Will this iMac last me 10 years of normal use? (no gaming, no video editing etc)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by egcmrpin, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. egcmrpin macrumors newbie

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    Jan 16, 2016
    #1
    I am kinda torn between these 2 iMac systems:

    Both are new 27" retinas. I want it to last me 10+ years for normal use: browsing, YouTube videos, office apps, music etc. No gaming, nothing work related. But I want it to be smooth and not laggy when doing basic tasks and being able to watch any movie quality such as 4K ( or 6K, or 10K...[​IMG] in future) for the next 10 years.

    My plan is to not make any upgrades in future (besides RAM which can be easily done)

    Oh and I am fixed on iMac, please do not offer me to switch to PC or ask me why. Thank you!

    1.

    27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display

    4.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz

    8GB 1867MHz DDR3 SDRAM - two 4GB (WILL UPGRADE RAM AS NEEDED)

    256GB Flash Storage or 512GB Flash Storage or go all the way up to 1Tb Flash Storage???

    AMD Radeon R9 M395X with 4GB video memory


    2.

    27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display

    3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz

    8GB 1867MHz DDR3 SDRAM - two 4GB (WILL UPGRADE RAM AS NEEDED)

    256GB Flash Storage (Using less than 60Gb right now, but any chance apps will get tremendous in the next 10 years???)

    AMD Radeon R9 M380 with 2GB video memory



    I just ran a 1440p 4K video on a i3 with GT 610 1Gb and it was pretty sharp and smooth, however, 2160p was choppy. Don't see why R9 380 would not last me 10 years considering GT 610 equals to a 10 year old mid-range gaming GPU...
     
  2. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    #2
    10 years is a long time to expect a computer to keep up as your main system. I suggest going with the highest configuration you can afford.
     
  3. egcmrpin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Is it possible to upgrade Flash Drive? I know it's PCI-E SSD.
     
  4. jfriedman8 macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Upgrading the iMac's are a pain with the new design.
     
  5. egcmrpin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    I see. I wonder if 1Tb Flash Drive is also faster than 256 and 512 versions.
     
  6. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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  7. MadDane macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    The speed is the same on all three sizes. Given that you only use 60GB I would go for 256GB or 512GB. Given the current trend, it seems like more and more things exist in the cloud. That means that you are less likely to need much more disk space than you are currently using.
     
  8. egcmrpin, Jan 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016

    egcmrpin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    OK. I think I made up my mind regarding the SSD - 256 Flash it is:)

    Now, what about the GPU? R9 380 isn't that bad for normal use, isn't? And even if it gets old and outdated that it lags performance on say some new type of video (next gen 4K kind of thing), I am assuming M390 or even M393X will not be that far away from being outdated as well. Will I ever need anything beyond M380? I am guessing not...

    Then, CPU. I am aware of i7 hyper threading which is more future proof and will last much longer than i5. But again, is it really noticeably stronger? I am pretty sure it would in gaming, but I don't play games.

    Forgot to ask, how much space does iOS X takes? Also, I will need to have Office or iWorks as well as few other apps (iTunes, Spotify, Video Players etc). How much space will it occupy?

    I have about 5Gb of personal files, the rest of 55Gb is Windows 10 + programs.
     
  9. NewtonPippin macrumors regular

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    Jan 18, 2015
    #9
    Honestly, just go with the 395X for GPU and the i7 for CPU. Yes, it may not be entirely necessary and yes the upgrades will cost, but dude, you want to keep this computer for 10 years. Just spend a little extra to be sure, and to make sure you have no buyer's remorse.
     
  10. MadDane macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 5, 2015
    #10
    I would suggest going with the cheaper option. With your usage even the base MacBook is powerful enough. New ports and wireless standards are coming way before you will start pushing the machine. I think that the M380 and 3.2 GHz i5 will last you roughly as long as the more powerful one. Besides, even if it only lasts 8 years, you will have saved a lot of money on upgrades now that can be put towards the next computer. However, I do not think it will have much of an impact upgrading over the life of the computer. Just my $.02
     
  11. bogg macrumors 6502

    bogg

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    #11
    Remember, the fastest iMac in 2005 was the the 2.1GHz G5 one If I'm not mistaking. PC wise one of the fastest CPUs you could get was the Athlon X2 4800+ until the core duos from Intel was released.

    The iMac cpu alone in the is about 1/16 of the speed of the current iMac and the Athlon maybe 1/8-1/10 of the speed.

    i would have ditched both those systems years ago for a more modern system.
    I recently hooked up my 2006 Mac mini (upgraded to 2007 specs), it was a dog. Downgrading to an older OS X version pretty much solved the speed but then most applications were outdated.

    If you are expecting 10 years of life out of it: throw as much money as you can on it. I'd rather suggest you go for a more modest configuration, even a base iMac will last you 5 years and the money you saved could go towards upgrading in 2021, pretty much every computer out there, except low budget laptops, would be an upgrade or atleast the same speed at that point anyway.
     
  12. Rian Gray, Jan 17, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016

    Rian Gray macrumors regular

    Rian Gray

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    #12
    Next 10 years may be too extensive to estimate. But from my experience, I can tell you thunderbolt and upgradable RAM (which can only be done on 27-inch models) can mean a lot when it comes to keeping a Mac. I have an iMac, 2011 27" screen, and frankly, I wasn't anticipating it to last longer than 3 years. But now, it's year 2016, and it's still up and running without a hiccup.

    I would recommend the first option, but preferably with fusion drive (saves some money and get more space!), unless you have absolute need to have flash drives. After all, USB 3 and thunderbolt give excellent ways to upgrade in terms of space. I have an external HDDs connected via thunderbolt with RAID configuration, and it works flawlessly.
     
  13. bogg macrumors 6502

    bogg

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    #13
    I personally believe that CPUs make great strides in performance with 5 years apart. That is, 5 years of a quite flat increase year-by-year, and then 5 years of a steeper increase year-by-year.
    In 1995-2000 (approx) we saw a tremendous increase in CPU Power. From the Pentium Pro to the Pentium 4 (introduced in late 2000), going from 200MHz to 1500MHz making 5 year old computers look like ancient beasts...
    2000-2005 we saw a more modest increase in pure performance from intel, Going from 1.5GHz to 4GHz and AMD dabbling about with dual core cpus.
    in January 2006 intel released the Core-line, pretty much killing the competition, the following 5 years we saw a tremendous amount of performance increase again, going from the first Core-generation to the release of the Sandy Bridge in January 2011.

    2011-2016 in my scenario, for normal "desktop" CPUs have been quite slow. Skylake released now again introduces a step up from the competition. I'm awaiting the following 5 years to be really exciting when it comes to CPU performance.

    Yes I know, there's been "Extreme" versions and other outliers that have performed incredibly in the "low increase" timespans as well, but I'm mostly talking about CPUs offered to everyday users.
    But in my opinion, the 1995-2000 and 2006-2011 increases were much steeper than the 2001-2005 and 2011-2016 was. (I know this does not make exactly 5 year periods, but you hopefully get the idea)
     
  14. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #14
    If your goal is to have this last 10 years, I'd go with a better GPU, while we cannot predict the future, I do think that the OS and apps will be more demanding and you might as well set yourself up for something with a bit more horsepower.
     
  15. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #15
    I think six, seven, or possibly even eight years would be a more realistic expectation.

    Who knows where the Mac OS is going to be in 2026?
    Who knows if there will even BE a "Mac OS" by then?

    Personal experience:
    I still have a white Intel 24" iMac that I bought in mid-2007. It still runs "well enough", but far from "the latest and greatest" any more. It's not my "main" computer, but still boots and runs for the tasks I do with it (mostly music).
    I'm pleased that it got this far, but I realize that it could "go" on me at any time.
     
  16. nightcap965 macrumors 6502a

    nightcap965

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    #16
    I have an early 2009 iMac. When I bought it, it was the Big Kahuna model. Now, it's slow and rather painful to use. The operating system changed. The world wide web changed, with more processing expected on the client side. My favorite apps changed. It's been a long time since that was my primary machine.

    I'm going to add more memory, and may even replace the spinning platter drive with SSD, but I'm pretty sure that will buy me only another year or so.

    Ten years is a long time in computers.
     
  17. egcmrpin thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 16, 2016
    #17
    Thanks all for your replies!

    I decided to wait for the next iMac. I want to have TB3 and hope for nVidia GPU instead of AMD.
     
  18. Mr. Buzzcut macrumors 65816

    Mr. Buzzcut

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    #18
    I think it's foolish to buy more than you'll need over the next 2 or 3 years. Others have made some great points but what stands out to me in addition is the ever increasing possibility of a very expensive failure out of warranty. So money spent today on Apple's excessively priced hardware upgrades, that will very possibly be surpassed by basic systems ten years from now, could be all for not.
     
  19. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #19
    While a bunch of folks are waiting for TB3, and I think that will be a nice addition. I'm not really sure Apple is about to drop AMD. They've not been with AMD that long and switching gears so soon, may not be something they're considering.
     
  20. briloronmacrumo, Jan 17, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016

    briloronmacrumo macrumors 6502

    briloronmacrumo

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    #20
    Having a shot at a ten-year life will probably require a machine with maximum specifications. But even that step isn't a guarantee. OS X gets bigger every year and requires more processing power. That factor alone could cripple the ten-year goal. If the OP is willing to open the machine at some later date to replace parts, the likelihood of achieving a ten-year life increases. Of course, current iMacs are engineered to be limited life closed machines, so later upgrades may not be feasible. IMO only a machine engineered to allow upgrades will have a shot at a ten year life. Good luck choosing.
     
  21. bent christian, Jan 17, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016

    bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #21
    We haven't seen steep increases, because it has been unnecessary. Even the base i5 quad core is very capable for professional work. We are reaching a point of plateau in computing technology for most users. We won't see advancement in web technology or even in applications like Photoshop that will make current technology irrelevant. The megapixel wars might make editing RAW files difficult, but that is another conversation entirely. Quality computers made of good parts will last at least ten years. Will it be viable as a primary? That depends on your usage. We have a Thinkpad from 2007 that is a media player and a 2009 Dell notebook for our child's PBS cartoons and youtube videos. Each has been upgraded with an SSD. They are faster and more capable now than they ever were. Neither is our primary anymore, but they are still in use and will probably be around for years to come.
     
  22. briloronmacrumo macrumors 6502

    briloronmacrumo

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    #22
    Agreed. A change away from AMD is unlikely. Also, Apple has some decisions ( and possibly hurdles ) before we'll see Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C in a new iMac. I'm expecting ( and hoping ) a new Mac Pro will have them before a new iMac but that is mostly speculation on my part.
     
  23. bogg, Jan 17, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016

    bogg macrumors 6502

    bogg

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    #23
    Well I'll just guess we'll see in 5 years where we are at compared to say the i7 4790 in multicore performance. I'm personally guessing that we are heading for a time when we increase the cores to maybe 6 in even the ordinary series of i5 and i7 and not only the "-E" versions of the architecture.
    Personally I don't like statements as "we won't se advancement in X technology or even Y & Z that will make current technology irrelevant", that has been said to death and has been wrong all the time.

    Sure, for web surfing and plain video watching for kids it's ok even today with a computer from 2007 if you are ok with a non-optimal experience. But I'm 110% sure that within the next 5 years there'll be some application, game or feature that'll make even the 4790 (which is a pretty good CPU) be quite irrelevant within the next 5 years. If it's not Web applications there'll be something else that will utilize the performance in todays CPU:s and surrounding Chipsets to the extent were they'll be more or less unusable.

    If you don't evolve you stagnate, if you stagnate you die. This is true for tech companies as well, so both Intel and AMD need to evolve and make progress. If this is increasaed computational power or DL additions to the CPU cores I have no idea, but I'm more or less sure that in the long run, even the 6700k:s of the current iMacs will seem like ancient dinosaurs, probably sooner than we think. We're in for a ride when it comes to how our OS:es respond to our needs and wants. We might not need the total performance of a fast CPU all the time, but we more and more rely on extreme performance in short bursts.
    If this will result in massive amounts of total performance or a dynamically allocated performance as creatives stemcell-computing I don't know. But I guess the next logical step is CPUs that dynamically learn and change their composition depending on the needs for the moment (so if there is a massive need for arithmetric power, the CPU will repurpose itself for those needs.).

    Anyway, I'm pretty sure that the next 5-6 years will be very interesting...
     
  24. bent christian, Jan 17, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016

    bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #24
    Surfing and light video is all the OP is asking for. Absolutely, a current system with a quad core and 8GB of RAM will be capable of this in ten years, provided the hardware does not fail.

    There isn't a need for six cores in a processor now. Manufacturers will milk the quad core until demands exist for something more. They aren't going to relase new designs, just because. This is capitalism.

    I work in the print industry. I use a 2010 iMac at work. It is slower than the 2015 iMac I have at home, but still capable of running Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc. in a professional capacity. I have been using these applications for a very long time with a number of different system configurations. I can see generally where they are going and what it will take to run them in the future. We are reaching a point of plateau. We are no longer chronically underpowered as we were in the past. Quality systems built now will be viable for a very long time. It's perceived usability will depend on the users expectations (are you willing to wait a few seconds more?).
     
  25. bogg, Jan 17, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016

    bogg macrumors 6502

    bogg

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    #25
    You seem to think that the web will stagnate and stay the same as it is now, quite many things will add up to a demand for higher computational power. You gotta count on changes in usage patterns as well and not just that everything will be like it is today. Sure, if you get a computer now, install a set of applications and use it in the same way forever, it will probably hold up for 100+ years if the hardware is ok, even though you will miss out on anything that is new in say 5-10 years and will have a diminishing amount of webpages and other stuff that is workable for your computer.

    heck, i surfed on computers a hundred times slower or more in 1997, those web pages surely works fine on that computer even today. But that's not my point.

    The reason I mentioned creatives stem cell computing (or rather the former Creative subsidiary ZiiLabs) is because Intel acquired them 3 years ago or so. If intel sees the point in those stem cell cores, I'm sure they have some plans to implement them in their CPUs.

    I work as a network engineer educator and are constantly told by both students and other teachers that the technology has matured to a point were progress is no longer necessary (because computers do all I need them to do). Just to find them 3 years later struggling to get a new service or the like running on their computer.

    But as I've said, stuff you do today will work just as fine on your current computer in 10 years as it does now. But you might want it a bit faster, or gasp, do other things that get to be the norm.
    Webpages and services gets more complex, the underlying OS is getting more and more complex. Heck, I'm not going to be surprised if the next OS X version automatically caches and prepares for my most used applications after certain maneuvers (like taking a screenshot, if I usually open Photoshop straight after taking a screenshot, why not start caching the photoshop startup files in RAM if and when I take a screenshot?) OS AI like this will eat plenty of CPU resources (or rather DL resources, which I hope get implemented in CPUs in the future).

    I'm on no way saying that todays CPUs won't live for years to come and probably be decent to use in a few years as well, I'm saying services and our "needed" performance from day to day do change. I was more than happy with a Mac Mini in 2006, it's still as fast, if not faster, than it was the day i got it (due to upgraded CPU and an SSD drive). Would I use it as a daily driver today? No way in hell, it can't even play back 1080p at a decent frame rate. As late as 2010 I saw no real reason to play back 1080P videos. What will i do in 10 years that I'd not even think about doing today?

    But as I said, time will tell, I'm not going to sit here and argue with someone who has made up his mind about this. I for one am 100% sure that the needs for computational power on our computers will continue to rise, and I'm awaiting great progress to be made in this specific area in the next 5 years. Multiple cores are needed in multithreaded environments if you want low-latency applications and to get a faster, "snappier" OS. My personal prediction is, as I said, dynamic cores which can expand or contract itself and it's performance as needed for each thread. Optimizing performance for each and every need.

    AMD worked on this years ago, a way for multicore CPUs to act as a single core for specific threads, ZiiLabs tried and succeeded with the Idea to have the cores change according to the task at hand. And this is were I see the future, which will leave any CPU with static core configuration in the dust.

    If you have 1 CPU with 4 cores, each core at 3.5GHz if you could instead bundle two cores together dynamically when needed so that 2 cores handled the same single thread, this single thread would be finished in half the time. Or say a 100 cores, which could dynamically shrink or grow when needs arose.
    A hard task to accomplish sure, but I'll see it as the next logical step in computing. Dynamically allocated, sized and specialized cores. You've got a single thread requiring heaps of integral computiations? Sure, we'll reconfigure the CPU dynamically for that specific application in no-time, Oh? You changed to watching videos, sure, I'll optimize a few cores for h265 playback!

    Maybe I'm dreaming, but as I said. I'm not going to take the discussion any longer as this is basically hijacking the thread.
     

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