1. Michael_JL's Avatar
    Longtime windows user.....thinking of buying an iMac since wife and I got our 1st iPhones, Using it for basic apps, some video editing (the most CPU intensive program I run is NERO Video encoding), no gaming or large spreadsheet calculations, and as a extremely knowledgeable IT/IS guy (with Windows) and knowing that Windows and OSX are quite different OS's in resource requirements, performance and such I have some questions:

    1. i5 vs i7 CPU performance on the iMac.
    2. 8GB RAM sufficient? On my windows 10 6 core AMD system 8GB more than enough.
    3. Fusion drive vs SSD performance. I know SSD is better but wondering if fusion drive would be much better than a HHD.
    4. Can I install a SSD later...replacing the HDD or fusion Drive?
    5. Anyone had experience with Apple refurbished iMACs?

    All responses would be appreciated. TIA!
    02-17-2016 07:49 PM
  2. firedept10's Avatar
    Longtime windows user.....thinking of buying an iMac since wife and I got our 1st iPhones, Using it for basic apps, some video editing (the most CPU intensive program I run is NERO Video encoding), no gaming or large spreadsheet calculations, and as a extremely knowledgeable IT/IS guy (with Windows) and knowing that Windows and OSX are quite different OS's in resource requirements, performance and such I have some questions:

    1. i5 vs i7 CPU performance on the iMac.
    2. 8GB RAM sufficient? On my windows 10 6 core AMD system 8GB more than enough.
    3. Fusion drive vs SSD performance. I know SSD is better but wondering if fusion drive would be much better than a HHD.
    4. Can I install a SSD later...replacing the HDD or fusion Drive?
    5. Anyone had experience with Apple refurbished iMACs?

    All responses would be appreciated. TIA!
    1. i5 will be sufficient unless you plan on serious video editing.

    2. 8GB RAM is fine. 16GB will future proof it for you though. 27" iMac can easily be upgraded in RAM by you at anytime. 21" is soldered in, so not able to upgrade at later date.

    3. SSD is the quickest and in my opinion the best, but also the most expensive. Fusion Drive is a great alternative to SSD as it combines the best of both worlds in that it gives you almost the same speed as an SSD, but also the large storage of a HDD. Do not go with the smaller 1TB Fusion Drive as the SSD is only 24GB, whereas the 2TB Fusion combines a 128GB SSD with the HDD. Yes I own a Fusion Drive iMac and do serious editing with it. I can run Photoshop, Illustrator, Parallels, browser with multiple tabs open, 2 messaging apps, iTunes and at least 3 or 4 other programs at once without any slow down. But I also have 24GB RAM. So for your use, what I have stated so far will wok just fine for you. Forget going with Apple's HDD as they are only 5400 and are extremely slow.

    4. Not easily. Not saying it can't be done, but I would never attempt it. The new iMacs screens are glued onto the frame so it makes it very difficult to do. Many articles written about this. Has been the same since the introduction of the late 2012 iMacs.

    5, Refurbs are just as good if not better than a new machine. They are put through rigorous test by Apple before they are sold to the public. They come with the same warranty as a new machine and you can purchase AppleCare to extend that warranty. The only other difference is they come in a plain white box instead of the standard printed box. I have bought refurb in the past and would not hesitate to again. Great way to save yourself a couple hundred bucks.

    Hope this info helps you in your final decision.
    berry_addict and Intense Soul like this.
    02-17-2016 10:37 PM
  3. Michael_JL's Avatar
    Appreciate all the info!
    02-18-2016 02:55 PM
  4. berry_addict's Avatar
    Thanks Fire Dept for your answer to Michael. I was wondering the same thing.

    I got a mac mini last week, and using it on a Dell monitor 22 inches. Since the RAM is soldered in, I upgraded it to 16 Go to have that peace of mind. But since I started using it, I noticed a few compatibility problems with the monitor. Now I'm planning on returning the mini, and getting the 21,5 inches iMac 4k. The only major thing now, is the RAM. If I can't upgrade it in the future, I will go with 16 Go.

    I'm not a hardcore video editing guy, but I would like to experience it trough iMovies. So Fusion drive and 16 Go for me !

    Thanks for your advice it really helped me making a decision.
    02-21-2016 08:20 PM
  5. robertk328's Avatar
    Keep an eye on refurbs for the model you want. If you can afford it you won't be disappointed with 16gb of RAM and a decent SSD (at least 256gb).

    Best thing I did with my Mini was swap the HD for an SSD.
    Last edited by robertk328; 02-22-2016 at 05:40 AM. Reason: refurbs not returns (autocorrect!)
    02-21-2016 08:36 PM
  6. firedept10's Avatar
    Appreciate all the info!
    Thanks Fire Dept for your answer to Michael. I was wondering the same thing.

    I got a mac mini last week, and using it on a Dell monitor 22 inches. Since the RAM is soldered in, I upgraded it to 16 Go to have that peace of mind. But since I started using it, I noticed a few compatibility problems with the monitor. Now I'm planning on returning the mini, and getting the 21,5 inches iMac 4k. The only major thing now, is the RAM. If I can't upgrade it in the future, I will go with 16 Go.

    I'm not a hardcore video editing guy, but I would like to experience it trough iMovies. So Fusion drive and 16 Go for me !

    Thanks for your advice it really helped me making a decision.
    You're both very welcome. Glad I could help. If you need any further info, please quote me and I will see what I can do for you.
    02-21-2016 10:18 PM
  7. supguise's Avatar
    Another first time buyer here. I'm interested in simple illustrations and mixed media art and my gf will be editing photography and rendering video -- nothing too crazy, simple short films and stuff for youtube. We are looking at a refurbished 21.5-inch iMac 1.6GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5 with a 256gb ssd, 8gb ram. Two questions:

    1. Can we have them upgrade the ram to 16gb before we pick it up?
    2. Is this config suitable for the type of work we want to do? Should we get quad-core instead of dual core?

    Thanks.
    03-10-2016 08:14 PM
  8. Rob Phillips's Avatar
    Another first time buyer here. I'm interested in simple illustrations and mixed media art and my gf will be editing photography and rendering video -- nothing too crazy, simple short films and stuff for youtube. We are looking at a refurbished 21.5-inch iMac 1.6GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5 with a 256gb ssd, 8gb ram. Two questions:

    1. Can we have them upgrade the ram to 16gb before we pick it up?
    2. Is this config suitable for the type of work we want to do? Should we get quad-core instead of dual core?

    Thanks.
    1. I don't think you can have refurbs upgraded since they're not built to order.
    2. The i5 is more than enough processing power. They pack so much punch into processors these days you won't notice a difference.
    03-10-2016 08:45 PM
  9. supguise's Avatar
    1. I don't think you can have refurbs upgraded since they're not built to order.
    2. The i5 is more than enough processing power. They pack so much punch into processors these days you won't notice a difference.
    Damn, that sucks and I'm not seeing a 16gb version available. Do they periodically change the configs available?

    Or do you think 8gb would be sufficient?
    03-10-2016 08:54 PM
  10. Rob Phillips's Avatar
    Damn, that sucks and I'm not seeing a 16gb version available. Do they periodically change the configs available?

    Or do you think 8gb would be sufficient?
    They change the configs and time passes and new models are released. 8GB should be fine but it won't be quite as future proof as 16GB.
    03-10-2016 09:16 PM
  11. supguise's Avatar
    They change the configs and time passes and new models are released. 8GB should be fine but it won't be quite as future proof as 16GB.
    Cool. Thanks for your help.
    03-10-2016 09:20 PM
  12. Michael_JL's Avatar
    Some iMacs can be user upgraded with additional RAM easily, Apple support site has a page describing which models can. Sorry but I don't have the site address.
    03-10-2016 09:21 PM
  13. supguise's Avatar
    Some iMacs can be user upgraded with additional RAM easily, Apple support site has a page describing which models can. Sorry but I don't have the site address.
    Yea I checked it out and the the model I'm going with, 21", can only be upgraded at time of purchase if bought new.
    03-10-2016 09:33 PM
  14. Rob Phillips's Avatar
    Some iMacs can be user upgraded with additional RAM easily, Apple support site has a page describing which models can. Sorry but I don't have the site address.
    27" models can be upgraded; 21.5" models can't.
    03-10-2016 09:44 PM
  15. jdot104's Avatar
    27" models can be upgraded; 21.5" models can't.
    Glad to get some clarity on this. I upgraded my MBP to 16GB of RAM from 4GB. I think I'm gonna swap out the 8GB in the 27 inch iMac. I'll do fine with 8GB in my Pro, and I can add another 16 to the iMac for less money.
    Rob Phillips likes this.
    03-21-2016 10:31 AM
  16. maflynn's Avatar
    Longtime windows user.....thinking of buying an iMac since wife and I got our 1st iPhones, Using it for basic apps, some video editing (the most CPU intensive program I run is NERO Video encoding), no gaming or large spreadsheet calculations, and as a extremely knowledgeable IT/IS guy (with Windows) and knowing that Windows and OSX are quite different OS's in resource requirements, performance and such I have some questions:

    1. i5 vs i7 CPU performance on the iMac.
    2. 8GB RAM sufficient? On my windows 10 6 core AMD system 8GB more than enough.
    3. Fusion drive vs SSD performance. I know SSD is better but wondering if fusion drive would be much better than a HHD.
    4. Can I install a SSD later...replacing the HDD or fusion Drive?
    5. Anyone had experience with Apple refurbished iMACs?

    All responses would be appreciated. TIA!

    I know this thread is a tad old, but I wanted throw in my $.02.
    1. i7 is definitely better, but for most normal business type apps, the boost in performance may not be felt. What I mean is if you're editing videos, or running Virtual Machines, you'll see a nice boost with the i7

    2. 8GB for most people's needs are fine, and as noted in this thread the 27" model upgradeable.. If you're looking to have this machine for many years and its the 21" model, then getting 16GB may be a nice long term move.

    3. Fusion drives are a logical combining of flash storage and a spinning hard drive. The 1TB Fusion drive offers only a mere 24GB of flash, where as the 2TB model has a more robust 128GB of flash. If you're going with a Fusion drive, get the 2TB. The SSD will be fast all around, but if your storage needs exceed the 256 (or even 512GB SSD), then get the 2TB Fusion drive.

    4. Technically yes, realistically, no. The iMac is a sealed (literally with glue) and its quite difficult to upgrade the storage. It can be done, but not for the faint of heart. Check out iFixit's tear down

    5. Refurbs are a great way to save money, though you lose out on options, i.e., selecting different GPUs, memory etc.
    04-11-2016 06:19 AM

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