Outfitting 2019 27" 5K iMac

trifona

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 22, 2007
50
9
The new iMac would replace a mid-2007 24" iMac; so my needs are not that great relative to current abilities. I feel pretty set on the highest tier 27" iMac but am open to recommendations. Our current machine has been 100% reliable & bulletproof, it runs mostly 24/7 unless we head out of town. We would love the same reliability and longevity in our next machine. We toyed with getting a MBP or MBAir but i think we need a new anchor machine instead; we both have pc laptops for work anyway. I keep wanting to add a Mac laptop eventually but even when we vacation we end up taking our work laptops with us in case of fires erupting back at HQ, so it may not happen.

Current uses: General internet, Youtube, Netflix, etc. Serves as an iTunes music server, anchor machine for managing our iPhones & the kids iPads, TurboTax and tax retention records, Misc document retention (Adobe PDF). I still collect & rip CD's so i'll need to get an optical drive of some sort eventually. MS Office suite, Google Docs, to support work or school projects. We used to do iMovie family projects, but the old Mac cant keep up with that anymore, it would be nice to do that again. We also have a decade's worth of family photos in a Lightroom 2 catalogue; I rarely process photos. I like using Lightroom as a digital photo album for organization, and the occasional resizing, exporting, or adjusting of levels if a photo is important to me and I can fix an obvious defect. I don't do digital workflow of any sort.

CPU: i5 or i9?
GPU: 580X versus Vega?
Memory: I'll upgrade on my own

Storage: I need opinions here. My current internal drive is a 2TB 7200RPM drive that I installed 8 years ago . After cleaning out the cobwebs we are using 1.2TB of that space. We also have a 4TB external drive in an OWC Mercury Elite Pro enclosure used exclusively for Time Machine backups.

My initial preference was to get the 2TB SSD. Someone want to talk me out of that? It's crazy expensive however with a $1,100 upgrade cost over the base 2TB Fusion drive but there's something to be said for ditching the platter drive, on what is once a decade (hopefully) purchase for us; Alterbatively 2TB/3TB Fusion drives seem like very cost effective alternatives.

Many will recommend ordering the 500GB internal SSD from Apple. With that in mind, I priced out external SSD storage from OWC for a "media drive". The OWC Envoy Pro EX costs $599 for a 2TB SSD that is advertised as offering 2500MB/s sustained performance. Is it really worth doing that to save $400 in this scenario or are there better options?

Mouse vs Trackpad: I already have Magic Mouse 1. Is there a benefit to running both MM2 AND the Magic Trackpad? I'm curious about the trackpad but not sure I should experiment for $129 if I'll use it once and then throw it in storage.
 

gilby101

macrumors regular
Mar 17, 2010
156
57
Tasmania
The OWC Envoy Pro EX costs $599 for a 2TB SSD that is advertised as offering 2500MB/s sustained performance
I don't think that's right. This link says 400 MB/s and USB 3.1 gen1. https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/external-drives/OWC-Envoy-Pro. To get a significantly higher throughput you need a USB 3.1 gen2 (better) or Thunderbolt 3 drive (best).

But I agree with your strategy. I got a 2019 i9-9900 iMac with 500GB SSD and added external Samsung T5 2TB (USB 3.1 gen2).

I like the trackpad, but the mouse is more precise.
 
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jdmagoo1

macrumors regular
May 5, 2010
178
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I don't think that's right. This link says 400 MB/s and USB 3.1 gen1. https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/external-drives/OWC-Envoy-Pro. To get a significantly higher throughput you need a USB 3.1 gen2 (better) or Thunderbolt 3 drive (best).

But I agree with your strategy. I got a 2019 i9-9900 iMac with 500GB SSD and added external Samsung T5 2TB (USB 3.1 gen2).

I like the trackpad, but the mouse is more precise.

Wrong link, you should have used this one:

https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/owc-envoy-pro-ex-thunderbolt-3
 
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macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,827
14,067
Central U.S.
You don’t do anything crazy. i5 and 580 should be fine. For longevity for your tasks an SSD and as you said upgrading the RAM yourself are probably higher priorities. The fusion drive will bottleneck earlier and macOS/apps will use more RAM over time. You probably will need more than 2TB total so I would go 1GB at most with external storage. I like Samsung T5 drives. They are tiny and light but a little pricey and not the fastest nowadays. But they hold my Lightroom catalog of 42MP RAWs fine and the performance is good enough for that.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,474
5,676
For what you do, the i5 and the 580x should do fine.

I'll try to talk you out of a 2tb SSD.
Why give Apple all that money for a drive that is non-replaceable (if it fails out-of-warranty in the future)?
Get a modestly-sized internal SSD -- 512gb -- to take care of the "internal storage needs".
If your overall storage needs are "high-powered", supplement the internal SSD with an external SSD (either USB3 or thunderbolt3).

Will work as well and cost FAR less.

For USB3, get a Sandisk Extreme or Samsung t5.
For tbolt3, a Samsung X5 might be a good choice.
Of course, supplement them with backups.
 
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trifona

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 22, 2007
50
9
I think I'm kind of resigned to not getting an SSD if I buy a 2019 iMac. I would prefer 2TB/3TB of internal storage for mainly family photo storage. I don't have a workflow need for SSD speed. Nor do I really want to spend an incremental $1,100 for a 2TB SSD, that feels like insanity for a home PC.

For the folks advocating purchase of the smaller 512GB SSD, after you account for the increment expense of a 3rd party SSD (USB 3 or TB3), I'm not sure the savings are enough to offset the hassle over the tenure of ownership to make it worthwhile for me.

Put another way, the fusion drive savings are enough to buy a Macbook Air or iPad Pro. As I was going through the options this weekend the thought of spending $3500 for a new iMac with my needs just didn't sit right and I couldn't talk myself into it being a smart decision.

With all that beings said, I'm starting to question whether the base spec 27" iMac 3.0GHz/570X with 2TB Fusion is the way to go for $1,999 versus the hi-line 3.7GHz 9th gen i5 / 580X with either the 2TB or 3TB Fusion for $2,299 / $2,399 respectively.

Meanwhile my 2007 24" iMac keeps chugging along fulfilling its general duties. Maybe we keep waiting. Hmmm.
 

BJMRamage

macrumors 68020
Oct 2, 2007
2,450
865
oh wow...not the only one with a 24" iMac at home thinking of finally upgrading this year.
question...did you replace the HDD in the 24" for SPACE or drive FAILURE?

I had a drive failure and needed to replace my 500gb with another (I opted for 1TB at the time)
 

trifona

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 22, 2007
50
9
oh wow...not the only one with a 24" iMac at home thinking of finally upgrading this year.
question...did you replace the HDD in the 24" for SPACE or drive FAILURE?

I had a drive failure and needed to replace my 500gb with another (I opted for 1TB at the time)

The original HDD was 320GB, I had to replace it because I needed additional storage space. On the other hand, My Time machine drive failed (a couple of years ago?); I never figured out if it was the OWC FW800 enclosure or the HDD itself; so I just replaced them both.
 
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