Retina iMac Buying advice

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MarkusFiligree, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. MarkusFiligree macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2009
    Planning to buy a new iMac. I'm going to go with the 295X for sure, and will definitely buy the RAM separately.

    My questions are as follows:
    Is it worth upgrading to the i7 over the i5?
    How much RAM should I buy?
    I need at least 1TB storage, would the fusion drive be fine?
    Applecare.... worth it?

    I play WoW fairly regularly, and will probably install a few more games once I get the new system. We've got TONS of photos, and my wife likes to make videos. I've currently got an early 2009 iMac, and want to ensure that I'm good for a long time with this new one. I also work in IT, and have a lot of experience with hardware and software support, hence the applecare question :)

    Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    The i7 will give you more grunt when dealing with photos with an app such as Lightroom..

    As for memory, buying 16 (2x8) will bring your iMac up to 24GB RAM, which is ample.

    If you need at least 1TB, the fusion drive offers better value for money compared to buying the 1TB SSD option... if you need more than 1TB, there's always the 3TB option.

    AppleCare is something I always get, because even one repair job out of warranty is usually a few times the cost of AppleCare.
  3. tears2040 macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2010
    The single MOST important thing on these modern computers is the Hard Drive, no question if's and or buts about it. SSD Drive internally or externally is the FIRST thing I would do, then graphics card, finally cpu, memory (can upgrade later 27" model)

    Apple Care is also definitely worth , consider it insurance (life insurance at that).

    Honestly though if I were to buy today it would be a Mac Pro, especially since you want to be good for a long time as you say. I currently need a better graphics card in my 2012 iMac and I need to buy a whole new computer, wouldn't be the case if I had bought a Mac Pro........
  4. mcpix macrumors regular

    May 13, 2005
    I agree with the other posters about Apple Care. If money is tight you can purchase it anytime within the 1 year warranty period. You can also buy it cheaper than from Apple. I purchased mine from B&H Photo & Video.
  5. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    This /\...Memory to 24GB is fine. Fusion drive is fine if you like things stored internally on your iMac. If you use external drives, get a pure SSD inside the iMac (256GB or 512GB) and keep all of your photos and videos on external drives.

    Definitely budget for AppleCare. Do not pay full price. Use the Apple Government/Educational store for a discount or buy at B&H photo:
  6. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014

    The iMac display is worth $2,500 alone. It's apples to oranges....
  7. tears2040 macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2010
    Not when making the comparison I just did and you obviously missed the point.......

    You can get a nice 2.5K Display now for around $400 , 6-$800 2 years ago.

    I'd rather cry once then have to cry again like I am right now or will continue too if I stay with the iMac platform.

    I'm maxing out the 2GB Memory that comes with my iMac and need at least 4GB, sure I could upgrade to the 2013 model and maybe pay $500-600 difference whens sling mine, but then I would run into problem again in the future, especially with 4k video definitely to become a standard when editing video. Sure we'll still deliver in 1080p, but to work and edit 4k footage you simply need a better graphics card.

    A Mac Pro allows you to buy that system and have to update much less or only specific parts you need. I would definitely.
  8. steve23094 macrumors 68020


    Apr 23, 2013
    If you're talking about the current Mac Pro you can't upgrade the video card. Theoretically you might be able to but nobody sells them.

    If you're thinking of the old Mac Pro then that's a different kettle of fish and not really what the OP was after.
  9. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    And if you need to be swapping componentry then you'd be better off with a PC. The current Mac Pro isn't all that expandable in comparison.
  10. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    I have tested Lightroom import/export with i7 hyperthreading turned on/off and it made no difference. On FCP X export hyperthreading on made a 30% improvement. Doing this test required the CPUSetter utility (use at your own risk):

    That said on the retina iMac the i7 has a 14% faster clock than the i5, so you pick up that if nothing else.

    I would also recommend the upgraded m295X GPU.

    If the storage needs can be met with either 1TB or 3TB Fusion Drive that is an option. If you ever mis-predict this and have to use external storage, than SSD would have been a better choice. The ideal solution is SSD but that is quite expensive for 1TB. The OP mentioned video editing and that takes lots of space.
  11. MarkusFiligree thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2009
    Looks like I'm about to pull the trigger. Going to go for the i7, 295x, extra 8gb RAM (purchased separately), and apple care.

    I'm still on the fence about the HD though. I don't want to go over 1TB, since my backup solution is maxed at 1TB. That means, I need to decide if I should go for a 1TB fusion drive, or 1TB SSD.

    I know going full SSD will be faster, I'm just not sure exactly how much faster. cost isnt too much of a factor, since the lion's share of the purchase will be covered by my tax refund this year.

    Most of the benchmarks ive seen have used fairly empty drives. Ive got over 200GB of photos alone that will be moved to the new system. I'm curious if the fusion drive performance takes a hit when the drive gets full?
  12. loekf, Apr 9, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015

    loekf macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2015
    Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    I also want to upgrade the RAM in my 27" non-retina iMac. So far I identified Crucial and Corsair selling 16 GB (and 8 GB, 2 x 4GB) supposedly "Mac certified" SO-DIMMs. However, when I visit the Crucial forums I see mixed results. I want to go for the full "Monty", so 32 GB, which is ~250 euro. What's experience of others with:

    - Add extra SO-DIMMs to the standard/default 2 x 4GB in every iMac
    - Replace the 8 GB with 16 GB or 32 GB.

    using Crucial, Corsair or ... "brand xxx" PC-12800 / CL11 / 1600 MHz DDR3 / 1.35V SO-DIMMs.

    or are the mixed results just the result of how people do the upgrade ? In PC-land you also have to carefull... watch out for static electricity, ensure the DIMM is full inserted into its slot ... make sure the machine is completely powered off etc.
  13. MarkusFiligree thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2009
    I did it.... decided to just go for it and get the SSD.

    For what its worth, I bought corsair RAM. As far as I know, it should just be a matter of installing the extra RAM in the free slots. Should be fairly straightforward :)

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