Upgrade to 4K iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by blairh, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. blairh macrumors 68040

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #1
    My current Mac Mini (late 2012 model) works just fine. Recently upgraded it to 8 GB RAM. My needs are basic.

    Using an Apple Cinema Display 20". This is a beautiful S-IPS panel. Got it in late 2009 when discontinued and it still works just fine. So in reality I'm in no need to upgrade my desktop.

    However at some point I will need to and I'm intrigued by the 21" 4K iMac. I don't need anything larger than a 21" screen.

    I went to my local Apple store and gave this model a close look. Yes the screen looks sharper than my current setup, but I can't say it was all that noticeable. Perhaps I'd feel differently looking side by side.

    Also my current screen is matte and my home office has a ton of ambient light via a variety of windows behind my chair. I am a bit concerned about the glossy screen of the iMac. (I know the 2017 models have more anti-glare but still.)

    Anyways, I'd love to hear from others if they think the 4K iMac would be a noticeable upgrade given what I have. Also I could get a 4K monitor plus a new Mac Mini down the road (maybe a redesign this year?) as the one I currently have can't support a 4K monitor.
     
  2. fathergll macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #2
    So far what I gathered

    • You're current Mac Mini works just fine
    • You have basic needs
    • You're 20" display works fine
    • Matte > Glossy

    I don't see any point to a glossy all in one over your current setup when the current hardware is sufficient.
     
  3. jacktorrance macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    #3
    The glossy screen can be problematic depending in your viewing environment but does help the sharpness of the screen, particularly in low light environments.
     
  4. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

    Joined:
    May 31, 2015
    Location:
    Rio Grande Valley in South Texas
    #4
    I went from a base-model 2014 Mac mini to an iMac 4K (2017), not because I needed more power, but because Apple just refuses to update the Mac mini.

    I can't complain about the iMac though, it's such a nice machine. And the size is perfect since I have it closer to my eyes than most people.

    If your Mac mini doesn't have an SSD, then you'll probably notice the difference. I recommend going for the 256GB SSD with the Radeon Pro 560 graphics, it's the sweet spot in my opinion. Try to find deals for it though, since we're close to the one-year mark.
     
  5. Darmok N Jalad macrumors 6502a

    Darmok N Jalad

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2017
    Location:
    Tanagra
    #5
    As a 27" iMac owner that has a few windows behind me, I can tell you reflections will be a concern. I can close my blinds and that fixes it, but that may be a big negative for you. The one positive to the iMac is it will auto-adjust brightness based on ambient light. It does help kill the glare by trying to overpower it.

    That said, based on your comments, you seem happy with what you have. The 2018 Mac lineup will likely see a good performance boost thanks to Intel adding extra CPU cores to their product line, so you can wait to see what Apple offers later this year. If nothing else, you'll get more for your money, or a better deal on a clearance 2017 model.
     
  6. blairh thread starter macrumors 68040

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #6
    I agree. I was just curious if 4K would really blow me away versus my current setup.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 13, 2018 ---
    My office is always well lit. I was thinking the higher brightness of the iMac would potentially help combat that. But ideally I think a matte screen is best for this room no matter what. I just don't think they make matte 4K screens in the 20"-22" variety.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 13, 2018 ---
    I think this is a make or break year for the Mac Mini. If not updated this year, it will be discontinued at some point. However honestly I think Apple will indeed update it this year. I believe it will have a smalerl form factor and hopefully SSD comes standard or at the very least Fusion drive as a base model.

    I agree that my next desktop will be SSD. My MBA is SSD of course and I notice the difference, even though honestly for my basic tasks even an HDD is okay.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 13, 2018 ---
    Yeah reflections concern me. I was hoping the 4K iMac would dilute that quite a bit from being so bright. I'd also love to see the iMac get a redesign. It does look dated at this point.
     
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #7
    If everything is going fine right now, I suggest you "sit back and wait" until the fall.
    By then the 2018 iMacs should be out, and if there's no new Mini by then, I guess it's time to cross that one out of the Apple product line.

    If you can spring for the extra $$$, reconsider the 27" iMac.
    I'll guess that once you have one, you'll never once say to yourself "I should have bought the smaller one" ... ;)
     
  8. blairh thread starter macrumors 68040

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #8
    Given my office space, the 27" is simply too large. I've also used screens that big before and never felt it was necessary to be honest.
     
  9. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #9
    The 4K iMac is a beautiful machine, and now given they are being shipped with dedicated GPUs, I'd say it's worth the upgrade for the screen alone for you, as long as you get an SSD model with a dedicated GPU.

    The 20" cinema display was a beautiful display back in the day, but the 4K iMac would be a massive increase in terms of user experience due to the increased resolution.
     
  10. blairh thread starter macrumors 68040

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #10
    What do you think would be better? A 24" 1080P screen or an iMac 4K at 21"?
     
  11. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #11
    IMO, 4K Imac. The 4K iMac is a great machine as long as your needs are not too demanding, and I don't recommend screens with resolutions less than 1440p.
     
  12. blairh thread starter macrumors 68040

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #12
    How come?
     
  13. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #13
    Simple. Current technology is 4K with 5K on the horizon. 1440p is getting old now, but still looks great. Simply, 1080p is old tech, so in good conscience I could not recommend it to someone.
     
  14. blairh, Mar 14, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018

    blairh thread starter macrumors 68040

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #14
    I tried to do an eye test at my local Apple store with the 21” 4K versus my current monitor. Obviously it’s an imperfect test. I just tried to see if the difference would be obvious or not. And I’m not really sure. Perhaps I’d feel differently once I used the 4K screen for a longer period of time. Clearly a 4K screen even at 21” should be noticable compared to my current monitor.
     
  15. Darmok N Jalad, Mar 14, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018

    Darmok N Jalad macrumors 6502a

    Darmok N Jalad

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2017
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    Tanagra
    #15
    Some folks don’t really notice the extra pixel density of high-DPI displays, but I think you would notice it more when viewed side-by-side in terms of detail and sharpness. Another factor in a newer high-quality display is a wider color gamut, higher brightness, better contrast, and greater color accuracy. As good as your old display is, new high-end displays are just that much better thanks to improvements over time. I think once you got them side by side, you’d notice lots of subtle differences. Life changing? Maybe not, but still they are good improvements.
     
  16. blairh thread starter macrumors 68040

    blairh

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    Dec 11, 2007
    #16
    Yeah I agree.
     
  17. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    May 10, 2012
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    San Francisco
    #17
    Well, I cannot say for sure, but I'd say that if you're currently using a 1080p monitor, and you did switch to 4K, you wouldn't want to go back. 4K really is way better

    1440p is still a great budget option and I can go between my 5K iMac and a 1440p display with relative ease. 1080p is hard on my eyes.
     
  18. blairh thread starter macrumors 68040

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #18
    Actually my current monitor isn't even 1080p. It's 1680 x 1050. 20" display.

    What size 4K are you using?
     
  19. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #19
    I use a dell 27 inch 4K and a 5K iMac and I would never settle for anything less now that I've been spoiled by it
     
  20. blairh thread starter macrumors 68040

    blairh

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    Dec 11, 2007
    #20
    I imagine 4K is much more noticeable on a 27" screen vs. 21".
     
  21. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #21
    It will be more noticeable on the 27 inch and 5k even more so in the iMac. However what I have found with retina screens including the MacBook pros, is that the big difference for me is text, it looks great and is far easier on the eyes for reading and writing onscreen to have print like text rather than pixelated text to read. So much of our computer interaction is reading and this is a much missed bonus to high definition screens.
     
  22. blairh thread starter macrumors 68040

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #22
    Yeah I read and write a lot of text on my Mac so it’s an important element to 4K for sure.
     
  23. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    May 10, 2012
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    San Francisco
    #23
    I wouldn't really recommend a 21" in today's world either most people are now more interested in larger more modern screens now, 27" isn't all that big anymore
     
  24. blairh thread starter macrumors 68040

    blairh

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #24
    27" wouldn't fit in my setup. I also feel it's overkill for what I do on a computer. The largest I could go is 24" in my office. But even a 21" 4K would be sufficient, I think. We'll see. I could always get a 24" 4K and connect it to a newer Mac Mini down the road.
     

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