Should I get the 5k iMac or the maxed out non-5k?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by hjalte, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. hjalte macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2014
    #1
    Hey...

    I am in the market for a new (first) iMac and I have a really difficult time deciding which one to get.

    I am a casual user. I use the mac for work (writing, running some websites, excel) and a little bit of gaming (primarily civilization V).

    I have seen the retina screen in real life and it is pretty, but I am not sure it would make that much of a difference to me.

    However, it seems that the base model is pretty decent.

    If we ignore the display and only think of speed and stability (which is the main reason I want to switch), which of these configs would be best:

    Non-retina:

    * 3.5 i7
    * 8 GB Ram
    * 256 SSD
    * GTX 780M 4GB

    Retina:

    * 3.5 i5
    * 8 GB
    * 256 SSD
    * M290X 2GB

    The price is pretty much the same (the 'old' imac is a little bit cheaper).
     
  2. AR86 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2014
    #2
    Given the fact you said 'ignore the display' then I think it's an easy win for the non-retina iMac especially with it's superior CPU and the Nvidia 4gb GPU as opposed to the 2gb AMD one on the base level retina iMac which people don't seem to rate at all.
     
  3. hjalte thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2014
    #3
    Thanks.

    The display is a nice 'extra' for me.

    If the speed of the two configs is pretty much the same, I would of course go for the 5k.

    But if the non-retina would be significant faster, the display doesn't mean that much to me (especially after reading reviews that said that there isn't that big a difference for the normal user).
     
  4. iF34R macrumors 6502a

    iF34R

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    #4
    If you needed the "5k" for something specific, then I'd definitely go there; otherwise, the "inferior" non-5k would be my choice.
     
  5. hjalte thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 23, 2014
    #5
    Can you elaborate on that?

    I am totally green when it comes to Mac and have a hard time figuring all this stuff out :eek:
     
  6. iF34R macrumors 6502a

    iF34R

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Location:
    South Carolina
    #6
    Are you going to be working on something specifically in the 5k realm? If not, then there isn't really much a point, that I can see, in getting it. That's my personal take on it.

    Someone with some more intellect can explain it better in technical terms I'm sure.
     
  7. hjalte thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 23, 2014
    #7
    Thanks. I understand what you mean :)

    So, the maxed out non-retina would be faster than the base retina?
     
  8. iF34R macrumors 6502a

    iF34R

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    Jul 13, 2011
    Location:
    South Carolina
    #8
    I would go with the 27" iMac with the 3.5GHz i7, 4GB GTX 780M, upgrade the ram to 16GB myself to avoid the Apple cost for the RAM, and go with either the Fusion drive or if the budget allows it, the SSD.
     
  9. Vapor matt macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #9

    yes the non retina maxed out is a faster machine than the base retina! I have both machines and have to say at distance there is not a lot of difference. if you don't need the 5k screen then its a no brainer to go with maxed out non retina.
     
  10. Frosteric901 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2014
    #10
    so are you going to be needing the extra power in the non retina for anything specific? if not then i think why not get the retina. i mean the difference in screen is going to be something you are going to be noticing every day whether it be browsing the web or what not. now in terms of UHD content this upcoming year we should be seeing a lot of movies being released in UHD. so think of the retina iMac as a long term investment. BUT if you need that extra grunt for something (that is if the retina iMac cannot provide with that performance) the go for it as its is a much better overall computer.
     
  11. hjalte thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2014
    #11
    Makes sense.

    I guess I could also go for the 5k retina, maxed out. That is a possibility, but I am just a bit worried about heat and fan-noise.

    The non-retina seems like a tried an tested machine, where the retina is still only a couple of months old...

    This decision is killing me, lol

    ----------

    When you are saying "at a distance", what are we talking about?

    I don't /need/ the 5k screen. I'm not doing any high-res photo editing or anything like that, but I do look at the screen for 8+ hours a day.

    Right now I am using a 17" laptop with 1600*900 resolution.
     
  12. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #12
    8+ hours a day.

    For that reason alone, you should go for retina. Do it and your eyes will thank you.
     
  13. npgatech macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    #13
    Get a 5K Display. Once you go 5K, you won't be able to go back. It is simply an astounding display. Gorgeous.
     
  14. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

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    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #14
    Can't tell the difference from a normal distance (this is coming from retina MBP user).

    I would get a normal one
     
  15. shaunp macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #15
    Go with the Retina. I have a Retina Macbook Pro and a Mac Pro that is connected to a Dell U2711 monitor. If you aren't familiar with this monitor it was in it's day one of the best monitors around (for the price) for colour-accurate work - Photoshop, etc. It has the same resolution as the old 27" iMac - 2560 x 1440

    The difference between the two is like night and day in terms of clarity. I'm waiting for the 4K monitor market to settle down and then I'll be replacing the Dell with a 4K monitor, or if Apple replace the thunderbolt display with a 5K version (and don't **** it up by making it not compatible with the nMP) then I'll consider one of these.

    After using a retina display for a couple of years now, everything below 4K seems fuzzy now. Text especially looks good on the retina display and even if you aren't into photo editing this would be reason enough to get the 5K display. Your eyes will thank you later ;)
     
  16. vladobizik macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2012
    Location:
    Slovakia
    #16
    Absolutely go for the 5K iMac if you can. Granted, I have the maxed out model, but it's a beast of a computer (my previous and now secondary computer is a maxed out current MacBook Air), absolutely no problems with heat and/or fan noise and the display is just amazing. I'd used a 27 inch Cinema Display with the MBA previously and it was not bad at all - until I saw the 5K display. I passed it on to my brother and everytime I look at his display, my eyes (and soul) hurt a bit. Mind you, my eyesight is actually below average (for my age of 25) and the difference is still night and day. I can sit at the iMac as long as I need to and be absolutely comfortable, whereas previously I'd experienced fatigue and eyestrain after some time. I don't know if there's any actual science behind this, but it makes common sense to me the 5k display is easier on your eyes and therefore much better for your health.
     
  17. cincygolfgrrl, Dec 27, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2014

    cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502

    cincygolfgrrl

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    Location:
    Somewhere In Time
    #17
    I had the same question

    I chose the non-Retina spec'd the same as you except I did get 16GB or RAM and a 512GB SSD. I don't even think about "missing" the 5K display. I never see a beach ball and I've never, ever heard the fan.

    I write, mostly in BBEdit, web search and use Lightroom for photos. I watch Netflix movies a few times each week.

    I've had the iMac for about six weeks and could not be happier. Given the choice I'd do the same thing again. If your heart/ego isn't screaming for the 5K (that's the only reason for those who aren't high-end video editors to get one), then save a few $$/££ or whatever your local currency is.
     
  18. hjalte thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 23, 2014
    #18
    Thanks. What was your reasoning for going for the non-retina if I may ask :)
     
  19. Serban Suspended

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    #19
    i would not take the non-retina! after a while the screen because of the ventilation problems of it, stains appear in the bootom right and left
     
  20. hjalte thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2014
    #20
    Just to be sure; you are saying that you would go for the retina/5k?

    The non-retina has problems with ventilation and stains?
     
  21. Serban Suspended

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    #21
    yes and yes
    i had 21.5" haswell and 27" also haswell, both after 1 year already had stains, now i have 5k but its too soon. but i saw in service that the lamination of the screen its a little bit different

    ----------

    if you cant trust me...go to an apple store or service and see if they had any haswell screens. or an apple store with imacs that are there for at least 7-8 months, and make the screen completely white
     
  22. cincygolfgrrl, Dec 27, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2014

    cincygolfgrrl macrumors 6502

    cincygolfgrrl

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
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    Somewhere In Time
    #22
    I don't need retina for anything I do. I could have spent another $800-$1000 on a retina machine but didn't feel I could justify the expense.

    Let me state that these are only my needs, others have different needs. If you need a retina screen, go for it. If you don't and get one anyway it's only for bragging rights — sorry for offending those who fit the category.
     
  23. Serban Suspended

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    Jan 8, 2013
    #23
    reinta is a benefit for the eyes...not a must have
     
  24. hjalte thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2014
    #24
    I have spent the last couple of days (okay... more like two weeks) obsessing about this.

    I have read more or less every post in the forum (and other forums + reviews) and the more I read, the more confused I get.

    I am worried about the fan noise from the Retina. I feel like I have to pick the right combo of parts + have a bit of luck, to get a machine that isn't noisy.
    From what I have read so far, the i5 + m295 seems to be the best way to go for performance + silence.

    I get a lot of contradiction when reading about this. Some say that the non-retina is much faster and other say the the 5k retina is faster...

    ...while others say, that it's basically the same (comparing two base models) in terms of speed and fan noise.

    I just want the best combo of speed and silence available. I don't NEED the 5k screen. It would be nice though.

    I am not even sure I would need all that extra power. I do mostly webdesign, a little photoshop, MS office stuff and a lot of chrome stuff.
    I would also use the machine to watch netflix, youtube and other media files on.

    It's super important for me that the machine is FAST though. I hate stuttering. And one of my main reasons (beside simplicity) for switching is speed.

    Besides speed, my main reason for not just getting the base model, is to future-safe the computer. If that makes sense.

    I almost never game. I do play games like civ5 from time to time. When I do, it's often 8+ hours at a time. I could probably be tempted to play a little WoW from time to time... or maybe not?

    So...

    To sum up:


    * I have obsessed about this for a LONG time now!
    * I want SPEED (my main reason for buying a mac)
    * I am doing mostly office stuff (MS Office + Webbased)
    * I do watch youtube + netflix + video files
    * I rarely game, but when I do it's mostly Civ5 for several hours
    * I am super concerned about and sensitive to fan noise (I almost always work in complete silence.... Yes I know. I am weird :))
    * I have really NO IDEA which iMac I should get
    * The more I read, the more confused I get

    Please help me Mac-Gurus. I can't take it anymore :(
     
  25. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #25
    I'd like to get a new machine myself and spent some time playing with the new models recently. I opened the same app, Numbers, on each machine and the base 5K iMac was the fastest machine in the local Apple store. It seemed like the machine and OS were tuned to work together better than any of the other systems including the base Mac Pro.

    Note: I did not get to test an i7 "standard" iMac. The only one on display had the i5 chip and smaller video card.

    Dale
     

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