Retina iMac, is it still a safe buy or wait?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by adamjackson, Feb 10, 2015.

  1. adamjackson macrumors 65816

    Jul 9, 2008
    I haven't read much about the iMac following the stream of reviews last year most of which mentioned how amazing it was but I remember these key shortcomings:

    • Glitches sometimes when a lot is going on with monitor making some strange looking lines across the screen
    • Worse gaming performance than last model
    • Pricey for what it delivers. Wait for revision in 2015

    Well, we're in 2015 and I'd like to know if those reviews were blown up a bit or if you all in the real world after 3 months with the machine agree with those initial reviews?

    My usage is pretty standard
    Daily usage of :
    Lightroom (RAW images)
    Final Cut Pro (4K and 1080P editing)
    Office documents (5-10 megabyte XLS files)
    I play Sim City, Civilization, Sims 4 (coming out next week) and Warcraft once a week

    I have a 27" Core i7 from Late 2012 and I'd like to upgrade but I would need to see performance gains in all of these aspects on top of experiencing the really beautiful Retina Screen.

    Assuming I get the faster iMac + better video card, how has the experience been? Thanks!
  2. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

    Sep 27, 2008

    My experience has been wonderful. I absolutely love the screen (it's incredible), I love the speed, and I love how quiet it is (I have a SSD). I have not experienced any of the problems you've listed above, not even once. I use my iMac 5K for everything you listed above, except for games. I'm primarily a photographer and videographer.

    As for waiting, my best guess is that if you waited for 5-10 months, you might see a minor spec update and a slight reduction in price ($200 +/-). If you want to see some major updates and bigger price drops, I think you'll have to wait until sometime in 2016. Of course, this is purely speculation on my part, but I consider it to be reasonable speculation.

    I love my 5K and am very happy I bought it when I did.

    Hope this helps,
  3. zorinlynx macrumors 601


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    I hope the price comes down on these. The screen is beautiful but right now the sacrifice in specs required for the cost just kills the deal for me.

    If I spend that much on an iMac it has to be a speed demon in every way!
  4. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Look at geekbench; it's as fast as anything but the MacPro with more cores. Or see here:

    The cost is actually amazing low. You get the highest def screen available on a desktop at $300 more than the high end non retina iMac. You can pay about that much for a 5k monitor alone. I'm sure lots would love to see the retina on a lower end Mac, but it's not likely for quite a while.

    I wouldn't believe all (much?) you see here about problems. You need to check with people who heavily use particular programs you run often. And even then there's variation: some I know gripe about performance with LR, but that's LR's problem; Aperture and others work aces. Ditto with gaming; Macs have never been the ultimate gaming machines.

    Also, if you see a performance problem in how it displays, just scale it down to the old fashioned non retina 2560x1440 of regular iMacs. Done.

    Finally, how important is a screen you look at for maybe hours a day? Would you consider going back to a non retina phone? or tablet? Most of us wouldn't. I wouldn't spend another year or two waiting to have the best screen, but OTOH some people I know still watch standard definition TV. YMMV.
  5. adamjackson thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 9, 2008
    Thank you both for the replies.

    Now that we're nearly into Q2 of 2015, it is a risk. Buy a machine from October or wait until this October (10 months away) and see if a refresh occurs. My iMac today isn't performing poorly but I'd love to move away from a HDD setup and non-retina and the potential Handbrake encoding bumps by the clock speed are really enticing.
  6. Cape Dave macrumors 68000

    Nov 16, 2012
  7. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    Then he will need to budget in an external drive(s). Don't forget to add that footnote.
  8. adamjackson thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 9, 2008
    Why do I need an external drive?

    I have an 18 terabyte NAS in my basement that stores photos, music, movies and all of my documents. I have a 512GB MBP Retina and only 10% of the capacity is used.
  9. nj-mac-user macrumors 6502


    Jun 1, 2009
    To be honest, going from your current setup I don't think you're going to notice a tremendous difference. Sure you may gain a really tiny bit of time rendering videos, but what you'd really be buying this one for is the display. That you'd get... the big performance boost you're looking for not so much. I went from a Late 2009 27" i7 2.8 8GB RAM to the base model RiMac. I'd be lying if I told you I noticed a big performance increase, but then again I don't do video editing like I used to, so my usage these days is very basic (browsing, viewing videos, listening to music, etc.). I really upgraded for the screen because it was worth it to me, but if you're looking for that big performance increase in addition to the awesome display, I say hold out until this year's refresh or next year's if you can. I'm guessing by late 2016 not only will the price come down and retina become standard, but the all SSD option will be more affordable as well and hopefully standard. It'd also have Skylake processors. Again, if the display alone is worth the upgrade for you, I'd get it now... if you want a noticeable real-world performance boost in addition to the display, I'd wait.
  10. adamjackson thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 9, 2008

    really great points and I'm not unhappy with my late 2012 iMac. The warranty will lapse on January of 2016 so maybe I'll wait until Black Friday next year to grab whatever the latest is.
  11. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    Missed the part about the NAS. You should be fine then with the 512GB SSD.
  12. Gator Bob macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2011
    I'm waiting. My wife's late 2013 MacBook Pro drives a beautiful Dell UP2414Q display and that combination is quite satisfactory, although not as jaw-dropping as the IMac 4K display. I will inherit her computer and display when I get her a new iMac. She Photoshops all the photos I take for her jewelry design and sales website. I am using a 2012 MacBook Pro that I'll sell.
  13. driftless macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2011
    I love my 5K iMac, it is an amazing machine, particularly for photography. I have the 1TB SSD and strongly recommend a SSD drive if it is in your budget. I would recommend that you do not wait for a refresh which may or may not happen in 10 months. That would be a fast refresh for the iMac line. That also be 10 months that you wouldn't be taking advantage of of this amazing machine.
  14. redheeler macrumors 603


    Oct 17, 2014
    An October refresh seems likely as it would also be good timing to get Skylake.

    To me, the 1 TB SSD on the iMac is a disappointment since the iMac doesn't support 4-lane PCIe. The 512 GB SSD is plenty anyway.

    Otherwise I agree, time spent waiting is time spent missing out.
  15. boast macrumors 65816


    Nov 12, 2007
    If you can wait the 7 months, you should.

    Newer releases will always be faster and better than the older one (ignoring the mac mini)

    Im really happy with mine, but I upgraded from no iMac to it. So ill just be one of those people this year saying the new iMac isnt worth the upgrade!
  16. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

    Sep 27, 2008
    I'm sorry, but your advice does not make any sense whatsoever. The 5K iMac is spec'd with some of the fastest technology available today. About the only area you could do better is to by a Mac Pro and spend a lot more money on buying powerful graphics cards. But again, you would be spending thousands more to get an equivliant setup to what the 5K iMac provides in the other areas.

    To say that a 5K iMac is under-spec'd is bad advice.

  17. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008

    I didn't notice you had no SSD in the current machine. Ouch. I'd say that the SSD and retina are worth it if you use your machine a lot, and you could still get decent money for that 2012.
  18. nj-mac-user macrumors 6502


    Jun 1, 2009
    Very true. I mean they are using the highest clocked i7 processor Intel has to offer along with a relatively new AMD mobile GPU (R9 m295x) right now.
  19. kis macrumors 65816

    Aug 10, 2007
    It is great bang for the buck. Normally, you pay around 2k just for the display. I have the base model and upgraded the RAM to 24gb. It's quiet and fast (both despite the Fusion drive), and the screen is absolutely incredible.
  20. Remrod macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2015
    Waiting for the updated 5k does not really make sense currently. If you want it now go ahead and buy it. It is truly a great machine and like the previous poster mentioned the whole bundle is a great bang for the bug!

    IMHO the next retina iMac will ship probably with Broadwell and the new AMD (R300) which will generate even more heat!! You will always find something that bugs you. Or you could wait for the 5k mac in 2018/19 that one will probably have mature technology :rolleyes:

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