new iMac

Started Apr 7, 2013 | Discussions
robodoc
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new iMac
Apr 7, 2013

Thinking about selling my 27" iMac (2009) i7, and getting new iMac 27". I do photography for fun, not a living! Also use aperture primarily. Questions:

1. 2.9 or 3.2 GHz? Much difference?

2. 8 or 16 gb Ram?

3. Fusion drive or regular 1 tb drive (all my images, etc are on external G-raid)?

4. For photography, much difference between the NVIDIA GTX 660M (512mb) vs GTX 675MX (1 tb)?

What is the best combo/bang for the buck here?

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Jeffrey H. Ferguson

Samsung i7
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Adjuster
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Re: new iMac
In reply to robodoc, Apr 7, 2013

robodoc wrote:

Thinking about selling my 27" iMac (2009) i7, and getting new iMac 27". I do photography for fun, not a living! Also use aperture primarily. Questions:

1. 2.9 or 3.2 GHz? Much difference?

Depends on what you pay for them. Take a look at the refurbished prices or join NAPP and get a substantial discount.

2. 8 or 16 gb Ram?

Get the lowest quantity Ram and get third party ram - cheaper than Apple.

3. Fusion drive or regular 1 tb drive (all my images, etc are on external G-raid)?

Fusion gets you about the same startup speed as a Solid State Drive, so may be worth it.

4. For photography, much difference between the NVIDIA GTX 660M (512mb) vs GTX 675MX (1 tb)?

Check out Barefeats.com for a comparison. http://barefeats.com/mbp12ma.html

For what I have read, Aperture does not make a lot of use of the Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) so the choice of card should not matter much. I believe that the GPU is mostly used with Photoshop and video software, although there may be some functions in Aperture that take advantage of the GPU. In the future, who knows?

What is the best combo/bang for the buck here?

I replaced my harddrive in a similar iMac with a larger, faster one and the CD-rom with a SSD. Easy to do with the old iMacs. Very hard to do with the latest ones where it is very difficult to open the case. Now have a wicked fast computer. It would be fun to upgrade. Just can't justify it.

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Jeffrey H. Ferguson

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coronawithlime
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Re: new iMac
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 7, 2013

I just purchased my first Mac, a 2012 base spec 27", which I upgraded with 32 gb of ram from Crucial.  I suggest this because of the cost savings.

All data is saved on an external Thunderbolt Raid 0 G-Tech, with backups to a second G-Tech.  Having no previous Mac to which I can compare I might be fooling myself, but I'm very pleased.

I would have probably purchased the upgraded CPU, video card, and Fusion had they been available without a two month wait for special order, but all in all I think it's probably quite sufficient for my hobby photo uses.

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Adjuster
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Re: new iMac
In reply to coronawithlime, Apr 7, 2013

Forgot to mention that according to the tests done by Barefeats, a usb3 drive is as fast and a lost cheaper than a T-bolt drive. Also, the newer interfaces for the usb3 and T-bolt drives are faster than the original ones. The FirmTec miniSwap/U3 is particularly fast: http://barefeats.com/hard161.html

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jonboy62
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Re: new iMac
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 7, 2013

To my knowledge the RAM in the new iMacs are NOT user upgradable.  If you want more RAM buy it with the machine.

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Nikonsyncro
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Re: new iMac
In reply to jonboy62, Apr 7, 2013

On the 27" it is user upgradeable

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noirdesir
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Re: new iMac
In reply to jonboy62, Apr 7, 2013

jonboy62 wrote:

To my knowledge the RAM in the new iMacs are NOT user upgradable.  If you want more RAM buy it with the machine.

On the 21.5" 2012 iMac, upgrading the RAM is quite difficult (you have to unglue the screen) but on the 27" model there is still a small access door on the back which makes it very easy to upgrade the RAM.

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webfrasse
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Re: new iMac
In reply to robodoc, Apr 7, 2013

robodoc wrote:

Thinking about selling my 27" iMac (2009) i7, and getting new iMac 27". I do photography for fun, not a living! Also use aperture primarily. Questions:

1. 2.9 or 3.2 GHz? Much difference?

I always buy the fastest I can afford. You can never upgrade it later and for a small cost it will possibly take another year before it feels too slow and you need to upgrade again.

2. 8 or 16 gb Ram?

Buy minimum and get the upgrade from 3rd party. I bought 32GB from macsales.com for a 1/3 of what Apple wanted. Took me 2 minutes to install.

3. Fusion drive or regular 1 tb drive (all my images, etc are on external G-raid)?

I got the 3TB Fusion drive. Feels like an SSD for the most part. I like to keep all files on the internal drive and use external drives for backup only. Why do you have you files on an external drive? Think about backup strategies (and you know that a raid is not a backup...right?)

4. For photography, much difference between the NVIDIA GTX 660M (512mb) vs GTX 675MX (1 tb)?

I don't think so. Video makes more use of the GPU.

What is the best combo/bang for the buck here?

I maxed out CPU and Disk (in size). Neither is possible (or easy) to upgrade after the fact. Memory I did by myself.

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Jeffrey H. Ferguson

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Mikael

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noirdesir
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Re: new iMac
In reply to webfrasse, Apr 7, 2013

webfrasse wrote:

robodoc wrote:

Thinking about selling my 27" iMac (2009) i7, and getting new iMac 27". I do photography for fun, not a living! Also use aperture primarily. Questions:

1. 2.9 or 3.2 GHz? Much difference?

I always buy the fastest I can afford. You can never upgrade it later and for a small cost it will possibly take another year before it feels too slow and you need to upgrade again.

That is always an interesting question. One can always get the fastest and upgrade on a longer cycle or save some money to get something slower and use that money to upgrade earlier.

Which path gives you a better average performance requires a way to put a number on performance, eg, is it worse to have a 'slow' computer for one year than having an only 'slowish' computer for two years. One way to do so, would measure performance as how much percent it is slower than the best currently available (for a given form factor). But then we tend to evaluate performance in a non-linear way.

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webfrasse
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Re: new iMac
In reply to jonboy62, Apr 7, 2013

jonboy62 wrote:

To my knowledge the RAM in the new iMacs are NOT user upgradable.  If you want more RAM buy it with the machine.

Wrong, http://www.cultofmac.com/204018/upgrading-ram-on-the-new-27-inch-imac-is-easy-heres-how/

It's true for the 21" though.

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Mikael

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robodoc
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Re: new iMac
In reply to webfrasse, Apr 8, 2013

I only use the internal drive as a system drive. All my photos, music., etc are on external G-raid with removable swappable drives. Every week I rotate one out and keep offsite. I also have backup to cloud and to time machine. That way if there is a local disaster at home, I always have complete backup on hard drive off site, as well as cloud and time machine. I would never have all my files on just the internal drive or just one external hard drive in the same location. Just food for thought. The hot swappable drives from G-Raid have been magnificent so far; I have two units, each with 2 TB x2 drives, for total of 4TB external storage, with 3rd swappable drive for each unit. Pretty much failsafe!

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Jeffrey H. Ferguson

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webfrasse
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Re: new iMac
In reply to robodoc, Apr 8, 2013

robodoc wrote:

I only use the internal drive as a system drive. All my photos, music., etc are on external G-raid with removable swappable drives. Every week I rotate one out and keep offsite. I also have backup to cloud and to time machine. That way if there is a local disaster at home, I always have complete backup on hard drive off site, as well as cloud and time machine. I would never have all my files on just the internal drive or just one external hard drive in the same location. Just food for thought. The hot swappable drives from G-Raid have been magnificent so far; I have two units, each with 2 TB x2 drives, for total of 4TB external storage, with 3rd swappable drive for each unit. Pretty much failsafe!

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Jeffrey H. Ferguson

Well, my internal drive is my master (3TB Fusion). Every 6 hours CCC mounts an external 3TB drive and updates the clone on it. Every week or so I swap the external drive with one off-site.

My old iMac is still at home and I use ChronoSync to keep my Aperture Libraries up to date on it as well.

Both iMacs are fully backed up with Crashplan.

Pretty much failsafe.

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Mikael

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jacquelyn
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Re: new iMac
In reply to robodoc, Apr 12, 2013

Recently I made the decision to switch to an IMac and spent a great of time talking with an old friend who is very knowledgeable and he indicated that using a 3.2gb would be fine if I was doing video and serious gaming, other wise spend the money on RAM, and get the lesser one

Since I trust his judgement that was my decision, as I am basically using it only for photography.

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aros
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Re: new iMac
In reply to robodoc, Apr 12, 2013

I suggest you get the Mac mini and an apple display. The apple display will last forever unless you brake it and you can upgrade with half money only the mini in the future. It is more than a good enough combination for photography. Good luck

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Jen Yates
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Re: new iMac
In reply to robodoc, Apr 12, 2013

What is the best combo/bang for the buck here?

Best "bang for buck" is (like cars and cameras) usually at the low end. It's not the best metric to go on.

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robodoc
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Re: new iMac
In reply to Jen Yates, Apr 12, 2013

Perhaps I should re-phrase the question - i5 vs i7? Any big difference in video cards offered IF I am not really doing much video, amount of RAM on video card important? Any appreciable big difference in speed of processors offered all other things being equal? Worth extra $$ to get fastest available, or better to spend the difference in $$ on RAM?

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Jeffrey H. Ferguson

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