Which iMac is Right for Me? (First Post)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by cflemingRCR, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. cflemingRCR macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    #1
    Hey guys! First time posting but long time mac enthusiast. I am currently looking into buying an iMac to supplement my mac book pro. I will be using it mostly for home computing, research, writing, and browsing the web. On top of the basics I will also be using it for some audio mixing in logic. I will not be doing any tracking with it as I use my mac book for all of that.

    The main reason that I want to get the iMac is that I find myself with a lack of space on my macbook. I opted for a 13 inch with a core i7 and the 128 gig SSD. I want a computer with a bigger monitor and more space so that I can have a hub for all of my files and backups to live on, but also a dedicated workspace that isn't mobile.

    I have all but convinced myself that if you have a computer (especially a mac) you NEED an SSD. That it's simply unsafe to have a spinning disk with your entire life on it. The problem is that SSDs are expensive. I plan on spending between 1500-2000 on this and I want a computer that will last me for years to come. So my main questions are as follows.

    • Do I need an SSD? If I purchase one with the 512 gig SSD that will pretty much limit me to a base model on all other specs. Where as if I purchase one with a TB of disk drive or fusion I have more options.
    • Should I purchase a fusion drive? I'm unsure of what the fusion drive is at this time, but I remember reading up on it when purchasing my macbook. For some reason I decided it wasn't any more reliable than a disk drive. It would however allow me to get a core i7 and still be in my price range.
    • Do you guys suggest 16 gigs of ram? I have 8 on my current macbook and haven't had many issues thus far.
    • Should I get a 27 inch display? This is truly only an option if the disk drive or fusion drive would be safe for me. This also limits the processor to a quad core i5 with no upgrade options.
     
  2. TechZeke, Aug 18, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015

    TechZeke macrumors 68020

    TechZeke

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    #2
    This is a tough one.

    For your budget, Your best bet probably is:

    High end 21.5" + Fusion or 256GB SSD + i7 upgrade = $1900

    If you can go without the i7, then go the 512GB SSD. I really just depends on how badly you want the i7 or high capacity SSD. EDIT: Frankly, I really wish Apple would just you let pick a standard SATA SSD. You can get a SATA 512GB SSD now for $160-$200 and it'd still be way faster than any HDD.

    You'll have someone telling you to get 16GB of RAM above all else any moment now, but if you're fine with 8 then it should be plenty.

    I think for your budget and the upgrades you want, the 21.5" is the way to go.
     
  3. cflemingRCR, Aug 18, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015

    cflemingRCR thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Zeke, thanks for the quick reply!

    I honestly have no clue how important the i7/High capacity SSD drive is to me. I would say a high capacity hard drive is number one on my list of things that I need. However, I have only ever had this macbook pro, so I am unaware of what the other side looks like. I have only read other peoples opinions on them and that has been what has primarily influenced my thinking.

    The mac book pro will still stay as the device that I use for recording all music, and most of the mixing that I do. I will also be purchasing an iPad to take to my classes and around town for note taking/on the fly writing. I love the nearly instant speeds that I currently get to work at with my macbook. But how much of a decrease in speed would I notice with say a fusion drive and quad core i5?
     
  4. TechZeke macrumors 68020

    TechZeke

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    #4
    Well, if the work you do is CPU intensive, the i7 21.5" is going to be massive upgrade over your MBP. The i5 is still going to be noticeably faster. If aren't completely taxing the CPU and don't need the extra graphics power, you could probably just go with the $1300 model and upgrade the SSD from there. As for the fusion drive, the iMac should still feel relatively fast(such as booting and opening heavily used programs and files); however, you will get hit with the HDD when opening random files.

    I've never used Apple's fusion drive, but I have used a few hybrid drives from Seagate and it worked quite well. It was obvious when the computer had to find a file on the HDD though. Of course, hybrid drives typically only had 8GB-16GB of SSD cache. With 128GB included on Apple's fusion, you'll deal with the HDD a lot less.
     
  5. Totally Bored macrumors member

    Totally Bored

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    Jun 29, 2015
    #5
    For recording with Logic go with i7, SSD and a 27" for the real estate IMO. Works great ... \m/ \m/

    Upgrade the RAM on your own its way cheaper.
     
  6. TechZeke macrumors 68020

    TechZeke

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    #6
    You can't get the i7 if he goes for the base 27"(Retina or non-Retina). You can only get an i7 as a BTO unless you're already going for the high end Retina 5K. with a budge between $1500-$2000, he won't get he wants going for the 27". Also, while the RAM upgradeable on the 21.5", you pretty much have to take the entire computer apart to do it. However, I think for his case he'd be much better off with an SSD and i7 than blowing $200 on RAM he wont use.
     
  7. cflemingRCR thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 18, 2015
    #7
    I think you guys may have misunderstood me. I will be doing little to no recording on my iMac. Most of that will be on my MacBook Pro that has a ssd and a core i7 with 8 gigs of ram. This will be used mainly as a home computer. But will have slight influences from all my other work.
     
  8. Totally Bored macrumors member

    Totally Bored

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    #8


    True dat but ....


    He's asking what he should get for Recording with Logic.

    I just didn't stay in his budget ... lol.
     
  9. Totally Bored macrumors member

    Totally Bored

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    #9

    My bad. I Didn't pay attention UGGH
     
  10. TechZeke macrumors 68020

    TechZeke

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    #10
    How about this then. High-end 21.5" + 512GB SSD. If you're okay with doing all your work on a dual core mobile i7, the desktop-class i5 in the 21.5" will be more than enough.

    Get the $1300 model + 512GB SSD if you don't need the graphics power from the GT 750M, since the speed difference between the i5s in both models are negligible.
     
  11. cflemingRCR thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 18, 2015
    #11
    That's a pretty solid idea! So the i7 in the MacBooks aren't even as good as the i5 in the iMac?
     
  12. lagwagon Suspended

    lagwagon

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    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    #12
    You can save a bit of money going with just the 256gb SSD. You don't need too much internal storage. And buy an external drive. There are plenty of 1tb & 2tb For under $100 that you can use for just storage and use the internal 256gb SSD for obviously the OS and apps/software installed.

    Doing it that way may allow you to upgrade other areas.
     
  13. TechZeke macrumors 68020

    TechZeke

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    #13
    Nope. The mobile i7s in the 13" are not only less powerful, they are also only dual core. The i5 in the iMacs are full quad core desktop processors that you would find in a standard PC tower. Only the Core i7s in the 15" are really 'true' mobile i7s since they are quad core and have hyper threading.
     
  14. fathergll macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #14
    Why wouldn't you just purchase a 27" external monitor and some external storage?. Just buy a Macbook docking station and hook the monitor and external storage into that.
     
  15. PowerMac G4 MDD, Aug 19, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2015

    PowerMac G4 MDD macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

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    #15
    It seems as though you could do with a base-model, 21.5-inch iMac (NOT the stupid dual-core one that's meant for educational use). I recommend SSDs to users; however, Apple charges a great deal for theirs (even if they may be really nice SSDs). If you would rather put an after-market one in, you can get a 250GB Samsung Evo SSD now for $100. However, labor costs will bring that up a bit.

    I'd say that if you really want a lot of storage and a desktop-like feel, you could even buy a nice screen for your MacBook and purchase an external HDD for storage. If you really don't trust HDDs, you COULD get an SSD as an extra-storage device, but you'd be paying a lot of money for an SSD with a large storage capacity. I think that getting a regular HDD (500GB, 1TB, etc.) for external storage/Time Machine back-ups is just fine; buy two if you want a back-up of yours back-ups, but know that you may be worrying a bit too much about the integrity of hard-disk drives. While they can be unreliable under certain circumstances, you are likely to be just fine.

    While I am a fan of desktop computers as well, I recently stuck a monitor on my MacBook Pro and was able to use it fine without any issues. It made me feel as if I was using a desktop, especially because I hooked up speakers, a keyboard & mouse, and a USB hub. You can use the MacBook--while it's attached to the monitor--as a secondary monitor, just in case you need some overflow.

    I'm not trying to discourage you from the iMac purchase, but consider this before spending upwards of $1,200 (plus the cost of a large SSD) on an iMac. If you don't care for the ideas I suggest whatsoever, I highly recommend that you wait for Apple to update the iMac line. The new Intel Skylake processors are out, and the normal iMacs are well due for an update, so you may want to wait before buying a current iMac. That being said, let's hope the new iMac isn't further stripped of features of expandability, etc., much like with the new Mac Mini.

    (BTW, the amount of RAM you need is based on what you use and how many applications you use/leave open at once. My cousin runs a lot of things in the background on his iMac, and the 12GB of RAM he has is practically taken up! However, most users will find that 4GB-8GB is just fine... in fact, 8GB is plenty. As for screen size, the 27-inch screens are really nice, but that isn't to say that the 21.5 ones are too small. For my tastes, the smaller design of the 21.5 iMacs in more appealing, but that has nothing to do with my opinions on screen real-estate. 21.5 is enough for me to deal with, and 27 is just a bit more luxury!)
     

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