Questions regarding buying a new iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Alexander_JY, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. Alexander_JY, Feb 9, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018

    Alexander_JY macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2018
    Hey y'all,

    I'm hesitating over whether I should get a new iMac or a monitor. Below are a few reasons why I want an iMac and what I would be using it for. Please give me some advice to help me with this decision!! Thanks a lot :)

    1) I've got a 13-inch Macbook Pro, Mid-2014. The screen is too small for me, as I need to frequently switch pages and that takes away my efficiency to work. I want to be able to put multiple pages side by side.​

    2) The macbook gets a little slower when I open up many apps or browsers (like 10+), although the speed slowdown is not obvious and occurs only occasionally.​

    1) Mainly academic research (browsing through plenty of online articles and sources every day), writing, and excel sheet.​

    2) For entertainment, I typically watch movies and youtube videos. I don't play games.​

    My considerations:
    1) iMac:
    27 inches, 4.2 GHz Quad-core Processor, 16GB Memory, 512 GB SSD.​

    2) Monitors:
    30-34 inches screen (put pages side by side), 3k (clearer when reading), with a higher refresh rate (so that it feels better when skimming over articles)?​

    3) Other choices??????​

    My concerns:
    1) For iMac, I'm not sure if this is the right time to purchase. Are new models coming out in 2018? Is there going to be huge a technical update in the new models?

    2) For monitors, they are decidedly cost-savers, but the condition of the laptop itself is what determines most of the user experience. My macbook hasn't deteriorated much, but its capacity was restricted to the technology of the time period when I bought it in 2014. I wonder if I should get a better machine for better overall experience.​

    Thank y'all so much! I hope I made everything clear for you to read. I've been stuck with this for quite a long time. Please help me out!
  2. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    For you stated uses, I would consider this overkill. You wouldn't really have use for the i7, or the 16GB of RAM. I would stick with the SSD though. I would just stick with the 3.8 i5, and 8GB or RAM. You can always upgrade the RAM later in the 27".

    This would be cheaper, Since you already have a laptop, I would probably go with this option unless you had concerns about your current Mac.......

    I wonder what the issue is? Maybe not enough RAM? I can have many apps open on my 2006 Mac Pro, and it still runs like a pro. You MBP is much newer....
  3. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    Get the iMac 27. I have a MBPr15 2016 for software development. I frequently use spaces to work within several windows with a very quick swipe.

    Space 1: Chrome ( for hot loading )
    Space 2: Atom ( most often )
    Space 3: Terminal(s)

    I also use an iPad 10.5 to watch the updates as I code so swiping right only needs to be done occassionally.

    At work I use iMac27. The 5k display allows two "full screen" browser windows to easily be viewed for diffs or notes.
  4. Alexander_JY thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2018
    Thanks for replying! My current macbook has 8GB memory, 2.8 GHz processor, and 500GB flash storage. Minor slowdowns happen, but they don't affect me a lot.

    In consideration of the cost-effectiveness, is it better to get an iMac or monitor? An imac with my listed tech standards would cost around $2800 (with tax). Do you think it's worth it?
    --- Post Merged, Feb 9, 2018 ---
    Hi! Thanks for replying!! Is creating "multiple space" the same as adding more desktops?
  5. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    If you can afford the new iMac, then go for it. But, I see some of the specs you mentioned as overkill given the tasks the iMac would be used for.

    I personally prefer desktops over laptops or tablets, so if you like the iMac, and are willing to spend the money on it, I would go with the iMac.

    That said, if you are perfectly happy with the MBP, and you just want more screen real estate to be more productive, and make doing certain tasks easier, I would go with the Monitor. It would be much cheaper over the iMac.

    I did this with my wife's MBA. She uses an 11" MBA to do psychotherapy, and she would type up her notes at work, but sometimes finish them at home. I set up her an office at home with a monitor, keyboard and mouse. She would be a little more productive using the monitor.

    I am not sure if that helped at all....
    --- Post Merged, Feb 9, 2018 ---
  6. c0ppo macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2013
    As far as iMac goes, if you want to purchase one, wait... Better CPU/GPU coming this year for sure. And maybe, just maybe, better cooling solution for iMac. i7 on iMac 27 is quite noisy, so keep that in mind.

    And i7 is a total overkill for your use case scenario. If you want an iMac, and don't want to wait for update, purchase a 3.5GHz i5. You will get the same speed as with i7 since you won't utilise i7 completely. But the iMac would produce far less heat, and far less noise.

    Invest in RAM, go for 16GB at least. But don't purchase ram from Apple, upgrade it yourself.

    If you aren't in a hurry, wait for the update.
  7. wardie macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2008
    Something to consider is the resolution of the monitor, you need to consider its pixels with respect to its size. The combination of the two will determine how grainy it looks. This is why Apple use the branding of “Retina display” meaning screens which basically means screens with a high enough resolution >300 dots per inch, which at normal viewing distance mean you cannot see the individual pixels. And it is lovely e.g. 5K resolution 2017 27 inch iMac I have. Just be careful with buying a really big monitor to run off your old MBP, as you may find you end up with a low resolution but large screen and a horrible pixelly (is that even a word?) viewing experience. Have a look what the max resolution your MBP can output as that will help you decide the size of a external monitor that’s worth it.
    Edit: also personally I think the i7 processor is overkill for you. But I have the i7 and don’t really exploit it fully I probably could have got away with i5 for Lightroom/Photoshop - but I know I have it
  8. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    I agree with most things you posted, except I am not convinced that there will be an update soon.

    As of today, we are still 4 months under the average time between releases, and about a year under the last amount of time in between releases.
  9. c0ppo macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2013
    @vertical smile

    Of course, iMac upgrade part is pure speculation on my part. But since CPU's aren't ready for MBP's just yet, I would like to think that Apple will at least try to upgrade what they can. Or I hope so... :)
  10. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    I really don't keep up with potential updates anymore, but I thought I read somewhere that there are not suitable GPU upgrades for the iMacs yet, and that it would be unlikely for Apple to a spec update without having a new GPU to update to.

    That said, I hope that there is an update soon, not because I want one, but because I am hoping that Apple gets back to the (old) typical 9 months to a 1.25 year upgrade cycle.

    Who knows, they might be doing a redesign for the next model, as they are over due. I doubt they will do a redesign though, considering they just released the iMac Pro with the same exterior design.
  11. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    27" 5k iMac.
    You don't need the 4.2ghz model.
    The "midrange" 3.5ghz would do fine.
    Get the basic 8gb RAM configuration and add more yourself.
  12. Bigdog9586 macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2015
    I have to wonder if they update this year will it take away to much from their brand new pro? Maybe by waiting they can use the current pro and just change out the processor less ram, and less ssd. As in another year they can tweak the current iMac pro to a better graphic card as there seems to be a lot of flak over the current ones.
  13. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2014
    What Fishrrman said. An i5 iMac has all the CPU power you're likely to need given your stated uses, and it will run much cooler, and probably quieter, than the top spec i7. Since the existing low/midrange iMac will work just fine, I see no real point in waiting; if there is a refresh this year, it's likely to be a little bit faster and maybe use a bit less power, but the change will be minimal for ordinary interactive use.

    Get your add-on memory from a good vendor; Data Memory Systems and Crucial are two I've used personally, and there are other quality vendors as well. Memory pulls on eBay are usually OK, but if you want install-and-forget, I would not buy eBay pulls as my first choice.

    I suspect your MBP is suffering from occasional memory shortages. Expand your iMac to 16 or 24 and you'll be good.
  14. Alexander_JY thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2018
    Hi! Thank you for replying! I've heard news about some big updates coming up this year (such as the new Intel chips that will hit a 30% boost of the computer speed). Is this news dependable? What about buying a monitor instead of an iMac? I want to save some money even though I really crave for an iMac haha...
  15. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2014
    I have heard nothing implying that Coffee Lake, which is the 2018 generation, will give 30% improvement except maybe on very carefully crafted workloads, or loads that fully use the extra cores (CL has 6 in the desktop level units, vs 4 for Kaby Lake, if I'm not mistaken). I'm guessing here, but I don't really see single core overall performance being more than a few percentage points better than Kaby Lake, for the same clock.

    Buying a monitor won't help your occasional memory shortage, and 32 inch monitors aren't the cheapest things in the world. If you can find a monitor with the resolution you want, at a good price, that would probably be the better near term solution given that you want to save money. The monitor wouldn't be wasted even if you do buy an iMac later, since you can hook it up to the iMac, or sell it.
  16. vddobrev macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2016
    Haskovo, Bulgaria
    30-34" is huge (and very expensive) unless you have ample desk space and can sit away from the monitor, else the viewing angle is too wide and you will need to move your head too often. I would recommend a 27", Dell P2715Q is an excellent budget 4K monitor.
  17. Alexander_JY thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2018
    @kschendel @vddobrev @Fishrrman @vertical smile @c0ppo @wardie @960design @Bigdog9586

    Thank you all for your helpful advice! I didn't know much about computer techs so this has also been a learning experience for me.

    I am almost decided to buy an iMac. What would be an ideal combination of the specs to upgrade to?

    Is it worth it to spend an extra $600 upgrading to a 1TB SSD rather than 512 GB?

    For smaller things, shall I get a trackpad or a magic mouse? Or both? And I also heard that the new keyboard has less travel distance so it's harder to use?
  18. haruhiko macrumors 601


    Sep 29, 2009
    For your use, I would suggest the i5. Get at least 16GB of RAM (upgrade it yourself is cheaper, but not much cheaper in today's crazy RAM prices - anyway it is not difficult to upgrade yourself) and a 512GB SSD would be enough (don't choose the Fusion Drive - you will definitely feel it slower than your MacBook Pro since the MBP has SSD inside).

    If you need any extra storage, go for external USB3 HDDs - with $600, you can get 4 x 8TB external USB 3 HDDs already. The internal SSD of the iMac is super fast but also very expensive starting at 1TB.
  19. jerwin macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2015
    do you use any unusual programs?
    Do any of these unusual programs stress your current cpu and ram?

    I means, it could be that an i7 could solve your problems, but lack of familiarity with your workload may cause us to underestimate your needs.

    Personally, I use OCR a lot, but hardly anyone talks about it.
  20. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2014
    SSD size should be dictated by how much "stuff" you need to store. I'm using about 60% of a 256 Gb SSD on a macbook pro that I've had since early 2014, but I don't keep much in the way of music or photos on this machine, it's mostly work stuff. Movies and music can go on an external drive, if you want to save a little.

    If I were buying, and given what I understand your usage to be, I'd get the base 27 inch model (3.4 Ghz with the R570), 8 Gb RAM, 512 Gb SSD unless you feel you need the 1 Tb. Set aside another $100 for an 8 Gb memory stick from DMS or equivalent. Mouse vs trackpad is very personal and I think you'd have to decide that. The difference from 3.4 to 3.5 Ghz is a few percentage points (about 10% at boost frequency), and unless you're really pushing the GPU or using it for numeric calculations, the 570 to 575 CPU difference is pretty small as well.

    As for the keyboard, in 43 years of basically typing for at least 1/2 of my workday, I think I've come across maybe 2 keyboards that I couldn't get used to (one was the original PC with the stiff keys and pissy layout, and the other was some obsolete video terminal that nobody ever heard of.) Anyway, keyboards are almost trivial, if you don't like the iMac's after using it for a while, just buy a different one. It's basically an ordinary USB keyboard. You could even buy older style Mac keyboards if you want, I'd expect them to work.
  21. c0ppo macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2013
    Well, this isn't technical question at all. It all depends on your own needs. But in my own experience, I don't need lots of built in storage. I don't do video edits, so no use of those fancy speeds here. I tend to use external storage, because expect apps, most of my stuff are multimedia stuff. And it would be a waste of money to store that stuff on such a fast, but expensive storage.

    Trackpad > Magic mouse. But yet again, it's subjective choice. Some people actually like magic mouse, I find it to be useless and completely unergonomic :(

    iMac is a desktop computer. So you won't move it around much. Easy to plug in external usb drives, and forget about them. Go for i5 (3.5, don't go for 3.8 due to fan noise), 8GB ram (easy to upgrade this yourself at much lower cost than apple is charging), and you should be fine.
  22. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    OP wrote:
    "Is it worth it to spend an extra $600 upgrading to a 1TB SSD rather than 512 GB?"

    Unless you have $600 lying around to just toss away.

    The 512gb is enough to start with.
    If you need "more room", buy an external USB3 drive.
    Either platter based or SSD, depending upon your budget.
  23. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    I went with 1TB, its now just over half full, but about 160GB of that is a bunch of videos for a work project that not only could but should be on an external drive or NAS... and given I'm not exactly an audio professional I probably don't really need the entire 60 gig of Logic Pro samples and all the GarageBand stuff as well (TODO: clean up). So, unless you have a specific (and preferably paid-for) need, 1TB is an indulgence that lets you be lazy - obviously convenient but there's also a lot to be said for organising your files properly - and if you're into something space-consuming like serious video editing you'll soon outgrow 1TB need a serious external storage solution anyway.

    I'd get the trackpad - its a unique product with no comparable third party alternative, and buying an iMac is a great opportunity to get one at a reduced price. If you don't like it you could probably get your money back on eBay.

    OTOH, I hate magic mice with a vengeance and there are plenty of affordable third-party (& IMHO better) alternatives - I already had a Logitech MX Master for when I need a mouse. So that really depends on your preferences. The trackpad is great for most day-to-day stuff but graphics work or gaming has me reaching for a mouse.

    The keyboard - I went for the new extended Magic keyboard and was slightly disappointed: its not the ultra-low-travel "butterfly" mechanism from the new MacBook range (which is a blessing) but the travel is less than the "old" wired aluminium keyboard - and the slope of the keyboard has been reduced. After trying the new one for a month or so (so it's not a knee-jerk) I went back to an old wired aluminium keyboard w/numpad & personally prefer the feel. Also, the old keyboard gives you a couple of USB ports at desk level. If I hadn't had a couple of the old keyboards knocking around, though I could probably have survived with the new one.

    Again, its a good opportunity to get the extended keyboard at a reduced price - but if in doubt, there are lots of viable alternatives even if you don't already have one. You shouldn't let the keyboard/mouse issues derail your choice of computer.
  24. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)

    Rather than spending the $600 on upgrading to a 1 TB SSD installed by Apple, I would stick with the 512 GB and then use that $600 plus a little more money to buy yourself a Samsung T5 2 TB external SSD.....provides you more storage and more flexibility, plus still offers a lot of speed when needing to transfer data.

    As for the Magic Trackpad or the Magic Mouse 2, I actually have and use both -- but tend to use the mouse more, as it offers more precision in some situations.
  25. Luis Ortega macrumors 6502a

    May 10, 2007
    Fetcham Surrey UK

    2018 is the 20th anniversary of the iMac.
    I'm hoping that they will use the milestone to offer something more interesting this year.

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