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Thoughts on a New iMac

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Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby ITHertz » Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:22 am

Hi Folks,

I have a small home studio that I use mainly for demos and songwriting although lately I've been doing some editing work. I'm working 80% ITB although I'm a bit old-school in that I like to get things right when tracking.

I'm currently using an aging 2010 (!) MacBook which I've upgraded with more RAM, and an SSD drive. It's now time for an upgrade as I recently got a few new reverbs (H-Reverb, Abbey Road Plates and Chambers) which are CPU hogs and although I can render the FX it slows the production process down.

I'm thinking of getting an iMac - most likely the 21.5 inch with the fastest processor available. I'm on a budget so the iMac Pro is out. I have a couple of questions about this:

1. I'm in one room so fan noise is an issue - how noisy are these iMacs? As a side note, I used to be able to control the fan speed on my MacBook however somewhere along the line it became impossible - I think one of the minor system updates stuffed this up. Is it possible to control the fan speed on these iMacs?
2. There are a few rumours floating around that the iMac line is going to receive an overhaul - should I hold off and see what the newer models offer?

Cheers,

Chris
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby IAA » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:53 am

I’ve used iMacs in my studio for 6 years. Currently using the last iteration of i7 - last years model. I’ve never heard any fan noise. In fact my Kronos is the noisiest part of my setup.

As to revamps, MAC rumours https://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#iMacsuggest line up announcements but personally I’ve always bought just behind the cutting edge and through the Apple store refurb for a better discount. Never had a problem, in fact the last 2 iMacs I’ve bought have both turned up with better specs than I ordered. :thumbup:

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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby Kwackman » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:14 am

IAA wrote:personally I’ve always bought just behind the cutting edge and through the Apple store refurb for a better discount. Never had a problem

+1 on the refurb store.

Also, might be worth looking at a Mac mini? You need to but a separate monitor, but it can work out a good bit cheaper, and you might get a more powerful mac for the same budget?
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby ITHertz » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:57 am

I've considered a Mac Mini but online the opinion seems to be that they're underpowered and in danger of being dropped completely by Apple. They're still on my radar though!
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby Dave B » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:28 pm

A few years ago, Apple suddenly only offered low - spec'd Minis. This is annoying as the ones I have run like the clappers. Rumour has it that Apple were upset that we'd worked out it was cheaper and just about as good to buy a top-spec Mini than to buy into the trashcan Mac Pro. I know of a few places that got the same spec Mini as mine to replace their older (cheese grater) Mac Pros.

I've just been advising a friend on getting a new iMac so I'll see if it's arrived and what it's like. TBH, given that they are faster and can take more memory than my Mini, I'd say that you pretty much can't go too badly wrong...
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby ITHertz » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:07 pm

Dave B wrote:I've just been advising a friend on getting a new iMac so I'll see if it's arrived and what it's like. TBH, given that they are faster and can take more memory than my Mini, I'd say that you pretty much can't go too badly wrong...

I'm interested in seeing ("hearing") how noisy the fan/s are and whether it's possible to slow them down with one of the fan control apps.
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby Agharta » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:55 pm

Dave B wrote:Rumour has it that Apple were upset that we'd worked out it was cheaper and just about as good to buy a top-spec Mini than to buy into the trashcan Mac Pro..
They are not even close in performance terms even if you look at the entry level spec.
Plus you can spec them up to 12 cores, 64GB RAM with a 1TB PCIe SSD which just extends the lead even more.
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby johnny h » Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:13 pm

Kwackman wrote:
IAA wrote:personally I’ve always bought just behind the cutting edge and through the Apple store refurb for a better discount. Never had a problem

+1 on the refurb store.

Also, might be worth looking at a Mac mini? You need to but a separate monitor, but it can work out a good bit cheaper, and you might get a more powerful mac for the same budget?
When new models come out the prices in the refurb store also come down. The iMac and Mac Mini are heavily rumoured to be updated soon. Wait a little longer.

https://www.macrumors.com/2018/07/11/ap ... -fall-kuo/
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:16 pm

The Mac Mini was good for a few years. My quad core was my studio mainstay right up to last week (when the iMac Pro arrived (yes, I know, more money than sense but it is beautiful). The duo cores now just don't really cut it, sadly.

I considered getting a Mac Pro as that could just drop in as a replacement for the Mini in my setup with a fair bit more power, but t is a 5 year old design that is still pricey and the only refurb had just 256MB of SSD. I considered the Macbook Pro too but as I've said elsewhere I worry about the way Apple have sacrificed so much to crowd a pro-spec machine into such a ridiculously small form factor. So I was heading towards an iMac anyway, having owned a 2009 model in the past. They are good machines and very, very quiet.

Do yourself a favour and get a 27" iMac - sell the kids if you have to and who needs a house anyway? The screen (which is the same as the one on my iMac Pro) is a thing of wonder and beauty.

CC
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby TheLegit » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:54 pm

ConcertinaChap wrote:The Mac Mini was good for a few years. My quad core was my studio mainstay right up to last week (when the iMac Pro arrived (yes, I know, more money than sense but it is beautiful). The duo cores now just don't really cut it, sadly.

I considered getting a Mac Pro as that could just drop in as a replacement for the Mini in my setup with a fair bit more power, but t is a 5 year old design that is still pricey and the only refurb had just 256MB of SSD. I considered the Macbook Pro too but as I've said elsewhere I worry about the way Apple have sacrificed so much to crowd a pro-spec machine into such a ridiculously small form factor. So I was heading towards an iMac anyway, having owned a 2009 model in the past. They are good machines and very, very quiet.

Do yourself a favour and get a 27" iMac - sell the kids if you have to and who needs a house anyway? The screen (which is the same as the one on my iMac Pro) is a thing of wonder and beauty.

CC

Ooooh you got the iMac Pro very nice!!! What's the spec on yours. I agree on the 27inch as well plus the RAM is upgradeable on those.

I haven't got an iMac yet for the precise reason mentioned above, 2018 ones will be out with updgraded innards as will apparently an upgraded Mac Mini...

EDIT : to make yourself feel better about the iMac Pro, someone on Youtube specced a PC with the same components (Xeon, 5k screen, etc) and the price was actually comparable to the iMac Pro.
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:49 pm

Oh I don't feel bad :)

I went for the basic (!) model: Xeon 8-core 3.2GHz processor, 32GB of 2666MHz ECC RAM, Vega 56 graphics card (with 8GB of memory in its own right), 1TB SSD, more ports than you can shake a stick at and of course that lovely screen. So far as I'm concerned this machine's going to be around for a long time and it's as future-proof as any all-in-one will ever be.

CC

PS
TheLegit wrote:I agree on the 27inch as well plus the RAM is upgradeable on those.

Good point to make to the OP.
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby Freelance Subversive » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:12 pm

ConcertinaChap wrote:
TheLegit wrote:I agree on the 27inch as well plus the RAM is upgradeable on those.

Good point to make to the OP.

RAM is expandable also up to 32GB on the best spec'd 21". The only differences between that and the baseline 27" are display size, greater pixel count/brightness and a slightly improved graphics chip.
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby Agharta » Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:08 am

Freelance Subversive wrote:
ConcertinaChap wrote:
TheLegit wrote:I agree on the 27inch as well plus the RAM is upgradeable on those.
Good point to make to the OP.
RAM is expandable also up to 32GB on the best spec'd 21".
There is a difference in that the 27" has a nice easy access cover for the RAM whereas with the 21" you have to disassemble it somewhat.
So if you want 32GB and don't want to remove the glued together 21" chassis you have to pony up for Apple's inflated RAM upgrades.
For ~£250 less you can get the 27" with a slightly better spec but only 8GB but as 32GB RAM is £275 at retail and less if you shop around the upgraded screen is basically free, plus it can be upgraded to 64GB.
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby Freelance Subversive » Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:04 am

You have saved me a terrible hassle. If they don't solder the memory, they get you another way.
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby Dave B » Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:58 am

Friends new iMac arrived yesterday and I happened to ask about it. Apparently, she can't hear a thing when it's on. That's not very scientific but it's reassuring. Mainly, she's freaked out at how damn fast and slick it comes to life ... ;)
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:21 pm

I know that feeling :)

One bit of advice from our local Apple dealer/repairer. If doing the upgrade yourself then avoid Crucial RAM. They have a very poor opinion of it and recommended Kingston RAM. I can only say that during the time I had Crucial RAM in my Mac Mini I had three logic board failures. Might have been co-incidence, of course.

Anybody want to buy 16 Gig of Crucial RAM?

CC
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby job » Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:42 pm

ConcertinaChap wrote:One bit of advice from our local Apple dealer/repairer. If doing the upgrade yourself then avoid Crucial RAM. They have a very poor opinion of it and recommended Kingston RAM.

Interesting, considering that Apple have mostly used Samsung and SK Hynix in their devices from what i've noticed. I put Crucial/Micron in mine for as long as i used Apple computers, but that's 8 years ago now so might not have been worth mentioning :beamup:
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby TheLegit » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:33 pm

ConcertinaChap wrote:Oh I don't feel bad :)

I went for the basic (!) model: Xeon 8-core 3.2GHz processor, 32GB of 2666MHz ECC RAM, Vega 56 graphics card (with 8GB of memory in its own right), 1TB SSD, more ports than you can shake a stick at and of course that lovely screen. So far as I'm concerned this machine's going to be around for a long time and it's as future-proof as any all-in-one will ever be.

CC

PS
TheLegit wrote:I agree on the 27inch as well plus the RAM is upgradeable on those.

Good point to make to the OP.

Yeah that will be epically powerful, did you get the trackpad and mouse together?
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby TheLegit » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:35 pm

Agharta wrote:
Freelance Subversive wrote:
ConcertinaChap wrote:
TheLegit wrote:I agree on the 27inch as well plus the RAM is upgradeable on those.
Good point to make to the OP.
RAM is expandable also up to 32GB on the best spec'd 21".
There is a difference in that the 27" has a nice easy access cover for the RAM whereas with the 21" you have to disassemble it somewhat.
So if you want 32GB and don't want to remove the glued together 21" chassis you have to pony up for Apple's inflated RAM upgrades.
For ~£250 less you can get the 27" with a slightly better spec but only 8GB but as 32GB RAM is £275 at retail and less if you shop around the upgraded screen is basically free, plus it can be upgraded to 64GB.

Yeah it’s a matter of popping the back cover off and slotting it in. You can get the lowest amount of RAM Apple offers and save yourself some cash sticking your own in as Apple seem seriously extortionate RAM wise.

Any reason for that by the way ?
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Re: Thoughts on a New iMac

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:03 pm

TheLegit wrote:Yeah that will be epically powerful, did you get the trackpad and mouse together?

I already have a trackpad (mk 1, of course) and adding a mk 2 trackpad to the package converted it to a non-standard order, so that instead of arriving the next day it would have arrived in mid August. So I didn't.

I really like the keyboard, I have to say. The mouse is just a magic mouse with all it's failings, just in black. Never been that fond of them, TBH, MS and Dell mice are much better than any mouse Apple has ever made. However I did find a way to reduce the sideways jitter problem which does improve the usability of the thing. Open a terminal window and do:

defaults write com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothMultitouch.mouse MouseHorizontalScroll -bool NO

Then turn the mouse off and on. Much improved mouse results.

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