Thinking of buying a new iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by OldCorpse, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #1
    So I'm slowly coming around to thinking about buying a new iMac. I want a 27" Retina one, but when I buy new computers I like to buy when a significant technological leap has been taken.

    Unfortunately, I have not kept up with all the new developments in computer hardware, so I need a bit of help. My use scenario - I do the usual low-demand stuff like surfing the net and word processing, but also a bit more intense stuff like video editing, so a good chipset is a must. My question:

    1) Intel has been really slow coming up with chipsets that are any kind of performance leap in the past few years... it seems like the changes have been incremental rather than substantial. Question: are the latest chipsets a decent leap in capability, or not... and if not, is there sense in waiting a few more months to see if Intel comes up with something that Apple can stick into their iMacs and that will represent a decent upgrade - basically I have not been following Intel's roadmap.

    2) It's all well and fine with the display being Retina, but resolution is only one factor in a good image for photo and video editing. A very important factor is color gamut, rendition and accuracy - here is an article from 2014 that's critical of the Retina displays from that point of view:

    http://thisweekinphoto.com/27-imac-retina-5k-color-gamut-question/

    For photo and video editing and color correction, obviously this is a very important question. Question: has there been any progress on the color in the recent Retinas or is it the same dreck as in 2014

    3) Quality of SSD. It's all well and fine to have a fast drive, but there is varying quality of SSDs out there, and Apple has not exactly impressed with their choice of SSDs. Question: has the quality of SSDs that Apple sticks into the iMacs improved any?

    Any other leaps in capability are also of interest. Thank you in advance!
     
  2. page404 macrumors regular

    page404

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    #2
    Maybe your are a bit too pessimistic. Lots of people use their iMacs for intensive tasks and other tasks which require a decent display, a fast CPU and a reliable SSD.
    From my point of view, an i5 or i7 (especially the upgrades) are fast enough for most, if not all, tasks. I can't say anything of the display quality first hand, but cannot imagine it's as bad as you suggest.
    Finally, SSD: what's wrong with the quality of Apple SSDs? I've never heard any complaints, only positive reviews on speed.
     
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    #3
    You give us no idea of what you are currently using and what apps you use so we can in no way suggest what sort of performance increase you'll get.

    The displays are some of the best available for colour gamut and were updated last year to an even better screen a that resolution nothing better is on the market.

    The SSD's are samsungs fastest PCIe ones again just about the best consumer tech available.....
     
  4. Strider64 macrumors regular

    Strider64

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    #4
    I personally think you're just trying to find a reason not buy the computer, just my opinion. The only person in the end that needs to justify the purchase is you. As for the color question, that I can never understand what the big scrutiny over this is, after I was a color matcher for 20 years for an automotive paint manufacturer. People see color differently (I not talking about color blindness either) and some people have more of a hang up on color than others. I used to pull my hair out over customers who constantly rejected the paint because is was too light, too yellow or what have you. While other customers would approve the very same batch of paint and say it was the best match they have had. Granted you don't want to see a drastic change in color, but a minuscule change isn't noticeable to 99.9 percent of the people who look at it. Just my .02 cents.
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #5
    Intel could release a new chipset every three to four years that will have substantial performance improvements or they could release a new chipset every year with minor improvements that over the course of three or four years equal to substantial improvements. As for the latest chipsets, I think the last few prior chipsets are more then enough to handle most of what people use computers for.

    What is your intended use for the iMac, its impossible to say if what Apple is offering is a good fit, if you don't define what your needs are.,

    I'd say you are mistaken about the color gamut of the 5k iMac, you reference a 2014 article, but do you know that apple updated its 5k display to use the P3 color gamut?

    I've never had a problem with apple's SSDs. Can you point out what issues Apple is having with their SSD?

    I don't want to sound negative, but you seem to be rather down on buying a new computer, you're critical of the CPU, display and storage medium. It doesn't sound like a person excited to buy anew computer and/or one who needs to get one. Perhaps holding off until such time that you feel more comfortable on purchasing it is a better option
     
  6. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #6
    I hate to repeat myself, but like I already said - the more aggressive use would be video (and photo) editing. This means applications like FCPX, DaVinci Resolve, Lightroom etc. When you are transcoding large files, you need a lot of processing power, otherwise you will sit around waiting and waiting and waiting. That is why I am interested in the chipsets (like I already explained).

    No, that is why I asked the question - when I ask questions, it's generally because I don't already know the answer, so thank you for actually answering my question. I referenced the 2014 article to provide the baseline of what I knew - and as I already explained, I had not followed hardware developments, so I asked if there were meaningful ones since that article was published.

    Actually, no, I'm not down or up or sideways about buying a new computer. Maybe I'm strange, but I actually ask questions before I buy a product, precisely to be a better informed consumer, and I'm sad to see that taken as being "down" about buying. It's served me well in life, compared to asking no questions and merely buying whatever is on sale at the moment.

    I'd much prefer to keep this on topic, factual and data-driven, rather than pointless psychoanalysis about my supposed deep buying desires or aversions. Just the facts, M'am! Thank you!
     
  7. page404 macrumors regular

    page404

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    #7
    Maybe you should loosen up a bit buddy. People take the time to respond to your question. In fact, they answer them for you, so don't be rude for them not knowing what you know.
     
  8. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #8
    A good place to start is here with our buyers guide. http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#iMac The iMac is mid-cycle which suggests a new one late this year in 3-6 months.

    According to the coming in 2016 article http://www.macrumors.com/2015/12/31/what-to-expect-from-apple-in-2016/ we're not sure if Apple will use Skylake or skip to Kaby Lake

    IMO it does not look like either Skylake or Kaby Lake on their own will provide a "significant technological leap" for an iMac. So even if you wait 6-9 months you may essentially be getting close to what you can get now.

    http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/5-things-need-know-intel-skylake

    http://wccftech.com/intel-2016-road...es-10-core-broadwelle-apollo-lake-processors/

    YMMV

    B
     
  9. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #9
    Here's the deal. I am not sure what your history with Apple is, but if Intel comes out with a new chipset tomorrow, I feel confident that we would not see it in an iMac right away. I don't know recent rumors as the iMac has the skylake chipset on some models and as far as processing power, folks have been doing exactly what you're doing for ages on less computers. Sure, applications are enhanced to take advantage of the computing power, but overall, professional photographers and videographers have successfully worked from iMacs. Today's offerings and geek bench results suggest to me that you may appreciate the recent model. Should you wait for whatever Intel may release in 4 months? Sure, then you can see what happens and wait another 4 months and eventually just wait and never buy. My theory is always to buy what works for you now unless there is some glaring reason to wait (like with the MBPs).

    Historically, iMacs have seen minor upgrades and major ones. I would look at the buying guide here to see how much of an improvement buyers have seen over the years. It may surprise you and may make you feel more comfortable with the purchase today.
    I think the screens are getting better, but as a professional, you likely know that you would color correct your display anyway using Spyder or a similar product.
    Was there an issue with Apple SSDs outside their exorbitant pricing in the beginning? I think when Apple first offered an SSD upgrade (rather than standard), the SSDs weren't super. Personally, I felt my Intel SSDs led the way over Apple's offering. Now, like someone else has stated, the Samsung SSDs are quality.

    Bottom line is what Apple has to offer today would support your needs. I say this because a cursory review of posts here alone suggest others are using the same or similar applications. Of course, I would stick with the 27" iMac because the 21.5" seems to still only have integrated graphics and I can't imagine you'd be happy with that.
     
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    #10
    OP:

    Don't know whether you'll be buying a "straight" SSD or a fusion drive, but be aware of this:

    The 2015 iMac with a 1tb fusion drive has only a 24gb SSD portion and a 1tb HDD portion.
    The 2015 iMac with a 2tb fusion drive has a 120gb SSD portion and a 2tb HDD portion.

    The cost difference between the above two configurations is minimal.
    But I sense the 2tb version will yield faster performance due to the larger SSD...
     
  11. Brian33, Feb 10, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016

    Brian33 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    A few points from my recent research. My understanding is that the Late 2015 27" Retina 5K iMac (most current model today, released Oct 2015):

    1) has the Skylake chipset (balamw seemed to be saying current iMacs didn't, or I misunderstood him)

    2) has improved display gamut (P3?), compared to the Early (or Mid-, can't remember) 2015 Retina 5K iMacs (as mentioned by mayflynn). I'm not an expert in this area, but when I read about it online it sounded like it could be significant to "color professionals." There should be some good technical articles to be found.

    3) has significantly faster flash storage ("SSD") compared to the earlier 2015 iMac, because it uses four PCIe 2.0 lanes for access instead of the prior design which used two. Not sure about the "quality" of the flash storage... and can't recall the actual manufacturer and whether that's changed recently...

    (I ended up buying one!)
    --- Post Merged, Feb 10, 2016 ---
    I ended up getting 512 GB flash storage, as I wanted as much of that super fast storage as I could afford and it will be very difficult to increase it later. I really like Fusion drives, especially if they have plenty of solid-state storage -- I've had great experience with a DIY fusion drive 512 GB SSD & 1 TB HDD -- but 120 GB for a Fusion drive is smaller than I'd like. I believe that it is feasible for me to make a DIY fusion drive with my 512 GB internal storage plus a Thunderbolt-connected external HDD. That's a future project for me...
    --- Post Merged, Feb 10, 2016 ---
    It just occurred to me that the next iMacs (whenever they come out) might have Thunderbolt 3 (instead of Tbolt 2)... does anyone else have an opinion on this?

    Thunderbolt 3 would probably use the USB-C connector (not that important, I think), and double the bandwith of Thunderbolt 2. The latter could be important to video editing, e.g. if you have 4K data streams on external storage, perhaps?

    From the Wikipedia article:
    "Thunderbolt 3 ... uses USB Type-C connectors.... Compared to Thunderbolt 2, Intel's Thunderbolt 3 controller (codenamed Alpine Ridge) doubles the bandwidth to 40 Gbit/s (5 GB/s), halves power consumption, and simultaneously drives two external 4K displays at 60 Hz (or a single external 4K display at 60 Hz) instead of just the single display previous controllers can drive. The new controller supports PCIe 3.0 and other protocols, including HDMI 2.0, and DisplayPort 1.2 (allowing for 4K resolutions at 60 Hz).[52] ..."
     
  12. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #12
    Thank you, everyone, for the excellent on point answers. Now I have a better understanding of where the iMacs are technologically and that makes it easier for me to try to time a purchase.

    I'm looking to buy this year, but it's not super urgent, so I can easily wait until the fall to see what Apple comes up with.
     
  13. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #13
    That's the thing, with the 5k running Skylake, and the 4k iMacs running a fast iGPU, I don't see apple making changes so soon after releasing these models.
     
  14. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

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    #14
    This is what you'll see in the fall: a bump in graphics and chip speed -- if we're lucky 10%, unlucky a bit less. Ports will increase to TB3 and USB 3.1/C -- but that makes no practical difference as the TB2 port can pretty much handle any peripheral you can throw at it -- now and for several years. The major improvements came with the retina screen in 2014 and bump to Skylake was nice, but not crucial. There is an outside chance of a more major leap in graphics performance, but it's only an outside chance. The current chipset and flash technology is fully capable of handling 4K video. Waiting won't get you much.
     
  15. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #15
    Yes, it looks like waiting is not going to buy me much more, although admittedly, I wouldn't mind TB3 (and USB 3.1/C!) - it happens not infrequently that I have 12-15 TB of data to transfer, so a speedup would be a nice bonus... although I have noticed that peripherals that feature the latest interface come at a substantial price premium, like what happened when I was looking for external hard drives with thunderbolt, much more expensive, so I imagine that storage with TB3 might again be quite a bit more. I do believe that it makes little sense to try to "future-proof" a computer - by the time it's relevant, there's been so many changes that it just makes sense to buy a new computer rather than hope that you can last much longer with your "future-proof" one. I see my iMac on a 4 year upgrade cycle - partially because that's how long I can have it covered - 3 years with Apple Care, and one extra year when I buy it with my American Express card (which gives me a 12 month extension on the warranty).
     
  16. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a

    Sirmausalot

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    #16
    Your limiting factor on transfer speeds will not be TB 2 which can already handle RAID stripped SSDs. I didn't know Am Ex added a year to warranty. Most cards just double manufacturer warranty to two years. Which card is it?
     
  17. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #17
    It's the American Express Gold Premier Rewards card. I try to buy my major gear with this card precisely because of the warranty extension.
     
  18. Glockworkorange macrumors regular

    Glockworkorange

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    #18
    "Thunderbolt 3 would probably use the USB-C connector"

    Pretty sure the Thunderbolt 3 port will work with USB Type C in the same way the original TB (and TB 2) work with Display port.
     
  19. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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  20. Fried Chicken macrumors 6502

    Fried Chicken

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    #20
    If you're money conscious, a bit adventurous, and don't need a 5K retina display, but want to take advantage of leaps and bounds get the late 2012 iMac with the GTX680MX 2GB graphics chip. Open it up, and add two 1TB SSDs in RAID 0 configuration to get 1000MBps read/write, and add some delicious RAM.

    The CPUs have not advanced that much since 2012, and the GTX680MX was the best GPU in the iMac until the current M395X barely bested it, some 2 years later. With a slight (safe) overclock, the GTX680MX is on par with the current top of the line M395X.

    Earlier versions of the iMac are out as they still use USB 2.0.
     

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