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Thread started 18 Sep 2015 (Friday) 14:10
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researching the iMac 27" Retina Display . . . . . . . . . your thoughts and insights are welcome

 
Tom ­ Reichner
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Sep 18, 2015 14:10 |  #1

I need to get a new computer, and have been doing quite a bit of research. My research has been leading me to the newer iMac with the 5K Retina monitor.

Here is some reference material that I have found during my research. I found these links to provide some very useful information, so I thought I would share them with others who may be facing a similar decision:

http://www.imore.com …powerhouse-should-you-get (external link)
A good comparison of the features of the iMac vs. those of the Mac Pro.

https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=CvMdBwn80xw (external link)
The host sounds like a bit of a fanboy, but makes many valid points that do seem to be based on facts, and not on his preferences.
If what he says from 1:46 to 21;14 is true, and what he says from 5:38 to 5:56 is also true, then there really is no logical choice other than the 5K iMac if one demands that type of screen resolution.

http://www.apple.com/r​etail/learn/one-to-one/ (external link)
The Apple One to One program......a HUGE factor in why I am choosing an Apple. Users who are not as computer-illiterate as I, or who live in an area where there are other help sources available, may not find this program to be as helpful as I think it will be for me.

https://www.youtube.co​m …pCIzKLm00GzpvbG​7Ok9W0U--I (external link)
While he entitles his video "Negative Review", he actually has a lot of good things to say about the 27" Retina Display, and little bad to say about it. It seems his main grief with it is the price, which may not be an issue for many who are considering this class of machine.

https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=GwjEB83HwoQ (external link)
A discussion about whether to get a fusion drive or an SSD drive in an iMac. The host leans heavily toward the SSD because speed is most important to him, and internal storage space is not so important to him.

https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=Hc5cuHqa4Ww (external link)
"The best photography editing machine that exists anywhere in the world....although are some drawbacks."

I will add more research links as I find them.
In the meantime, I would appreciate any additional insights that you may have to add.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Luckless
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Sep 18, 2015 15:58 |  #2

I've not had the chance to get much in the way of really extended usage time on the 27" Retina iMacs, but the few hours I've used one didn't reveal any critical deal breakers or major problems.

I am however not a huge fan of the iMac series for the lack of system flexibility, especially when being used for any kind of production. If something goes wrong with them, then it is much harder to crack open and swap parts to get things moving again than it is with a decent modern full tower case.

However this point is kind of moot if you're planning to take it to a nearby Apple Tech and have no desire to do the work yourself or plans to keep spare parts kicking around.

Another issue I have with them is their mounting options. They do come with VESA mount options last I had seen, but I was under the impression that they're completely different case models, so something to keep in mind.

Haven't gone through all your links, but remember to double check how the thermal handling is on the model you're looking at before you jump on it. We have a smaller model from a year or two ago here in the office that really likes to throttle itself hard if you ask it to crunch too many numbers for too long. Seems most of them will throttle a bit if you push them beyond 80-90% max processor for sustained periods, and it is fairly reasonable in those cases, but a handful of configs get way more aggressive with it.


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Kolor-Pikker
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Sep 19, 2015 03:21 |  #3

The 5K display is great, it really gives photos a different feel when looking at and editing them, but there are indeed a few drawbacks that I've noticed. I've mentioned these things here and elsewhere before, but if you're looking for a compendium, I'll list the things I didn't like after a having used one for a while at a friends studio.

- high density means harder to judge critical sharpness unless you remember to zoom in 200%
- connectivity is still limited, I'm glad that all my keyboard and display have USB hubs on them, as I've got at least twice as many devices as ports.
- the hardware is rendering a whole lot more pixels than 1440p, so performance feels about he same as my old iMac. I would rather have more speed than a higher res display.
- the 5K display can't be used as a slave for other devices, so if you have a notebook you'd like to hook up to the display, well, you can't.

And of course there will be the usual stuff that I've had to deal with on my own iMac, like the fact that any repair means a trip to a service center, limited upgradability, a really glossy screen, etc. Also, if you don't set the stand down straight, the aluminum has a chance to scratch your desk.

All in all, I think that the iMac is the kind of computer which is aimed at people who used to use their laptops as stationary computers with the option of moving it around a bit, I know that's what I used to do. The old laptop I used to use before the Mac was a heavy and power-hungry monster that lasted only 2.5h on a full charge, needless to say it mostly stood around in one spot for most of its 6 year life.


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Bob_A
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Sep 19, 2015 13:52 |  #4

Kolor-Pikker wrote in post #17713042 (external link)
The 5K display is great, it really gives photos a different feel when looking at and editing them, but there are indeed a few drawbacks that I've noticed. I've mentioned these things here and elsewhere before, but if you're looking for a compendium, I'll list the things I didn't like after a having used one for a while at a friends studio.

- high density means harder to judge critical sharpness unless you remember to zoom in 200%
- connectivity is still limited, I'm glad that all my keyboard and display have USB hubs on them, as I've got at least twice as many devices as ports.
- the hardware is rendering a whole lot more pixels than 1440p, so performance feels about he same as my old iMac. I would rather have more speed than a higher res display.
- the 5K display can't be used as a slave for other devices, so if you have a notebook you'd like to hook up to the display, well, you can't.

And of course there will be the usual stuff that I've had to deal with on my own iMac, like the fact that any repair means a trip to a service center, limited upgradability, a really glossy screen, etc. Also, if you don't set the stand down straight, the aluminum has a chance to scratch your desk.

All in all, I think that the iMac is the kind of computer which is aimed at people who used to use their laptops as stationary computers with the option of moving it around a bit, I know that's what I used to do. The old laptop I used to use before the Mac was a heavy and power-hungry monster that lasted only 2.5h on a full charge, needless to say it mostly stood around in one spot for most of its 6 year life.


It's a shame that Apple doesn't have something in between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro where you can get a reasonably priced well spec'd box (similar to the iMac 27") for photo editing that you can connect to a NEC PA series or Eizo ColorEdge display. I can't stand glossy screens, the mini isn't powerful enough for what I need and the Mac Pro is too expensive.

Is there another option that I've missed other than building a "hackintosh"?


Bob
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Luckless
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Sep 19, 2015 14:11 |  #5

Bob_A wrote in post #17713450 (external link)
Is there another option that I've missed other than building a "hackintosh"?

Stop drinking the Kool-aid and use Windows? (Seriously, windows 10 has been working very smoothly, and I don't really have anything to complain about either OS X 10.10 or Windows 10 that puts one magically above the other, other than the less flexible options of Apple hardware, but even that has its pros and cons. It is a tool to use, and they are both very well made tools.)


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Sep 19, 2015 18:13 |  #6

Luckless wrote in post #17713467 (external link)
Stop drinking the Kool-aid and use Windows? (Seriously, windows 10 has been working very smoothly, and I don't really have anything to complain about either OS X 10.10 or Windows 10 that puts one magically above the other, other than the less flexible options of Apple hardware, but even that has its pros and cons. It is a tool to use, and they are both very well made tools.)

No kool-aid drinking for me :) I do use Windows 10, and am really happy with it. But I also have Apple products. I just wish Apple had a Mac Pro that was i7 based and more reasonably priced so I could have another viable choice the next time I upgrade. I could care less if a machine ran Windows 10 or OSX, I just want good hardware to go along with it. Right now I build my own with decent components, so I end up with a very reliable PC. Not sure if I want to continue to go that route though ...


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Post edited over 3 years ago by photohistorian. (4 edits in all)
     
Sep 19, 2015 19:30 |  #7

FYI Tom,

Unfortunately, apple discontinued the one to one program earlier this week.

You have a two week no questions asked return window if you purchase your puter directly from Apple.


If you are coming over from the dark side, macrumors will be very helpful.

My advice is to pick a Mac Pro for two reasons:

1. It's not an all in one. If you chose an all in one, then buy the faster processor and video card so you can milk a few extra years from your machine. Think as your computer as a camera body, upgradable every 3-5 years. Give and take of course! Apple is notorious for processor and video upgrades gradually, but they have a tendency to drop support for older operating systems. I use an obsolete operating system that's an ancient five years old. Lol. Apple's Mac Pro will be more useful over the long-run, but at a price.

2. Mac Pro has six thunderbolt ports and I believe three usb3 ports. Plus a pro can power three monitors! Plus you pick your monitor. Apple might release a tv in the next year which is rumored to be high resolution. The 5k retina is gorgeous, but one is handcuffed to buy it as an all in one.


Each tb port can daisy chain six hard drives or monitors. There are tons of options with multiple tb ports.

You can buy a quad core Mac Pro which is a good machine, but a six core will get you more miles.

Also, check apple's website and buy a refurbished machine. Apple stands behind their refurb products with the same warranty as if bought brand new.

If you are insurance oriented, then look into apple care. If you buy an iMac, then IMHO buy apple care for your machine. If you buy a lemon and it squeaks past the one year warranty and pukes, you are stuck with costly repairs. Apple has a three strike policy with their computers. If you return it to apple for repairs for the same thing a few times, you receive a credit for a new machine!

Hope this helps and if I think of anything else, I'll post it here. Happy shopping!




  
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Sep 19, 2015 20:23 |  #8

I went with the iMac because when I was buying, the Mac Pro hadn't been updated in a while. I now have 3 iMacs and currently use the Retina iMac every day. It's a great computer and hands down my favorite computer. If I had the money, I would probably buy a Mac Pro for my main computer, but only if I could get a 4k or 5k monitor. I love having an all in one because of the way it looks, I don't have to worry about hiding a box next to or under my desk. All of the iMac computers are very fast and so everything I need them to do, so I really don't have a need for a more powerful machine.

I wouldn't even consider a Mac Mini since they've pretty much locked them out of upgrades.

I haven't had to take any of the iMacs in for repairs yet, I've had them for 3 years now and all are working great. I just upgraded my older MacBook Pro to an SSD and I may add SSD's to my older two iMacs. There is a MacExperience store here and they only charge $83 to install the SSD, which I think is a great price.

In my opinion, there is no reason not to get a Retina iMac....OSX is far and away SO much better than Windows, it runs photoshop and lightroom with no problems at all, and it looks so much better than having a box sitting next to my desk when I have clients in the office.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Sep 20, 2015 02:01 |  #9

Thanks, everyone, for the insights and advice you've given thus far - it is appreciated.

photohistorian wrote in post #17713786 (external link)
FYI Tom,
Unfortunately, apple discontinued the one to one program earlier this week.

Darn darn darn darn darn!!!!! This was really, really important to me. I feel like my hopes of finally becoming mildly computer literate just completely fell apart.

photohistorian wrote in post #17713786 (external link)
If you chose an all in one, then buy the faster processor and video card so you can milk a few extra years from your machine. Think as your computer as a camera body, upgradable every 3-5 years. Give and take of course! Apple is notorious for processor and video upgrades gradually, but they have a tendency to drop support for older operating systems. I use an obsolete operating system that's an ancient five years old. Lol. Apple's Mac Pro will be more useful over the long-run, but at a price.

I have used an iMac for the past 8 years, and absolutely love it! That is why I am pretty much set on another "all in one" iMac. The iMac I bought in 2008 has been my only computer for the past 7 1/2 years. And it only has 2GB of RAM (or memory, or whatever it's called). I think that if my 2008 iMac has lasted this long without giving me problems, I should pretty much be able to count on getting at least 5 years out of the next iMac.

I don't think I will ever have to use two monitors at once, or ever have a need for more than 2 USB ports. Plus, I don't understand how to get drives to "talk to" the main computer, so I pretty much need a really big internal drive so that I can just keep everything there and not have to drive myself crazy trying to figure out how to use external drives. Plus, I don't think iPhoto or Photos (my editing/organizing/sto​rage program of choice) can work if the photos are on external drives......from what I've been told, all of the images have to be in the one single "library" for iPhoto/Photos to work. Hence the need for one single massive internal drive like the 3TB fusion.

photohistorian wrote in post #17713786 (external link)
Also, check apple's website and buy a refurbished machine. Apple stands behind their refurb products with the same warranty as if bought brand new.

Yes, I only buy refurbs, if possible. An Apple salesperson is watching the refurbs daily and is going to alert me the moment a 4.0 i7 3TB becomes available as a refurb.

photohistorian wrote in post #17713786 (external link)
If you are insurance oriented, then look into apple care. If you buy an iMac, then IMHO buy apple care for your machine. If you buy a lemon and it squeaks past the one year warranty and pukes, you are stuck with costly repairs. Apple has a three strike policy with their computers. If you return it to apple for repairs for the same thing a few times, you receive a credit for a new machine!

Yes, I am VERY familiar with Apple Care. I got it on my 2008 (current) iMac and used it quite extensively. Pretty much called them every day for 3 years. Once the 3 years ran out, however, I was absolutely lost. I mean, I hardly know how to do ANYTHING on a computer, it's really pathetic. I can't wait to get a new computer so that I can get into the Apple Care thing again and call them every time I get stuck or confused (which is, like, every day.....I was probably their worst customer ever).

photohistorian wrote in post #17713786 (external link)
Hope this helps and if I think of anything else, I'll post it here. Happy shopping!

Thanks very much!


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Sep 20, 2015 02:10 |  #10

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Luckless

Luckless wrote in post #17712547 (external link)
I am however not a huge fan of the iMac series for the lack of system flexibility, especially when being used for any kind of production. If something goes wrong with them, then it is much harder to crack open and swap parts to get things moving again than it is with a decent modern full tower case.

However this point is kind of moot if you're planning to take it to a nearby Apple Tech and have no desire to do the work yourself or plans to keep spare parts kicking around.

Yeah, I can't imagine that someone so clueless about computers as myself would ever think of opening up a computer and making changes to it.

Luckless wrote in post #17712547 (external link)
Haven't gone through all your links, but remember to double check how the thermal handling is on the model you're looking at before you jump on it. We have a smaller model from a year or two ago here in the office that really likes to throttle itself hard if you ask it to crunch too many numbers for too long. Seems most of them will throttle a bit if you push them beyond 80-90% max processor for sustained periods, and it is fairly reasonable in those cases, but a handful of configs get way more aggressive with it.

Hmmmm. Would this thermal problem be an issue for someone like me, who will probably just use iPhoto and maybe once in a while try Lightroom out? The iMac I have now I have had for 7 1/2 years, and "thermal handling" has never been an issue (assuming that what you are talking about is the computer getting too hot).


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Sep 20, 2015 02:16 |  #11

Kolor-Pikker wrote in post #17713042 (external link)
All in all, I think that the iMac is the kind of computer which is aimed at people who used to use their laptops as stationary computers with the option of moving it around a bit, I know that's what I used to do. The old laptop I used to use before the Mac was a heavy and power-hungry monster that lasted only 2.5h on a full charge, needless to say it mostly stood around in one spot for most of its 6 year life.

That's an interesting way to look at it. The iMac I've had for the past 7+ years, well, I take it all over the place! I am very frequently packing it into my car to take it to a buddy's house, or to work, or on photo trips with me. I pretty much want the portability of a laptop, but insist on having a big huge screen to view photos on. I pretty much hate laptops because I have no interest in looking at photos on smaller screens. But I want a computer to go with me everywhere I go. The all-in-one is really about the only logical choice for me, as far as I can see.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Kolor-Pikker
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Sep 20, 2015 03:29 |  #12

Tom Reichner wrote in post #17714109 (external link)
Hmmmm. Would this thermal problem be an issue for someone like me, who will probably just use iPhoto and maybe once in a while try Lightroom out? The iMac I have now I have had for 7 1/2 years, and "thermal handling" has never been an issue (assuming that what you are talking about is the computer getting too hot).

This is mostly a problem on the higher-end processors, I know from online resources that the i7 in the latest 5K iMac has a tendency to throttle when pushed hard, which sort of defeats the purpose of having picked a faster CPU in the first place.

See that sea-shell looking thing in the middle? That's the iMac's cooling system:

IMAGE: http://photos2.appleinsidercdn.com/12.11.30-iMac_Inside-2.jpg
IMAGE: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/41183616/KtF5YuVRiVqBUgTj.huge.jpg

Meanwhile, even a very basic PC has a cooler that's around this size:

IMAGE: http://www.noticias3d.com/articulos/201202/cm_disipas/imagenes/set_hyper212evo_1.jpg

And that's just for the CPU, the iMac's cooler has to pull double-duty for both the CPU and GPU.

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Luckless
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Sep 20, 2015 07:36 |  #13

I don't think that you are all that likely to hit the thermal throttle wall with them, or at least not hit it all that often, if you're mostly just doing light photo editing. If you are running photoshop and doing lots of major filters and transformations back to back to back, then you are a little more likely to hit it, but it shouldn't be a huge issue all that often.

Tasks where the throttling is most likely to give you issues is for things like large exports, or video editing, where the processor is kept at high speed for sustained periods, and not given a moment in between to cool down a little. However the usual flow in photo editing is exactly the kind of load that works well with turbo-boost automatic over-clocking: Using short and quickly finished tasks of high demand processing followed by a short period of very low demand.


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Kolor-Pikker
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Sep 20, 2015 08:50 |  #14

Luckless wrote in post #17714284 (external link)
I don't think that you are all that likely to hit the thermal throttle wall with them, or at least not hit it all that often, if you're mostly just doing light photo editing. If you are running photoshop and doing lots of major filters and transformations back to back to back, then you are a little more likely to hit it, but it shouldn't be a huge issue all that often.

Tasks where the throttling is most likely to give you issues is for things like large exports, or video editing, where the processor is kept at high speed for sustained periods, and not given a moment in between to cool down a little. However the usual flow in photo editing is exactly the kind of load that works well with turbo-boost automatic over-clocking: Using short and quickly finished tasks of high demand processing followed by a short period of very low demand.

Pretty much, yes, but if you're buying a top-end i7, are you really only going to do photo editing with it? Catch-22.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Sep 20, 2015 09:02 |  #15

Kolor-Pikker wrote in post #17714340 (external link)
Pretty much, yes, but if you're buying a top-end i7, are you really only going to do photo editing with it? Catch-22.

Yes, that's about all I will be doing with it. That and streaming Netflix movies from time to time. I'm not sure where the "catch-22" comes in.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Photography-on-the.net Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.