Two iMac choices - Which would you purchase and why?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by csurfr, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. csurfr, Mar 6, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017

    csurfr macrumors 6502a

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    Seattle, WA
    #1
    I'm looking at spending right at 1900 or so on a 27" 5k iMac, and I have two choices. Both are the 27" 5k models, and the prices are pretty close. Which of these would you choose, and why? I'm a web designer running Illustrator, Photoshop, and Brackets. No video editing, etc.

    Option 1:

    Late 2014
    4.0ghz i7
    32gb RAM
    3tb Fusion Drive
    Radeon M295X w/ 4gb
    Apple wireless keyboard / Magic Mouse (1 I'm guessing).

    No AppleCare left on the machine. $1800.00

    Option 2:

    Late 2015
    3.2ghz i5
    8gb RAM
    1tb hdd (not fusion or ssd)
    Radeon M380 w/ 2gb
    Apple magic keyboard / Magic Mouse 2

    AppleCare until 2019. $1600.00 (I can spend the extra 200 and bump it to 32gb).

    Now, spec wise, this is a no brainer, right? The i7 is a monster, and especially for the price. The question becomes, do I really need to worry about something breaking 6 months, maybe a year from now, or should I expect it to be fairly solid? The i5 with AppleCare is appealing, if only for that aspect.

    Thanks all, and I plan to pull the trigger on one of these two machines within the next 24 hours.
     
  2. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

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    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #2
    I'd take the 2014 based on the specs. A major repair could be expensive, but if it's lasted this long without blowing up...
     
  3. csurfr thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    I'm inclined to agree, just a bit nervous about it. I'm also in Seattle. Small world.
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #4
    I like the idea of having a warranty, plus the 2015 model runs significantly cooler then the 2014 model. From what I've read the 2014 model had a penchent to throttle. My 2015 model runs fairly cool.

    Also if you opt for the 2015, you can easily run a SSD by way of USB3, and improve the performance. I run off an external SSD (because I have windows running on my internal SSD) and its fast.
     
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G4

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #5
    $1,800 is too much for a 2014 model.

    I've seen iMac 2015 27" 5k refurbs with a 2tb fusion and the 395 GPU on eBay in the $1,630 range...
     
  6. Malus120 macrumors regular

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    Jun 28, 2002
    #6
    If you can, wait for the next refresh and reevaluate what you can get within your budget.

    If you HAVE to buy TODAY, go with option 1, the difference in CPU, GPU, and storage performance between it and option 2 is absolutely massive, and that's before you factor in the extra 24GB of ram. While a repair down the road could always be expensive, option 2 will leave you stuck with a machine that, quite frankly, really isn't up to snuff GPU wise. If you're really worried maybe look into SquareTrade or some other third party warranty service.

    As someone else pointed out though, you may want to shop around a bit more. While option 1 is priced lower than I've ever seen that config here (in Japan, where I sold mine 5 months ago for like $2800), I'd imagine you might be able to do better in the US (particularly the Seattle Metro area). Look for open box at Best Buy (particularly when they are already on sale), refurbished from Apple or eBay etc.

    Whatever you do, don't buy option 2, that configuration of the Retina iMac is just bad (M380 GPU with an HDD is going to be slow).
     
  7. cynics macrumors G4

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #7
    Based on your workload I would pick the 2014 hands down.

    But that is if I had to choose. Personally I wouldn't get either. I push the CPU pretty hard in my iMac which the 2014 could potentially throttle. Same for heavy GPU related task. I would hold out for a better 2015 model to pop up.

    But thats just me personally. Good luck with your decision.
     
  8. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 6502a

    nambuccaheadsau

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    Nambucca Heads Australia
    #8
    If I had to go now, I would go for the 2014 model i7 with the 4GB gfx card. After even using Fusion in my late 2013 i7, a platter drive is like molasses.
     
  9. csurfr thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Seattle, WA
    #9
    So I spoke with the guy regarding option one and he dropped the price to where I can put 32gb of ram in it, and still get it cheaper than what I can get it from Apple without AppleCare or 32gb (1529 is their price).

    That i7 is truly tempting, especially with the Fusion drive. Though as Maflynn said earlier, I could always boot off of a usb3 SSD if I felt the platter was slow. . . Or Potentially pay Apple to install an SSD for me later as to preserve my warranty?

    One thing though Re: GPU - if my 2015 MacBook Pro with the random Intel chip that is in it can run Illustrator just fine for my needs, wouldn't the 2015 iMac Radeon GPU work just as well if not better? I'm not doing anything taxing really. . . We're talking about web graphics, not full on illustration files.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 7, 2017 ---
     
  10. cynics macrumors G4

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #10
    Internal SSD options will be significantly faster, potentially more reliable to a certain extent (some people have had unmounting issues, cables fail etc however most people don't have problems), no need to worry about TRIM, and of course looks nicer. In the Fall Apple will be releasing their new file system (APFS) which is specifically optimized for SSDs specially internal when it comes to TRIM (from the best I can tell). Its not unoptimized for HDD's but depending on how long you plan on keeping the Mac may factor into consideration.

    If you don't need/want the horsepower of higher specs then you can shop specifically for deals not for specs. And I think you could do better in that case. Especially once you see an announcement for a new iMac. Many people will sell off their current iMacs.

    Also anything you can think of that you could possibly be using the Mac for in the future? Ripping your movie collection, potential for video work, games, etc? You said you use Photoshop, do you use any GPU specific feature for acceleration or requirement? Or just casual stuff?
     
  11. csurfr thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    The small amount of work that is done in photoshop is just the basic stuff. Again, I'm making graphics for the web, and not working with large files. No gaming or movie ripping. Just typing some code in brackets and other normal day to day tasks.
     
  12. cynics macrumors G4

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #12
    Go for that second option then if you feel its a good deal, if nothing else the warranty is great so you have peace of mind.

    I actually have an HDD in my iMac and I feel its perfectly adequate, never causes me any problems. Only time its really noticeable is opening large programs and moving large files into iTunes, just takes a minute or so not big deal really. I do keep my iMac on 24/7 though, if I didn't it would be borderline unbearable. And the bright side with APFS its prevents dupes of files so moving a file on the same drive is instant since its not actually rewriting/copying it.
     
  13. csurfr thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    I don't think the price is terrible per se. . . Sure I'd like to have a fusion drive just for that little bit of future proofing, but for the price I'd be getting this at (1250 for the iMac, 280 for 32gb of ram), I don't know that I can get one thats a lot faster for less.

    You mentioned that you leave it on all the time or it would be unbearable. . . are you referring to boot speed of the 7200rpm SATA drive?
     
  14. phairphan macrumors 6502a

    phairphan

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    Reject Beach
    #14
    Just chiming in to say that option 2 is not a particularly good deal. You can pick up that model from Apple in the refurb section for $1529. It obviously doesn't come with Applecare, but does come with the same warranty as a new machine and, should you choose to within the year, you could AC to it and it would be through 2020. If anything, you can use this info to try to knock down the price from whomever is selling #2.
     
  15. csurfr thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    I did just that and he lowered it to 1250. More attractive now, yeah?
     
  16. cynics macrumors G4

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #16
    Yeah. Since I have a good amount of RAM (24gb) most of my commonly used programs open and close relatively quickly. However after a reboot which is slow, programs open slow. Things I don't use as often open up slow too like iMovie. Its bearable because I don't shut the Mac off. If I did I think I would get annoyed with it.

    Again it works good, just not as good as loading off an SSD which on new Macs with PCIe SSD's can be near instant.

    First world problems at their finest but still something to consider.
     
  17. csurfr thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Yeah, I know. Decisions decisions. . . I feel like with what I am going to be doing the i7 would be crazy overkill, but the 3tb fusion drive, and already having 32gb of ram is worth it.
     
  18. cynics macrumors G4

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #18
    Or you can just keep your ear to the ground for lower spec iMac with faster storage. The problem you'll find is since Apple charges an arm and leg for SSD options they command a premium for resale, and its also what many people are looking for. Plus people that upgrade the storage speed on initial purchase also get faster CPU and GPU too which also increases resale and makes mid tier models with fast storage harder to come by.

    The 2nd option isn't a bad deal at that new price IMO. I don't know much about the 2015 innards but maybe you can upgrade the internal HDD to SSD later down the road if you feel its holding you back. Depending on the next iMac update I may just put an SSD in mine since I'm content with its CPU and GPU performance, well games like Cities Skylines could be better but its runs well enough.

    Not a terrible idea to plan for the future though, you could even save money. In retrospect I wouldn't currently be considering updating my 2013 if I bought a maxed out model when I had the chance. Now I'm torn between spending thousands on an iMac, or performing surgery on my current iMac. I'll need to wait until their is a new model out so I can make a more informed decision and have a fallback plan incase I break mine. Lol.
     
  19. csurfr thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Seattle, WA
    #19
    Well, I took the plunge and went with option 1. I'm just getting creative cloud and everything on it now, but overall I'm pretty happy. It seems pretty fast, and looks absolutely new, so I'm less concerned about the warranty than I was before. With the i7 (even if it did thermal throttle a bit under heavy load) I'll be set for a little while, and I can't see how I'll ever fill 3tb of space.

    Thank you everyone for your input. I appreciated every comment that was made!
     
  20. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 6502a

    nambuccaheadsau

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    Oct 19, 2007
    Location:
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    #20
    I am sure you will be happy with it. The 128GB PCI-E flash storage with the Fusion drive is a great option and fast. The grfx are very solid with 4GB. One suggestion. For mine I only use Energizer Lithium Ultimate AA batteries and have found all rechargables simply a waste of money.

    Also keep your eyes open for a USB keyboard and mouse to toss in the bottom drawer. Very handy and some software installs like to kick in before Bluetooth loads.
     
  21. csurfr, Mar 7, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017

    csurfr thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Seattle, WA
    #21
    I actually have the Magic Keyboard 2 and Magic Trackpad (2?) as well as the ones it came with it. And this, paired with my 28" 4K Samsung display and I don't know what to do with all of the screen space.
     

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