Which iMac specs for graphic design and 3D-rendering?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Ringquelle, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. Ringquelle, Apr 18, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015

    Ringquelle macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2015
    Nijmegen, Netherlands
    Hi everyone,
    At the moment I am the "proud" owner of a Toshiba laptop and I've been wanting to upgrade to a Mac for a while. I went to the local official reseller today and if the salesperson is right, I'd need to spend about 4000 euros. Yikes! I'm a bit sceptical though if I actually need all of the specs that the salesperson recommended, so I was wondering if anyone here could help me with some advice on what specs I'd need.

    The software I'll be using and how often I'll be using it:

    * Adobe Photoshop (a lot, I'd also need to be able to use it for larger, heavier files)
    * Adobe Lightroom (a lot)
    * Maxon Cinema 4D (a lot, mainly still images but with some elements that require quite a bit of rendering time/power)
    * Gaming, mainly games like Tropico, simulation games (regularly)
    * Adobe Illustrator (rarely)
    * Adobe After Effects (rarely)
    * Adobe Premiere Pro (rarely)

    My budget is flexible. I'm still saving up to get an iMac and since I don't need to replace my current computer immediately, I can take my time to save up some more. However, if I can spend 2000 euros instead of 4000, that would be nice. I am a student and will be for a while (working towards my master's degree), so I can use the student discount.

    At the moment I have a laptop, but I don't need for the new computer to be a laptop. I think and iMac would be the most logical option, but I'm also open to either a Mac Mini or a Mac Pro. 27-inch with retina would be nice, but I'm fine with 21.5 inch as well. Ideally I would be able to hook up my Wacom Cintiq 13HD to it as well.
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    That use case screams retina iMac

    You'll love the screen with photos etc, but you can easily get away with the base model. Upgrade the ram yourself a 16gb kit will give you 24gb and you'll be golden.

    Not too bad in holland about €2700 on the apple store. Or €2400 on various resellers

  3. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    I am graphic designer of sorts and have used my late 2013 3.2GHz i5 27" iMac for 3-D rendering and modeling using Autodesk Alias for the purposes of designing cars for Volkswagen/Audi. It has performed wonderfully. All I had to do was get a good 3-button mouse because the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad weren't the best options for manipulating a 3-D environment but it has been awesome and it handles everything perfectly.

    Also Maxon Cinema 4D is supported on Macs as well as all of your Adobe needs, so if I were you, I would not go with the Retina and instead spend the money saved on licenses for OS X and more RAM.

    And you don't need all of those specs that the salesman said because if you did, then my iMac wouldn't be enough and it definitely is.
  4. Ringquelle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2015
    Nijmegen, Netherlands
    Thank you for your reply, its very helpfull :). Besides the RAM, is there anything else you'd recommend upgrading? The processor maybe, or the graphics card?
  5. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    That's the thing though with iMacs is that you can't really upgrade the CPU or the GPU. I know some people have and "can" do it, but that's more expense than it's worth in my opinion.

    If you're considering being able to upgrade even more than the RAM, then you should be considering a 2010-2012 Mac Pro. THAT would be a great machine for you. 4 HDD/SSD Bays, I think up to 92GB RAM, it can run Yosemite no problem, interchangeable GPUs, CU upgrade capabilities, almost any display will work with the machine as long as you have the right adapters...etc.
  6. ryanmillercg macrumors newbie


    Jul 25, 2014
    Toronto, ON
    5K Retina iMac is pricey, but if you can afford it, I'm certain you'd get your money's worth over it's lifetime. Buying a computer every 3-5 years is less expensive than upgrading every 2 or so, even if the computer costs more. Get the 4.0Ghz R9 295x option for the longest lifetime. The increased productivity from that speed and gorgeous display might make it pay for itself in increased productivity.

    The (old) regular iMac 27" is still a good deal. GeForce 780 is a very respectable graphics card, despite it's age. You'll get good value out of an i7 (vs an i5) since you deal with video and 3d rendering. It will start to feel old in about 2 years though, I estimate.

    Macbook Pro Retina 15" should be refreshed in June. I've been using the first gen MBPr 15" and it's still keeping up with my 3d graphics, game dev and video editing work. If you can afford to wait, and are considering another laptop to replace yours, I'd consider it.

Share This Page