What specs to get on the new Retina iMac??

Discussion in 'iMac' started by bentom13, Nov 2, 2014.

  1. bentom13 macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2014
    Hi all!

    I am planning on investing in a new Retina 5K iMac with the wish for it to last me at least 5 years. I have figured while i am spending £2000+ already then why not get something that will last.

    However i am unsure on what specs i should get. I will be definitely getting the i7 Processor - but am unsure on what else i should do without wasting money.

    I have read before that there may be graphics issues with the base GPU so should i upgrade it? Or is this people being picky/speculating. What have you experienced?

    Also i am used to silence with my late RMBP so would ideally like similar with the iMac. Therefore i am curious to find out what people think about the noise made by the fusion drive? I am not worried about the capacity of the storage however so bare that in mind. So do i go fusion/SSD - how loud is the Fusion Drive?

    Furthermore is 8GB RAM enough?

    If not, i know that Apple charge a lot for RAM, however it seems stupid buying it with 8GB RAM and then putting in and additional 2 x 4GB sticks to create 16 rather than putting in the 16 straight from apple so that i would then have space to upgrade to 32GB when needed. In the UK i don't see a huge difference (around £17 from crucial)

    Thankyou in advance!
  2. acculess macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2014
    Just go with the base 8Gb RAM from Apple then buy the 16gb upgrade from Crucial (which is around £30 cheaper than the direct Apple price in the UK as your say). As well as being slightly cheaper you can pair it with the original 8gb it comes with to give you 24gb (which should be more than enough unless you are doing some really heavy weight activity). Cheaper and more RAM...
  3. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    If you see "issues" with graphics from a reputable reviewer somewhere besides a forum, then maybe you should consider that. I wouldn't pay much attention to anecdotal info on a board full of anonymous posters, including me :eek:

    The processor is an important upgrade, and the graphics as well if you would be doing video, using another high res monitor, or whatever.

    The internal SSD is another matter. With a Fusion you only get 128 flash storage, and a hard drive that is probably the hardware weak link. Given that Thunderbolt and even USB 3 is quite fast, I think 256 flash is a better deal. You can add external storage, and most people can fit all their frequently used stuff that benefits most from the SSD on that 256 if they try. YMMV.

    For me, the RAM was cheaper to buy from anyone but Apple. But you could probably find sticks people have yanked out of the riMac on eBay for even less and get up to 16GB; you can always add more later.
  4. hpman247 macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2011
    Do all models have 4 slots? If so, I'm thinking getting the 8GB stock, and adding two 8GB SODIMMS to get 24GB. Only costs about $160 extra
  5. acculess macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2014
  6. bentom13 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2014
    Thats very true - i am waiting on some reviews to come in by some online sources!

    For the graphics i will be starting to do video editing however this will not be intensive however it may get more so. Therefore i believe it is important for me to do that!

    I like the idea of looking on eBay! Thats an idea that i never thought of! Thanks!

    Also thankyou for everbody's replies so far!
  7. GameFreak348 macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2014
    Why dont you just get a Mac Pro?
  8. bentom13 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2014
    Well ... a few reasons - the Mac pro is more expensive and i would need peripherals.

    Also i get a 5K display and the high end iMac that i would be getting scores better in geek bench than a low end mac pro!
  9. bentom13, Nov 2, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014

    bentom13 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2014
    Just to let you know i have just brought 8 GB of additional RAM ready for when i have the iMac! I will then have 16GB total (4x4gb) and have save myself over £100!
  10. GameFreak348 macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2014
    I may be wrong but doesnt the imac have a dual ram slot? so that means if you got a 8gb imac you will have 2x4gb. By removing 1 ram module and placing your 8gb module you will have 12GB
  11. bentom13 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2014
  12. redheeler macrumors 603


    Oct 17, 2014
    I can confirm this will work just fine ;)
    The 8 GB model comes with 2x4 GB leaving 2 slots empty.
  13. Crunch macrumors 6502a


    I have done exactly what you want to do. I added 2x8GB to the 2x4GB RAM sticks that came with it. Make sure to correctly put them in, so as not to loose dual-channel RAM support. Instructions can be found on Apple's support site.

    I can tell you more about how the Retina iMac performs with the specs I decided on when I get it. I ordered the quad-core 3.5GHz i5-4690 and the AMD R9 M290x w/ 2GB GDDR5, but with 256GB of pure, unadulterated PCIe SSD "Flash storage" goodness.

    If you are heavy into processing of videos and/or photography (especially RAW files) or do any other graphics-intensive stuff, you'll likely want to go with the R9 M295x. From everything I've read thus far, this will not result in significantly better performance on games running at 4K/5K, however.

    As for the Core i7 4GHz option, it's entirely unnecessary for me, but again, it all depends on what you need. It's interesting to note that the i7-4790K is actually an unlocked CPU, ready for manual overclocking right out of the box. This probably won't work under OS X, and due to the thermal constraints of the iMac, as well as the fact that it already overclocks to 4.4GHz for single-threaded performance, it is probably best to leave it alone altogether.

    At least you'll get a full 500MHz more for the extra money, which usually only gives you a 100 or 200MHz bump in other Macs. The i7 CPU's have, of course, HyperThreading as well. Again, it would be wasted on me, but you might have a need for it.

    Hope this helps. :)
  14. bentom13 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2014
    So how does the iMac perform with the M290X?

    Have you noticed any problems at all? Any lag and stuttering?

    The only thing that i am not sure about is the Graphics card now.

    I am getting the i7, i have already brought another 8GB of RAM for under £38 on eBay. S0 i will have 16GB total. And i am pretty certain on getting the 512GB SSD especially after saving all that money on the RAM!

    Would love to know how the graphics performs if possible?
  15. Crunch macrumors 6502a


    Man, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it's - potentially - bad! I don't know WHAT's going on, but there is terrible lag on the Retina display. That's as opposed to any external devices, such as my projector, for example. Another strange thing is the fact that when playing Call of Duty 4 with 1440p settings maxed out, there's no lag in the gameplay. What gives here???

    Mainly, it's a matter of things like Mission Control, swiping through pages, and scrolling through certain HTML-heavy websites in Safari not working very well. I happen to use Mission Control a lot, for example, and it IS a nuisance. I just installed OS X 10.10.1 beta 1 and it appears to make some difference, but not enough to where I'm ready to keep the computer, unless Apple will respond in a favorable manner when I call them in a few minutes.

    If it's a matter of a graphics driver that needs ironing out, I'm totally fine with that, including maybe having to wait several weeks for a fix. I'll tell you one thing, though: I doubt that Steve Jobs would have let this product out the door with this type of "experience". And for those who claim that "well, it's a 1st generation product, what do you expect. Just get the better GPU.", I can only say that NO, the standard GPU has to work with basic functions of the OS, such as using Mission Control, swiping through websites, and reading mail. You should absolutely not have to buy the more expensive GPU for stuff like that. Period. You should only have to pay for it if you happen to do an extraordinary amount of transcoding or cutting 4K video in Final Cut Pro or for extreme gaming.

    The M295X has already been proven not to be much better at gaming at 4K/5K than the M290X, so again, if this is an issue with the GPU, I'll need Apple to tell me what's what, so that I can make a better purchasing decision.

    Neither the CPU nor the GPU appear to be taxed much as per iStat Menu 5 and Activity Monitor, by the way.

    Other than that, the display is absolutely gorgeous!!!
  16. rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    This really sounds like a software issue that will be sorted out eventually. Just like the Finder preview issues people have been having. To me it seems very unlikely that such a GPU would be able to play games like that but not be able to coupe with relatively simple GUI animations.

    But I still think it's worth waiting it out to see that it's fixed before buying.


    This is what I'm still worried about regarding the upgrades. It seems like those who have the i7 M295X are having problems with the fan ramping up for pretty simple operations. If it's the GPU, the CPU or a combination of both that is the cause of the heat I don't know, but until I get some clear answers on that I will hold off my purchase. I don't mind spending the money on either but excessive fan noise is a deal breaker.
  17. bentom13 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2014
    You guys are completely correct. There should not be any lag - no matter the GPU on such basic tasks within the OS.

    Its all vary well in saying upgrade the GPU (which i most likely will do) but regardless it just shouldn't happen!

    Could you please let me know how you get on with Apple and let me know what they said because i would like to know? It seems so unlikely that it can be hardware - especially if it plays COD fine. However i find it hard to believe that it is a software issue because i don't believe it happens on the upgraded GPU?

    Could anybody with the M295X let me know how that performs, i would be intrigued to see if it was any different.

    I am not a gamer and will NOT be gaming on this system.However i really do not want lag in the system when paying so much money already - i would prefer to spend more if it is just hardware.

    Maybe it is just on some systems? Maybe its not? I am not sure but i will need more info and certainty if i buy the baseline GPU.


    Yes - i certainly do not want this to happen!

    I wish Apple did what they normally do and perfect a product before releasing it rather than rushing it and doing a poor job.

    If they didn't announce it then i wouldn't have wanted it! That way i could have waited for the Broadwell chips. Whether they will be much of an improvement i'm not sure!

    I wish i was more patient to wait for the next update but i cant wait what would be nearly another year now that i have the idea in my head!
  18. rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    It will most likely not be a performance increase, but it will make a difference to the thermal output so perhaps they will be able to crank as much power out of it without the fan ramping up for nothing.

    But who knows when the update will come out? It could be two years from now for all we know. It could be 6 months (though I doubt it).

    I'm thinking of going with the base model and upgrading to the Broadwell whenever it comes out. If I hadn't been in the need for an iMac right now I would have waited, but it doesn't feel right buying the 2013 model either when there's not that much of a difference in price.
  19. Crunch macrumors 6502a


    Oh, guys, let me clear up as to why the fan comes on so loud on the higher-end GPU. It's because the M295X has a TDP of 250W!!! By sharp contrast, the M290X maxes out at 100W.

    One more thing about the lags: I have the problems with Finder and other system apps as well, and again, we're not talking Final Cut Pro or even iMovie here.

    However, since it only ever happens on the Retina display, maybe it does need the extra horsepower. I, too, would like to know if those with the M295X have significantly better performance.

    It's so frustrating...because the Retina 5K display is gorgeous! :(
  20. rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    The 295X certainly produce a lot of heat, I've decided not to go for it.
    What I'd like to know is if the i7 290x combo will cause the fan to ramp up quickly as well.
    According to apples documentation the i7 will produce 40% more heat at full load compared to the i5. 20% more compared to the 3.4GHz i7 in the 2013 model. That's quite a lot of heat.
  21. fathergll macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    It also gets a job done faster so its under load for a shorter period of time ;)

    I have the same concerns about the 295X's heat issues
  22. Crunch macrumors 6502a


    The 290X does not ramp the fan up even a little bit. Nor does it seem to get taxed at all, as per iStat Menus 5 and Activity Monitor.

    And yes, the 4GHz i7 is actually the Core i7-4790K, an unlocked processor, meaning you can overlock it manually. That part won't be so exciting seeing that it is part of such a small enclosure, but usually, the faster, the more heat within the same generation of chips.

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