Retina or i7 Refurb

airbusking

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Original poster
May 11, 2009
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Deep in the Heart of Texas
Time to upgrade from my reliable 2008 iMac. So I am considering getting a i5 retina 8GB, Fusion, 290mx or a non retina i7 with same ram and fusion drive, GTX 680mx. I plan to use this for basic daily use and entry level photography. I have been to the Apple store multiple times to compare screens but honestly do not know if retina is worth it. I appreciate your opinions and experience, thanks!
 

yjchua95

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Apr 23, 2011
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Time to upgrade from my reliable 2008 iMac. So I am considering getting a i5 retina 8GB, Fusion, 290mx or a non retina i7 with same ram and fusion drive, GTX 680mx. I plan to use this for basic daily use and entry level photography. I have been to the Apple store multiple times to compare screens but honestly do not know if retina is worth it. I appreciate your opinions and experience, thanks!
Retina all the way. The sun has set for the non-retina.
 
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redheeler

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Oct 17, 2014
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I'd say it is, especially since it will help a lot more with that basic photography than an i7 will. Go Retina.
Time to upgrade from my reliable 2008 iMac. So I am considering getting a i5 retina 8GB, Fusion, 290mx or a non retina i7 with same ram and fusion drive, GTX 680mx. I plan to use this for basic daily use and entry level photography. I have been to the Apple store multiple times to compare screens but honestly do not know if retina is worth it. I appreciate your opinions and experience, thanks!
 

jerwin

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Jun 13, 2015
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Can you even buy a fully loaded non Retina iMac on the Apple Store? Looks like you can only specify storage and memory options.

(oh wait. Refurbished. The 680m was used in the Late 2012 mac, which means that the i7 is a 3.4 Ghz Ivy Bridge. Geekbenches at 12884.

Conversely, the 3.5 Ghz 4690 puts up 10771 points. Slower, but it's closer than you might expect/

The 680m, at least with Unigene Valley, looks to be on par with the r9 m290x... So, no great loss there.

The iMac Retina can use faster SSDs than the 2012 iMac, though that advantage may be lost with a fusion drive.
The retina screen is so useful when processing photos.
 
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robgendreau

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Jul 13, 2008
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I do a lot of (non-pro) photo stuff. Definitely retina. Things not only look better, but it actually speeds up work since you can see images much more clearly. And you'll be seeing photos as others do on the other bazillion retina devices (mostly mobiles). You come to appreciate retina the more you use it. Non-retina is basically 90's flipphone dead.
 
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fathergll

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Sep 3, 2014
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I have been to the Apple store multiple times to compare screens but honestly do not know if retina is worth it.

People can argue benchmarks all day long but the screen is the one constant thing and its literally the window to how you interact with your computer. I would go with the retina in a heartbeat.
 

jerwin

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People can argue benchmarks all day long but the screen is the one constant thing and its literally the window to how you interact with your computer. I would go with the retina in a heartbeat.
Well, in the case of the base retina iMac (3.3 GHz, m290, spinning rust), it's still an open question as to whether the chips are powerful enough for the screen. The 680m and 780m were specced to serve the "I want to game on my iMac" crowd, so knowing that the m290x is or isn't their equal is kind of important. Choosing between gaming and a beautiful screen is a uncomfortable one, if you can't afford a maxed out retina.
 

aliensporebomb

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Jun 19, 2005
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Interestingly I geekbenched the i5/m290 3.5 model at the local Apple store over my lunch hour and the thing benches well: over 11,200. That's not indicator of performance generally but the Mac Pro from a couple years ago didn't bench that high. Interesting. And that's only the 32-bit benchmark. I'd be real curious to try one of the maxed out machines and see how it does.
 

jerwin

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Interestingly I geekbenched the i5/m290 3.5 model at the local Apple store over my lunch hour and the thing benches well: over 11,200.
What's the Apple Store Policy on using their macs to run outside software? Had I known I could bring it my own stuff, I might have made different decisions, or at least dithered less.
 

fathergll

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Sep 3, 2014
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Well, in the case of the base retina iMac (3.3 GHz, m290, spinning rust), it's still an open question as to whether the chips are powerful enough for the screen. The 680m and 780m were specced to serve the "I want to game on my iMac" crowd, so knowing that the m290x is or isn't their equal is kind of important. Choosing between gaming and a beautiful screen is a uncomfortable one, if you can't afford a maxed out retina.

Well the OP needed it for "basic daily use and entry level photography." Basically what I'm getting at is if the Retina is powerful enough to serve your needs i'd easily opt for the retina model even if the other model has better hardware.
 
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airbusking

macrumors member
Original poster
May 11, 2009
50
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Deep in the Heart of Texas
Thanks everyone! I ordered the retina/1 TB/290X.
I will eventually upgrade to 16 GB. Glockworkorange. what brand do you use to upgrade? I think the original set up is 4 and 4 GB, did you go with 8 and 8? Thanks for the feedback.
 

xmichaelp

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Jul 10, 2012
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I would get the retina. Think about the future. If you have the machine a few years you may regret not going for the more cutting edge model. I bought a 2012 MBP and really wish I went for the air as I don't need a disk drive and I value portability highly.
 
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airbusking

macrumors member
Original poster
May 11, 2009
50
16
Deep in the Heart of Texas
Purchased 27 inch Retina .... WOW the screen is a thing of beauty! Thanks again for your inputs.

Need to share with you how impressed (my wife and I) are with Apple. We ordered the computer through the refurbished site Wednesday morning. We expected to get it on Monday, we were notified it was updated for delivery on Thursday. Yes, I got it at 4 PM, Thursday. Impressive customer service, way exceeded my expectations. Thanks Apple!
 

redheeler

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Oct 17, 2014
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I will eventually upgrade to 16 GB. Glockworkorange. what brand do you use to upgrade? I think the original set up is 4 and 4 GB, did you go with 8 and 8? Thanks for the feedback.
The 8 GB model comes with 2x4 GB, leaving two of the four slots empty. You can add another 2x4 GB of the same specifications to make 16 GB.

Crucial is generally good quality/low cost, but OWC is fine as well.
Purchased 27 inch Retina .... WOW the screen is a thing of beauty! Thanks again for your inputs.
You certainly made the right choice, and yes the screen is stunning :)
 

davekarn

macrumors 6502
Jul 27, 2007
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The 8 GB model comes with 2x4 GB, leaving two of the four slots empty. You can add another 2x4 GB of the same specifications to make 16 GB.

Crucial is generally good quality/low cost, but OWC is fine as well.

You certainly made the right choice, and yes the screen is stunning :)
Dumb question, can you not mix RAM specs? I just ordered the iMac 5k w/ base 8GB RAM as well and ordered 2x 8GB RAM sticks off OWC and thought I'd just be able to throw them in the open two slots. Is this not the case? Thanks for any input.
 

redheeler

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Dumb question, can you not mix RAM specs? I just ordered the iMac 5k w/ base 8GB RAM as well and ordered 2x 8GB RAM sticks off OWC and thought I'd just be able to throw them in the open two slots. Is this not the case? Thanks for any input.
If you mean mix capacities (2x4 GB and 2x8 GB) that shouldn't be a problem. I'm referring to the other specs, such as type and clock speed.
 

davekarn

macrumors 6502
Jul 27, 2007
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If you mean mix capacities (2x4 GB and 2x8 GB) that shouldn't be a problem. I'm referring to the other specs, such as type and clock speed.
Yeah I was just talking about capacities. I bought off of OWC and they said it was ideal for the 5k iMacs so imagine I should be alright.

16.0GB (2x 8GB) PC3-12800 DDR3L 1600MHz SO-DIMM 204 Pin CL11
 
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