ultimate 27" iMac what-to-upgrade thread

Discussion in 'iMac' started by in4fun, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. in4fun, Sep 28, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013

    in4fun macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2012
    It would be nice to have an overview of what all the available upgrades actually do and who needs them. As you can see, I have no clue as well and will update this post with useful answers from members who actually know.

    1. Processor
    a) 3,2 Ghz i5 (base model only)
    a) 3,4 Ghz i5 (already fast enough)
    b) 3,5 Ghz i7 (for pro users who need emulated 8 cores for e.g. After Effects / Cinema 4D)

    2. Memory
    a) 8 GB (then upgrade with 3rd party ram)
    b) 16 GB
    c) 32 GB

    3. Storage
    a) Serial-ATA (please don't)
    b) Fusion (recommended by most)
    c) SSD (if you have the spare cash)

    4. Graphics
    a) GTX 755M 1GB (not future proof)
    b) GTX 775M 2GB (you should be fine with that)
    c) GTX 780M 4GB (for gamers and benefits in final cut pro)

    Keep the knowledge coming and this post will be updated as a guideline for the clueless (like myself).
    (options that are highlighted in green stand for best/recommended option.)
  2. octatonic macrumors regular


    Mar 23, 2010
    If I was buying for me now I'd go for 3.5.i7, 16GB, 3TD Fusion, GTX 775M 2GB.
    It depends on what you need it for though- I do audio and a bit of video.
    I need grunt and huge storage on the system drive.

    That said, I'm waiting for the Mac Pro before deciding what I'm going for.
  3. ioannis2005gr macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2013
    Go "BTO"! my answers:

    1c i5 is very good but with i7 achieve future proofing

    2a enough now...add more in the future

    3c or b PCI-e SSD 256GB + external storage or PCI-e 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD (Fusion drive) =depends on your needs/existing equipment

    4b enough for gamers. excellent graphics.

    ADD Apple Care protection Plan.

    PS: Please, read threads with all the problems appeared to 27'' 2012 iMac monitors. LG IPS monitors are generally fine but APPLE QC in China doesn't discard "many" defective products...so, be careful!
  4. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    1. Processor i5 vs i7 depends on what you are using the system for. In the case the i7 also has more cache which will help improve performance.

    2. 8GB from Apple add an 8GB or 16GB depending on what you need, and if you find you need more than 24GB, you can replace the original Apple memory later.

    3. Fusion drive. If you game and the performance isn't good enough, get a small SSD in a USB 3 enclosure. The Fusion Drive will help with photo editing.

    4. For some applications the video card will make a difference, If you're planning on gaming get the 780M. Certain video editing programs will make good use of the video card., this includes Final Cut Pro.
  5. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
  6. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I always select the i7 as I do a lot of video processing and that uses all 8 cores.

    I went with 16GB from Apple this time since it was only $30 more than what Crucial wanted and I get the full AppleCare warranty plus the extended free financing.

    I intended to buy a 3TB Fusion Drive, but instead went with the 256GB SSD. I have a 256GB SSD in my 2011 iMac and find it plenty of space since I keep all my media on a NAS. So I never would have used the HDD space and I'd rather have all-SSD.

    As for graphics, I only play Diablo III and it did not tax my 2011's GPU, so I went with the standard and did not upgrade.
  7. KOTULCN macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    My 2010 27" was damaged by Apple when they were replacing a defective LCD and AppleCare is replacing it with a base model 2013 27". Hopefully I will be able to add an SSD since it's only coming with a 1tb hdd.
  8. in4fun thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2012
    wow, you are one lucky motherfather :eek:

    I hope Apple breaks my iMac screen in 2016 !
  9. KOTULCN macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    It was a royal ass pain to get them to approve replacement but I'm not happy about only getting a spindle drive.
  10. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    The i7 is not "future proofing" (god, I hate that term :D ), its for allowing people who do computationally taxing tasks complete them in a slightly shorter time. "Future proofing" would mean that the computer remains "usable" for a longer time. But if the i5 is too slow for a particular task, the i7 will be too slow there as well.
  11. in4fun thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2012
    thanks for clarifying - already updated using your excellent phrase :D
  12. barefeats macrumors 65816


    Jul 6, 2000
    I recommend:

    c) The Core i7 has 4 cores but emulates 8 cores thanks to Hyper-Threading. The Core i5 does NOT do Hyper-Threading. It's 4 cores max. You want the Core i7 for pro apps like After Effects and Cinema 4D that use all cores, real and imagined. Doesn't help with gaming, though.

    a) 8G and then buy more from third party and upgrade it yourself. But get good quality from companies that sell RAM that meets or exceeds Apple's specs, tests them in Macs, and guarantees them for life.

    Depends on what you use the iMac for. I ordered the Fusion drive last time. Not happy with the hesitations I'm seeing at wake and launching. It's like it's saying, "Hold on. I'm not done with housekeeping."

    So this time I went with the SSD.

    c) GTX 780M 4G -- not just for games but will accelerate pro apps like Resolve, OctaneRender, and After Effects (Ray-traced 3D). Since you only have one GPU and it is not upgradeable, best to get the best -- future proofing.

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