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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Views on iMac 27"?
Showing posts 1 - 8 of 8, (reverse)
01/27/2018 08:15:09 AM · #1
I will precede this thread with "I am definitely not tech savvy".

I am getting back in to photography after a two year hiatus after moving house and jobs. I currently do all my editing - PS and LR - on a late 2016 15" Mac Book Pro, which replaced one that lasted me 6 years of heavy use. I have joined the local Photographic Society, and am enjoying entering the club competitions, both digital and print. Now my youngest has moved out I have a room free to become a study and I am looking at a desktop setup. I am fairly certain I want to stay with Mac; I have used a MacBook Pro for the last 8 years, and find it suits me much better than the windows laptops I had before that. The two options I am looking at are:

Option 1 - Use my laptop as the base computer and buy a mid range IPS monitor, keyboard, blue tooth mouse and some extra storage.

Option2 - Buy a new IMac. If I go down this route, the start price is £1,832 for a 5k display, 3.5Ghz boosting to 4,1Ghz i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB fusion drive. upgrading this to an extra 8 GB RAM is an additional £170 and an extra TB storage is also £170. a 4.2GHz i7 processor would add £250.

The disadvantages of option 1 are that I am not the only one in the house who uses the laptop and there are competing demands for using it. The advantages are that I could still go down the iMac route in the future and use the monitor that I buy as part of a dual screen set up.

The disadvantage of Option 2 are clearly the cost. The advantages are that I get a good setup for photo processing that makes me want to spend time on editing, and I still have the MacBook for using downstairs or when I am away, and the competition to use it on an evening goes.

So, my question for fellow Mac users is two fold - how successful would option 1 be, and if I were to go for option 2 should I be looking at increasing the RAM?
01/27/2018 08:58:34 AM · #2
I recently made the move to the iMac, I have the 21.5" iMac with 4k screen, 3 GHz Intel Core i5, 16 GB RAM and the 1TB fusion drive. I love it.
My question is, why the 27"? I think the 21.5" is big enough for editing, it is cheaper than the 27" and the money you save can be used to upgrade your RAM to minimal 16GB (yes, definitely go for more RAM!!). If you go for the 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 you can even upgrade to 32GB. The fusion drive is quite fast, but next time I'll think I would go for a SSD drive. On the 3.4GHz machine you can choose the 1TB SSD!

I can't say anything of option 1, except for the fact my desk has only the one device on it, no hassle with laptop and 2nd screen.

Message edited by author 2018-01-27 08:59:28.
01/27/2018 09:04:32 AM · #3
I'm an iMac 27" which I love. I'm sure I couldn't go back to a smaller screen now. I bought my iMac in early 2011 (2.93 GHz Intel Core i7, 500GB ssd plus 1 TB normal drive, plus 16G RAM). I'm so happy with this set up and although it's now getting very long in the tooth, it is still working just fine so I can't justify an upgrade. So, I'd definitely go down the Option 2 route, and definitely I would upgrade to a minimum of 16GB RAM.
01/27/2018 09:40:41 AM · #4
That's really helpful. Kees and Sarah, the SSD is a great deal more expensive than the Fusion Drive - I would only be able to afford the 256 GB SSD. The 2TB Fusion Drive includes a 128GB SSD - would that be enough?
01/27/2018 10:03:06 AM · #5
That might be enough, not sure how big your files are. My D800 start with 35MB and editing them in Lightroom first and in Affinity Photo later make them easily 500-800MB, but writing to disc still is fast enough for me. At the other hand, I had the trial version of Aurora HDR 2018 and both reading/editing and writing was quite slow. Probably to do with the software, reason for me not to go any further with Aurora.
But in general the fusion drive will be quite fast, but maybe other DPC’ers can tell more about difference between fusion and SSD.
01/27/2018 11:17:59 AM · #6
Originally posted by Kroburg:

My question is, why the 27"?

Because it's awesome. Thanks to the 27" screen on my iMac, I don't have to think about organizing a two-screen setup. If I need two or three programs open so that I can view them at the same time, I can just put them side by side, and they're still large enough to view. And that's a daily need for me, especially with non-editing tasks, e.g. researching things online, writing stuff, preparing a quote for a client, watching Youtube while playing solitaire etc. With editing, the large screen is a huge bonus. I think I could get by with a smaller screen, but I'm very happy I don't have to.

Definitely get at least 16GB RAM. I have 32, and I think it's a bit of an overkill most of the time. I got the 32G RAM because the guys at the shop could add RAM cheaper than the price would have been with Apple supplying a computer with 32 gigs of RAM, but apparently the current models no longer have separate memory cards, so that's not an option afaik.

As to disk drives, you want to get as much SSD as you can afford. Fusion Drive is nice, but things slow down considerably whenever the computer needs to look stuff up from the spinning disk. Most of the time, however, my Fusion Drive gets stuff done on the SSD part, so for me personally, that hasn't been an issue. If 256 GB is enough for most of your needs, you might choose to go for the 256G SSD, and a larger external "archive drive" where you can dump files that you want to keep but don't need regularly. All disk drives run out of space at some point. You just need to figure out how soon that will be for you with the drives you are considering.
02/08/2018 09:22:47 PM · #7
I would go the 27 inch. Having used both (the 21 and 27) - I have never heard anyone say “ I wish I got smaller”. You will always get by with smaller screens ( I even do some editing on an iPad) - but the bigger screen is always handy. Also with the 27 - you can add your own RAM - not sure you can do that with the 21. I would start with 16G. SSD drives make a huge difference with speed but also price. Personally - the less hanging off my computer the better. I would go with the Fusion drive. Still fairly snappy - but also the built in storage. The less you have to shuffle the better. Leave the attached drives for backup. You can get a 3G fusion drive.
02/09/2018 09:22:39 AM · #8
Go for the 27" iMac. For photo editing or any sort of graphics work, the extra screen real estate is a must. The Fusion drive is quite fast, and if you need more storage in the future you can always add an external Thunderbolt or USB 3 SSD drive. If possible, get a refurbished iMac from the Apple Store. It'll look brand new and come with the same warranty for much less. For what you're doing, the difference between the 27" iMac versions should be negligible and you can just order the base model.

Do NOT buy more RAM from Apple. It's super easy to buy memory from a 3rd party and install it yourself at half the cost. The 27" iMac has four slots for RAM with a pair of 4GB modules installed. I would add a pair of 8GB modules to the other slots. Note that the memory on a 21" iMac cannot be upgraded, which is another reason to go 27". One other detail: the default keyboard is a small wireless model, but I always prefer the wired extended keyboard for added functionality (and no battery issues). It's the same price, and you might be able to swap that even on a refurb order.
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