Which iMac is right for me?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by iThibault, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. iThibault macrumors newbie

    iThibault

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2016
    #1
    Hi guys,

    After saving for what feels like ages, I'm finally getting an iMac :D
    However, I don't want to rush things so I make sure I'm buying the right iMac.

    I'm definitely getting the 5K 27-inch iMac, so that limits the choices already. I also really want a Fusion Drive.
    So now I need to choose a CPU. There is a price difference of 288 euros between 3,2 GHz (Turbo Boost 3,6 GHz) and 3,3 GHz (Turbo Boost 3,9 GHz). Is there really a huge performance difference between these two? Should I even think of getting a 4.0 GHz CPU?

    I'm a web and graphics designer and also plan to do some video editing as a hobby. I also like to play a game now and then, but I have a gaming console for graphic intense games. Games like Diablo 3 etc should be no problem I guess, as they run seamless on my MacBook (Intel Iris 1536 MB).

    Also, can you still upgrade the RAM by yourself on the new iMacs? I think the Apple RAM is a little overpriced, you might as well buy the RAM elsewhere and upgrade it by yourself.
     
  2. cynics macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #2
    Generally for most task it's fairly difficult to notice the difference in processors. However you mention video editing. When it comes to the encoding process you can be cutting literally hours (depending on many variables) off the process since it's purely a CPU driven task.

    For me I set it and forget it, like you it's a hobby and I'll just walk away from the Mac as it does its thing. Even then the machine is still perfectly usable you just won't be gaming on it or some other CPU intensive task until it's done.

    As far as strictly gaming, it won't matter. I've never seen any game max out my 3.4ghz i5 Haswell processor since games are mostly GPU intensive.

    And yes on the 27" iMac the RAM is easily user replaceable/upgradable via a user accessible door on the back. It will ship with 2 empty slots. So if you get 8 Gb model it will have 2x4gb ram chips with two open slots for you to install 2x4gb for 16 Gb total or 2x8gb for 24gb total.

    Edit : I'm not sure if the 16gb model have 4x4gb or 2x8gb actually. You'll want to get further verification if you are going that route.
     
  3. iThibault thread starter macrumors newbie

    iThibault

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    Jul 2, 2016
    #3
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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  5. deviant macrumors 65816

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    Oct 27, 2007
    #5
    i would stay away from fusion drive but that's me. i'd choose 256 ssd and later would add a simple portable usb 3 drive , like wd passport, hide it behind the iMac and forget about it. cheaper and you get a lot of pure flash storage.
     
  6. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #6
    It's funny you said this because I split my fusion drive. I'm getting some incredible speeds

    It's pretty nice not having all those HDDs dangling out of my iMac.

    In retrospect I probably would've gone for the 512 because I easily could've afforded it, but the 2 tb fusion is good. If you split it its even better

    I would wager the speeds I'm getting off my pure 128gb are almost the same or the same as your 256.

    But I have a cool, 2 tb of internal storage to keep all my data. No chance of the dog running around and bumping it and seeing all my data crash to the ground in one instant.
     
  7. iThibault thread starter macrumors newbie

    iThibault

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    Jul 2, 2016
    #7
    So basically you split the SSD and HDD in your Fusion Drive in two seperate volumes? So now you can control what stuff goes on the SDD en what stuff goes on the HDD?

    I was thinking about replacing the Fusion Drive with a pure SSD, but I always baby my stuff (especially my Apple stuff) and I'm already sweating thinking about removing the screen of my new iMac lol.

    But you're saying that you might as well split your Fusion Drive and then you have a 128GB SSD (which is more then enough for the OS and some intense apps) and a regular HDD?
     
  8. varian55zx, Jul 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016

    varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
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    San Francisco
    #8
    I am happy to elaborate on this.

    I took my 2tb fusion in my late '15 5K iMac, and split that sucker. Defused it

    It's very easily done with a few simple terminal commands. Done in minutes. Now migrating your data back to your drives takes much longer.

    Now I have full control. My SSD has about 58-60 gb of data on it. System files and applications primarily. But that's just the thing, I don't want anything else on there. I don't need some random .avi file to be on the SSD really because it won't even be faster. I'd rather keep all the media files on the HDD because SSDs slow down as they fill up. I want to keep open space on it. Also all of the blocks of my system files are on my SSD as opposed to most with a fusion set up. So it's about twice as fast I'd estimate it at.

    My recommendation is the 512. I think there is a strong argument the 2 tb fusion is a better buy than the 256 if you split it. I haven't had a race between the two but I bet they're about the same speed.
     
  9. deviant macrumors 65816

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    Oct 27, 2007
    #9
    2tb fusion is alright, of course. I was thinking about 1tb though, because it only has 24gb of flash storage.
    Then again, I long ago built a tiny server and upgraded my computers to flash only storage so that big media is only stored on the network, but that's me.
     
  10. iThibault thread starter macrumors newbie

    iThibault

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    Jul 2, 2016
    #10
    Oh the 1TB Fusion Drive only has a 24GB SSD? That's a bummer.
    If I go for a 512GB SSD, that's an additional cost of 451 whopping euros. You can easily pick up a Samsung Evo 500GB SSD for €150.

    Hmm, should I go for the 256GB SSD and user an external drive for storage?
     
  11. cynics macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #11
    Yes if you go the Fusion route you'll want the 2tb or 3tb.

    Personally I prefer the Fusion drive. While I'd like to have the SSD when you have 1tb iTunes library it gets difficult to manage, do you want to host the library externally, on a NAS, etc etc blah blah. Plus media doesn't really need to be on an SSD. Its just so much easier for me to just keep it all on the iMac.

    Anyway the 2/3tb Fusion drives have 128gb SSD which is a better compromise between cost, storage, and SSD size IMO.

    As far as price goes you are right, there is Apple tax built in. HOWEVER you need to keep in mind the SSD in an iMac is a PCIe M.2 SSD, not a SATA based SSD. Regardless of the additional performance and whether you will use it or not that SSD comes at a premium cost (Samsung PCIe 512gb 950 PRO is on sale on Amazon right now for 319.00 usd) . But yes, its a hard pill to swallow.
     
  12. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    #12
    The pricing is high, but the 512 Apple SSD beats the hell out of the Evo.

    It's faster by an incredibly wide margin.

    The Evo is great but that's what you get if you failed to get an SSD in the first place. Another alternative is you can defuse your fusion, I'm happy with that.

    The 512 is still my recommendation but there are other choices. I wouldn't let the pricing scare you, once you get it you'll barely even notice it's gone.
     
  13. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #13
    Why not just get an SSD at that point. I have a 2TB Fusion drive and it works well for my needs. If the price was such, I'd probably opt for a larger SSD, but my space needs are in excess of 500GB, so a 1TB Fusion drive was out of my price range. Anyways if you can live within 256 (or even 512), I recommend the SSD over the Fusion drive.
     
  14. varian55zx macrumors 6502a

    varian55zx

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    May 10, 2012
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    San Francisco
    #14
    Yeah, for anyone who doesn't have space concerns, you might as well get an SSD. Why? Because it's a little bit faster.

    But for someone like me who has hundreds and hundreds of gigs of iTunes and other media, I knew I would need a boat load of storage. I simply don't prefer to use externals for numerous reasons, they disconnect, they're noisy, they have many downsides.

    So I did give it some thought and I did opt for the 2tb fusion and I still am glad I did it. My only external is a time machine drive that isn't usually connected (when it is it randomly disconnects).

    Having it all on the internal HDD is much more convenient. I split them just because I decided upon doing it, but it is by no means a pre requisite. Again the reason I opted for it in the first place is because it was essentially the same speed as an SSD in many cases.

    But after I tried a Mac Pro with a screaming fast SSD I was a little blown away. I must admit I never knew speed like that was possible. I couldn't even think the computer was moving so fast thanks to that wonderful PCIe technology. So that is why I have moved a little towards the 512 camp.
     
  15. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2016
    #15
    If the OP is willing to spent a couple of hours upgrading, he can upgrade buy the iMac with the regular 1TB hard drive and upgrade it with a 1TB Samsung 850 EVO and save a lot of money.

    This doesn't void the warranty according to the law, but if Apple complains about it, just swap the hard drive back.
     
  16. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #16
    The wife and I will likely be moving from rMBP to 27" 5K iMac as our main rigs once the 2016/17 units are announced. We will go with 512 SSD for boot/OS/apps/caches...etc. Our libraries of data already sit on external RAID drives as there is only 1TB of storage inside a rMBP. So we are used to using external HDDs both as storage and local backup. We will also likely only order 8GB of memory in the machines and order an additional 16GB from OWC or other supply to save money. Much depends on what Apple does regarding ports (only USB-C?) memory (move to DDR-4), and introduction of TB3 and DP 1.3.
     

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