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09-05-2014, 12:06 PM   #1
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iMac Replacement

I am intending replacing my old 32 bit iMac, which has served well for eight years, with a new 64 bit iMac. My preferred choices are the top of range 21.5 inch or the lower end 27 inch. I would upgrade them both to include a fusion drive and 16 gb memory. The 21.5 inch is cheaper but the 27 inch allows me to upgrade the memory (probably using Crucial Memory) myself at a later date. My main current heavy use is the editing of photographs. I am also hoping to get involved in the creation of Audio Visuals sooner rather than later. I intend keeping the computer for as long as it keeps working or until the next genuine really major hardware upgrade, which ever is the earlier. I note in passing that prior to my iMac, I had a Windows (486 I think) for at least another eight years. I am definitely one of the last big spenders!

Objective advice please and also any other suggestions for usful upgrades at the time of initial purchase.

I have considered going back to Windows for access to a wider range of photographic software and compatibiliy with the PCs being used by the majority of my photographic club members. Laptops for mobile backup are also a lot cheaper too! Family pressures however from the family budget holders sort of preclude this at present.

Thanks in advance, lochness

09-05-2014, 12:26 PM   #2
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I have a 21.5-inch iMac from 2012. It's used primarily for editing photos and video, and occasionally working from home, which also involves editing video remotely. I can tell you this much: If you're going to get into video, you'll want the extra screen real estate. You just will. Yes, it's more money but it sounds like it'll also give you more flexibility going forward and be more "futureproof." Unless purchasing the 27-inch iMac is financially irresponsible for your budget, I'd say go with the larger screen. Perhaps someone else can offer you more on whether a Windows option would make more sense.
09-05-2014, 12:27 PM   #3
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i have an older 27" i5 and the screen real estate is wonderful. i would definitely go for a lower model 27" then a higher model 21.
from a quick look at the store, the lowest current 27 is still higher equipped then the highest 21. (not counting add-on's)

the highest stock 21 is 1500 and the lowest stock 27 is 1800. specs are very similar, so it really comes down to 2 things. for your $300

expandable memory
6.5 inches of screen real estate.

the memory goes without saying,

i have dual 21" screens at work, and honestly i prefer my single 27 at home over the 2 21's.
09-05-2014, 12:29 PM   #4
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Exactly how wide a range of software do you need? Adobe works on both platforms, though Adobe has no place on my Mac. There is nothing stopping you from getting a Window$ laptop either. Macs are cross platform out of the box, just get a copy of Windows 7 or 8 and install it with Boot Camp or use a virtual machine (Parallels, VMWare, VirtualBox). File sharing is as easy as clicking the File Sharing checkbox in the Sharing PrefPane.

If you are worried about the future go for the 27". It would probably be best to wait until Yosemite ships in a month or so.

09-05-2014, 12:48 PM   #5
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The upgrade to Yosemite will be free, so there's no need to wait. It's also available in a very stable public beta form now, if desired.

I concur with the suggestion of running Windows in a VM. With full-screen mode, multiple desktops and drive sharing between Windows and OS X, it's extremely flexible, without any serious performance issues.
09-05-2014, 12:56 PM   #6
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I'd get the larger, more expensive model. The extra cash outlay over the lifetime of its use is minimal compared with the value you will obtain. I'd also recommend you get a high quality external monitor.

Your rationale for considering a Windows machine I just don't understand. What photo-specific software that matters will you be lacking? In reality there may be more interesting Mac-only choices such as Acorn & Pixelator. Also, the compatibility thing doesn't make sense unless your club pals are using some very obscure file formats. Image files have been standard across platforms for a long time.

As aptly noted above, it is a no-brainer to run Windows on a Mac, but I do it for non-photographic purposes.

M
09-05-2014, 01:35 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
I'd get the larger, more expensive model. The extra cash outlay over the lifetime of its use is minimal compared with the value you will obtain. I'd also recommend you get a high quality external monitor.
Once you bring an external monitor into the equation, you open up your possibilities. In that case, I think it makes sense to get the smaller iMac and put the money saved into a better external monitor. After all, neither of the iMac monitors is top notch. They are adequate, but they aren't even as good as Apple's own 27" Thunderbolt display.

If you want to stay all-Apple, a Macbook Pro with a 27" Thunderbolt display is a great combination. You get portability, with a Retina display, and the nice integration with a very good external monitor (which charges your laptop whilst plugged-in, and has gigabit ethernet, USB, thunderbolt ports, etc.).

I prefer that setup to any of the iMacs.
09-05-2014, 01:45 PM   #8
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Many thanks to all who have replied so far.

To answer one question, I have in the past not found a piece of software to create Audio Visual Presentations (NOT Videos) which are directly readable on a Windows machine. The conversion process was very time consuming. Running Windows on a Mac has been seriously considered but I would prefer not to do it if possible.

I also believe that tethering software for K5ii is more likely to available on Windows rather than Mac. Recent history suggests that products that run on Apple hardware are not the quickest to be updated for new Ricoh/Pentax cameras. I have also found items of Freeware which I would like to have but are only available for Windows and there has been no Mac equivalent.

09-05-2014, 01:48 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by lochness Quote
I also believe that tethering software for K5ii is more likely to available on Windows rather than Mac.
There is no officially supported tethering for Pentax on any platform (other than the 645), and that isn't going to change. PK_Tether doesn't seem to have been updated in 2 years.

Audio Visual presentations? Like PowerPoint?
09-05-2014, 02:17 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Audio Visual presentations? Like PowerPoint?
Yes, but a lot more sophisticated.
09-05-2014, 02:18 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
Your rationale for considering a Windows machine I just don't understand
QuoteOriginally posted by lochness Quote
Family pressures however from the family budget holders
$1800 buys you a lot of hardware in the Windows world. Using a Windows machine won't make you dumber, either.
09-05-2014, 02:48 PM   #12
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One thing I'd ask is: if something goes wrong with your computer, would you try to fix it yourself? The newer iMacs have a proprietary connector for the hard drive, which means if it breaks down the road, you have to go through Apple or hope that you can find a drive with that connector. The 21.5" models are supposedly a bit more of a pain to upgrade the RAM than the 27". However, Apple has done a great job at putting Apple stores everywhere so that you can bring your computer in for repair. Its warranty service is likely the best in the market.

I'd get either the 27" iMac because it's slightly easier to open and repair than the 21.5" or a non-all-in-one PC because it's more modular.
09-05-2014, 02:48 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by lochness Quote
I am intending replacing my old 32 bit iMac, which has served well for eight years, with a new 64 bit iMac. My preferred choices are the top of range 21.5 inch or the lower end 27 inch. I would upgrade them both to include a fusion drive and 16 gb memory. The 21.5 inch is cheaper but the 27 inch allows me to upgrade the memory (probably using Crucial Memory) myself at a later date. My main current heavy use is the editing of photographs. I am also hoping to get involved in the creation of Audio Visuals sooner rather than later. I intend keeping the computer for as long as it keeps working or until the next genuine really major hardware upgrade, which ever is the earlier. I note in passing that prior to my iMac, I had a Windows (486 I think) for at least another eight years. I am definitely one of the last big spenders!

Objective advice please and also any other suggestions for usful upgrades at the time of initial purchase.

I have considered going back to Windows for access to a wider range of photographic software and compatibiliy with the PCs being used by the majority of my photographic club members. Laptops for mobile backup are also a lot cheaper too! Family pressures however from the family budget holders sort of preclude this at present.

Thanks in advance, lochness
For what it is worth here are my experiences. I was a long time Mac user from the first Mac back in 1984. I switched to PC because of the lower cost some 5 or 6 years ago. I built myself a PC based monster desktop two years ago (6 core i7 processor, RAID 10 and 32GB RAM, video card with 4GB RAM, etc.) to crunch Photoshop and video projects. I am not into video yet but I was planning ahead. Bear with me here. I am using the desktop with some seriously large Photoshop files. I am happy with it but I do not like the fact that it is not portable.

I bought my wife a 13" Macbook Pro with i5 processor for her birthday last year. I bought the base package with the goal of updating later. I ended up upgrading the RAM to 16GB with RAM from an outfit from the East Coast. The specs of the computer said 8GB max but the guys at the RAM place said that they have tested 16GB and it works. So I upgraded the RAM to 16GB and put in a 256GB SSD drive. The thing is a monster now. I use it a lot more than my desktop. I do want a laptop for myself. I want i7 processor but the Mac offerings are too expensive for my budget. I might look at Lenovo or Dell 15" offering and max out the RAM (Lenovo allows 32GB) and put in an SSD. I love my desktop but when I use my wife's less powerful laptop more than my top of the line desktop, then it is time to reconsider the whole computer issue. Bacause of the SSD, I never shut down the Macbook and even if I do the restart and loading of the software is lighting fast. If you are a power user and make money with your computer, I would highly recommend max RAM and an SSD boot drive. The difference in performance and time savings is dramatic.

Just my two cents.
09-05-2014, 02:49 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
$1800 buys you a lot of hardware in the Windows world. Using a Windows machine won't make you dumber, either.
Nor will it make you smarter, richer, or better looking.


It does make this guy richer though.

This guy too.


But let's not forget...


Last edited by boriscleto; 09-05-2014 at 03:09 PM.
09-05-2014, 03:02 PM   #15
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I'd go for the larger screen. Why? I have a 21.5" iMac at home and a 27" iMac + a 27" Thunderbolt display at work. The extra inches are well worth it! When I upgrade my iMac at home it will definitely be to a 27" model. I'll pass on the Thunderbolt display though. While my company can easily afford it I personally would have a harder time doing so.

iMacs are nice because they don't seem to age the same way a Windows based PC does even though the hardware is similar in many ways. I kept my first iMac from 2004 to 2011 until the power supply blew out. Although it was a PPC based model it worked quite well to the very end. I intend to keep my current iMac for at least the same amount of time, 7 to 9 years. If the price difference between the 21.5" and 27" models is $300 then spread over 8 years that's $37.50 per year. It seems minimal.

My real dream is for a very powerful Mac Mini hooked up to a non-Apple display. The Apple displays are very nice but also very expensive.
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