Should I buy a used 2014 5K iMac or an LG Ultrafine 5k display?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by circa7, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. circa7 macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2013
    I have a maxed out 2017 MacBook Pro 15 and need a new external display. But those LG's are SO EXPENSIVE. I can buy a maxed out late 2014 5K iMac for just a few hundred dollars more.

    I would just use the iMac when I'm at home and the MacBook when I'm at the office or out since I know you can't use an iMac as an external display anymore.

    So I guess I'm asking if the LG Ultrafine 5K has a better display than the late 2014 iMac? If they're comparable, then I'll definitely just buy the iMac.

    But of course I'll wait until after the announcement this month as the used market will probably drop a bit with the new models coming out.
  2. GrindedDown macrumors 6502a

    Jun 4, 2009
    Las Vegas
    From what I understand, they are essentially the same display quality because LG is supplying the panels for the iMacs. The displays should be equal.
  3. circa7 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2013
    Even though the LG's are newer? Do you or does anyone know how the 2014 5K iMac displays compare to newer models? Hopefully they're the same or at least very similar.
  4. jerwin macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2015
    The 2014 iMacs are slowly getting obsolete. This is mostly associated with 4k content-- they lack accelerated hardware decode and HDCP 2.2 support. The video card may not support the latest feature set-- though it's almost certainly faster than what's available with a recent macbook pro.

    Blender, for example, does not like an m290x. You can get around this issue by switching from Cycles to Radeon Pro Render, and tweaking your models. Not sure whether the same problems arise on a m295x.

    there's also the screen burn in issue.

    If you want a still pretty darn fast mac with a nice big sharp display, the 2014 imacs are still capable. But if what you really want is a 4k or 5k display for 5k content-- you're still going to be tied to a cpu that isn't trusted by netflix,amazon, or even apple to display the latest and greatest streams.
  5. circa7 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2013

    Makes sense, thanks! My point of view is that I'll be using this 2017 MacBook Pro for the next 4 years or so, and on paper it looks like a spec'd out late 2014 iMac outperforms it. So I don't really have anything "better" to compare it to. I could be wrong in that assumption. I read that the LG Ultrafines also have some issues with burn in (as does my current LG 4K display so it's not too surprising, or that bothersome really as it doesn't last too long).

    I'm not too worried about video streams. I'm a designer & frontend developer so I just want/need a high color accuracy, brightness, and I vastly prefer glossy displays over matte. I don't dabble with apps like blender too often, but my MBP works well enough when running apps like Cinema 4D as I'm not doing anything TOO intensive.
  6. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    The Late 2014 5K iMac only supports the sRGB color gamut, while the LG Ultrafine 5K Display is the same panel found in the Late 2015 5K iMac, which added support for the DCI-P3 color gamut and a higher max brightness level.

    Also, image retention is / was a huge issue on the Late 2014 5K iMac. I ended up taking mine in for display replacements several times as the issue just kept coming back.

    However, image retention is still an issue on the Late 2015 models, just not as severe or quick to develop, so the LG Ultrafine 5K Display could be prone to it as well.
  7. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    That may not be correct. It depends.

    Apple did disable support for external GPU except over TB3 in OS 10.13.4–6 (High Sierra 10.13.3 and earlier is fine). This functionality came back in Mojave. Unfortunately for Macs that can't run OS 10.14, there was no High Sierra 10.13.7 that re-enabled it.

    Besides iMacs as external displays, DisplayLink monitors over USB were also affected.

    If you were using an iMac before, check with the app developer to see if that's still the case.
  8. gian8989 macrumors 6502

    Oct 23, 2015
    Buy an external monitor and a thuderbolt 3 dock (avoid the LG 5k). That way you would only need to connect 1 cable to the macbook and you are ready. You can always reuse the external monitor as a second monitor, on the contrary you won't be able to reuse the iMac in the future (moreover the 2014 have image retention problem).
  9. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    I notice that every reseller I've checked including Amazon wants more for the LG than Apple's $1,299 price. Does someone out there have a better price?

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8 October 26, 2018