New PC - iMac 27” Retina 5K Advice

retiredfromlife

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I am looking to purchase a desktop computer to try and learn a bit more about post processing. All my life I have used windows but I am considering the iMac 27” Retina 5K as the other half prefers Mac gear.

The version we are looking at is the 2019 model presumably but I don't know how to check this before purchasing.
It comes with 2TB Fusion drive and 8 gig ram. I gather I can upgrade the ram myself later.

Anyone use one of these? If you do could you give me your thoughts for photo editing and general use.
I have many windows utilities and not sure if one can get versions for Mac, so will probably keep the windows machine.

I do have a license for an old version of On1 that I have never actually installed so I will be using that first. The only other photo software I will probably install is Olympus workspace. Does the updating of Olympus bodies and lenses work ok via Mac. I seem to remember a few years ago some people were have issues with Mac and undating their Olympus hardware.

We would also get some sort of external storage since you cant add extra drives to Mac PC's.
Any recommendations? I would like something that had mirrored disks, but just plain disks [jbods] probably formatted to Fat 32 so I can swap between windows and Mac machines easily. I done want any raid disks that require special drivers and or cards to limit liability should the case or card fail.

Any thoughts on these iMac 27” Retina 5K's would be appreciated. Good and bad.
 

bassman

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I have a 27” iMac 5k. I ordered it with 8G memory and added 32G from OWC. Installation was easy.

The internal SSD holds the system and other stuff that works much better on the primary disk, like the local Dropbox copy. Also my general data, like Quicken, bank statements, etc.

I use a pair of 2TB SSDs in a four bay, Thunderbold 3 enclosure from OWC. Like you, I wanted simplicity so just jbod. They hold my ~2.5TB Lightroom environment, mostly the image files of course. But also the catalog. Previews, etc.

Onsite backups to another OWC T3 enclosure, this one with 4 x 6TB spinning disks. Two copies: one with CCC, and one with Time Machine. Offsite backup to Dropbox.

I’m a happy camper.
 
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I used Windows PCs since Windows 3.1.

Bought a Macbook just over a year ago. There are quirks that I had to get used to such as 'ejecting' USB devices and the odd way in which files are organised, but otherwise, it's been the most reliable computer I've ever used and the easiest to network. Photoshop flies on it compared to my similarly specced PC.
 

retiredfromlife

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I have a 27” iMac 5k. I ordered it with 8G memory and added 32G from OWC. Installation was easy.

The internal SSD holds the system and other stuff that works much better on the primary disk, like the local Dropbox copy. Also my general data, like Quicken, bank statements, etc.

I use a pair of 2TB SSDs in a four bay, Thunderbold 3 enclosure from OWC. Like you, I wanted simplicity so just jbod. They hold my ~2.5TB Lightroom environment, mostly the image files of course. But also the catalog. Previews, etc.

Onsite backups to another OWC T3 enclosure, this one with 4 x 6TB spinning disks. Two copies: one with CCC, and one with Time Machine. Offsite backup to Dropbox.

I’m a happy camper.
Thanks for the reply, I will look into those OWC thunderbolt enclosures. For some reason thunderbolt has not really taken off with the people I know with macs. They are still using USB like us windows users.
 

retiredfromlife

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I used Windows PCs since Windows 3.1.

Bought a Macbook just over a year ago. There are quirks that I had to get used to such as 'ejecting' USB devices and the odd way in which files are organised, but otherwise, it's been the most reliable computer I've ever used and the easiest to network. Photoshop flies on it compared to my similarly specced PC.
Yes been reading about the fie system and cant get my head around it yet.
Same here for windows, and before that CPM and various dos versions.

Can you organise your files the same as windows or i sit like a ipad where most stuff is hidden?
I should look into third party file managers as well like Paragon NTFS for Mac
 

Bushboy

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Can’t answer your questions, but my mate has one of these. We dropped some of my photos into it via USB flash drive. My oath, I could not believe how good they looked. Very jealous. Made my 13” MacBook Pro look lame.
Just do it. You’re other half is waiting...
 
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Yes been reading about the fie system and cant get my head around it yet.
Same here for windows, and before that CPM and various dos versions.

Can you organise your files the same as windows or i sit like a ipad where most stuff is hidden?
I should look into third party file managers as well like Paragon NTFS for Mac
It's just different, and you have to get used to it.

Explorer's equivalent is Finder. With Explorer, you can access the file structure from C: downwards, whereas with MAC OS, you get your applications in one folder, desktop in another, documents in another etc etc. Pictures and music are catalogued separately.

Folders may be created in exactly the same way as a PC (mine are littered with subfolders and files in the same thoroughly disorganised was as I've always worked), but you cannot easily create them anywhere on the drive that takes your fancy - many of the important things that you can break are hidden away.

It's a none issue.

Search works much faster than on a PC if you've lost something. There is no way I'd be tempted back to a PC.

Screenshot 2020-01-26 at 11.02.37.png
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I've got GAS for a 27" iMac 5K now.
 
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retiredfromlife

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It's just different, and you have to get used to it.

Explorer's equivalent is Finder. With Explorer, you can access the file structure from C: downwards, whereas with MAC OS, you get your applications in one folder, desktop in another, documents in another etc etc. Pictures and music are catalogued separately.

Folders may be created in exactly the same way as a PC (mine are littered with subfolders and files in the same thoroughly disorganised was as I've always worked), but you cannot easily create them anywhere on the drive that takes your fancy - many of the important things that you can break are hidden away.

It's a none issue.

Search works much faster than on a PC if you've lost something. There is no way I'd be tempted back to a PC.

View attachment 798763

I've got GAS for a 27" iMac 5K now.
Yes looks different.
I will be getting an external drive to store all my files, i hope i can point all the applications to an external drive easily, and create my file structure on the external drive. I like to know where everything is
Definately will be a learning curve
 
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Yes looks different.
I will be getting an external drive to store all my files, i hope i can point all the applications to an external drive easily, and create my file structure on the external drive. I like to know where everything is
Definately will be a learning curve
Yes you can.

Just remember to go to Finder and eject your external drives before pulling the cables out (or SD cards for that matter). Macs get cross if you don't do that.
 

Growltiger

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You seem to be looking at the bottom end. The Fusion drives are barely faster than a normal rotating drive. So you should think about paying more and getting an SSD. Otherwise you may be disappointed by its performance. Don't get an SSD that is too small.

8GB may well be OK but is at the bottom end. 16GB would be better for the longer term. It depends how long before you plan to replace it. Be careful about which model year you buy as I know they have put in restrictions at some point that prevent upgrades.

Don't forget you need backups. Since the computer is not going to have a large enough drive to hold your data and you will be using an external drive for that, you will need to buy at least one more external drive so you can backup your data.

Think about spending more and getting a well specified system that you will be happy with.
 

Mike G

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My advice is to let Apple up the memory, I went to 16GB. I also bought a 4GB external drive, in my case a La Cie Porsche Design drive which acts as a Time Machine and an extra hard drive. I partitioned it to 2GB each.
And of course Time Machine automatically backs up the system regularly!
You should not need a DVD drive, unless of course you want one.
Enjoy.:thumbup:
 

Darmok N Jalad

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Yes, you don’t want a fusion drive, go with all solid state storage. It’s the most significant upgrade that will help with speed, especially working with large RAW files. Upgrading the RAM yourself is a big money saver and isn’t hard, you just want to make sure you get the right RAM. External storage is another matter, you can go with regular USB 3.0 all the way up to a TB3 enclosure.

You’ll love the 5K display. It really adds to the iMac’s value, as it’s big, color accurate, and has a wide gamut. It’s great for photo editing.
 

Growltiger

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... Upgrading the RAM yourself is a big money saver and isn’t hard, you just want to make sure you get the right RAM. ...
Can you still do this yourself? I thought they had started making it impossible? Or is that just in some other models?
 

Darmok N Jalad

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Can you still do this yourself? I thought they had started making it impossible? Or is that just in some other models?
The 21.5” models use soldered RAM, so there is no upgrading there. However, the 27” model has a RAM door. It takes maybe 10 minutes to add RAM. The hardest part is just making sure you get the correct type, but even that is outlined here:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201191#27inch2019
 

threeOh

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I used Mac's since '84. Windows as well for business. Have used iMac's a few times. Now mini's for desktops.

A few comments:
Try to upgrade from Fusion. See what’s available in Apple's refurb shop as it’s a safe way to get more for your money.

Before you buy, see what it takes to upgrade ram in whatever Mac you get (iFixIt). You save a lot of money installing your own ram. But it’s not always a piece of cake. Don’t know what the new iMac’s are like. The old ones were close to painful.

I've used both OWC and Startech Thunderbolt 2.5” enclosures. Cost effective and excellent. Overkill for backups or serving a/v.
 

ralf-11

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I agree with most of the above. I also have a 27” iMac 5k. I ordered it with 8G memory and added 32G from OWC. Installation was easy. Mine has the 3TB Fusion drive but you should get all SSD. It can be added on via Th-bolt too.

For LR get the fastest CPU you can, and don't worry about a fast GPU as Adobe is too lazy to program for a good GPU.

You want a HDD for backup - it can a mech. platter drive. Mac has its own backup facility. keep a copy offsite too.

Macs are essentially a shell on top of UNIX so you are getting a very powerful OS.

I moved away from Windows in frustration - Apple is FAR from perfect but IMIO worth the extra $$$.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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I will say Apple has the backup scheme worked out really well. Time machine is great at how it works in the background, so as long as you have some cheap external storage, there’s not much to worry about. A conventional backup is always good, too. I’ve had Macs, Windows machines, and even gone Linux for spells. They all have pros and cons, but my main beef with Apple is the lack of control over hardware. I was able to build an 8C/16T 16GB machine for about $500. Hard to even get such a thing from Apple, and if you do, you’ll pay dearly for it.

One bit of advice for OP, check the Apple refurb store. You’ll save money on a machine that will look and act as new, and you still get the same warranty coverage. You just have to check back regularly for your preferred configuration, as the stock comes and goes by the hour.
 

Vol375

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I just bought a 2019 iMac 27”. I shopped their refurbished site for a few weeks until I found what I wanted. I’d go for the SSD and forget the fusion. I’d rather have the 512 ssd than the 3 gb fusion. Your going to be using external drives anyway.
Upgrade the memory yourself. It’s too easy and way cheaper.
 
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