Which iMac built do you suggest for the following usage ?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by vitalion, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. vitalion macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2013
    #1
    Hey,

    I am planning to get a new iMac since my MacBook pro is kind of outdated (late 2008 model 15.4”). Portability is not essential for my work so I do not need a laptop. Taking that into account I am planning to get an iMac but I am a bit confused for which build is better for my needs.

    I am using the computer extensively for Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and some web design. Of course I use it for everyday stuff like emails, web, YouTube, word processing listening to music and movie streaming to TV via plex. I might mess a bit with some 3D stuff as well but not heavy duty stuff like animation etc. I have minimum experience with 3D so I will not be able to do any complicated stuff and it is not essential for my work anyway.
    So taking the above into account my initial plan was to get the top of the range 21.5” model.
    • 3.1GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
    • 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2X8GB
    • 256GB Flash Storage
    • NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 1GB GDDR5

    But my only concern is the RAM limitation. If I go with the 21.5” model I have to live with 16GB since there is not any possibility for upgrading. On the other hand if I go with the 27” I can go up to 32GB whenever I want.
    The graphics card is not a major issue since I don’t play any computer games on the mac I prefer the PS.

    By the way i am working with dual monitors so the 27" screen size does not make any significant difference

    If I go for the 27” model I will go with this built

    • 3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
    • 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM (I can upgrade whenever I want to)
    • 256GB Flash Storage
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M 2GB GDDR5

    My last MacBook pro lasted me five good years and is still working perfectly so I would love to have the same outcome with iMac.

    So based on my needs and from what I want to do with this machine which build do you suggest? Budget becomes a major issue if I go with the 27inch version because I have to make a lot of sacrifices.

    So am looking for oppinions from people that are using their iMacs for kind of similar tasks like me to share oppinions and give some suggestions for which built is better for my needs.


    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. yjchua95, Nov 6, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013

    yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #2
    I have the exact same configuration of the 21.5" that you want, along with a maxed-out 27" (albeit with only a 512GB SSD).

    I keep all my music and pictures in a Promise Pegasus R6 to free up space in the SSD, so only documents and apps are in the SSD of the 21.5".

    It should be enough for your needs if you intend to run two virtual machines together (2GB allocated to each).

    Also should be enough if you're a medium-heavy user of media production tools like FCP X, Logic, and Photoshop.

    You can actually replace the RAM in the 21.5" by sending it in to an AASP, but for 32GB RAM in a 21.5", you may have to wait till 2x16GB sticks are readily available.

    The 21.5" should be able to last you for 4-5 years.

    EDIT: Didn't see that you actually specified your needs up there. With those needs of yours, you can go get a maxed-out 21.5", it'll last you 6 years.
     
  3. vitalion thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 5, 2013
    #3
    Thank you for the quick reply yjchua95.

    I am not planning to use any virtual machines or anything similar. I mainly work with those adobe products and most of the time I use InDesign and Photoshop simultaneously for Editorial design purposes. Same happens with Illustrator and Photoshop for mocking up various things in order to present them to clients etc...

    so you believe that 21.5 max out specs will do the job for me, right ? and i will save some $$$ as well. and there is a possibility to upgrade to 32GB at some point if i take the machine to an Apple store.

    Cheers
     
  4. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    #4
    I think your spec is fine, but I would definitely bump the GPU up. If you are rendering and plan to do any encoding / handbrake work, then more is best.

    I'm not in my upgrade year so I have the 3.4GHZ 2GB 680MX with a 27" screen and 32GB of RAM.

    Things that work it hard:

    Handbrake ( encoding etc. )
    Logic X ( Music )
    X-Plane ( flight sim, probably not your thing)

    Apart from that, it pretty much never revs it's fans and I've yet to see a page out in the activity logs...Any kind of heavy duty Video work will work it though.

    I guess we may see a new one before my upgrade ( next July ) is due, but I'd be headed for that 4GB GPU...whatever you do, don't pay Apple prices for RAM. Buy the stock config. then go to Crucial, new egg etc etc as they are all way cheaper, and the job is an easy one.

    whichever model you choose, enjoy your new Mac!
     
  5. vitalion thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 5, 2013
    #5
    hey Macman45,

    So you are suggesting the 27" version in terms of “product life cycle” it will last me for a bit longer due to the maxed-up specs. Now for the ram if I go with the 27"model i will get the 8GB and do the necessary upgrade when I need to. I have to check my budget again then :(

    thanks for the reply!
     
  6. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #6
    It'll definitely do the job fine, but as what Macman45 said, if you do lots of encoding, you will benefit from a more powerful GPU (not saying that the 1GB of GT750M isn't good, but it will give you an edge in encoding if you have a more powerful GPU). However, since the GT750M in the 21.5" is GDDR5, it actually beats the GTX660M card.

    For a more detailed look at the GT750M, look here: http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GT-750M.90245.0.html
    Note that the one in the iMac will be much faster than the one in the link above, because the link is for the normal GT 750M, while the iMac has the GDDR5 variant.

    Meanwhile, the GTX 775M is here: http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-775M.102532.0.html

    Hope it helps.

    EDIT: Looks like the GT750M is actually clocked faster than the GTX775M, although it offers less cores. Note that the cards here are both the regular variants, not the GDDR5 variant.
     
  7. vitalion thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 5, 2013
    #7
    Thanks for the links yjchua95. i will give them a look in a bit and maybe i will come back with some comments.
     
  8. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    #8
    Not necessarily...I'm just used to the 27" and for video and photo work, I couldn't get used to the 21"...it's a shame the way Apple restrict some of the upgrades to the larger screen. Having said that, if you can get the larger screen, you will not be disappointed. My fiancee's desk is the other side of the lounge and it's connected to our MP 5.1 Hex via a perfectly acceptable Iilyma 1080p screen, but every time I use it it just looks "wrong"..:)
     
  9. yjchua95, Nov 6, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013

    yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #9
    I know that feeling, because every time, after using the 27" iMac in the basement server room, it feels a little disorientating to use the 21.5" sitting on my desk, but I readjust myself to the screen in around 5 minutes.

    I couldn't put the 27" on my desk because it just takes up too much space and so that doesn't give me any space for me to work. Doesn't help that I always leave a 15" retina/non-retina (depending on situation) open on my desk at the same time too.
     
  10. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    #10
    Had the same issue so got the desk in the image...It's big enough to take the iMac, my Novation MIDI KB and an Asus BRD, with space to work...I just had to have a bigger desk!
     

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  11. jordanm86 macrumors regular

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    Oct 21, 2011
    #11
    This is so freaky... exactly the same situation I was in. I've just upgraded but was working on a Late 2008 MBP. I work primarily in illustrator, photoshop and indesign and do web design too!

    As the machine is critical to my work (i'm self employed), I decided to get a nearly maxed out 27" iMac - went 512GB SSD instead of the 1TB and also only 8GB RAM with my third party replacement 32GB on the way (had a bad stick of RAM in my first third party upgrade so it got sent back).

    I think it depends on how tidy a worker you are. Personally, I am working on multiple files in multiple apps constantly.

    The other day I had 6 files open in illustrator (with some pretty complicated vectors) and 8/9 in Photoshop, also a couple of safari windows open and chrome. My RAM usage was over 14GB. And in terms of usage, I would say this is mild for me (often I have a lot more apps and a lot more files open).

    There seems to be a lot of folks on here who instantly dismiss 32GB as excessive but if you are working in graphics, design, editing etc it is anything but.

    I imagine with your Late 2008 MBP you are starting to see it's battery life dither a lot. Whilst I work remotely, I do occasionally still have to go into a client's office to work so I am thinking about a new battery and a SSD upgrade for my MBP (already running 8GB RAM in it) to try and give it a bit more life.
     
  12. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #12
    Here's mine, but with a 15" antiglare MBP (I use the retina when doing photography work, non-retina when doing academic work). I don't have space in my study for a bigger desk :p
     

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  13. vitalion thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 5, 2013
    #13

    hey jordanm86,

    thanks for the reply. thats exactly the picture. although i work with multiple apps i rarely work with multiple file within an app. i think i am not efficient when too many files are around.. but all depends on how you work anyway.

    i have to make a second research and make sure that everything will fit on my desk if i go with the 27" version.

    thanks again.
     
  14. jordanm86 macrumors regular

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    Oct 21, 2011
    #14
    Np :) I'm lazy with closing files down as I am constantly going back and forth so just leave everything open :-(

    I didn't really look into the size and after seeing it in the Apple store, just thought "it'll fit" and ordered my BTO. Once it's on your desk, it's a different story... seems bigger than the store lol. I also considered getting a second screen but will need to find a new space for my MBP (I'm using a corner desk but doubt I could get the iMac, a thunderbolt display and the mbp to fit on it).
     
  15. vitalion thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 5, 2013
    #15
    By the way i am trying to sell my MacBook Pro cos i think i am not gonna use it when i get the iMac, so i went to a shop that buys used apple products to give me a price.

    Here are the specs:

    Late 2008 model (aluminium)
    2.53 GHz Intel Core2Duo
    15.4 glossy
    320 HDD
    4GB RAM
    Battery Cycle Count: 66

    Like new now scratches or anything.

    The guy there said that he will give me 350euro cash if i want to sell it. What do you think? is it a good price?

    Also i have to mention that in my country there is no Apple Store so the pricing is not "restricted". We only got authorised resellers so all Apple products (especially computers and iPhones) are more expensive compared to EU countries that have Apple stores. If i try it to sell it on my own i might be able to get 450euro max.

    is it worth or shall i keep as a spare?

    Cheers.
     
  16. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #16
    350 euros is just about right, because the 320GB drive is only 5400rpm and it's only got 4GB of RAM.
     
  17. vitalion thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 5, 2013
    #17
    thanks for the info. i will consider it.
     

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