1 2 Previous Next 28 Replies Latest reply: Mar 30, 2013 8:37 PM by MichelPM
The Bass Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

It's looking like it's time to upgrade from my '08 22 inch Imac.    Wondering what the real world differences are between the maxxed out mid 2011 (3.4 Ghz i7) and a brand new maxxed out imac, in terms of speed/power, etc.

 

I'll be using this mainly for video production related tasks - editing video, occasionally burning discs, motion graphics, animation (using Anime Studio), and a few others things.

 

The places I really see my current machine struggling are rendering times in FCP, or any program, "real time" playback in same (FCP, After Effects, Motion, Anime Studio). Probably related to the same inadequacies.

 

So given that many things on the Mid 2011s and newest Imacs are about the same/comparable, and then I could likely get a refurb mid 2011 for about $1000 less than a maxed late 2012, how much better in reality is a new one?    What is the deal with the SSD/Fusion Drive/Flash storage--would they be useful to me and make a huge difference?   Any other considerations?

 

I'm well aware of the missing FW800 and optical drive on the new one which is another reason an older one is somewhat appealing.

  • 1. Re: latest and greatest imac or slightly less late and great imac?
    John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (36,415 points)

    The Bass wrote:

     

    ... how much better in reality is a new one?

     

    About this much: http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks

     

    If you want to burn discs on occasion, it seems to me this is no contest. Get the refurbished 2011 - if you can find one. The last time I checked Apple's store, the selection was sparse.

     

    I like the new iMacs and I like Fusion Drive, but the earlier models are more easily repaired. If you need to replace its internal hard disk for example, replacement drives are plentiful and inexpensive. I do not know what one's options are if the Fusion Drive needs to be replaced.

     

    There is no question the new iMacs are faster, but in my opinion the new ones do not represent a quantum improvement over last year's models. When Apple introduces desktop Macs with MacBook Air - style all-flash storage at a reasonable price, I'll buy.

  • 2. Re: latest and greatest imac or slightly less late and great imac?
    crh24 Level 3 Level 3 (920 points)

    John Galt wrote:

    <omitted>

     

    There is no question the new iMacs are faster, but in my opinion the new ones do not represent a quantum improvement over last year's models. When Apple introduces desktop Macs with MacBook Air - style all-flash storage at a reasonable price, I'll buy.

    I have to totally agree with you, John.  It took me a long time to decide upon upgrading my refurbished mid-2010 27" i7 to the new 27" iMac.  For me the deciding factors were:

     

    1.  I did not need the CD/DVD drive.  I never use the one in my current iMac. When I need to read/write a CD/DVD--which is only a couple of times a year--I use an external.

     

    2.  I really don't need the audio line in as I already have an external USB audio input device.

     

    3.  I really like the idea of the reduced glare and reduced weight in the new 27".

     

    4.  I wanted the fusion drive and to move up to more local storage space.  With 1TB I need to put most of my data on external drives of the system slows down due to lack of space.

     

    5.  I wanted to display my video via the Apple TV.

     

    6.  I wanted to upgrade my Graphics card.

     

    Most of those would be a non-issue if I had a top of the line 2011 iMac and I would have been hard pressed to come up with a totally valid reason to upgrade.  The decision to upgrade from the mid-2010 refurb wasn't easy but there were enough positive changes for me to upgrade.  OMMV.

     

    My new 27" shipped yesterday so I'll soon know if I made a good choice.  In the meantime I'll still enjoy my mid-2010 even when the new one arrives.

  • 3. Re: latest and greatest imac or slightly less late and great imac?
    The Bass Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks. I should have mentioned that if the 2012 proved to be substantially more superawesome than the 2011, I'd be willing to buy the external DVD drive and upcoming T-bolt breakout box with all the firewire/etc. connections. 

    Looking at that benchmark site, I did the math (rather my calculator did) and I see that the 2012 is 1.08x more. . .something (whatever that score indicates) than the 2011. If you guys agree with that, that is certainly not much.  If the new Fusion whatsis and the Flash storage whozits don't make a huge difference, 2011 sounds pretty durn good.

  • 4. Re: latest and greatest imac or slightly less late and great imac?
    John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (36,415 points)

    The Geekbench results won't tell the entire story, since much of what you do will seem quicker due to Fusion Drive. The processor-intensive tasks that you require (FCP etc) will be faster than the 2011 models, but probably by the fractional amount that you describe.

     

    At present there are no refurbished 2011 iMacs available on Apple's website. I think they will be popular.

  • 5. Re: latest and greatest imac or slightly less late and great imac?
    The Bass Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Wow. There were two 3.4 i7s yesterday.  They seem to pop up frequently.   Anyone know how often the site is refreshed? Is someone there 24/7 updating as they come in, or is it once a day, every couple days. . .?

     

    Anyway, what will be/seem faster with the fusion?

  • 6. Re: latest and greatest imac or slightly less late and great imac?
    John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (36,415 points)

    Anyone know how often the site is refreshed?

     

    Not often enough

     

    Anyway, what will be/seem faster with the fusion?

     

    Boot time, and any disk-intensive activity.

  • 7. Re: latest and greatest imac or slightly less late and great imac?
    The Bass Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    At the risk of sounding like ive never used a computer before, what are some disk intensive activities as they relate to my above-stated intended use for the machine?

     

    As for boot time...i cant imagine it much faster. 15-30 seconds right now with the '08 machine.

  • 8. Re: latest and greatest imac or slightly less late and great imac?
    The Bass Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Ok, looking at refurb 2011s:

     

    How important is/what are the advanages of the 256 GB SSD drive?

     

    And same for the optional 2 GB of  GDDR5 memory in the video card vs the stock 1 GB? Where does this come into play/when would I miss the extra gig?

     

    These aren't things that, if not included and later desired, could be added later, correct? Says the upgrades are available through online store.

  • 9. Re: latest and greatest imac or slightly less late and great imac?
    digibudII Level 2 Level 2 (415 points)

    I just recently got a refurb iMac so I come from that perspective.

     

    The biggest advantage to SSD is that they are fast. It's an SSD. No moving parts. No spindle. No drive speed. Once you are used to having your system folder and commonly used information residing on an SSD, you'll never want to boot from an HD again.

     

    I'm particularly glad I did. I don't particularly want a hard drive internally. ESPECIALLY with the new imac design.  Heating gun to get the glass off? And if you want a pure SSD solution, it starts at 756 or something like that. Why??  I don't need to pay for more than a 256 for a boot drive. And someday I may want to move to 750 or maybe a terabyte or more will be afforable in two or three years. I'll be able to open my 2011 iMac and upgrade my SSD. Not simple, but more doable than with a 2012. So the refurb worked for me very well. I even got 8GB RAM and the 2GB vid card on the i7 3.4GHz 27" model in spite of ordering 4GB ram and the 1GB vid card.  All of my storage is firewire currently. Thunderbolt still has not arrived in enclosures that I need.

          The 2GB vid card would be particularly useful for some things like 3D modeling and such. I'll leave a list to others but in general, if you don't know you don't have to worry about it .  (I'm sure 5 min on a web search will give a list of programs and types of programs that the video cards make best of use of )

          If you order the new imac then I'd for sure opt for the hybrid drive unless you can afford the SSD drive.

          For refurbs, check daily. They are often up for a few hours and then gone and they come and go in just a few flavors...21 or 27 with either SSD or Hard Drive. All are quoted with 4GB ram and 1GB vid card but it turns out it's a crap shoot as to whether or not you get a free upgrade. Three different orders recently resulted in three different configurations being delivered. You always get what is advertised or better.

        Uprading to an SSD later if you only get the bare drive will be possible for old and new alike but the new iMacs will be very difficult to deal with from what I've seen. Even the 2011 upgrades are quite a challenge. Doable but not simple.

  • 10. Re: latest and greatest imac or slightly less late and great imac?
    The Bass Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Shoot. . .I'd pay and take it to the Apple Store or similar and have it done by a pro if I upgraded something down the line.  I'm not deceiving myself that I'm going to be able to do it myself with out destroying something.

     

    I mean, do people put all their apps on the SSD? FCP, After Effects, etc. etc. or just a few things? How are they commonly used? Especially with such a low capacity (relatively speaking) as 256?  

     

    what of the rumors that SSD technology is not quite there yet. . .heard those drives were somewhat unstable and prone to failure.  Is that all a thing of the past (in as much as any drive is prone to failure that is)?  Not that you wouldn't back up regularly, but should I cross my fingers every time I leave the house and hope not to find a nonfunctional slag heap on my desk when I return?

     

    It's about a $260 difference between the SSD refurbs and not.  I'm guess if it's a crapshoot, then the refurb with the SSD is more likely to be the one with the suprise extra gig in the graphics card.

  • 11. Re: latest and greatest imac or slightly less late and great imac?
    John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (36,415 points)

    Once you are used to having your system folder and commonly used information residing on an SSD, you'll never want to boot from an HD again.

     

    Exactly.

    what of the rumors that SSD technology is not quite there yet. . .heard those drives were somewhat unstable and prone to failure. 

     

    I think it is too soon to tell. SSDs have a finite number of write / erase cycles but there is no reason to consider them "unstable".

     

    Given the fact that HDDs are destined for certain mechanical failure at some point in their lives, I think the two technologies must be compared in that context. If you do that SSDs are almost certain to be superior. Their only disadvantage is higher cost.

  • 12. Re: latest and greatest imac or slightly less late and great imac?
    The Bass Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, guess that seals it; SSD it is.  One more thing, when you say "commonly used information" (that you keep on your SSD), what do you mean?  Sorry if that's basically the same question.  Just wondering how one maximizes the usefulness of the thing. . .keeping apps on there or other stuff.

  • 13. Re: latest and greatest imac or slightly less late and great imac?
    John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (36,415 points)

    If you have an SSD it makes sense to load OS X on it. The entire Mac OS and its basic set of apps does not occupy much space anyway (10 GB or so). Since the OS needs to be loaded when you boot your Mac it will boot faster than if it were on a HD. The SSD will also help when it loads additional system components as required, as well as when you run apps that need those components.

     

    Everything else that does not fit can go on the slower HD. Such files are often very large (movies, music, downloaded files etc) but they are not as frequently accessed, so cheap storage is more important than speed.

     

    If the SSD is large enough to hold everything then obviously do that.

  • 14. Re: latest and greatest imac or slightly less late and great imac?
    The Bass Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks. Yeah, I would use it for the "essentials" - programs etc. Keep all that other stuff on the regular HD, I guess. Don't real keep music/movies etc. except as they pertain to video production/filmmaking (e.g. finished final cuts of movies/video projects, music for those, music collections, etc.). Conventional wisdom has always been to keep that on a separate drive than the one the program using that media is on (FCP and actual project files would go on your main drive for instance, project media on external) so no worries there.

     

    I'll try to discipline myself to make that a reality and not succumb to laziness.

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