Speccing a 5K - RAM or i7 or SSD?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by kmpowell, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. kmpowell macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2003
    #1
    Currently speccing up a 5K that is intended to last me at least 5 years minimum. With that in mind I want it to be as future proof as possible when it comes to speed. My ideal spec would be i7 4.0 + 16GB + 1TBSSD, but max budgets limit me to three options which equate to the same amount (give or take a few £):

    M390 + i5 3.2 + 16GB + 512SSD
    or
    M395 + i5 3.3 + 8GB + 512SSD
    or
    M395 + i7 4.0 + 8GB+ 2TB Fusion

    My usage and considerations:
    - My current 20" machine has a 256GB HDD, and that's pretty much full (give or take a few GB)
    - I use the machine to store all my iPhone/DSLR shot photos/videos which is the only large media format on it.
    - It's powered up 24/7 and is used to run my home CCTV system
    - Internet/Photos/iTunes/Airplay are it's primary tasks when I'm using it, so it's either small task or large file intensive transfers/tasks.


    As the machine gets older will I see any benefit of the i7 over the i5 for the types of tasks I do, or does the benefits of the i7 only come into play if I am multi-tasking, something I rarely do. My initial thinking was 8GB and then add ram later, but I've thrown the M390 option into the mix to see what your thoughts are.

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2013
    Location:
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    #2
    with needing to drive that giant screen, you should consider the top graphics card option. as you said, RAM can be added later. even storage can, awkwardly, be updated later (or added externally). i5 vs i7, I cant say for you but I personally hate to leave the potential on the table in a purchase this large. but still, to me, graphics card is the most important.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    Boston
    #3
    Not really, if your task list is such that its not needing the i7, its doubtful if you'll need it later.

    I personally like this: M395 + i5 3.3 + 8GB + 512SSD, but the M390 should be sufficient as well.

    I opted for the M395/i5/2TB Fusion drive. I went with the Fusion drive because the 512 SSD was too small for my needs.
     
  4. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    Feb 17, 2016
    #4
    You can upgrade the RAM and SSD later (assuming that you are taking about the 27-inch iMac).
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #5
    Yes, but as we've discussed before, upgrading the SSD is not for the faint of heart, and you risk voiding the warranty. That in my book is not worth it.

    Why not configure the Mac the way you need it now and for the future and not worry about that.
     
  6. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    Feb 17, 2016
    #6
    Upgrading the SSD does not void the warranty, but the hard drive can always be swapped back if Apple complains.

    It does get a little involved to upgrade to the SSD.
     
  7. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    #7
    Well having more RAM is going to make the programs load faster, but you'll also need a faster CPU if you want to have it process data faster. As programs get larger, more RAM is needed to keep them running fast, however, you'll also need a faster CPU to handle the amount of loading needed for those applications. It will be some time before you need to consider upgrading either of these, but for short term (<5 years) I'd say RAM. After that you'll probably need both CPU and RAM.

    HDD vs SDD isn't really considered as most computers are still running on HDD and it does good enough for now. You will notice a huge performance boost if you get on SSD, but when it comes to running applications, you won't notice much of a difference as they are mostly ran from RAM anyways. It would just be the initial application loading where you'd notice a difference.
     
  8. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #8
    2 or 3.

    Ram can be upgraded/increased later.

    You can always use external drives to expand storage also. Depending on the type of video work you do I'd lean more toward the i7 2tb fusion option.
     
  9. toddzrx macrumors 6502a

    toddzrx

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    Nov 20, 2012
    #9
    FWIW: I have a 2010 21.5" iMac in which I replaced the HD with an SSD. The SSD holds the OS, all apps, and all non-media data. I have an external HD for music, photos, and just a few videos. I prefer not having an HD inside the computer at all because it runs cool and very quiet; even though the fan is always spinning, it's at such a low RPM you can't hear it unless you literally put your ear up to the top vent. It's surprising how much heat the HD gives off just from being on, no less actually doing any reading or writing.

    So if I were in your shoes, I'd get the second option you list. You can always get more RAM later and install it easily. Also, as far as the FD is concerned, I'd rather do my own file management and control what all apps and data go on which drive. There's really very little work involved once you've got things set up, and again, you won't have that noisy, hot HD in your computer.
     
  10. kmpowell thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 16, 2003
    #10
    Thanks all - much appreciated.

    I agree RAM can be added at a later date, and the 395 is the best graphics for what I do, I think the x would be overkill.

    I've always been erring towards the i5+SSD option, my worry really is the i5, and will i regret not having the i7 in a few years? I'm not really a techy, so I'm not 100% how the hyperthreading works, but my understanding is it's good for multiple programmes/task?
     
  11. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #11
    The more threaded the application is, the more you'll see a benefit of the i7. If you're that concerned, then perhaps the i7 will give you the peace of mind, so its not something you wished you had down the road.
     
  12. Appleaker macrumors 68000

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    Jun 13, 2016
    #12
    A new model is coming soon so it might be worth the wait especially if you want it to be future-proof!!!
     
  13. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #13
    Soon? Most likely this fall. So that time frame may be too far off for the OP.
     
  14. Appleaker macrumors 68000

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    Jun 13, 2016
    #14
    It may be.
     
  15. cynics macrumors G4

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #15
    Here you go...



    Basically it depends on the task you are performing and the specific software being using. So its best for you to check with the software manufacturer to see if it will in anyway benefit you. For normal multitasking like me using Safari, Messages, Mail and iTunes right now there is no virtually no benefit. And keep in mind what Linus said in the video about how hyper threading works because there is a good chance that years from now (unless your specific work load changes) you still may not benefit from it.

    You could see a 20%+ increase in performance just from Hyperthreading (ignoring clock speeds and other variables) in a program like Handbrake. Do you use Handbrake? :) What about video editing software?

    That said, my motto when buying tech is 'buy once cry once'. If I'm on the fence even after doing a ton of research I just bite the bullet and buy it. That way I don't regret it later down the road. And I can't think of a time where I regretted spending extra money on something better even if I never/rarely utilize it.

    TL;DR : Go with your gut... :)
     
  16. DarrelUnd124 macrumors newbie

    DarrelUnd124

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    Jul 13, 2015
    Location:
    Indonesia
    #16
    just realised that 5K was already a Skylake!!
    for me it was : M395 + i7 4.0 + 8GB+ 1TB SSD
    ram could upgraded later
     
  17. mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

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    Dec 30, 2009
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    DFW, TX
    #17
    my combo is the i7, 395x, 512 SSD, then added 32GB of 2133MHz RAM and I have a large amount of external storage so fast internal speed was more important to me but I don't utilize more than 500GB at any given time on the computer itself.
    with VESA mount.
     
  18. Appleaker, Jul 9, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2016

    Appleaker macrumors 68000

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    Jun 13, 2016
    #18
    To expand on my last point, the new models will have faster DDR4 RAM, significantly improved Polaris 400-series GPUs, and the Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports which will be future proof in terms of accessories and expandability. Even if you don't need the graphics power, it means you can opt for a lower 400-series card and still get the same/better performance, saving you money. Therefore I think while you may not need the upgraded specs this brings for your workload, I think it will provide a nice boost and be more future-proof especially since it is expected relatively soon. However, if you are desperate than those specs seem like a good choice.
    I don't know how much storage you use, but 512GB wouldn't be enough for me although a 2TB Fusion Drive may be overkill. I suppose you can use external drives if necessary so its not a big deal.
     
  19. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    Finland
    #19
    One thing to keep in mind is that the OP is from UK, so prices are expected to go up when new models are released as Apple adjusts for the drop in pound's value due to Brexit.
     
  20. Appleaker macrumors 68000

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    Jun 13, 2016
    #20
    Yes im completely aware of that but it should still save money since they could opt for the 490 option and Apple could make 16GB the stardard for the 27" or make the SSD options cheaper which could happen with their move towards 256GB being the standard. Hopefully the prices aren't raised too much.
     
  21. kmpowell thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 16, 2003
    #21
    Just to finish this thread off with an update. I decided not to go for any of the three options. The i7 seems to be pointless for my needs so i went for the fastest i5, I couldn't live with the Fusion compromise so instead and I threw some more cash at the Flash storage, and I also bumped up the RAM a bit.

    Final spec = M395 + i5 3.3 + 16GB+ 1TB Flash.

    Thanks for all your input. :)
     
  22. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    Boston
    #22
    Wow, nice setup. I'm jealous :D

    Good luck with your new machine
     
  23. kmpowell thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2003
    #23
    Thanks. My final conclusion was it would only cost me £500 for for an extra 8GB of RAM and more crucially double the SSD storage rather then compromise on fusion.

    My current 20" Alu iMac will be 10yrs old next year, so I'm hoping this one will be similar in longevity and I therefore hopefully have specced it to be.

    :)
     
  24. toddzrx macrumors 6502a

    toddzrx

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    Nov 20, 2012
    #24
    With those specs, it'll fly; congrats.

    As I stated in my earlier post, I've got a 2010 iMac with an internal SSD I installed myself. It's now 6 years old, and it's still plenty fast for my needs as a home computer. I would imagine you'll be pretty future-proof with what you're buying, with the only exception that you'll probably be investing in USB-C adapters at some point.
     
  25. steve23094 macrumors 68000

    steve23094

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    Apr 23, 2013
    #25
    Can you remind me where this info comes from? I remember reading something about it but I can't recall where or the exact details. But something niggling in the back of my mind says it depends what country you reside in and the specifics were something like it may not void your warranty.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 27, 2016 ---
    Some parts of OS X are hyperthreaded. Would you notice it? Probably not.
     

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