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Anyone using current iMac?

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Anyone using current iMac?

Postby zenguitar » Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:20 pm

I'm thinking about pulling the trigger on a 21.5" iMac.

Deciding to upgrade to 16Gb of RAM and the 256Gb SSD was nice and easy; plenty of sockets available to attach cheaper spinning-rust storage.

Where am uncertain is deciding between the processor options. In the short term the 3.4GHz 4 core i5 should be plenty good enough, I'm never going to be handling massive track counts and don't forsee using many CPU intensive plug-ins (and all of the DAWs I might use have track freezing options).

But, the upgrade to the 3.6GHz core i7 is £180 and I can't help wondering whether it's worth biting the bullet for extra benefits in the long term.

Does anyone have first hand experience/knowledge to help me make my mind up? I can afford both options, but this is going to be a one off purchase that will have to last for a good 5 years or more and there are other itches begging to be scratched on my wish list.

Just trying to decide if the i7 is worth the 9.5% price premium. I know it's ultimately my call, but I would value some informed opinions to help me make that call.

Thank you

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby Jumpeyspyder » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:38 am

Hi Zen,

I would would advise the i7 it's more powerful and will help your mac last longer.
But more importantly, it also has a more powerful graphics card (Radeon Pro 555) which has its own dedicated memory (4GB of VRAM).

I believe the intel iris borrows system memory and this can impact on the memory usage and speed for the system.

Hopefully desmond will be here shortly to verify / refute this :)

Also looks like i7 has 4k display which is a nice extra :)
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby zenguitar » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:47 am

Thanks Jumpy :)

Both appear to have the same display, and you have carefully pointed out everything that is making me consider the i7.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:30 am

The counter argument is DAWs have pretty low graphics requirements and unless you're going to be doing heavy graphics work in something else or play games (surely no-one here plays games!) then you'll likely never notice the difference. However I've always been an advocate of buying the most powerful machine you can reasonably afford. There is some comfort in knowing insufficient grunt is not going to an issue with your machine for some time to come.

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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby desmond » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:52 am

I'd stretch to the i7 if you can. You'll get more mileage out of the machine...
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby Rich Hanson » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:54 am

Just to clarify that all but the very base i5 iMacs have Radeon graphics chips. I've got the 3.0GHz quad core i5 Retina and that is more than up to the job for me, although I'm not exactly a power user, though.

(My old 2012 basic MacBook is still up to most of what I ask of it too)
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby zenguitar » Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:15 pm

Thanks guys, all really helpful. :clap:

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby 6120 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:38 pm

I bought a 2017 27" iMac with a 3.5Ghz i5, 40GB ram (got 32GB ram from Scan after, not Apples), 1Tb internal SSD, and the Radeon Pro 575 4GB video card earlier this year and have been very pleased with it so far.
I did a fair bit of research to start with as I also have a 2016 MBP that I was using as my main music computer but it was beginning to get impractical (overheating, not connecting to my external monitor, loads of USB hubs, etc.) so I decided on the new iMacs especially as they got good reviews.
I do a lot of acoustic guitar recording and I'd read that the i7 can start spinning the fan earlier than the i5 so went for that instead of the higher spec (also cheaper) and its dead quiet.
Probably because of the 1Tb ssd and 40GB ram I'm getting really good performance and really haven't noticed any issues even with loads of plugins on lots of tracks (only did it as an experiment, I try and keep plugins to a minimum).
The other features it's got is an integrated SDXC card reader that I use for iTunes, two Thunderbolt 3 ports that I connect an external ssd in a USB-C case to, and four USB3 s1 ports for everything else.
I've been trying to keep things pretty simple after years of trying all sorts of preamps and fx and it's working pretty ok at the moment - fingers crossed.
Cheers,
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby zenguitar » Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:15 am

Thanks again.

You know you are close to pulling the trigger when you are putting external hard drives, audio and MIDI interfaces in your basket at Scan ;)

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby zenguitar » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:17 am

Trigger pulled :)

One i7 iMac due for collection in a week or so :)

Thanks for all the encouraging feedback :thumbup:

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby awjoe » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:09 am

I pulled my own trigger this week over where I am. I went from a spinning drive to an SSD, from i3 to i5 and from 8 Gigs of RAM to16 Gigs of RAM. I want better performance than I've got, but I'm a minimalist, so my upgrades were modest. I'm really interested to see if in 5 years I'll wish I'd gone large. I mean, I'm even interested to see if both the computer and I are still extant in five years. :D
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:04 am

:)

The SSD alone will give you an amazing speed up. You don't realise until you see it how much difference getting rid of the spinning rust makes.

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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby 6120 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:01 pm

What's been really good is having all your processing power, storage, and monitor in one unit without having loads of cables and kit all over the place that I used to have for the previous 20 years - I'm sure you'll find I far more convenient!
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby zenguitar » Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:07 am

Bullet well and truly bitten :D

On Tuesday I visited the local Apple Store to collect my 21.5" iMac with i7 CPU, 8Gb RAM, and 256Gb SSD. On the way to the store I picked up 2 Gb external drive for Time Machine back-ups (and a rear windscreen wiper blade for the car too, if you must ask).

Tuesday evening was spent getting up and running. Disappointed to discover that Time Machine hogged the entire external drive, but over a pint or 3 of cider in my local browsing wi-fi on my iPad I discovered how to partition the Time Machine drive with a healthy 0.5 Gb portion for Time Machine and 1.5Gb for future downloads of libraries.

Wednesday dawned to a courier delivery from our friends at Scan. Another 2Gb external hard drive for projects and general storage, an Audient iD14 audio interface and an iConnectivity iConnectMIDI4+ MIDI interface.

Slowly but surely learning the 'Apple Way' to go about things; and in the process resisting the temptation to download the Mac versions of familiar Windows programs.

All in all, no regrets, I wish I could have made the leap years ago. But there are a few frustrations that are more to do with the times than with Apple. Essentially, my iPad is full of documents and manuals that are all great at telling me how to do things but utterly failing to explain things from 1st principles. I get that an 'alias' is 'a thing' when I try to move/copy a drive/folder/file (I learnt the hard way) but try going to Apple Support or Google and searching for 'OS X Alias' and seeing if you can find anything of use!!!

Why can't I find a plain English explanation of Apple Keychain? I I gather it is 'a good thing' and when I was signing up to register accounts for my new hardware/software it offered me secure passwords I took the chance and went with that option and everything works. But no one will talk to me as an intelligent adult, I am expected to blindly take everything on trust.

Anyway...

GarageBand. It takes bloody hours to download the additional library content!!.

Finally got a decent system to use my Korg Vintage Analogue and Vintage Digital soft synths, and am advised that they will no longer be supported beyond High Sierra. :headbang:

Was planning to stick to Reaper and Harrison Mixbus, but when you see how much soft synth and modelling you get from Logic Pro X it is sorely tempting to explore GarageBand further and buy. Reaper is a genuine bargain, but when you look at all you get with Logic it's hard to dispute that it's just as good value for money.

Exploring the Apple universe is hard work, but rewarding. Sold on the Magic Mouse :)

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby Jumpeyspyder » Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:55 am

Apple Keychain :-

Remembers passwords for stuff like wifi, website etc)
The folder where these are stored locally is located in:-

/Users/your username/Library/Keychains/

(It is also possibly to have an Icloud keychain and have passwords synced between apple devices)

Should you ever need to look at the keychain you can use an app in /Applications/Utilities/Keychain Access

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/keychain-access/what-is-keychain-access-kyca1083/mac
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby desmond » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:11 am

zenguitar wrote:Slowly but surely learning the 'Apple Way' to go about things;

Yep. And it takes a little while to "unlearn" the Windows way.

zenguitar wrote:I get that an 'alias' is 'a thing' when I try to move/copy a drive/folder/file (I learnt the hard way) but try going to Apple Support or Google and searching for 'OS X Alias' and seeing if you can find anything of use!!!

Sure. Some of these things come from the Mac legacy, some from Unix. Try explaining to a Mac person what a "Registry" is, and you'll get similar blank looks. You know what you know, and when you move elsewhere, you don't know what you don't know yet. I always look at this as an opportunity to update knowledge and find new and better solutions to things, although it does take a little effort as you're doing more problem solving than usual for a while.

zenguitar wrote:Finally got a decent system to use my Korg Vintage Analogue and Vintage Digital soft synths, and am advised that they will no longer be supported beyond High Sierra. :headbang:

Korg teased GUI updates and more a year ago but so far nothing. But we might see updates, and if so, I expect the system requirements might change a bit.

zenguitar wrote:Sold on the Magic Mouse :)

Ugh! Hate that thing. I've hated *all* Apple mice I've ever come into contact with...
(the round puck one was the absolute worst, though..)

Welcome! :clap:
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby zenguitar » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:11 am

Thanks guys.

I am getting there :)

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby nathanscribe » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:53 am

If you're the type who likes a reference book on the desk while you get used to things, I've found the Missing Manual series from O'Reilly to be pretty decent.
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby ManFromGlass » Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:40 pm

Congrats, Andy.
I switched from the Atari to Mac so I've been Mac-based for awhile. I'm still learning tips and tricks and things to avoid doing. I try to avoid upgrading the OS before doing research to see if I lose the ability to use certain plugins or hardware. Apple can be pretty sneaky for getting upgrades onto your machine. I assume in the Windows world there were programs that were pretty sneaky about installing "extras" and there is some of that in Mac- land so I installed Little Snitch. I am not super tech minded but I have heard Time Machine will not reinstall certain OS files so I keep a clone of my boot drive just in case. Saved my bacon once. Maybe the more tech minded folks can chime in on this.
Either way there is loads of creative fun in your future!
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Re: Anyone using current iMac?

Postby desmond » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:04 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:Apple can be pretty sneaky for getting upgrades onto your machine.

Nothing ever gets installed on my machine without my explicit say so. If you don't want automatic updates (which is a convenience feature for the people who don't want to be bothered with having to keep up to date with security patches etc), turn them off.

ManFromGlass wrote:I assume in the Windows world there were programs that were pretty sneaky about installing "extras" and there is some of that in Mac- land so I installed Little Snitch.

Little Snitch is more about letting you monitor and control the outgoing traffic on your machine. It's useful to see what's going on and letting you stop something that looks suspicious, but is not what I'd consider a necessary task in general.

ManFromGlass wrote:I am not super tech minded but I have heard Time Machine will not reinstall certain OS files so I keep a clone of my boot drive just in case. Saved my bacon once. Maybe the more tech minded folks can chime in on this.

Yep, my backup strategies include regularly cloning my boot drive (and second internal drive on my MBP) to image files on another drive.
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