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Author Topic: Which iMac  (Read 18272 times)

daniemare

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Which iMac
« on: November 30, 2012, 06:04:55 PM »
This might have been asked before, but I would really like some advice on which iMac, from those models just launched, to get.

I am looking at the 27" Desktop and I am going to configure it to at least include the 3TB drive.  I will upgrade the memory (2 extra 8GB = 24GB total) after market as it is cheaper.  Now I can just upgrade everything, but I would like not to if there is really no need or real world impact.

So, I need the community's advice for the CPU and GPU specs to lead me in understanding where my money will best be spend
1 - CPU > Taking into account my usage, is there any need/benefit to upgrade from the i5 2.9GHz to the i5 3.2GHz or i7 3.6GHz --- each step = $200
2 - GPU > Taking into account my usage, would I benefit from the increase the 512MB to 1GB memory ---- $150 upgrade

My Usage (None for professional purposes):
Photo Editing
 - Aperture.  I have also recently started to work more with RAW files and my current 2009 MacBook does feel the punch.
 - Photoshop Elements (rarely)
 - NIK HDR
Video Editing of family videos using iMovie
Family Computer usage: Word, Excel Internet, e-Mail.

Cameras: Hopefully Canon 6D and 12Mpix Panasonic GF3

PS - let this not be a discussion about Mac vs PC or Desktop vs Laptop.  Those choices are settled

Thanks
Canon 6D, Canon 24-105 F4L IS, Canon 70-200 F4L, Canon 100 F2.8L IS macro, Canon 50 F1.4, Canon 28 F1.8

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Which iMac
« on: November 30, 2012, 06:04:55 PM »

StephenC

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2012, 03:27:03 AM »
I'm no expert but I suspect any of your choices will be up to the task and will trounce your 2009 MacBook.  Plus the screen is supposed to be brilliant!

I have just ordered a 27" 3.2GHz, 8GB RAM, 675MX 1GB graphics, Fusion drive for much the same work.  I have ordered 32GB aftermarket RAM as this is the cheapest 'upgrade' and I believe will make more difference than a processor or graphics card upgrade, for photo editing.  I suspect 32GB RAM is overkill but at the (non-Apple) price it was an easy decision.  Personally I keep a lot of my files (but not my photos) on an external drive so don't need a big internal drive.  Ideally I would have gone for a SSD as they are noticeably faster.  I gather the new Fusion Drive is nearly as quick, and was a lot cheaper, so you may wish to think about this.

Enjoy

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bycostello

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2012, 04:29:59 AM »
photo and video, by the biggest and fastest of everything....

brianleighty

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2012, 01:12:28 PM »
photo and video, by the biggest and fastest of everything....
I think this negates a valid price vs performance analysis. I just ended up building a hackintosh last night because the 27" iMac is out of my price range and the 21" is pretty much not upgradable at all unless you have apple do it which is super expensive. I think the stock CPU will be fast enough for you. Graphics card won't make a huge difference either. These are all incremental upgrades. The fusion drive though might be worth it. I made my own fusion drive since it's a hackintosh and it only cost me $75 extra. I think apple charges $250 which isn't cheap but for apple standards isn't bad. The only way to do this on an iMac if you don't get it with it is to setup a thunderbolt SSD and by that point you're better off just getting it from Apple. That's my take on it. So from Apple, possibly Fusion drive and then upgrade the ram your self.
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daniemare

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2012, 07:51:07 PM »
photo and video, by the biggest and fastest of everything....
I think this negates a valid price vs performance analysis. I just ended up building a hackintosh last night because the 27" iMac is out of my price range and the 21" is pretty much not upgradable at all unless you have apple do it which is super expensive. I think the stock CPU will be fast enough for you. Graphics card won't make a huge difference either. These are all incremental upgrades. The fusion drive though might be worth it. I made my own fusion drive since it's a hackintosh and it only cost me $75 extra. I think apple charges $250 which isn't cheap but for apple standards isn't bad. The only way to do this on an iMac if you don't get it with it is to setup a thunderbolt SSD and by that point you're better off just getting it from Apple. That's my take on it. So from Apple, possibly Fusion drive and then upgrade the ram your self.

Thanks.  So you feel the stock i5 on the 27" is good enough.  What is the advantages of i7 then?
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brianleighty

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2012, 08:26:56 AM »
photo and video, by the biggest and fastest of everything....
I think this negates a valid price vs performance analysis. I just ended up building a hackintosh last night because the 27" iMac is out of my price range and the 21" is pretty much not upgradable at all unless you have apple do it which is super expensive. I think the stock CPU will be fast enough for you. Graphics card won't make a huge difference either. These are all incremental upgrades. The fusion drive though might be worth it. I made my own fusion drive since it's a hackintosh and it only cost me $75 extra. I think apple charges $250 which isn't cheap but for apple standards isn't bad. The only way to do this on an iMac if you don't get it with it is to setup a thunderbolt SSD and by that point you're better off just getting it from Apple. That's my take on it. So from Apple, possibly Fusion drive and then upgrade the ram your self.

Thanks.  So you feel the stock i5 on the 27" is good enough.  What is the advantages of i7 then?
Well you end up spending an extra $400 ($200 for the upgraded 27 and $200 for the processor) for it so my thinking is why not save that money and probably in another 3-4 years put that towards a new one. My best guess is you'll get a max 25% increase in CPU speed with the upgrade. From the last gen iMac to this one you're looking at a 25% increase in processor overall and some benchmarks I believe showed up to 100% increase. So if you  use that as your "upgrade path". Then over the course of 3-4 years you get more value for your money there. I have no doubt the stock 27" iMac will be plenty fast and will be a huge upgrade from your current system.
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V8Beast

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2013, 09:23:06 PM »

Thanks.  So you feel the stock i5 on the 27" is good enough.  What is the advantages of i7 then?

This might be too little info too late, but the Core i7 can hyperthread while the core i5 can not. That means the Core i7 functions as an 8 core processor, while the Core i5 functions as a 4 core processor. I'd spend the extra couple of hundred bucks on the Core i7. The Core i5 is quite old at this point, and I'm surprised Apple offers it in a newly revamped machine like the iMac.

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2013, 09:23:06 PM »

fonts

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2013, 09:30:28 PM »

Thanks.  So you feel the stock i5 on the 27" is good enough.  What is the advantages of i7 then?

This might be too little info too late, but the Core i7 can hyperthread while the core i5 can not. That means the Core i7 functions as an 8 core processor, while the Core i5 functions as a 4 core processor. I'd spend the extra couple of hundred bucks on the Core i7. The Core i5 is quite old at this point, and I'm surprised Apple offers it in a newly revamped machine like the iMac.

The i5 is a great inexpensive alternative. But honestly for photo and video, just like a previous poster said, you'll the good everything. GPU should def be atleast 1GB. You can definitely get by with the i5 if you don't have the money after getting the GPU, but if you can, get both.

paul13walnut5

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2013, 10:37:15 PM »
I use a mac pro at work and an imac and macbook pro at home.

I've an old (in computer terms) i7 from 2009. 

The main upgrade I would consider is your internal drive, fusion or SSD, pref SSD, forget the 7200 option.
Personally I would spec two SSD's, one smaller for your system, one larger as an external raid capture scratch (can get great capacity per buck with 2 or 3x Baracuda HDDs stripe raided)

64bit processors on fast buses are only really working properly if you are getting the data throughput, the imac bus might be pretty fast, as may your ram, but the large spinnng 3tb disc is going to be the slow point.  With a system like what you are speccing the weakest link in the chain is data transfer.  120MB's or so is fantastic from an HDD, but you could be hitting double that with SSD's.  Then the extra RAM etc will make a difference.

System performance increases are always going to be hamstrung by a spinning disk, even thought the estaIII barracudas are fast.  SSD's are much faster, to the point where I would forsake some RAm (Buy crucial and retrofit your RAM) and the i7 for two internal SSDs and a 2x or 3x HDD external RAID.

Waterdonkey

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2013, 10:55:13 PM »
I got the 27" 3TB Fusion Drive Fastest chip and all the ram i could fit.... and I haven't looked back.  Finally a FAST computer! Quick- quick like the wind! :o

V8Beast

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2013, 11:16:19 PM »
I use a mac pro at work and an imac and macbook pro at home.

What are the specs on your Mac Pro and iMac, and how would you compare the photo editing abilities and speed of each? The new iMacs look nice, but I like how easily you can upgrade the Mac Pros. I already have a nice display, and I'd rather spend money on a tower than getting an all-in-one like the iMac. I suppose the big question is what kind of hardware and features the next Mac Pro is going to have.

paul13walnut5

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2013, 11:32:26 PM »
Imac is 2009 i7 27", 2tb sys, 2x usb 1x fw800 external discs
8gb Ram, 10.6, cs5

MacPro is early 2008, dual 3.0 quads, 1gb radeon upgrade (stock card failed twice) blackmagic hd extreme, bay 1 system hhd, bay 2, time machine hdd for bay 1, bays 3&4 striped barracuda 2tbs giving 4tb at 270mb/s using software raid- and this is a sataII 3gb bus. Fw800 storage.

With a macpro tower you could have a 256 ssd system drive and striped bays 2,3&4, probably hitting 350-400mbs, 3x barracuda hdds giving massive capacity and massive speed for cost of one 512 ssd.

Top end i7 not costing much less than macpro, but macpro due decent upgrade.

V8Beast

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2013, 11:41:08 PM »
So is the Mac Pro much faster :)?

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2013, 11:41:08 PM »

agierke

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2013, 12:45:55 AM »
if you are not a professional then the standard 27" iMac with 8gb Ram out of box should be more than fine. unless you are crunching 1000's of images on a weekly basis the specs you quoted are overkill.

i'm running a i5 2.66 GHz with 8GB Ram, 1TB drive, and 512mb vidcard and its just fine at crunching through 3000+ image weddings while running multiple programs at the same time.

if you got extra money to burn i'd put it towards lenses.
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jabbott

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2013, 01:05:54 AM »
I recommend going with the iMac 27" Core i7, as it trounces both of the i5 options on Geekbench:
http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks#64bit

The late-2012 iMac 27" i7 3.4 GHz has benchmark numbers that are 35% higher than the late-2012 iMac 27" i5 3.2 GHz, and 40% better than the late-2012 iMac i5 2.9 GHz.  The price isn't 35-40% higher though...  it's only 10-22% more.  Considering you can't swap out the CPU later on, if you want longevity with your iMac it really helps to get the best CPU you can get when purchasing.  Over the last nine years I've only used two iMacs using this approach and still don't expect to upgrade for another year or two.

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Re: Which iMac
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2013, 01:05:54 AM »