Some iMac Retina questions

Discussion in 'iMac' started by tag86, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. tag86 macrumors newbie

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    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    #1
    I'm looking at getting a new imac 5k and am hoping for some advice

    The specs I'm thinking of getting are 4 GHz, 16Gb ram, m295x GPU

    I'm leaning towards the Fusion Drive (3GB). I don't really want to be relying on external drives for all my files so would probably need the 1GB SSD if I went that option which pumps up the cost.
    Is the fusion really any slower in every day use? Also is it noisy (compared to say an external drive)?

    Are there any major issues with the 5k imac that I should be aware of? I've had a look through the forums but I figure people only post if they have an issue so it's hard to gauge the actual size of the issues

    Although not the primary intended use, how does this machine handle games? I wouldn't mind being able to do some gaming on it if possible such as SimCity or the HL series.
    If possible/realistic would it be able to run Windows boot-camp games such as FSX or the new GTA (when available), obviously not at max settings but at a playable level. I've read that the GPU runs fairly hot, I don't want to cause any damage to the system. (I've never boot-camped Windows before so I'm not sure how well drivers etc. are supported.
     
  2. Bobajobbob macrumors regular

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    Oct 11, 2005
    #2
    I just took delivery of exactly that specification. All I have done so far is install bootcamp and restore all my data from my old MBP. I'll let you know how I get on with games etc. What I can say is that the screen is stunning.
     
  3. tag86 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    I look forward to your feedback, just for clarification which storage do you have?
     
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #4
    I have the i7/32/512/M295X variant and it handles every game I throw at it pretty well (gaming in 1920x1080 and occasionally 2560x1440).
     
  5. tag86 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    Does the heat ever become a concern when gaming? i.e. does the system ever throttle itself?
     
  6. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #6
    Only when the temperature goes really high, but throttling isn't common on my machine.

    Heat's not a concern because it's expected, and the system is designed for those temperatures. If it were to truly overheat, the system would've powered off by itself to prevent damage.

    Besides, it also helps that my office's ambient temperature is normally around 20-22ºC.
     
  7. andy9l macrumors 68000

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    #7

    From the data we have in this forum and elsewhere online, a rule of thumb for the i7/M295X build seems to be; whilst gaming or otherwise under heavy load, you will see a variable 0-11% thermal throttle on the GPU, and a 5-15% throttle on the CPU.

    Watch from about 2 minutes in for a great example of the CPU: https://youtube.com/watch?v=tgTMxB-ffjM

    As yjchua95 mentioned, Apple have chosen to rely on thermal throttling rather than redesign the cooling system, so one can only assume the temperatures are "safe".

    The only downsides are that you arguably don't quite get what you paid for in some use cases, and you hear the fan more frequently than on previous iMacs.
     
  8. tag86 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    Given I currently do my gaming on a 6 year old (with some upgrades) Windows system (my everyday computing is on a 2014 Macbook Air) with extremely loud fans I doubt any fan noise will bother me and the performance will still be more then satisfactory. I notice your signature says you returned your 5k imac, can I ask why?

    Also does anyone have any feedback regarding the hard drives?
     
  9. MrLeek macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2015
    #9
    Still enjoying my Mac (i7, 512 SSD, 295X, 8GB Ram) - first one I've ever owned and I'm enjoying the user experience immensely.

    Heat is a factor, but i don't believe it's a major issue. Apple are clearly happy for the GPU temp to hover around 98-99 celcius with the system fan running at a normal RPM - the fan can clearly go faster and it does when things get pushed. The temp does rise when there's lots of things going on in-game and FPS does drop. But this is not unique to a 5k iMac - the FPS is still in the mid-high 40s and I've seen this happen on many other machines that I've owned in the past.

    If I'm honest I think people need to manage their expectations when it comes to gaming on a 5k imac. Turning everything to Ultra regardless is going to tax this machine - but, again such swings would tax most machines.
     
  10. andy9l macrumors 68000

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    #10

    Well, I try to be as objective as possible on this topic because I understand that the 5K iMac is a great machine for a lot of people. It still performs extremely well, regardless of the heat concerns. The 5K screen is something I very much miss, and should not be overlooked when buying a new iMac. That being said, you've asked for my personal opinion.

    I returned my i7/M295X/512 SSD/24GB RAM 5K iMac in early January, after taking deliver late December. I returned it because of the apparent shortcuts Apple have taken with this product (presumably in the name of profit margins):

    1. I immediately noticed the increased fan noise from my 2010 iMac when doing the same tasks - e.g. watching some of my videos was pushing the M295X to nearly 100C (on OS X 10.10.1)

    2. When I played a couple of games I occasionally play, the GPU reached 108C, and I was told by two Apple tech guys that this is an unsafe temperature. The FPS dropped as the M295X thermal throttled, but I stress again, the iMac still performed relatively well with these games. Guild Wars 2 at ~4K was definitely playable

    3. I also disagree on a moral level that Apple have opted to rely on thermal throttling rather than to appropriately redesign their product. I paid for the i7 4790K and M295X, but I only get optimal performance from them for about 40 seconds before they get too hot and throttle

    This is all stuff that bothered ME, and is not necessarily applicable to any other use cases.


    I think this is a really fair summary. The iMac is NOT a gaming computer. It just happens to handle a number of current titles reasonably well. It will not perform like a £3,000 gaming PC. Nor should it.

    ---

    As for your hard drive question - if you don't like external storage, and you need 3TB, you've got no choice. If you're running Windows to play your games, and you have a Fusion drive, you will be running on the spinning HDD - it will be very slow.

    I would personally recommend 512GB SSD to keep costs down, then use external/network storage for archiving media. Again, just my personal opinion.
     
  11. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

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    #11
    The Fusion drive will work just fine. It is NOT all that much slower then a full SSD for every day use. The most used apps along with the OS are stored on the SSD portion of the drive so opening a closing apps is lightning fast. The only time you will see a slow down is opening large files or libraries that take up a lot of space on the HDD portion of the drive but even then it's not a huge deal.

    I have a 1TB Fusion and it's VERY quiet, at least to me. You will see varying opinions about that. Some people have Superman hearing and swear the Fusion drive is just a loud as an external. I don't hear it. The Fusion drive is a great alternative if you don't want to deal with external drives which is what you are looking for.

    As far as the heat issue, yes, the fan does increase under heavy load. I have NOT experienced any noticeable throttling but that's not to say it isn't happening. I just don't notice it and my frame rates have never gone down when playing games. Basically, just purchase AppleCare and don't worry about it.

    I have not noticed any other blaring issues. The screen is fantastic and the machine overall is fast and worth every penny.

    To save a little money, I would recommend getting the 8GB configuration and adding your own memory later. 8GB actually might be enough for you so try your machine out. If you see any memory load issues, go ahead and purchase more memory from Crucial or OWC.
     
  12. DooDuh, Apr 2, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015

    DooDuh macrumors member

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    #12
    I fully intended to purchase a RiMac when they were first introduced last October... but for many reasons... I just continued to put it off. About a year ago, my 2008 iMac stopped working and I've been getting by with my iPad 2 (email, surfing, paying bills, etc) but... it's not a fun experience and I am ready to get back to a fully functioning computer.

    My question is about the status of Broadwell. Is it still in delay? Is there any chance Apple would quietly just start using them in the R iMac without any fanfare or specific relaunch? I'm not willing to wait another six months, but if it will be available in a month or so... maybe.

    Edit: Found this interesting article from the UK. They suggest that iMacs might begin shipping with Broadwell by the second quarter... hopefully before June.

    http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/mac/imac-2015-release-date-rumours-features-specs-price-uk-3511338/
     
  13. OurDarkness macrumors member

    OurDarkness

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    #13
    The article says that the Broadwell CPU consumes 30% less power plus it has better specs. Even if Apple chooses not to update anything else other than the CPU it will still be a significant update. Let's hope that we will see this at least.
     
  14. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #14
    I'd take that article with a grain of salt.

    Broadwell-H isn't scheduled for release until H2 2015.

    There's also a chance that Apple might follow Dell's example and skip straight to Skylake-H/S/L altogether.
     
  15. zhaoxin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2015
    #15
    I am not a gamer. But fusion drive is a combo of one 128GB pci-e SSD plus a normal hard drive. So if you want to play games a lot, 128GB ssd is not big enough.

    Besides, I also think 1TB SSD is too expensive. You should consider the safety of your data. Even if you have 1T SSD, you data is not safe unless you turn time machine on.

    So if I were you, I would choose a 512GB SSD plus a Time capsule 3T. With time machine on, now you have both speed and safety. If you do not want Time capsule, you can use other method like usb hard disk. It is cheaper, but not as easy as time capsule since you need to remember to plug it in.
     

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