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Author Topic: Which 27 inch iMac to Buy?  (Read 512 times)

pflower

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Which 27 inch iMac to Buy?
« on: November 19, 2020, 07:02:25 pm »

My late 2015 27 inch iMac is, quite possibly, dying a slow but relatively certain death.  But my question is what to buy as a replacement.  Whatever happens I'll stick to a 27 inch iMac.

I don't push my current machine very hard.  Apart from the obvious everyday things my main use is for Lightroom and Photoshop with large RAW files from Hasselblad 50mp cameras with Tiffs up to about 350MB from scans  and exports.  I may do a little bit of light video editing with FXP but nothing approaching complex professional work.  My current machine - 4Ghz Intel Core 7 with 24 GB has worked  perfectly well and were it not for the fact that the video card is playing up and the disk looks to be on the way out would suit me for some time to come.  It can choke a bit if I have too much open at once - but I'll buy 32GB memory from a third party.

The new ones are a bit confusing.  The entry level seems to be restricted to a 256GB internal SSD.  The next level up offers upgrades to 1TB or 2TB internal SSDs.  But the 2TB upgrade seems expensive.  I am already running LR and its catalog on an external SSD.  All my images and files are stored and backed up on external 6TB drives.  So possibly a 1TB internal and use an external SSD connected by thunderbolt is a better option (my current external SSD is still USB)? But what about the turbo upgrades and 10 gigabits Ethernet upgrades? Are they of value?   Is there any point in looking at the top level machine.

Anyone got any suggestions?  Thanks
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Joe Towner

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Re: Which 27 inch iMac to Buy?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2020, 07:31:07 pm »

The 10gbE is only important if you've already got a 10gbE NAS going - otherwise you'll be fine with the 1gbE onboard & using 2.5/5gbE via USB3.1 adapters.

I would do the $2,300 model, with the bump up to 1tb SSD.  The $300 over the mid-tier option gets you:
- 8 core i7 @3.8 instead of 6 core i5 @3.3ghz
- Radeon Pro 5500XT w/ 8gb instead of 5300 with 4gb

$400 to go from 1tb to 2tb is eh.  Your storage setup is fine - though I might consider doing a TB3 NVMe at some point to replace the USB SSD.  No rush right now.
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pflower

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Re: Which 27 inch iMac to Buy?
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2020, 11:26:38 am »

Thanks, what you say makes sense for only an extra £300 (in the UK).

Do I assume that any upgrades offered for the graphics card are not worthwhile for my (light) video editing and general photographic work?

Philip



The 10gbE is only important if you've already got a 10gbE NAS going - otherwise you'll be fine with the 1gbE onboard & using 2.5/5gbE via USB3.1 adapters.

I would do the $2,300 model, with the bump up to 1tb SSD.  The $300 over the mid-tier option gets you:
- 8 core i7 @3.8 instead of 6 core i5 @3.3ghz
- Radeon Pro 5500XT w/ 8gb instead of 5300 with 4gb

$400 to go from 1tb to 2tb is eh.  Your storage setup is fine - though I might consider doing a TB3 NVMe at some point to replace the USB SSD.  No rush right now.
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tsinsf

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Re: Which 27 inch iMac to Buy?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2020, 12:08:02 pm »

At the present moment, upgrades in the graphic card will not speed things up much in LR and Photoshop because they are not very graphic card dependent, except for a few tools. This could change in the future, so upgrading the graphic card might future proof your iMac. Some plugins, such as Topaz products, are very graphic card dependent and might be faster with a graphic card upgrade. I would at least upgrade to the lowest level 8gb GPU. I just ordered a new iMac with the i7@3.8, 1 TB SSD, and upgraded to the 5500 w 8gb GPU. My upgrade to the higher performing 5500 (instead of the 5500XT) is probably overkill...For a good review of hardware performance with Photoshop and Lightroom, check out Puget System's (a very evidence based company that sells custom PC's) recommendations: https://www.pugetsystems.com/recommended/Recommended-Systems-for-Adobe-Photoshop-139/Hardware-Recommendations

The i7 is a great choice for the CPU. The i9 is only very slightly faster, probably not significant for most users.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2020, 12:20:05 pm by tsinsf »
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Eric Brody

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Re: Which 27 inch iMac to Buy?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2020, 12:36:23 pm »

I recently sold my 2013 Mac Pro (trashcan) and got a tricked out 2020 27" iMac to buy some time before being "forced" into Apple Silicon. I may be wrong but I still see some growing pains before things settle down for photographers with the new Apple chips. My new 27" iMac is a 10 core i9, I got 64GB of RAM from OWC (saved about US$1,000), the standard graphics card (I do no video), and went all the way with the 4TB SSD. It still smarts that the storage is not user replaceable on any of the current Apple computers. It's likely way more than I need and was pretty expensive but this is a machine I use daily, for pleasure not remuneration, and I feel the cost is justified. I don't really have a ny specific advice, you've already been give some good ideas but thought I'd share how I responded to having an old computer in the age of Apple Silicon and COVID. Best to you and be well.
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