The ideal iMac retina is......

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Cbdboz, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. Cbdboz macrumors regular


    Oct 31, 2013
    Welcome all views and rationale on what would be the best configuration,

    I'm thinking..
    4ghz i7
    Ram 18g(2x8) ...and buy additional ram from 3rd pty as needed
    Graphic 295.

    ....where I'm stuck is on Fusion the best compromise...and if so, 1tb or 3b......or Flash which case, which level....and can I always upgrade, add to as needed????
  2. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    1. How much memory do you need? If you think that 1TB Fusion isn't enough, then SSD isn't enough either.

    2. One thing that isn't generally known: With every hard drive (not SSD), the first part of the hard drive is fastest, and as the hard drive fills, you are forced to use slower and slower parts of the hard drive. If you have 1TB of data on a 3TB Fusion drive, then you are actually only using the fastest 1/3rd of your hard drive, so it will be a lot faster than a 1TB Fusion drive.

    And obviously you have the advantage of not having to care about space on your drive at all with a 3TB Fusion drive.

    Of course if you don't expect to ever come close to using 256 GB, go with SSD. If you don't expect to ever come close to 512 GB, look at the price and go with 512 GB SSD or Fusion.

    Internal upgrade is difficult, but if you just need lots of storage for your movie collection for example, speed isn't that important and an external 3TB USB drive is really cheap.
  3. nrubenstein, Oct 27, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014

    nrubenstein macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2008
    Washington, DC
    I would just order 8GB. It's cheaper to replace later if 24GB really isn't enough and you will have all RAM from the same source.

    As for storage, I went 512GB SSD. USB and Thunderbolt provide more than enough performance to run a platter drive at full speed, so there isn't a real penalty for external storage, otherh an the annoyance/cable factor. (Why I couldn't have ordered it with a 6TB internal drive in addition to the 512 SSD is beyond me...)
  4. xgman macrumors 601


    Aug 6, 2007

    agree with this assessment.
  5. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

    Sep 27, 2008
    OP, without knowing your budget and needs, it's impossible for us to give you an accurate answer that applies to your situation.

  6. enroh macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2012
    ...the ideal iMac for me is one I don't have to pay for. Not happening so decisions have to be made.
    My i7-3770/16GB DDR3/HD5770/120GB SSD Windows box runs like a champ and everything I throw at it (I don't game btw)

    I have read, and read, and read some more. Looked at benchmarks that made sense and some that dont. Seems like the i5 revision will do me for 85% of my work but I know when I am encoding in Handbrake i will miss the extra oomph I will get from the i7. otherwise the i5 and its superior single-core performance will be fine. Or is it? (after reading stutter issues for some folks with MC and Launchpad) Go big or go home?
    8GB RAM is my settle point simply because I can upgrade that for less money. I know me though and I may just eat it just because I can be lazy sometimes. *lol* For being in Canada its saving me $30 or so going 3rd party...
    GPU is where I am struggling still. The HD5770 I have now is driving an Asus 27" 2560x1440 screen and a 1080p 23" screen. It is technically slower than the M290 in the iMac. Its powerful enough for my photography and video editing work but no doubt I will be moving to 4K video soon enough. Is the 290 sufficient as well as drawing 5K resolution on my screen? I am not sure and nobody seems to be posting real world marks.
    SSD all the way - no brainer. For me 256GB is fine. All storage is on my 12TB NAS. I usually copy a file locally to the SSD for editing and then save back to the NAS on completion. 256 is enough for me. :)
    Thing is though, is it as fast as my Muskin 120GB SSD which reads/writes approx. 550MB/s. Fusion does not seem to be as quick. I dont want spinning disk though in my desktop. Peace and quiet please. BUT if I want the base unit I can down the road get a TB enclosure and boot from that with my SSD in many choices.
    If I go base and do the RAM and find that i need the better GPU its back to the store and order and wait longer...or do i bite the bullet and drop 4K on my assumed needs?
    Decisions decisions.
  7. Gary Irwin macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2011
    For long-term use, I agree with this.

    According to the Apple sales rep I spoke to, the "best" (in terms of fastest and biggest bang for the buck) storage option is the 512 SSD and an external Thunderbolt 2 RAID practical limit for storage, redundant storage and is faster than ANY internal-only storage option.
  8. Cbdboz thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 31, 2013
    Needs would be for video editing, phot editing, use of handbrake etc, as well as general office excel, word and presentation material.

    Budget...after holding back since my 2009 iMac purchase, I'm pretty good to fully spec up as needed...with main objective to get vfm and ensure future proof....and happy to consider upgrades where possible...such as subsequent addition of RAN, and external ssd when and if needed.

    Have already filled up existing 600g drive with photos and media, and often have to spring clean to give 10% headroom min of 1tb required for internal ( and poss the 3tb fusion ...+ external storage! may be best option?)

    In short, fast, future proof, and best storage solution is what I am looking for...;)
  9. sth, Oct 28, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014

    sth macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    The old world
    I would suggest: i7 / M295X / 8GB (replace with 32GB 3rd-party RAM)

    For the storage: Either 3TB fusion drive or SSD-only + external RAID enclousure or NAS system. Personally, I'd choose the latter, even though Fusion Drive is not that bad. I just don't want spinning hard-disks on my desk anymore, especially in a machine that's as inaccessible as the iMac.

    If you want a future proof storage solution and you're not budget-constrained: 1TB SSD internally and an external storage solution with at least two drives running mirrored (RAID1) for reliability reasons.

    USB3 and Thunderbolt can both push a lot more data than spinning hard-drives can provide and USB/TB enclosures usually give you pretty much the same speed you would get from an internal drive. If you only want to access your data from that one machine, this is the solution I would suggest since it's cheaper, less hassle and usually a bit faster than a NAS.

    If you're going for a NAS system, gigabit ethernet can be slightly limiting for sequential reads/writes, but that's usually not a problem. What you have to look out for is random read/write performance since cheap NAS systems are often quite bad at that.
  10. Cbdboz thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 31, 2013

    ....would it not be better to get 16gb RAM and buy 16 3rd party ( I thought 8gb was would have to waste it and replace with 4x8?

    On Hd solution....would I be able to have all my media files on an external, and seamlessly link in to my iTunes library etc....and if so, just wondering why I would need more internal ssd than say 256??

    ...and, finally....if wanted to access the external had from other computers, atv, and poss external ...would that mean Drobo or synology would be a good route?
  11. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

    Sep 27, 2008
    Thanks for letting us know what your needs are. Based on that, here are my recommendations:

    i7, M295X, 8 GB RAM, and 3 TB Fusion Drive.

    Thoughts and things to consider:

    RAM. Get 8 GB of RAM now. You can buy two Apple OEM 4 GB sticks of RAM for $45 from the numerous people selling them from their new machines (myself and many others included). This will take you to 16 GB of RAM which should be plenty of RAM to carry you through the next 3-4 years. If you really want 32 GB for the rare occasion that you'll need more than 16 GB, then go ahead and buy two 16 GB sticks of Crucial memory now and either sell your Apple OEM RAM for $45 or hold on to it and put it in the closet. This is the cheapest route to 32 GB. (Versus having Apple ship it with 16 GB of RAM.)

    3 TB Fusion Drive. This will give you the storage capacity you need to carry you through the next 3-5 years, assuming your requirements stay roughly the same. The Fusion Drive is fast...and it's fast enough for probably 95% of the users out there. This is the cheapest and most effective route. However, if you're doing multi-cam editing with several streams of HD or 4K video, then the speed of an external RAID array would be beneficial to you. If you know that you will invest in an external RAID array, then a 512 GB SSD is probably the better option over a Fusion Drive since storage space will no longer be an issue if you're installing an external RAID array.

    In answer to your follow-up questions, if you want other computers to access an external drive, then a NAS drive is your best solution. NAS will not give you the speed that a RAID 0 or RAID 5 array will, but it will be an effective way to share the data amongst all of your devices. Personally, I wouldn't get a Drobo. Drobos are very easy to use (which is nice), but if the Drobo fails outside of the service period, you're pretty much up a creek without a paddle.

    Hopefully this info helps. I'm sure it may generate more questions. Please don't hesitate to ask and I'll do my best to provide solid answers.

  12. Cbdboz thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 31, 2013
    Thanks for the great feedback....a few more questions then if I may ;)

    You mention a NAS being the best other posts where I had been looking at a NAS, views were that using OSX Server on a Mac mini ( which I will place at hub of home theatre system) would be better than a NAS. If I go for the Mac mini with external storage, and use this via new apple extreme wifi for my this a viable option for storing media and files that my IMac can read from and write to. ( and if so, still a 512gb ssd?)

    The fusion would probably be more than fast enough for me...but given that I would want most of the media files to be accessible, it seems that they would be best to be on an external drive. Also, I can put away hard drives when I go away a lot easier than safeguarding the whole case of theft.

    The iMac would then sit in a home network including my old 2009 iMac, 2010 MBP, 2012 or 2014 Mac mini, a bunch of I- devices...... And some as yet to be decided storage system...presumably attached to the mac mini and serving the network.

    ...sound like a plan...and if so, does the 512gb ssd fit the bill?
  13. fastlanephil macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2007
    One thing to remember is that if you plan on installing Windows in Apple's Bootcamp down the road it will be installed on just the HHD on a Fusion drive so it won't be as snappy as OSX.

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