Which 27" iMac would be best for me?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mikebt, Jun 20, 2018.

  1. mikebt macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2018
    #1
    Upgrading my 2011 MacBook and was in the market for a 2017 27" iMac.

    The most processor intensive thing it will be doing is HEVC video conversion. Occasionally it might be used for some gaming and some light app development (as a hobby), but 80% of the time it would be converting HEVC files in Handbrake.

    Would going for the top of the line 27" be overkill? I would either go for the base level 27" with an SSD upgrade, or the high end 27" with the Fusion drive. Space isn't too important to me since I'll be housing my iTunes on a NAS anyway.

    I know either option would probably be a major boost in performance compared to my current setup, but I'm also all for future proofing my devices. Would it be worth it to pony up the extra money now?

    Thanks!
     
  2. niteflyr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2011
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    #2
    The mid level 27" with 500GB SSD is same price as high end with Fusion drive. This might be the sweet spot. A little better processor and a little better Video card for gaming. Either way, go for the SSD.
     
  3. bodonnell202 macrumors 65816

    bodonnell202

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    #3
    I'd say stick with the base model as for your use case your $ is best spent on the SSD upgrade and more RAM (in the case of the 27" iMac the ram is user accessible so you might want to consider upgrading the RAM yourself than paying Apple's prices for RAM, and of course it's always something you can do later too).
     
  4. mikebt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2018
    #4
    Thanks for the input, guys. The SSD is a high priority for sure. Does the base model only support up to 32gb of memory or is that just some Apple B.S. on their configurator? The mid- and upper-tier iMacs offer up to 64gb.

    Just wondering, I definitely won't be buying RAM at Apple prices. It was just something I noticed on their site when pricing it out.
     
  5. Darmok N Jalad macrumors 68000

    Darmok N Jalad

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2017
    Location:
    Tanagra
    #5
    Handbrake likes more threads, and only the high-end iMac comes with the i7, which has 4 cores / 8 threads, thanks to SMT being enabled. The i5 models are 4 core / 4 thread, so they will be slower. However, the high-end iMac produces more fan noise as a trade-off. If you don't mind the longer wait, you can go with the one of the slower models. I own the base model 5K, and I think it does a good job all around. Whatever you get, it will still be absurdly faster than what you've been using, as you're moving from an old notebook CPU to a modern desktop CPU. The priority is going to be getting the storage solution you want, since it's not an easy upgrade to do it yourself. I made sure to get all-SSD storage--there is just no comparison for speed versus Fusion drive.

    The 5K iMac has a RAM door, so upgrades are easy. According to here, all models have the same RAM requirements and limitations. 4 x 16GB is your limit.
     
  6. bodonnell202 macrumors 65816

    bodonnell202

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    #6
    Good point, although since you mentioned that someone should point out this may not be the best time to buy a Mac (any of them) since the whole lineup is due for a refresh and while no one knows for sure when that will happen it's a good bet that it will happen sometime this year. A move to 8th gen Intel Core processors in the next version means that the next 27" iMac will probably have a 6 core/6 thread CPU in the i5 model and 6 core/12 thread CPU in the i7 model. Probably with upgraded GPUs as well (I haven't seen anything new from AMD yet, but I'm sure they'll be some new variant of Vega in there).
     
  7. Darmok N Jalad macrumors 68000

    Darmok N Jalad

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2017
    Location:
    Tanagra
    #7
    Yeah, I meant to mention that, but I got caught up in other thoughts I guess!

    It’s a shame handbrake on Mac doesn’t support QuickSync like it does on Windows, though it sounds like that is Apple’s fault for not opening the API. QSA helps speed up encoding, especially helpful on taxing HEVC jobs. I’m not sure if dual booting to Windows would do the trick here.
     
  8. Fishrrman, Jun 21, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018

    Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    You might consider the "midrange" 27" with a build-to-order internal SSD.

    The "top-of-the-line" i7 models are said to be noisier (due to the fan ramping up).
    Midrange model offers better CPU than entry-level (7600 v 7500), better graphics.
    Price is $200 more than entry-level, but actually seems to be worth it.

    Buy minimum RAM configuration (8gb) and add more yourself.

    SSD drive -- even a 512gb or 256gb -- will make GREAT difference in performance, and it will keep running well as the iMac ages.
    If you need more storage, use USB3.
     

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7 June 20, 2018