Present or Future 5k iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by PannaKO, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. PannaKO macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2014
    I'm wondering if it would be better for me to buy now or later.
    I don't exactly need a new machine now, but a 27" screen and more power would help save me some time from working on a 15" MacBook Pro mid-2014.
    My use would be quite general, but with graphic design and animation using Adobe CC and some video re-encoding.

    I'm hoping you can provide me with some info that would help me make a decision:

    1. Does the 2017 5k iMac still use two streams/custom port to out put its resolution?

    2. How does the screen compare to my current machine concerning contrast and black levels?
    From what I have now, when watching video content I can't see dark scenes very well.
    Upping the brightness just seems to wash out other colours and makes the rest of the OS too bright, etc.

    3. How much of a benefit would 6-core processor be for me or the average person?
    I'm confused on the pros/cons of having more cores with (likely) lower clock speeds.
  2. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Not sure how you can tell. The system report says:


    Display Type: Built-In Retina LCD
    Resolution: 5120 x 2880 Retina
    Pixel Depth: 30-Bit Color (ARGB2101010)
    Main Display: Yes
    Mirror: Off
    Online: Yes
    Automatically Adjust Brightness: Yes
    Connection Type: DisplayPort

    If anybody has an older iMac - or a MBP with a 5k external display - can they check their system report to see if it gives any clue as to the MST connection? I suspect not.

    That's assuming that 5k iMacs have ever used a MST connection: its a given for the 5k Thunderbolt display, since Thunderbolt only carries DisplayPort 1.2a and that can't support 5k with a single stream. As for the iMac all we know is that it uses some sort of custom internal interface.

    The Radeon 5xx Pro almost certainly supports DisplayPort 1.4 (can't confirm since "580 Pro" seems to be a custom job for Apple - but the RX580 does and it would be bizarre for a 2017 GPU not to) so the new iMac could have a single-stream internal connection. I assume that the external USB-C/TB3 connectors are limited to DisplayPort 1.2a by the Intel TB chipset driving them (Even for USB-C alt mode...? Any evidence to the contrary welcome!) The Apple specs just say "DisplayPort" which isn't very helpful.

    The question is - does it matter? The display is embedded in the iMac and will die with the iMac, so future compatibility when DP1.4 become standard isn't an issue. There's still no Target Display Mode, and no reason to expect that feature to reappear in future.

    ...and it's really not clear if the screen on the forthcoming iMac Pro is going to be any different to the current iMac.

    Probably no significant advantage for general use - it should make your video encoding and some Adobe CC tasks significantly faster, but it won't turn an overnight encoding job into "while-u-wait" and, unless the CC/Encoding work is your primary breadwinner, might not be money well spent.

    Its easy to do a finger-in-the-wind check - run Activity Monitor and turn on the CPU activity window on your current MBP. When at least 4 of the 8 bars are high, then more cores might be helping you (or just listen for the fan ramping up which is the usual sign that you're maxing out the CPU).

    With the 6 core Xeon you're also paying a premium for ECC RAM for stability during long periods of intense processing, and increased i/o capability (hence the 4 TB3 ports and 10G ethernet on the iMP). Again, that might not be justified by your use. Heck, that 10Gbps ethernet is worth hundreds of bucks if you need it - but is a complete waste of space unless you spend thousands on a 10Gbps network to plug it in to!

    I'd say that the regular iMac is still going to be the best bet for most unless you're primarily using it for professional (as in: doing it for money) video, 3D, audio etc. Of course, you can't put a price on space grey :)

    As for future "regular" iMacs that may or may not appear in 2018 or 2019 - how do you feel about the design of the current MacBook Pros vs your existing 'classic' rMBP? Keep it to yourself (the debate has raged here for long enough) but in the absence of any other rumours, that gives the best clue as to the likely direction of future iMacs.
  3. PannaKO thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2014
    Thanks for your thoughts, you bring up some interesting points:

    1. It probably doesn't matter that much, but I'd feel more assured if the screen used an approved standard rather than something 'jerry-rigged'. Of course, the TCON and port being custom doesn't indicate its quality (good or bad). it's just something I'm wary of.

    3. Sorry, I should have been more specific, I have no plans to get the iMac Pro or Mac Pro.
    I was thinking more of the 6-core regular iMacs that are expected to be released sometime next year.

    I'm hoping that my graphic design use will turn out to be my breadwinner.
    But also, I often like to have quite a few processes going with normal use: VLC playing video (720p or possibly 1080p on the 5k if doesn't ramp up the fans too much), Safari surfing with lots of tabs and windows open(ing) in quick succession, iTunes and audio program to equalise my personal music.


    2. I'd love to hear your opinions on watching video on your 5k iMac, do you have any problems with seeing any details in movies?
  4. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    I haven't really watched enough movies on it to comment. After your post I watched a bit of the opening to the final Harry Potter movie (which is pretty dark) and had no complaints, but that's hardly a comparative review. Some of the detail just isn't there to see - hence the interest in high-dynamic range media and displays.

    As for the 6-core regular iMacs - its pure rumor at the moment. There's always something better coming out next year.

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