riMac Purchase advice wanted

Discussion in 'iMac' started by sartrekid, May 25, 2015.

  1. sartrekid, May 25, 2015
    Last edited: May 25, 2015

    sartrekid macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Location:
    Germany
    #1
    Hello,

    I would like to upgrade my system in the next week or two...

    What I have now:

    A slightly "pimped" 2007 Mac Pro 1,1 Dual Xeon 3 GHz and 16 GB RAM, with a 23" ACD as my main work station and a mid-2012 rMBP Core-i7, 2,3 GHz, 256 SSD GB RAM, and 8 GB as my portable secondary/fallback computer.

    My Mac Pro still works perfectly and reliably, however, I'm not sure how long it'll continue to work this flawlessly. As I've been barely using my rMBP, I've decided to sell it. That leaves me with the Mac Pro as my sole computer, which is not optimal as I use it to earn a living. It's served me well for 8 years and now it's time for a solid upgrade.

    I have considered a nMP, but I just can't justify the cost this time around. I could go the custom-built route and either use Windows or use the build as a Hackintosh, but I just don't want to go that route.

    So, it seems the only sensible option would be the iMac.

    What I'm going to be doing on this machine:

    • web & app development
    • heavy-duty graphic design & illustration
    • video editing (not heavy-duty)
    • audio editing (not heavy-duty)
    • medium-heavy animation & rendering

    I've done a bit of research in terms of specs and the like but I've never worked with an iMac before which is why I'm looking for input from people who do similar work and have hands-on experience on what it's like, what works well and what doesn't. Or perhaps you do similar work as referenced above and recommend a different solution?

    €2,600-3,000 is the absolute limit of what I can pay for a new setup at the moment.

    The configuration I would have chosen is below:

    • Retina iMac
    • Core-i7 processor
    • 256 SSD
    • AMD M295X (or is the M290X perfectly fine for what I need it to do?)
    • 8 GB RAM (to be upgraded at a later stage)

    From what I've read on these forums, many seem to prefer the SSD over the FD. I've read about the issues people have been reporting regarding the M295X, but fan-noise doesn't bother me.

    To me, it seems sensible to get a decently powerful core system and add/swap components at a later time. I can always upgrade the RAM and add a good external drive further down the road.

    What do you think? Is this a sensible approach? If you work in a similar field, what system do you have or what would you recommend? Any input would be highly appreciated.

    PS: I do not want to wait for Skylake. I definitely am going to upgrade within the next two weeks, so I'm looking at options that currently exist.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. bounou macrumors 6502

    bounou

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2012
    #2
    I have both macs with fusion drive and SSD and honestly I am hard pressed to notice the speed difference, the fusion drive is very nice.

    If you really don't need the storage get a SSD but i intend to get at least a 3TB fusion drive when i eventually pick up a retina iMac.
     
  3. mvnjpy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    #3
    I think sound is an important factor.
     
  4. bounou macrumors 6502

    bounou

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2012
    #4
    You lost me, sound?
     
  5. mvnjpy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    #5
    From what I understand, the fusion drives still have moving parts hence generate some noise when in use while pure ssd drives have no moving parts.
     
  6. dagamer34 macrumors 65816

    dagamer34

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #6
    If you are actually making *real* money from your video editing and animation/rendering, then you need to go with a 6-8 core Mac Pro, as time saved rendering is directly money in your pocket. An iMac will throttle under those specific workloads with fans blowing at their highest RPM vs a Mac Pro which is designed specifically for such work. Yes, it will cost a lot more, but that's what it's built for. Don't cheapen out on your tools, especially if they are to serve you for many years to come.

    Look into refurb Mac Pros as well.
     
  7. elithrar macrumors 6502

    elithrar

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    #7
    This isn't exactly true: it only holds up if you are so busy as to be rendering non-stop. Few are.
     
  8. loekf macrumors 6502

    loekf

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2015
    Location:
    Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    #8
    I have the former base 5k retina iMac (i5, 1 TB FD) and it's very very silent. You don't hear any internal hard drive and/or fan. The only noise I'm getting comes from the external drives.
     
  9. dagamer34 macrumors 65816

    dagamer34

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #9
    Based on what I've seen, it's around 10-15 minutes before throttling kicks in.
     
  10. sartrekid thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Location:
    Germany
    #10
    Thanks, everyone, for the great input!

    The whole Fusion Drive vs. SSD is still something I'm very unsure about because arguments on both sides make complete sense and I find little fault with either reasoning. I could go with a Fusion Drive but I do need extra storage anyway, so I thought for my particular use-case, I might as well go with an external solution and just have the internal drive as a boot/app drive and then use external SSDs or Thunderbolt solutions.

    @dagamer34; That makes sense. What I'd like to note, however, is that I don't do heavy-duty animation work. Most of my animation work is 2D rather than 3D/rendering. The latter isn't something I need to do often and if, then those are rather smaller projects (medium duty). My main source of income is obtained through heavy-duty illustration, graphic design and dev work. My video projects are animations that aren't that big and, like I said, mostly 2D.

    That being said, I did look into the 8-12 Core 5,1 Mac Pros. They would fit the bill in terms of cost. As far as I know, a "fully-packed" cMP with upgraded GPUs can compete pretty well with the lower-end nMPs, even some of the better configurations. I could add a third-party monitor to the system...

    I'm a bit on the fence... I do really, really like that 5K iMac screen. I looked at it in a store and was absolutely stunned by the beautiful screen. From what I've read, there are a few people on this forum who do similar work and seem to be satisfied with the power of the current high-end riMac configuration.

    The real issue at this point is that I cannot spend 6K or more on a setup in the next few months. This is roughly what a solid future-proof nMP configuration + adequate monitor would amount to. In the next year, this might be an option.

    I do need a new machine now, however. So now, I'm contemplating between getting a high-end riMac configuration vs. a solid cMP + upgraded GPU.

    Is the riMac configuration I posted in my OP really not powerful enough for the tasks I've assigned it to do?

    Darn. I definitely don't know what approach to take. :confused:
     
  11. fathergll macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #11
    You got basically the best setup for a RiMac. Fusion drive is fine but if you’re using external storage just go with the SSD.

    I have no idea which application you are using for your animation work. Have you been able to find anyone else via google that is using the RiMac in your field?
     
  12. sartrekid thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Location:
    Germany
    #12
    Thanks for your response, fathergll. The main apps I use for my animation work are Flash, Anime Studio, and Blender. For video work I use Final Cut Pro, Adobe Illustrator (vector work), Sketch for app related design elements, and Photoshop (raster) for my illustration and graphic design work, and Sublime Text 2 for coding.

    I haven't used social networks for my queries. Posting here was my first attempt. Before that, I did some research, mostly just to compare bare performance tests.

    I also stumbled upon this video which gave me some good insight as to what I can expect from the riMac compared to a 6-core nMP:

     
  13. fathergll macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #13
    You'll be fine for video editing but I honestly have no idea for the animation side. Rendering in Blender might be better with other options for example.
     
  14. Melodeath macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    #14
    To me, the Retina iMac seems like a much better buy/value than the nMP.

    The configuration you listed in your OP is what I plan to get, but I will splurge for the 512GB SSD. I do zero video work, but my main work is audio recording, mixing, editing, mastering. I'm getting the upgraded video card as a "future-proofing" choice. I tend to keep my computers for a long time, so going with the best upgrade options possible seems logical to me, even if I wont technically need that extra GPU power right now.
     
  15. sartrekid thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Location:
    Germany
    #15
    Yes, I tend to be the same way and usually keep my system for at least five years. I've only ever used Mac Pros as working machines, so it's the first time that I'd be using a "consumer" labeled machine as my main work station. I'm looking forward to seeing how that goes. I am strongly assuming that for the work I'm currently doing, the riMac will do. At least that's what I'm hoping.

    ----------

    Definitely. But working with Blender even on my 8-year old Mac Pro is possible. It's slow, but it works and I don't use the app all that often and when I do, it's for small(ish) tasks.
     
  16. Melodeath macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    #16
    For sure. I'm using a 2010 MBP. The Retina iMac is going to be a humongous upgrade on all accounts. CPU power is the limiting factor when it comes to my work, and I'm sure with the "consumer" Retina iMac I will be able to continue my professional work haha
     

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