Thinking of a 27” i7

Cashmonee

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May 27, 2006
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I am looking at getting a 27” iMac with i7/8GB/512GB SSD, and just have a few questions first. I currently have a 2010 27” that I love, but with its spinning drive is ready for an upgrade. I also have a 13” 2013 MacBook Pro. The most taxing thing I do is Lightroom and some light gaming.

I certainly could hold out a bit longer and see if the iMac gets an update in the spring, but my biggest concern is that Apple will continue the trend they have been on lately of making the machine harder to upgrade (soldered RAM) and increased prices. I figure that if they do that, there won’t be huge discounts on the 2017, especially a BTO option. Am I crazy for not waiting? I can still get 8 years out of a 2017, and be happy correct?

Also, is the i7 loud? I have read a few posts in passing that mention the i7 having a lot of fan noise, but cannot seem to find anything that verifies that.

Lastly, no reason to look into the iMac Pro correct? It seems rather overpowered for my use, especially considering the premium (about $2000).

My only other consideration was perhaps a Mac mini. I have a 1440p monitor now that is decent, but I really like the iMac display, and it seems pairing the mini with a 4K display is problematic.

So essentially, is it stupid to be putting money into an i7 iMac this far into its life cycle?
 

mikehalloran

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Depends, For me, the differences among the i7, iMac Pro and Mini set up the way I need isn't much at all.

You can't buy an iMac Pro with the specs you quoted but let's compare Apples to Apples: A 32G, 1T iMac is $3,699 while there's always a Refurb basic iMac Pro for $4,249. The Pro has a faster CPU/RAM/SSD/GPU for only $550 more. A comparable Mini is $4,406 (incl. a Magic Mouse, Magic Keyboard and 5K monitor) — a Pro for $163 less looks really good now. The GPU in the Mini barely compares to either of the others.

Also, is the i7 loud? I have read a few posts in passing that mention the i7 having a lot of fan noise, but cannot seem to find anything that verifies that
Lots of "I've read..." with little firsthand experience to back it up. It can be real for some users, though.

The culprit is TurboBoost for extended periods of time—this makes an i7 run hot and the fans kick in. Heavy gaming, heavy Photoshop or FinalCut Pro rendering will trigger it. For most uses, this will rarely be an issue. If it becomes annoying, there are apps that will turn it off and slow down the iMac a bit. If Turboboost is always kicking in, should have bought an iMac Pro.
 

tomscott1988

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Apr 14, 2009
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The current iMac is excellent. It is a ball ache tho because if a new one comes out in 3 months then youll probably regret it but if you have to wait until October it would be worth buying.

Then again if they get rid of ram upgrades and continue on the path they are now the likelyhood is a redesign will increase in price by 30% like the rest of the mac line.

You have to determine if you need it or want it. Can you get by with what your using or will buying this dramatically increase your productivity.

You could upgrade your 2010 iMac they are really easy to put an SSD in because the display isnt glued to the case. 1tb SSDs are so much cheaper now £100-150 and with black friday deals youll get a good price. It will dramatically increase the user experience. Might be worth a try before investing in a new one.

Thing is although "lightroom is all you do" lightroom is a hog and doesn't run smooth on all that much especially if you are using higher end cameras with big pixel counts.

Ive been toying with buying a refurb. The i7 with 512gb ssd and 8gbs is £2289 buy 32gbs for £200 and all in under £2500 although a 1tb drive would be nice. TBH for the extra couple of months im going to wait. Ive waited 5 years and would like to see how the mac pro pans out.

Those new 6 cores are screamers and if the mac mini is anything to go by then these should run faster in the iMac you get the 5k screen fingers crossed an vega graphics card and hopefully a refresh in the design to get 4 TB3, 10gb ethernet and continue to be able to upgrade the ram.

I would say once this imac update is here the iMac pro will be discontinued as it was always a gap filler.

The next high end iMac will outperform the base iMac pro with roughly 6000 single and 26-30000 multi if PC benchmarks are to go by.

Reason for lack of updates is probably this that the high end iMac would have similar specs but at roughly 2/3s the price.
 
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Cashmonee

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May 27, 2006
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Depends, For me, the differences among the i7, iMac Pro and Mini set up the way I need isn't much at all.

You can't buy an iMac Pro with the specs you quoted but let's compare Apples to Apples: A 32G, 1T iMac is $3,699 while there's always a Refurb basic iMac Pro for $4,249. The Pro has a faster CPU/RAM/SSD/GPU for only $550 more. A comparable Mini is $4,406 (incl. a Magic Mouse, Magic Keyboard and 5K monitor) — a Pro for $163 less looks really good now. The GPU in the Mini barely compares to either of the others.
I see what you are saying, and I agree. With the iMac, I would take the base RAM for now and upgrade to 16 GB shortly and know I have the ability to go with more if I need it. The 1 TB drive is a fair point, and something I would skimp on because I could. With the mini, I can buy in stages. Get the machine now, monitor later along with an eGPU if it were necessary. The issue there is tech upgrade fatigue is likely to set in, so I would not mind doing it in one shot.

I am very tempted by the iMac Pro, especially at refurb prices. B&H had a used base model near $3500 yesterday, and at that price, it sure is hard to pass up. However, it really stretches my current budget (in the neighborhood of $2500), and I think it is overkill for my needs. I would say it would have a longer usable life, but I think all the current Macs I am looking at will outlive macOS support (about 7 years) plus the soldered RAM takes away the option to increase that down the line (though 32 GB is pretty future proof for the moment).

The current iMac is excellent. It is a ball ache tho because if a new one comes out in 3 months then youll probably regret it but if you have to wait until October it would be worth buying.

Then again if they get rid of ram upgrades and continue on the path they are now the likelyhood is a redesign will increase in price by 30% like the rest of the mac line.

You have to determine if you need it or want it. Can you get by with what your using or will buying this dramatically increase your productivity.

You could upgrade your 2010 iMac they are really easy to put an SSD in because the display isnt glued to the case. 1tb SSDs are so much cheaper now £100-150 and with black friday deals youll get a good price. It will dramatically increase the user experience. Might be worth a try before investing in a new one.

Thing is although "lightroom is all you do" lightroom is a hog and doesn't run smooth on all that much especially if you are using higher end cameras with big pixel counts.

Ive been toying with buying a refurb. The i7 with 512gb ssd and 8gbs is £2289 buy 32gbs for £200 and all in under £2500 although a 1tb drive would be nice. TBH for the extra couple of months im going to wait. Ive waited 5 years and would like to see how the mac pro pans out.

Those new 6 cores are screamers and if the mac mini is anything to go by then these should run faster in the iMac you get the 5k screen fingers crossed an vega graphics card and hopefully a refresh in the design to get 4 TB3, 10gb ethernet and continue to be able to upgrade the ram.

I would say once this imac update is here the iMac pro will be discontinued as it was always a gap filler.

The next high end iMac will outperform the base iMac pro with roughly 6000 single and 26-30000 multi if PC benchmarks are to go by.

Reason for lack of updates is probably this that the high end iMac would have similar specs but at roughly 2/3s the price.
The worst part of this is the timing. I can wait. My MBP is running fine, so I am not in dire need of an upgrade. I am worried about waiting because I am worried that Apple will release something that ultimately will cost significantly more. Plus the longer I wait, the poorer the value proposition of the 2017 gets as the parts are already rather aged. The mini is tempting because it seems very fast, and it would definitely be plenty upgradable.
 

mikehalloran

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ou could upgrade your 2010 iMac they are really easy to put an SSD in because the display isn't glued to the case.
Yes it's easy to upgrade but the glued-on ones are easier—true fact, I've done many of both. The 2010 won't run Mojave which is why I'm replacing mine soon.
if a new one comes out in 3 months then youll probably regret it
Despite the rampant speculation around here, there has been no indication of this from Apple.
I would say once this imac update is here the iMac pro will be discontinued as it was always a gap filler.
That's funny. Did you read the Tech Crunch article? The machine that Apple is going up against is the Maya Box Rendering Station $13K for 8 core to $150K for 52 Core, 1T RAM and 8T SSD running Win 10. The article doesn't mention Maya, of course, but Apple is working on something to outperform it and are developing bleeding edge AV apps to run on the new Mac Pro. The target buyer is the film industry. Expecting the 7.1 to start less than $15K is dreaming. Read the article.
https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/05/apples-2019-imac-pro-will-be-shaped-by-workflows/

The iMac Pro will become the mid-level machine for pros, like I, who will never need what Apple is sending down the pike.
 

Cashmonee

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May 27, 2006
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After more thought, I think I may be going back to my original plan and get a mini. It is pretty fast, very expandable, and more budget friendly now. I really love the iMac screen, but I am thinking I can get close enough with a mini and be more flexible.
 

mikehalloran

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Oct 14, 2018
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LG is making some nice 27" & 32" 4K USB-C screens that won't break the bank. Those without prices have been superseded by later models (except the UltraFine sold by Apple) but can still be found in stores or on Amazon. You can also use the Mini's HDMI port for some of the less expensive 4K monitors.
https://www.lg.com/us/4k-monitors

Amazon has refurb LG 5K UltraFine screens for $999.
https://www.amazon.com/LG-UltraFine-5120x2880-Certified-Refurbished/dp/B079J62QZM/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1542730665&sr=8-13&keywords=lg+usb-c+monitor
 

Cashmonee

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And one more change of heart...

I ended up standing pat, sort of. I built a machine with my son this summer and I am going to be using that as my main computer from here on out. It has an i3 8300/8GB RAM/500GB SSD/Radeon RX580 and cost me about $700 to build. It would be even cheaper now since the RX580 has dramatically dropped in price. I plan to add another 8GB of RAM when I need to (at the moment it has not been necessary), but overall it is a snappy machine that I can upgrade to an i7, better video card, etc whenever I like and still be less than the mini or iMac. If it works out, it will begin my transition away from macOS back to Windows (been on OS X/macOS since the Intel switch).

In the end I just could not justify the cost of the mini. A Mac mini comparable to what I have now would run me $1139 for the mini on EDU and another $400ish for an eGPU, which puts it at more than double the cost. Now granted, my machine was built by me, so I am the repair tech for it, and it does not have the connectivity, SSD speed, form factor, or quiet operation of a mini, and there is no macOS. However, paying double for those things that I don't really need or could easily add for significantly less money (like the SSD speed and connectivity) just seems irresponsible.

I hope Apple is hearing the community's reaction to their recent releases. The pricing is getting to the point of ridiculous, and the reliability and features are taking steps back. I currently own and have in service within myself, my wife and 2 sons an iMac, 2 MacBook Pros, an iPad mini, 12.9" iPad Pro, 10.5" iPad Pro, 2 4k Apple TVs, a 4th gen Apple TV, an iPhone 5, 2 iPhone XS's, and 2 Homepods. If I am looking at things and saying that the pricing on their current offerings is a bridge too far, Apple should be concerned about what is coming. It just doesn't make sense anymore for desktops, and at this rate, I am not sure it will make sense in the other product categories for much longer. It truly saddens me, but I fear I may be starting to move on from Apple.
 
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tomscott1988

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With the amount of recent Apple products you have bought I doubt apple is worrying at all. There must be at least £10ks worth of gear you listed.

If anything with all of your devices building your own PC doesn't make much sense as it wont integrate with any of those £1000s of products you have listed. All to save a couple of hundred.

All well and good moving on but there are currently no good alternatives to 50% of those products listed and the integration is the reason you pay the money.

If you currently have a 580 why would you need to buy another gpu? All you need is a box which are like £200 and your lucky in the states that you have so many variants of EGPU cases.
 

Cashmonee

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With the amount of recent Apple products you have bought I doubt apple is worrying at all. There must be at least £10ks worth of gear you listed.

If anything with all of your devices building your own PC doesn't make much sense as it wont integrate with any of those £1000s of products you have listed. All to save a couple of hundred.

All well and good moving on but there are currently no good alternatives to 50% of those products listed and the integration is the reason you pay the money.

If you currently have a 580 why would you need to buy another gpu? All you need is a box which are like £200 and your lucky in the states that you have so many variants of EGPU cases.
Interesting points. For the 580, I could pull it out of this machine, but my son also uses this for gaming, so I would rather not. I was more making a point that to get equal performance out of a mini, it would cost about double what I spent on my PC.

As for the rest, you are right. I have already given Apple a lot of money. I guess they would like me to keep giving them this amount of money in the future, but now that is in question. And yes, I am losing integration, although not as much as you think. Of all the integrated pieces, the desktop is the least important to me. Also, that is kind of the point isn't it? I am willing to give up on that integration and my preferred OS because the cost in my mind has simply gotten out of control.

As for alternatives, I would suggest taking a look at the offerings out there. There are good replacements for everyone of them. Sonos, Roku, a myriad of Android devices, all of them are a good alternatives that are not a step down like they were in years past. The lone exception is probably the iPad Pro. Now, I am not looking to replace them all tomorrow, and I am not claiming that I am done with Apple. I still really enjoy all of my Apple products. All I am saying is that the practice of raising an already high premium on outdated hardware has given me cause to question whether I will continue on with them or if I will start to slowly transition away as time goes. I mean the iMac is a very nice machine, but the hardware is 2 years old at this point and they are still charging the same amount that was already too much when it was released. The mini is better but still pretty pricey for what you get.

The Apple Tax used to be within the realm of reasonable. You got a better product that cost more, but delivered on the value. I think they are venturing beyond that now with their latest round of price increases and removing of features and loss of reliability. I am curious what the next iMac comes in at and how many features it loses in order to be thinner or bezeless.