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Author Topic: New PC build vs iMac  (Read 2789 times)

Paul Wright

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New PC build vs iMac
« on: September 04, 2017, 09:52:08 PM »

As if right on cue, my 3.5 year old PC is starting to exhibit those annoying little glitches and slowdowns (especially in Lr) that get you thinking about the next upgrade. This is a Win10 64, i7-4790 @ 3.6 GHz, Nvidia GTX 770, 32Gb, SSD setup, backing up to a five-bay Synology NAS. I'm entirely platform agnostic with a new MBP Touchbar for location work and tethering, and a MacMini for office use, web browsing, MS Office stuff and iTunes. The performance per dollar equation for primary workstations has always favored a high spec custom built PC. They're great for a couple of years then the degradation starts to kick in. Any Macs I've had seem to last for years. Maybe time to switch to iMacs as primary workstations?

Before I commence research on a September/October 2017 PC build, has anyone done a recent PC build and be happy to share the specs; also it would be great to hear from someone who has made the switch to iMac after an extended period with PC's. The upcoming iMac Pro looks like it will be a little too high priced. It's that darn performance per dollar equation again.

-pw
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Farmer

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2017, 11:11:33 PM »

Simply rebuilding the current machine (clean installation of OS and apps) might prove to be all you need (and you'd have to do that anyway with a new machine).
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Phil Brown

scyth

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2017, 10:29:26 AM »

Simply rebuilding the current machine (clean installation of OS and apps) might prove to be all you need (and you'd have to do that anyway with a new machine).

second to try the clean reinstall ... I am still doing fine with a PC notebook of the same age (i7-4810mq, nVidia GTX 870M, 32GB RAM, 2 x mSATA SSDs + 2 x SATA HDD) for A7R2 raw files ...
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BobShaw

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2017, 06:52:38 PM »

This is one of those questions that can only be answered by yourself. Everyone else gives their personal experience. I am not computer illiterate, having spent 40+ years in the IT industry, but computers is not my hobby, they are a tool used mainly for photography.

So for me expect them to work out of the box, to work every time and to work for at least 5 years. My experience with PCs is the same as yours. After 3 years be become a pain, if not from the start. My wife uses PCs. She bought a new one home and told me how much faster it was than the old one. I looked at the specs and it was exactly the same as the old one. So yes rebuilding would probably fix it. Then you have all that data and users and settings and applications on the old machine that you have to move over. So what do you value your time at per hour?

I currently have a 2013 iMac. I bought it because my 2008 iMac started to fail in the hard disk. Last year I needed another computer so I had the hard drive on the 2008 replaced. Still works fine on the almost latest operating system. Each time I just plug in a Time Machine backup and restore. The same day I have a new machine with original users, programs, data and settings, and I don't even have to watch it.

So I have used PCs since DOS 6.0 and Macs since OS7 around 1988. I would pick a Mac every time over a PC for productivity per dollar if you factor in your own time, backup and restore, security etc. Cheers
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scyth

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2017, 10:07:59 PM »

This is one of those questions that can only be answered by yourself. Everyone else gives their personal experience. I am not computer illiterate, having spent 40+ years in the IT industry, but computers is not my hobby, they are a tool used mainly for photography.

So for me expect them to work out of the box, to work every time and to work for at least 5 years. My experience with PCs is the same as yours. After 3 years be become a pain, if not from the start. My wife uses PCs. She bought a new one home and told me how much faster it was than the old one. I looked at the specs and it was exactly the same as the old one. So yes rebuilding would probably fix it. Then you have all that data and users and settings and applications on the old machine that you have to move over. So what do you value your time at per hour?

I currently have a 2013 iMac. I bought it because my 2008 iMac started to fail in the hard disk. Last year I needed another computer so I had the hard drive on the 2008 replaced. Still works fine on the almost latest operating system. Each time I just plug in a Time Machine backup and restore. The same day I have a new machine with original users, programs, data and settings, and I don't even have to watch it.

So I have used PCs since DOS 6.0 and Macs since OS7 around 1988. I would pick a Mac every time over a PC for productivity per dollar if you factor in your own time, backup and restore, security etc. Cheers

exactly the point... if somebody spends " 40+ years " in " in the IT industry ", but can't keep a simple PC in shape then indeed he needs to stay w/ Mac  ;D
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BobShaw

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2017, 11:01:32 PM »

exactly the point... if somebody spends " 40+ years " in " in the IT industry ", but can't keep a simple PC in shape then indeed he needs to stay w/ Mac  ;D
Thanks for your point. Steve Jobs and even Bill Gates were also in the IT industry, but they didn't make money selling to geeks. There is this whole other world of normal people called users of which geeks have no knowledge.

Users could probably works out how to keep a PC in shape, just like geeks could work out how to write a manual, but why should they when there are actually computers that basically maintain themselves and keep working by design for twice the time. Time is money. If your time is worth zero per hour then buy a PC and enjoy your new hobby. Cheers.
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Farmer

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2017, 12:11:05 AM »

Come on guys - we don't need yet another PC vs Mac argument.

It doesn't help the OP (who has already declared being platform agnostic).  Different people like different systems and that's all there is to it.
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Phil Brown

Paul Wright

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2017, 12:15:55 AM »

Users could probably works out how to keep a PC in shape, just like geeks could work out how to write a manual, but why should they when there are actually computers that basically maintain themselves and keep working by design for twice the time. Time is money. If your time is worth zero per hour then buy a PC and enjoy your new hobby. Cheers.
Thanks Bob, your points make a lot of sense. Following the "time is money" thought, the as yet unreleased, high priced iMac Pro may actually make a lot of sense. All it has to do is give me five trouble free, productive years and I'm ahead of a $3k PC build which based on all previous experience starts to get annoying after a couple of years. Time Machine offers has a very high value for business security as well. My only regret may be losing three inches of screen real estate compared to the current 30 inch panel, but the 5120x2880 27inch 5k display may just make up for it with sheer image quality. Do I sound like I've convinced myself?

-pw

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Farmer

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2017, 03:47:42 AM »

If you're happy to drop some cash on the Mac (and it will be a great machine), why not consider doing a rebuild on the PC for no more than the time involved?  You'll need to do it for the Mac anyway, basically, and then you may have two machines (one for a backup, bigger screen, whatever) or at least a faster one pending the release of the Mac?
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Phil Brown

B-Ark

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2017, 07:42:14 AM »

In my situation, I'd also like to upgrade. I'm on an 17-2600k that's ~6 yrs old, still going strong. Going to Intel's fastest (i7-7700k), I might get about a 50% improvement. That's not bad, but not enough to cause me to dance in the streets.
Problem is that LR and PS suck at using more than 4 cores, so some 12-16 core monster offers me nothing, and in fact would be slower due to lower base clock rate. So, I've resolved to sit and wait until things get faster.

Your 4790 is faster than my 2600, so you wouldn't even see 50% improvement.

My suggestion: if your hardware is solid, then do a clean install and wait for Intel to press the gas pedal a bit further.
I'm personally waiting for something that's twice as fast as what I have.

good lluck
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Joe Towner

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2017, 11:32:27 AM »

What specific SSD and motherboard are you currently working with?  I'm thinking if you're going to have the fun of a reinstall, upgrading the SSD to one of the NVMe drives will get you more I/O (PCIe v SATA).
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Paul Wright

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2017, 08:43:09 PM »

The board is Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD7 TH, 2xSSD's are Crucial 512GB M550 Series.

-pw
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Joe Towner

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2017, 11:22:13 PM »

Yea, I have a feeling you're just seeing the difference between NEW SSD's and those that have been loved a few years.  If you're ok with the space, I'm tempted to suggest you add a PCI-Express 3.0 SSD (aka M.2 NVMe drive + PCI-E card adapter) as a boot drive.  They're about 4x faster than SSD's and a newer structure in the flash chips. 
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Cornfield

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2017, 06:00:06 PM »

M.2 NVMe drives are certainly worth using.  I built my main PC recently with a M.2 NVMe inserted into one of the two slots on the motherboard and this machine performs really well in LR & PS.  Spec here...

CPU   Intel Core i7-7700K
CPU Cooler   Noctua NH-L9I
Motherboard   ASUS ROG Strix Z270I
M.2 NVMe SSD   Samsung 512 GB 960 Pro NVMe M.2
RAM   Corsair Vengeance LPX 32 GB DDR4
Video Card    GTX 1060 Mini ITX
Power Supply   Corsair RM550x
Case   Corsair Carbide Series CC-9011070-WW Air

You get a lot better performance from a PC built to this spec when compared to a Mac at almost twice the cost.
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Paul Wright

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2017, 08:47:31 PM »

Thanks everyone for your valuable input and suggestions. No decision made yet...too busy to do the fresh install on the old machine this week.

-pw
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mdelrossi

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2017, 03:26:33 PM »

One thing to consider, is the Retina 5K display of the iMac. I love mine and when switching to a regular monitor, it looks fuzzy.
Also, Apple Refurbs are a great way to go, so long as they have the configuration you want.

Good Luck
mdr
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Conner999

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2017, 08:31:40 AM »

+1 on Apple refurbs - we acquire all our gear accordingly.
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plugsnpixels

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2017, 06:22:27 PM »

I work in higher-ed IT and love these computer discussions. I support and use Macs (iMacs and Mac Pros) but also run Windows 10 and Deepin Linux as either VMs or natively, depending on whether I am sitting at a Mac or at my Hackintosh.

Random thoughts:

-OP has very decent specs on the "slow" PC. I also vote for the fresh install. No need to spend a penny there. Sounds like Windows cruft.

-Thanks for the heads-up about the PCIe NVMe SSD option. I hadn't given them much thought as I'm not currently building a new machine as the Hack is running fine and I have others. But definitely something to consider.

-While I love Macs, the last one I bought new was in 1997 (PowerMac 7300), and a used G4 tower off ebay a few years later. That's it. I would not spend my own money again on a new Apple device (price/performance, as noted by other earlier). Of course I'm not still using those machines! I've used older iMacs over the years. At home I currently use a maxed-out 2013 or 14 MacBook Air which was given to me by a colleague (it was actually on the way to electronic recycling, something to do with a cat and a large drink...). The screen is all cloudy but I use it with an external monitor and kb, and it works great (and is actually clean inside). I was also given a 2007 Dell thinline desktop (Pentium, 4 gigs RAM) which I also put Deepin Linux on recently as a spare station.

-If you must buy a Mac, get a used/refurbed iMac (2010 or newer) and replace the HDD with SSD and max out the RAM. Avoid the Mini though.

-Building a computer is the best way to go, regardless of which OS you prefer. At this moment I am sitting at my triple-boot 2011 build Hackintosh in a G5 case (i7 2600, 16 gigs RAM, Gigabyte Z68 and a bunch of HDDs and one old SSD) which I bought from a friend cheap and made changes to, running Deepin Linux which I recently installed (please Google it and check it out). The Hackintosh also boots Windows 10 and OSX El Capitan. It's ugly and noisy but it's fast and efficient. It's my "play" machine" when I feel like tinkering. The video card limits the resolution in OSX and Linux but Windows looks normal.
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Dan Wells

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2017, 05:31:41 PM »

Windows has made strides in recent years, but Macs are still easier to deal with. One important difference is that color management is still a long way off - Windows is far better than it was in the "what's color management" days of Windows 7 and earlier, but it's no Mac even today... the same is true of high-res screens. Apple handles them natively, while Windows needs a degree of application-level support, which many, but not all applications have. Couple that with the security foibles on Windows (again, better than they were, but lousy by Apple standards), and I'd still call the Mac a far better choice if you can make the limited hardware selection work for you. Neither is perfect - there's some VERY innovative PC hardware out there, while most Macs are nice, but generic (no touch /pen screens or other innovative interfaces), and some of them have surprising limitations (16 GB RAM limits on expensive 15" laptops). The new and expensive iMac Pro comes with a super-glossy monitor with less than Adobe RGB gamut - on a machine like that, that's not the most likely monitor for the user to prefer - I suspect a lot of iMac pros will wind up with the glossy screen being used as a (very expensive) secondary display while an Eizo or other pro color monitor is the main screen.
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montylparker

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Re: New PC build vs iMac
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2017, 03:33:07 AM »

Windows has made strides in recent years, but Macs are still easier to deal with. One important difference is that color management is still a long way off - Windows is far better than it was in the "what's color management" days of Windows 7 and earlier, but it's no Mac even today... the same is true of high-res screens. Apple handles them natively, while Windows needs a degree of application-level support, which many, but not all applications have. Couple that with the security foibles on Windows (again, better than they were, but lousy by Apple standards), and I'd still call the Mac a far better choice if you can make the limited hardware selection work for you. Neither is perfect - there's some VERY innovative PC hardware out there, while most Macs are nice, but generic (no touch /pen screens or other innovative interfaces), and some of them have surprising limitations (16 GB RAM limits on expensive 15" laptops). The new and expensive iMac Pro comes with a super-glossy monitor with less than Adobe RGB gamut - on a machine like that, that's not the most likely monitor for the user to prefer - I suspect a lot of iMac pros will wind up with the glossy screen being used as a (very expensive) secondary display while an Eizo or other pro color monitor is the main screen.
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