typically the weak part of Macs, and is usually the thing that becomes outdated first. For non-swappable GPUs, I usually recommend getting the best one available, but eGPU support kind of change this now.
     
  3. mikecsmith thread starter macrumors newbie

    mikecsmith

    Joined:
    May 25, 2019
    Location:
    London, UK
    #3
    Thanks for the input! On the storage front I'll be running a Samsung X5 Thunderbolt3 external SSD as the boot disk (i.e. macOS and all apps) - the 1TB internal drive will just be for media storage. From what I've read the X5 should get me pretty much identical stats to an internal SSD and allows me to easily update to a 1 or 2TB NVME SSD in future.

    Because of the discounts on the standard spec macs - it'd cost an additional £325 to upgrade to a 512GB SSD which seems excessive - and I can only upgrade the high tier version. For reference I paid £1,395.88 for the base model. The high tier model would cost £1,782.34 from this store - if I add a 512GB SSD to the high tier version the price jumps to £2,105.10.
     
  4. Zdigital2015 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2015
    Location:
    East Coast, United States
    #4
    Consider this...for the £400 difference, you are getting a much faster, more recent CPU with partial side channel mitigation and no hyper-threading attack vectors, a decently better GPU with 2x the VRAM and an extra teraflop of compute power and double the storage plus a decent SSD portion that will keep the speed going whereas the 1TB Fusion will end up take a crap speed wise even though you aren’t using it as a boot drive once you start filling it up. Honestly, Apple should be ashamed of the 1TB Fusion and skimping on the SSD portion.

    Secondly, AMD is about to launch 7nm NAVI GPUs on Monday the 27th in Taipei a and it is only a matter of time before Apple supports them and then you can add one as an eGPU in the future, while the 580X does the heavy lifting for the next 12 months or so.

    Thirdly, I suspect the 9th Gen Core i5 will be quite a bit better for Xcode and Android Studio compile times than the 8th Gen just from having an extra 700MHz across all cores plus higher Turbo Boost clocks speeds of up to extra 500MHz over the i5 3.0GHz.

    My developers always, always want the absolute fastest CPU they can possibly get when money is not an object...you can get a great deal and just be one level behind the current top of the line. Just my 2¢. Good luck!
     
  5. mikecsmith thread starter macrumors newbie

    mikecsmith

    Joined:
    May 25, 2019
    Location:
    London, UK
    #5

    OK - you just sold me on the upgrade - call for a returns label on Tuesday I think.
     
  6. Harry44 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    #6
    --- Post Merged, May 25, 2019 ---
    Just recieved an 21 iMac base i3 model and bought it with an SSD Samsung 860 1TB installed by the shop, instead of the standard HDD: huge difference ! Geekbench4: 4800 Single / 14400 Multi, as I am a low tech user, no gaming or video software, the R screen is fantastic, immediate respons, very pleased with the shop advice: no fusion but SSD : MacBizz Amsterdam.  SSD is far to expensive, MacBizz charged me inclusive the drive change 300€ extra.  fan since 1993, but doubt their todays Mac line up and anorexia support. Palaces instead of shops..
     
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #7
    OP wrote:
    "For a bit of context, along with the base model I also purchased:
    2x8GB DDR4 2666mhz RAM sticks to take me up to 24GB RAM.
    A Samsung X5 512GB SSD to use as an external boot drive for macOS. I'd have preferred an internal SSD but would have lost the awesome discount by customising."


    Unless you want to return it and spend more for an iMac with an internal SSD and a faster CPU, my prediction is that what you have is going to serve you just fine.

    Boot and run from the X5, it will run as fast as any internal SSD you could have bought.

    I think this setup could easily keep you going 3-5 years, possibly longer.
     

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6 May 25, 2019