1. greyhoundrick's Avatar

    I am a serious photographer hobbyist and would like to have your recommendation. I currently have a 2009 MacBook Pro and use Photoshop CS6 on a daily basis. I am going to be purchasing a new iMac but can't decide which configuration to get. Im hoping you can help me.

    Here is my situation:

    I am on a budget but am willing to spend extra money if the difference in choice(s) would be worth the added performance.

    Screen size is not that important to me in that a 21" screen would work great for me.

    My question is that i can't decide on whether to get the 21" or the 27" machine. Also, can i get by with an i5 processor and 16 GIG of RAM? Like i said, i will be using this machine for Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CC and rarely use more than one application at a time. I do not do any gaming or video editing.

    I would like to think that 16GIG of RAM will do for me but worry that there may be a need for 32 GIG of RAM in the future which would not be available in the 21" version. However, maybe 16 GIG would be enough. Not sure (?)

    Please let me know your thoughts. Also, would a MacBook Pro 15" Retina be a good option with a Thunderbolt Display? How would that compare to an iMac?

    Sorry for all of the questions. Any insight you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

    best to you,

    02-25-2014 07:41 AM
  2. warcraftWidow's Avatar
    16GB should be enough RAM but the 21" is not user-upgradeable. So the 27" would give more flexibility to upgrade the RAM in the future. An i5 processor should be sufficient. And since you do a lot of Photoshop you may think that 21" is enough but I'm guessing that once you tried 27" you wouldn't want to go back.
    A rMBP and Thunderbolt Display would only be better if you traveled a lot and needed to take the laptop with you. If you primarily use it in one location, the iMac will be better.
    greyhoundrick likes this.
    02-25-2014 08:24 AM
  3. greyhoundrick's Avatar
    Thanks so much Karen! A couple of more questions….I forgot to mention in my original post that the files i use in photoshop are very large TIFF files that are up to 2 GIG sometimes. However, my 2009 MBP seems to handle them pretty well with only 8gb ram.

    Would a Thunderbolt display hooked up to an i7 15" MBPR perform as well as an iMac in terms of display IQ?

    thanks again for your help!

    best to you,

    02-25-2014 07:39 PM
  4. warcraftWidow's Avatar
    Not entirely sure as I don't use photoshop much. But unless you get the top end 15" rMBP, you will have an on board graphics card not a discrete graphics card. All except the cheapest 21" iMac have discrete graphics cards. Discrete graphics cards also have their own graphics memory whereas the in board graphics shares the main RAM with the CPU.

    However, on board graphics have greatly improved recently, so the base 15" may work fine but I just don't have the same use cases as you do so I don't know for sure.
    greyhoundrick likes this.
    02-25-2014 08:01 PM
  5. CrunchDude's Avatar
    16GB is fine. So is a quad-core i5. As for the MacBook with a Thunderbolt display, that setup is awesome. Truly the best of both worlds.

    However, the recent iMacs come with an improved display, which IS of higher quality than the aging Thunderbolt display. I have had both and the screen quality of the Late 2012 and Late 2013 iMacs is nothing short of phenomenal! 75% less reflection, each display color calibrated before it is shipped, amongst a few other improvements.

    So it depends on you if you want the better display or the better portability of having a MacBook Pro, along with a display, which doesn't have to be a Thunderbolt display, by the way.

    Hope this helps.
    03-05-2014 06:45 PM

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