Which 512gb SSD 27" iMac? Base, mid, high?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Tjmckay4, Jun 21, 2017.

  1. Tjmckay4 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2014
    Location:
    Perth, West Aus
    #1
    I've decided that I'm going to get the 512gb SSD version of the iMac. Don't want a spinning HDD inside the iMac, 256g too small and 1tb too expensive.

    Question is, what version? Base, mid or high?

    Currently the most strenuous jobs I do on my 2011 27" iMac are viewing and occasionally editing pictures in Lightroom and watching (although jittery) 4k home movies. Even though I've got the full adobe CC suite (teacher discount for a year since November), I find myself only using lightroom.... However, I may edit some 4k home movies in the future using Premiere Pro and view 4k 50fps videos if I get another camera... I also want to future proof myself.

    Anyone had the same dilemma?
     
  2. rico7578 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2017
    #2
    Pretty same use cases for me :)
    I'll fo for the mid (better ration perfs/price/silence/heat) for my needs.
     
  3. jayfromnova macrumors newbie

    jayfromnova

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2017
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #3
    Yep. Pretty much a lot of us are in this boat. You have to ask yourself which GPU is important to you. That will constrain which CPUs are in play. Buy the 8GB and buy memory from a third party and save big bucks. There are a few threads here with people reviewing their purchase that you may find helpful. Good hunting!
     
  4. trsblader macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    #4
    Mid range will likely be just fine since it doesn't sound like you're really doing LR or video editing on a regular basis.

    In my opinion, forget the idea of "future proofing." The biggest factor to how long your machine works for you will be how much your workflow changes, and if it doesn't change in the future you can waste a lot of money now and not get anything from it. If you suddenly go full movie producer on us, a max'd out iMac today will be thrown away in a couple years vs someone who just watches YouTube and that never changes. The YouTube guy might never upgrade unless hardware actually fails and repair costs get too high or parts are unavailable. Plan to have the computer for 5+ years and ask yourself if your workflow or needs are likely to change. If you expect them to stay the same, buy ram if/when you find that the standard 8gb is not sufficient. You can buy external hard drives if/when you need it as well.

    My base model 21" 2011 iMac is still chugging away just fine for daily use, and that's with a 5400rpm hdd and specs that are anywhere from 500-1500% worse than the 2017's in various benchmarks. I even do some video editing on it (personal weekend projects that are more of a clip collage than real video) and that's the only time I notice a slowdown. Since I'm just now pushing a 2011 model past it's abilities, having spent double on a top end 27" back then to "future proof" would have been worthless as I could very likely push those 27" past their abilities as well and need an upgrade still.
     
  5. Jaffaman27 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #5
    I don't have an answer for you, but I also have hard time deciding what setup to get :)

    I have a mid 2010 27" iMac (2,93 i7, 12GB RAM, 1,12 Fusion) and it have served me quite well for my needs up until now (most of the time). The Fusion is "DIY-version", added extra 128GB SSD to the stock 1TB HDD.

    I work as a graphic designer + developer, so I use Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver etc on daily basis. My needs are not the most demanding as I don't really work with video or with RAW images. But my Photoshop & Illustrator files can become big and complex and I do multitask a lot. Meaning I have many of these apps open at the same time + several browsers with "countless" tabs open at a time + other stuff.

    I do want a 5K mac, so that is the main reason for the update, but also my current setup starts to show its age and I hit the limits more often than I would care.

    So I'm going for the i5 or i7 with Radeon 575 or 580. I will upgrade to the 512 SSD and will add more RAM myself.
    Originally I was planning to just get the maximum setup with i7+580 as I plan to use this iMac for a long time, hopefully again the next 7 years. But now I'm not so sure anymore as silent operation is appreciated (at least similar quietness as I currently have). I'm fine with some temporary huffs and puffs when I do something processor intensive stuff, but I really don't want to hear the fan otherwise / too often.

    Would I be fine with the 3.5Ghz i5 + 575 which would surely be more quiet machine..?
    Or should I just go with the top spec i5 or i7 + 580? The GPU sounds more "future proof"..
    I really don't want to underspec the setup and I do want the machine to "fly" in my daily work. And as said I plan to use it for a long time..

    Any help would be appreciated.. :)
     
  6. Firebrand macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2016
    #6
    Don’t forget dongle proofing too ;-)

    The entry level iMac 27" is also a nice configuration though, IMHO.
     
  7. EugW macrumors 68020

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #7
    Depends.

    I "future proofed" my MacBook Pro back in the late 2000s by ensuring it had hardware h.264 decoding before I bought. I've been using the same MBP since 2009, and only this week got my new MacBook.

    Also, I "future proofed" my iMac (and MacBook) purchase by not buying a 1 year or two ago, waiting for hardware 10-bit HEVC h.265 decoding. And guess what? This year Apple announced they're building the macOS and iOS ecosystem around HEVC.
     
  8. trsblader macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    #8
    That's a good point and I guess hits on just what does "future proofing" mean. When I say forget future proofing, I mean forget the idea of your kick butt computer in 2017 being anywhere near as great in 5 years. Forget the idea of any BTO 2017 model having 100% feature support after 5+ years. It's going to be slow compared to a similarly priced model in 5 years, games and software will keep pushing the limits of that 5 year newer technology which will limit your 2017 machine, and new OS features will come out that require a version of wifi, bluetooth, or other technology that hasn't even been invented yet. If someone else's idea of future proofing just means in 5 years you can still use the same computer to complete the same tasks you do now, no need to go overboard, but maybe upgrading from 8gb of ram to 16gb really is future proofing in that instance.

    My thought is this: if you overbuild a computer and spend double the cost in doing so, but never use its capabilities, did you really "future proof" or did you just waste money? You buy a Ferrari but never go out of the downtown area, so did you really need all 600hp that Ferrari delivers or would a Prius have done just as well for you? That's just how I look at things though.
     
  9. Falcon80 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2012
    #9
    For your case, I believe the high end i5 + 580 will be a good compromise. The GPU is good if you need to do VR related stuff in future.
     
  10. EugW macrumors 68020

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #10
    Funny you should say that. I bought the top of the line 4.2 Core i7 iMac with Radeon 580 and 1 TB SSD, and I drive a Prius. :)

    Oh and I got a 16 GB 12" MacBook because I think it will help me keep it 5 years or longer.
     
  11. Tjmckay4 thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 24, 2014
    Location:
    Perth, West Aus
    #11
    Hey Jaffaman! Stop hijacking my thread ;)
     
  12. Chancha macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    #12
    Future-Proofing is IMO the last concern on an iMac, since it is an AIO machine where it is a literal single point of failure. The amount of luck involved for it to still run by its specs after 5 years is much higher than the odds of missing whatever hardware components for potential future tech.
     
  13. EugW macrumors 68020

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #13
    It really depends on your usage and how well you know the technology trends.

    In fact, it arguably becomes much more important with an all-in-one to think about future proofing because of that "single point of failure".

    The 2017 iMac brings Thunderbolt 3, USB C, Kaby Lake media upgrades (which IMO was a big deal), etc. 2018 will bring 6-core, so perhaps the best future-proofed machine will be a 2018, but as long as you know what you're getting into that's fine, which reasonable purchasing choices. Spending a few hundred bux more in this context can make a lot of sense.
     
  14. Jaffaman27 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #14
    Thanks for the input.
    I'm going back and forth with it, mid level i5-7600 + 575, high end i5-7600K + 580 or i7-7700K + 580.. o_O

    Will follow the discussion.. :)

    Sorry :p
    Our questions were so similar, so I thought no point for me to make yet another 'What I should get-thread'..
     
  15. Tjmckay4 thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 24, 2014
    Location:
    Perth, West Aus
    #15
    Maybe I should be asking this - what activities/tasks can you do on the 575/580 GPU that you can't or would struggle with on the 570?
     
  16. Greg M macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #16
    I'm in the same boat, trying too figure out the best one to get. Of coarse my MBP does everything I need it to do except that I'd like to have a larger screen and faster external storage.

    As for your question, the 570 is faster then the 2017 21" iMac, faster then all previous iMacs, faster then all MBPs, and faster then the last Mac Pro. However, getting the 512 SSD in it compared to the 580/512 SSD/i7 combo is only $600 difference. So the question is, am I going to regret spending approximately $2100 vs $2700 4 years from now?
     
  17. jayfromnova macrumors newbie

    jayfromnova

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    Jun 9, 2017
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #17
    I'm also in the same boat. I've come close to picking any one of them: low-med-high only to talk myself out of it before hitting the checkout button. I'm sure I do this every time, but then 5 years later I can't remember which one I choose or why I chose it. Analysis paralysis sucks.
     
  18. Azenha macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    #18
    I decided to go with the base model (i5 3.4GHz + Radeon Pro 570 + 512GB SSD + 64GB of third party RAM) because I figured that the mid model wouldn't be that great of an upgrade in terms of performance. I excluded the i7 right from the start after reading reports of noisy fan on that model.

    I previously had a 2010 27" iMac with the top i7 2,93GHz CPU at the time, as well as a then very expensive 256GB SSD. To be honest, the thing that forced to buy a new iMac wasn't the CPU or the GPU or indeed anything that would've changed whether I'd selected the base of the high model in 2010. What forced me to upgrade from the 2010 iMac was the fact that it didn't have any fast I/O for data... no Thunderbolt nor USB 3.0... only USB 2.0 (sloooow) and FW800 (also slow and expensive). That and the 5K display, of course! ;)

    So, who knows what technology will come out in the next 7 years that I'll end up missing... I'd rather save the money today by going with the base model and use it to allow me to buy a new computer that much sooner in the future, when such unforeseen needs emerge.
     
  19. EugW macrumors 68020

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #19
    I have the 2.93 i7 2010 and the 4.2 i7 2017 side by side on my desk. If anything, the 4.2 is quieter at max load but really the only time it is at max load is when I'm encoding video. With pretty much any other usage it is completely silent.
     
  20. Azenha macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    #20
    That's good to know! :)

    In any case, I think that, for my personal use case (photo editing in Photoshop), the extra money that the i7 costs will be better spent on the next time I have to upgrade the computer. I managed to keep my previous iMac for 7 years... If the 2017 fares as well I'll only have to upgrade again in 2024. By then there might be a 32" 8K iMac with Thunderbolt 6 and some other unimaginable new technologies that truly justify spending the money more than the rather insignificant performance difference between the base and high end 2017 model (again, for my usage).
     
  21. drew.bowser macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    Location:
    Missouri
    #21
    The base is plenty with an SSD. I purchased the base with the 512gb SSD and this machine flies! Editing in lightroom is great and I also ran a render in FCPX and it was speedy.
     

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  22. Tjmckay4 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2014
    Location:
    Perth, West Aus
    #22
    Yeah, I'm beginning to think that the base model will suit my needs the best.

    The top model with the 512gb is too much for me (A$3301) and the difference between the base and mid is minimal. Plus I save near on A$300 going for the base over the mid (A$2865 vs A$3152). Hell, I may even go for the 256gb in the base saving another $278 (A$2587)

    512gb or 256gb, I still have the issue trying to deal with 785gb in Dropbox.
     
  23. drew.bowser macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    Location:
    Missouri
    #23
    I had to really stretch to be able to afford the base with the 512gb ssd. I almost went with the 256gb SSD, but figured I may regret it in a few months when its full. I figured that instead of getting an external work drive to edit off of, I would (ironically) have better performance using my internal 3gbps PCI drive vs adding a SATA 3 thunderbolt drive.

    When Im done with the project then ill just dump it to a 4tb spinner which is backed up to a second 4tb spinner. that gives me 4.5 tb of working space, SUPER FAST PCI SSD speeds, and duplicate storage.

    I use carbon copy cloner for the backup.
     
  24. Chancha macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    #24
    Capacity is doubled from 256 to 512, with the little price increase (especially in Apple BTO standard) it is well worth it IMO. Even if you aren't going to fill that 512GB, SSD in general remains high speed if you leave 30% or so room to it.
     
  25. Falcon80 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2012
    #25
    Have you made a decision? I am in a similar situation as you are. Still can't decide.
     

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