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Danger, Help, iMac...
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-05, 07:57

I'm minutes away from buying one, someone talk me out of it...

Some of you may know that I spend a lot more time taking and editing photos these days. Over the years, my concept of value has changed from "best price" to "best/easiest implementation" for the money.

I need something that will churn through big lightroom libraries and sync up with the client software on the back end, and manage ordering self fulfillment, and churn out the occasional video, and whose screen is comfortable enough to look at for hours at a time. Theoretically, the iMac has three limitations. Color space, glossiness, and resolution (It's not 4K). But I'm forced to admit that these aren't real limitations. Good 4K (from IPS/IGZO panels, to 4K content, to capture equipment) is still some way from wide adoption, and I don't do video. The new reduced glare screen actually produces a nice approximation of a semi-gloss print, and the restricted colour space is something of a blessing, since I'm dealing with print houses and clients, and online proofing galleries etc...

While I'm enamoured of bigger spaces, the management is still just problematic enough to keep me off aRGB until the whole world steps forward together.

So, here's my thing. I don't have a huge workspace. 48"x24". Two 27" panels will "just" fit. I have this old Dell 5:4" panel hooked up to my Macbook Pro, now 8 years old! Both displays are garbage, but at least I can plug in the Dell as a desktop overflow/palettes monitor/lightroom browser. It's just really crap, rotated 90" to vertical it has a weird color ghosting that looks like metamerism in a bad print. It also takes up a fair bit of space for a relatively small 19" display and otherwise ruins my mojo. I need to throw it out the window.

I could buy a good 27" external with aRGB, but it's more money than I want to spend at the moment, and it will take up my whole workspace combined with an equal size iMac. Then I thought. OK, I wonder if there's a nice 1440x900 or 1440x1080 display that matches the pixel density of the iMac. It would be small, and turned to portrait orientation look kinda like a 1.5 display set-up, but just enough for those uses I just described. And it would avoid any UI scaling issues when moving from one screen to the other.

Displayswars.com tells me I'm looking for something about 15.6" in 16:10 (1440x900), or 17" 5:4 (1440x1080), or 15.2" (16:9, and I'm too lazy to figure out the resolution at 1440 wide) or whatever it would work out to in a 4:3 screen (again too lazy and such displays probably don't exist.)

Maybe one of those USB3 powered monitors if these was some way to just clip it to the side of the iMac, keeping it off the desk... Do these thing exist? Or have I successfully invented a reason to differ purchase for a few more months?

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drewprops
Bastard
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2014-04-05, 08:11

You have mistakenly used "differ a purchase" when you meant to say "defer a purchase".

ENJOY YOUR NEW TOY!!!!!!





.
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-05, 08:19

You be one of those guys telling the jumper to just go for it, oh cruel insensitive world!

Last edited by Matsu : 2014-04-05 at 08:37.
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Quagmire
meh
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-05, 10:17

Which iMac would you be going for?
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-05, 10:36

27" i7. Trying to decide between Haswell and ivy bridge refurb options. I see that no one stocks a PCIe SSD blade for the Haswell versions...
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Quagmire
meh
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-05, 10:47

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
27" i7. Trying to decide between Haswell and ivy bridge refurb options. I see that no one stocks a PCIe SSD blade for the Haswell versions...
Cool. Might as well buy now then and I would go for Haswell due to it being a cooler running chip. I also believe Haswell can support 1867 Mhz RAM where Ivy Bridge won't. If you were going for for the lower end 27", I would advise to wait due to the 850M/860M providing a nice bump in performance over the current 755M due those being Maxwell based GPU's. But since you're looking at the higher end, the 870M/880M will just be higher clocked Kepler's. Also assuming Apple sticks with NVIDIA for the next iMac update.

giggity
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Wrao
Yarp
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Road Warrior
 
2014-04-07, 13:19

I've had several iMacs. Presently have a decked out 27" from 2011 and it is still more computer than I need. They're great computers overall. Pretty much the only big problems they have are price, mobile graphics and overall expandability. They are expensive and there's no way around that. You can easily build a comparable-in-performance 'parts in a box' PC for half the price (without a 1440p monitor of course, but still) But when you really get into it, you still do get quite a lot of computer for the price and more importantly you get that great design and build quality that it's easy to dismiss if you think only in towers but it really makes a difference in terms of what it's like to live with as a machine. But if you can swing the price, then you can swing the price and far be it for me to suggest otherwise. Apple is very clever with their computer strategy in specifically avoiding a 'parts in a box' tower that would directly compete against the low-mid and DIY market. Instead they say "here's something that isn't directly analogous and we leave it up to you to figure out if you value the things it offers enough to bridge the gap in price/performance". I think Apple's strategy ultimately prevailed because you go to any Fry's or Best Buy and it's all laptops and All-in-ones now and wouldn't you know it but the prices are actually a lot closer to Apple's anyway in the end.

The Mobile graphics thing can be a problem if you are particular about such things but in the years I've had this iMac it has never once failed me for lack of graphical power and in recent years the performance of mid-high range mobile gpus has compared favorable against dedicated gpus (when I bought mine I remember seeing some benchmark charts that placed its Radeon 6970m graphics card in the upper tier of all cards, mobile and dedicated alike. So that's not a big downside really, but you know, some people are particular about these things. From a strict cost basis, mobile cards are more expensive for what you get and if Apple could fit a dedicated GPU in the iMac chassis they could probably sell the things for ~$100-200 less across the board(not that they would, but you know...)

The expandability is the only other thing but really you look at how tech has trended and that's a pretty conditionally essential concern. The old school mentality of filling a box with aftermarket components has shrunk considerably and mostly occupies small professional niches anyway, and even if you happen to fall into one of those niches there is likely to be a modern I/O solution just the same. So it's probably not a big deal.

Three smaller more personal quirks I don't like about my iMac. The design is great overall but the thing is heavier than I feel it should be. Until I got a new desk my old desk wobbled when I typed because of the heft of the thing. Not a big concern just one of those things where the illusion of how low profile the machine is is betrayed by its weight. Secondly, my iMac isn't 100% silent but it's close. It's a funny quirk because when you have a loud desktop you just sort of learn to live with it and don't even notice but when you have a computer that is approaching completely silent suddenly every bit of noise it makes seems to stand out that much more even though decibel wise it's quieter. Pretty sure newer iMacs are even quieter though so that's probably fine. And lastly, the screen can glare a bit and be distracting, but I understand they've addressed this too in newer models so ymmv.

I don't suspect I'll be upgrading my computer for a long time, if I change computers it will be because I want less not more.

Last edited by Wrao : 2014-04-07 at 13:30.
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-07, 15:36

Well, you guys were of literally no use in helping me find a reason to defer purchase for another cycle. Luckily for me the Haswell refurb disappeared from the online store literally as I clicked the option to buy. It loaded the page without a buy button. I refreshed it and got bumped back to the refurb list with the model I'd been eying gone. I think this is the ghost of Steve Jobs telling me to wait an even ten years between updates!

But to be honest, apart from the PCIe SSD, the Ivy Bridge machine looks fine as well, and saves a few more dollars. I'm literally looking for a lightroom/photoshop production machine here. I plan to max out the RAM to either 32 or 24GB depending on whether I score an 8 or 16GB machine. I don't really care about the GPU. I only care about the I/O. USB3 and Thundrebolt are absolute must haves, and all the recent machines have those. I need a USB 3 card reader and at least one thunderbolt drive. I'm toying with the idea of an external thunderbolt boot drive. This is expensive up front, but may have some advantages if repairs are ever needed. But, even if I don't do that, I will connect some large external box for storage and back-up.

Now the internal SSD on the Haswell tests really fast, but I can't find aftermarket PCIe blades anywhere, not for the latest iMacs or Macbook Pros. So far all the aftermarket blades are SATA. Does anyone know if it's a non-standard part? I read somewhere that the PCIe versions won't be available until Q3 this year. Crazy, Apple's got the supply sown up tight.

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Frank777
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto
 
2014-04-07, 23:27

I'm going to wait for the update with Thunderbolt 2, but that's just the kind of crazy person I am.
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Quagmire
meh
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-08, 09:30

I would wait until a Haswell machine you want pops back up since you don't seem to be in a rush to get a new machine.

Maybe I am biased considering I love my Late 2013 iMac. The 4670 runs at around 40 C and the 780M at around 38 C so they are cool running machines.

giggity
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-08, 19:59

I wonder if anyone has insight into creating a RAID 0 config by striping the iMac's two internal drives. In the Ivy bridge machine there are two SATA busses, though the physical enclosures are different, it shouldn't be too hard to stripe according to OWC, and push the throughput close to 1.2Gbps. Again, this can get pricey, but it would give very good performance...

With the newer iMac you can't yet find any PCIe blades, though they're expected later this year. Then there's the question of whether you can actually stripe two internal SSDs if they're each sitting on a different bus? Could introduce unwelcome weirdness...

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Quagmire
meh
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-08, 20:04

Just remembered.... the physical connection for the blade SSD are missing in the Ivy Bridge iMac's that didn't come with an SSD. Haswell iMac's do have the connector even if it didn't come with a SSD.

giggity
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-10, 07:37

I think this was only true of the 21.5 models, not the 27" but I have to check ifixit's teardown report to be sure.

Looking at OWC, it seems the last iMac that they could reliably set up an internal RAID0 stripe was the 2011. I don't see mention of it for the 2012. hmmm. While it has two SATA ports, maybe you also need two exactly identical drives? Maybe they're not available in a mSATA/SATA pair?

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Quagmire
meh
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-10, 08:44

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
I think this was only true of the 21.5 models, not the 27" but I have to check ifixit's teardown report to be sure.
iFixit only tore down the Late 2012 21.5" iMac. The repair guide for the 27" has a SSD replacement repair guide, but that already had a SSD installed.

You'll just have to get a Fusion Drive Ivy Bridge iMac then. Or wait for one with the 768 GB SSD( I have seen a few pop up).

giggity
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-10, 11:25

It's done. I feel so filthy. My wallet is staring at me judgementally. I've stuffed it into a drawer. Now I got to sell some more pics to pay for this thing!

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Quagmire
meh
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-10, 11:40

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
It's done. I feel so filthy. My wallet is staring at me judgementally. I've stuffed it into a drawer. Now I got to sell some more pics to pay for this thing!
Which one did you go for?
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-10, 11:48

i7 Haswell; 3TB fusion
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Quagmire
meh
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-10, 11:50

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
i7 Haswell; 3TB fusion
Yeah saw that one pop up earlier. Good choice with the 4771, 780M, and the Fusion Drive.
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Frank777
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto
 
2014-04-10, 11:53

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matsu View Post
It's done.
Excellent. This usually means the new update will be out very soon!
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-10, 11:57

Basturd

I tend to go a some time between updates, so I figured to get something that could weather a few years worth of Adobe bloatware.
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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-10, 12:33

So, while I'm getting over my Catholic guilt, any recommended best accessories? I'll probably get a magic trackpad at some point, I've been on a laptop as my primary Mac for 11 years, and have become very accustomed to trackpads. I do have a logitech mouse that I like, but I'll give the magic mouse a shot. Also have a couple of 2GB USB3 drives here. One desktop and one portable, which will fill in until I have time to assemble a proper attached storage solution...

My short list of to-do's are mainly ergonomic, things like a hood, bias light, keyboard tray, a DVI plug for my old 19" Dell - crappy as it is - it's going to be my browser window/desktop overflow, basically a place to dump files when I'm working on a project and before I back them up and save them.

I'll probably clean up my Macbook Pro and finally install the drive deletion kit and second SSD. It's not that fast, but if I find a fast card reader for the Expresscard, it'll still work as a means of on the road back-ups.

Buying new macs could be habit forming, there's such a sense of occasion about it...

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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Send a message via Skype™ to PB PM 
2014-04-10, 13:29

As another user who transitioned from a line of notebooks (iBook to 15" MBP, to 13" MBP to 27" iMac) I would recommend getting the magic trackpad. While I primarily use a mouse now days, I still like to use the trackpad for some apps. With more an more iOS gestures coming to OSX over time a user could be missing out on some nifty features with out the trackpad. Other accessories? Lots of external drives, if you don't have them already, I'm working with 7 right now, (2x2TB, 2x1TB, 2x500GB one of which is a 2.5" drive, and 1x 64GB SSD).

As for the second screen, it will hurt your eyes compared to the iMac. I thought I would use my old 22" LCD after getting the iMac, for the same things as you, and the poor performance, in comparison, made me put it back in the box. Not to mention going from the large high resolution screen to a small one with much lower resolution was just painful.

As for buying new machines, since I got a 2011 Core i5 27" iMac that feeling as all but faded. I used to upgrade every two years, but the feeling that I need to do so has all but ended since I moved to this beast. I figure I can get another 2-3 years out this thing at the very least. I'm sure the newer machine are faster, but to be honest I rarely feel held back by what I have now, compared to the notebook I used to own.
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Matsu
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Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-10, 14:21

The trackpad is probably nice for swiping through large catalogues. I have a Wacom Intuous, however, it's not for navigating the desktop or UI. That I use if/when a lot of pen tool work is required, otherwise it's a bit too much to manage on a small desk with an open laptop and second screen. Maybe because it's an older wired unit, but largely because I never really spent the time to dock my laptop properly. Same reason I never ended up using my beloved clicky keyboards and ended up giving them to family and friends. So, part of me looks forward to the de-cluttering of a proper desktop system and a wireless keyboard and mouse, though I'm not really a fan of the low profile Apple Keyboards in the lab, a wireless one mates up nicely with the trackpad if you want to lean back in your chair and still control the screen.

You're probably right about the old second screen, but for the cost of dongle, I may as well try it.

I really think someone could make a bit of money selling decent quality "fold-out" screens for the iMac. If they made them vertically oriented and matched the height and resolution of the 27" screen, they wouldn't be bigger than about 15-17", might even possible to run them bus powered. Then instead of multiple stands all over your desk, everything would just sit on the iMac pedestal. They'd have to be lightweight though.

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Matsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-10, 16:22

Well, it's shipped. I wonder if this stock all comes out of the US, or if it moves from in Canada. There's a chance I could get it tomorrow, though Monday or Tuesday seems more likely.

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PB PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Send a message via Skype™ to PB PM 
2014-04-10, 17:26

I think most of the refurbs move out from the states, but that might not be the case in every sitution. Some come out through Apple Canada in Mississauga.
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Frank777
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto
 
2014-04-11, 01:30

Apple Canada HQ is in Markham, Ontario, not Mississauga.
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PB PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Send a message via Skype™ to PB PM 
2014-04-11, 01:39

Whatever, it's all in Ontario.
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Matsu
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Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-11, 02:31

Fed Ex tracking shows it managed to get from California to Memphis last night. Should arrive Monday.
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Matsu
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Join Date: May 2004
 
2014-04-11, 04:18

Whee, order tracking is fun! Left Memphis at about 5AM my time. Must be by air...
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Dorian Gray
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Paris, France
 
2014-04-11, 06:37

I love how you’re tracking its every move and giving us live updates. Bit you’re right, buying a new Mac does engender a sense of occasion.

Think you made the right choice. Haswell chips run cooler, which is a big deal for longterm reliability.

Adobe bloatware has got so slow of late that you might not even find the iMac that fast – at least if you were using older software on your old notebook. Just opening a PDF in Adobe Reader takes an age nowadays. Lightroom 5 needs loads of computer to run well. But hey, you have that now. Good job!

… engrossed in such factional acts as dreaming different dreams.
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