Yet another "Which iMac should I buy?" thread (for Aperture/Logic)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Ubele, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. Ubele macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2008
    I started as one of those people complaining about the new iMac's lack of user upgradability, lack of optical drive, and thinness for the sake of thinness, but after researching every Mac that Apple makes, I'm coming to the conclusion that a 27" iMac might be the best computer for my needs. I'll be upgrading from an early 2008 MBP connected to a 21" Samsung LCD monitor from 2001 (which still works great), so I expect that any recent Mac would be a huge improvement. For email, web browsing, e-books, and portability, I primarily use my iPad 4. The Mac is for serious amateur photography and music. I use Aperture 3 (about 6,000 photos in my library), Adobe Photoshop Elements, and Logic 9. I tend to keep my computers until they become unusably slow. During the lifetime of my next computer, there's a good chance I'll also use it for video and other digital art, such as Corel Painter. I don't play games – which is where my needs differ from most of the other similar questions on this forum. Most of the "Which iMac should I buy?" threads contain the advice, "Well, since you're a gamer, you'll want to consider such-and-such..."

    I'm thinking that the base-model 27" iMac, upgraded with a 1 TB Fusion drive, is a good choice. I want 27" for the real estate. After getting used to a work computer with an SSD, I can't imagine buying a new Mac with a conventional HDD. The 768 GB SSD is out of the question price-wise, so the Fusion drive seems like a good alternative. I'll start with 8 GB of RAM and upgrade later with third-party RAM if I need it. This combination is $2,049. Given that I do keep my computers for a long time, though, I'm willing to spend more for an i7 processor and/or a better graphics card, if they'd provide noticeable benefit for my needs.

    I'm also considering a MacBook Air, but I'd wait for Haswell because of the better integrated graphics. The advantages would be portability (which would be a "nice to have" feature, atlhough, as I said, my iPad 4 is good for portability, except when I do heavy typing) and lower initial cost. I'd continue using my Samsung monitor until the next Thunderbolt display (with USB 3.0) comes out. I know that the iMac has a faster processor and graphics, but the question is, would an iMac be signifianctly faster for what I do, or only slightly faster?
  2. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    $1999 iMac comes with much better GPU and a little bit better CPU, however for longevity you can upgrade to the i7 for $200 which gives you 2x the core count (8 vs 4) which makes a big difference when working with video and 3D... if you are going to choose one upgrade I would make that be it, just because it will make a pretty big difference in your machine versus the comparatively small cost.
  3. tuccillo macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2012
    i7 supports hyperthreads - you can think of them as "virtual cores" - the "physical cores" are shared by two "virtual cores". It is not twice the hardware but some overall throughput can be realized with some workloads (lot of threads and/or processes). If your workload is memory bandwidth limited they are of no help. If your workload is memory latency limited or functional unit limited with a diverse workload they may help. The i7 also has a larger cache, which helps almost all workload, and possibly a faster clock.
  4. Ubele thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2008
    Thanks, Zwhaler and tuccillo. For a computer that I hope to keep for several years, both the i7 and the 675M graphics-adapter upgrades are reasonably priced. That would only be a total of $400 above the base price of $2,049 I was looking at – which, spread over four or five years, isn't bad. And if I'm going to do that, maybe I should spend an extra $150 for the 680M. :)
  5. Gelite55 macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2012
    The new 2012 21.5" iMac baseline would be fine and for the future. This thing can't do anything without having at least 3GB of RAM to spare. Not worth the enormous price for the soon to be preceded i7 3770.
  6. tuccillo macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2012
    I believe the tendency is to buy more hardware than you really need because the incremental cost doesn't appear to be all that much. However, soon you wind up with a fairly expensive depreciating asset that most likely won't have a longer life than a more basic system.

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