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#1 AussieMacGamer

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 08:50 AM

Greetings,

I'm still alive it would seem... and in the market for a new iMac.

I want to replace my late 2012 iMac with a new one. Pretty much I have a chance to get a new one at a price I won't be able to in the future, so I thought it makes sense to replace mine while I cans till get a good resale value on it. I'd also like to have a computer with thunderbolt 2, as there is a likelyhood that i may be able to use it to upgrade graphics in the distant future.

So here's the dilemma. Apple are charging quite a bit more for these than they were 3 years ago (at least since the Aussie dollar slipped against the US), and it no longer is as easy to throw money at certain upgrades. Namely the GPU.

Basically I have ruled out the i7, I cannot see the benefits in spending the extra $400 for it. But Apple gives so little information that the difference between the 395 and the 395x becomes very confusing.

This article from Rob Art provides more insight, and technically all i was able to find is that the 395x has a slightly higher pixel pipeline count and higher clock speed than the 395.

By not purchasing the i7 and the m395X i save a combined A$800. I could almost afford one of those ridiculously expensive thunderbolt 2 to PCIe enclosures with that.

I feel i'm leaning towards not getting the upgrade, unless anyone has any thoughts otherwise?

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#2 the Battle Cat

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 10:23 AM

Welcome home to our prodigal son, AMG.  I'll go kill the fatted calf (this is my favorite part, the big fatso, got it coming it does.)
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#3 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 11:27 AM

View PostAussieMacGamer, on 19 December 2015 - 08:50 AM, said:

I want to replace my late 2012 iMac with a new one. Pretty much I have a chance to get a new one at a price I won't be able to in the future, so I thought it makes sense to replace mine while I cans till get a good resale value on it. I'd also like to have a computer with thunderbolt 2, as there is a likelyhood that i may be able to use it to upgrade graphics in the distant future.

*Snip*

By not purchasing the i7 and the m395X i save a combined A$800. I could almost afford one of those ridiculously expensive thunderbolt 2 to PCIe enclosures with that.
Personally I would strongly advice against this eGPU plan you are going for, as it will most likely not be the savior that you are making it up to be. There's a huge difference between a dedicated PCIe x16 port with 126GB/s bandwidth, compared to a 20 GB/s TB2 port. Heck, Intel doesn't even officially support eGPUs on TB2, only TB3!

Since you can get it so cheap, I would instead advice to buy the graphic card you deem most worth it, and by that I would recommend looking at Barefeats GPU shootout, with real world results for the two cards you are choosing between. Then you can use the remaining 400/800$ and buy Apple stock, which is really low right now, and use the money you earn from that, on a new machine in the future. :P
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#4 Frost

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 05:18 PM

Holy popsnizzle, AMG is alive!

View PostAussieMacGamer, on 19 December 2015 - 08:50 AM, said:

So here's the dilemma. Apple are charging quite a bit more for these than they were 3 years ago (at least since the Aussie dollar slipped against the US), and it no longer is as easy to throw money at certain upgrades. Namely the GPU.

Pretty much everything is sliding massively against the USD over the past year, and it's probably only going to get worse through 2016. Combination of the US finally starting to pull out of the Great Recession while China is imploding and the Eurozone is weakening all at the exact same time. Great if you're buying internationally as an American as foreign goods are all nice and cheap. Terrible if you're buying American internationally as our stuff is now expensive as hell.

Apple's being kind of retarded and not reacting to the currency difference at all and just charging an arm and a leg. I was reading banks down under are not adopting ApplePay and going with GooglePay instead because Apple is basically asking for over 50% of the fees after conversion, which is crazy. Apple really needs to make some adjustments for market realities right now vis-a-vis currency.
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#5 AussieMacGamer

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 06:08 AM

Thanks for your feedback the three of you!


View PostThain Esh Kelch, on 19 December 2015 - 11:27 AM, said:

Personally I would strongly advice against this eGPU plan you are going for, as it will most likely not be the savior that you are making it up to be. There's a huge difference between a dedicated PCIe x16 port with 126GB/s bandwidth, compared to a 20 GB/s TB2 port. Heck, Intel doesn't even officially support eGPUs on TB2, only TB3!

Yeah, so I wouldn't really call this a 'plan', more a possibility afforded by Thunderbolt 2. Yes theres a huge difference between 126gb/s and 20gb/s but this doesn't mean -80% the GPU performance. And no it's not supported, and this creates many obstacles (namely price and performance), these however have potential to be overcome in the future. Take these two examples (two of many), eGPU have potential to deliver a slight graphics upgrade in the future, there are as many questions as there are answers but much potential, it's something I only gain from upgrading.

All of this depends on how much I can get reselling my current iMac obviously, but i'm quite happy to have slightly faster performance and the lovely Retina display as a nice upgrade! I'm definitely not hedging my bets on Thunderbolt 2 becoming my expandability saviour. This is really spending money for the sake of it :bleedingeyes:

View PostFrost, on 19 December 2015 - 05:18 PM, said:

Holy popsnizzle, AMG is alive!



Great if you're buying internationally as an American as foreign goods are all nice and cheap. Terrible if you're buying American internationally as our stuff is now expensive as hell.

Here I am! :w00t:  Yeah it's been a very big shift. The way I look at it we (Australians) had it very good for a long time. Now we feel the burn of how expensive consumer electronics really are (Tim Cook's era of squeeze definitely hasn't helped). But consumer goods in the US are now largely on par with what we spend here I think.


View Postthe Battle Cat, on 19 December 2015 - 10:23 AM, said:

Welcome home to our prodigal son, AMG.

*takes bow* I like this title... Almost 10 years on this forum, quite hard to believe! Cheers to that!

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#6 AussieMacGamer

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 07:01 AM

My new dillemma is whether or not an iMac with i7 3770/ GTX680mx is actually faster than the newer potential setup i5 6600/M395.

The wealth of information here is not helping me make up my mind :bleedingeyes:

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#7 macdude22

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 07:16 AM

My inclination is that the increased resolution offsets the modest performance boost the M395 offers over the 680mx. i5 and i7 Processors now are so ridiculously fast that the performance difference between most i series processors manufactured in the past 5 years is of little concern for the average joe.

The M395X does seem to be a big enough jump in performance to warrant the extra cost. At retina resolutions you'll need every last ounce of performance you can get to push all those pixels.
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#8 AussieMacGamer

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 09:34 AM

View Postmacdude22, on 21 December 2015 - 07:16 AM, said:

My inclination is that the increased resolution offsets the modest performance boost the M395 offers over the 680mx.

Running them both at 1080/1440 though surely the Retina doesn't have any other overheads?

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#9 macdude22

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 10:08 AM

The M395x comes with 4GB VRAM and the 395 with 2GB correct? If you're doing any amount of gaming, 2GB is becoming a little weak with modern textures IMO, even at 1920x1080.

Honestly the VRAM spread at that price range should be 4GB and 8GB in 2015 but this is Apple we are talking about.
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#10 Jan

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 10:33 AM

Hi Aussie, good to have you back. :teehee:

Get it. The Retina display alone is worth the upgrade. It's simply gorgeous.

I just bought the aforementioned iMac with the i5/M395 combo for our studio at an insanely good price (at least by German/Euro standards). The i7 upgrade is definitely not worth it for most use-cases. Usually I'd go for the best possible GPU option, especially in a closed environment like the iMac. But I was considering an eGPU solution myself for my GTX 970 once I retire my retro Mac Pro. Most reports on the net describe a 20% to 30% performance hit compared to a built-in solution, which is not too bad in my opinion.
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#11 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 03:19 PM

Keep the 2012 iMac and get a XBox One Elite Edition. It'll be better, faster, about to leap tall buildings in a single bound all the while being cheaper too! Oh, and every title will always be at max settings. What's not to love?

Sorry, I just couldn't resist.
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#12 macdude22

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 03:35 PM

I'd take that as a half joke really. While the Retina display is very impressive, the mobile GPUs currently driving it are mediocre at best. 2016 is supposed to be a leap year for GPU technology. If one could hold off, there might be some impressive gains to be had over the next 12-24 months.

http://www.rockpaper...ds/#more-336241

Other than the Retina display (which arguably may be worth the price of admission) there's little performance to be gained over a 2012 i7/680MX iMac.

I realize there's some pricing/resale timing going on here but I'd hate to see you kick yourself if some real game changing GPUs drop next year.
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#13 Jan

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 05:27 AM

I've had the same iMac as AussieMacGamer: The i7 2012 model with the GTX 680M and a Fusion Drive. It's still an awesome machine and definitely faster than an Xbone. :P

My recommendation is mainly about the Retina Display: It's pure awesomeness and you won't want to go back once you're used to such a clear picture. Especially for regular day-to-day tasks. I'm not talking gaming here. Of course the mobile AMD chips can't handle 4k or 5k resolutions -- even a Titan X would struggle to push as many pixels.

If you can wait -- wait for a Skylake revision with a beefier GPU and Thunderbolt 3. If you're able to just switch the systems at no additional cost, that's a valid option as well. You'll still be able to resell the 2015 Retina iMac in six months time at a great price.
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#14 AussieMacGamer

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 07:53 AM

View PostJan, on 21 December 2015 - 10:33 AM, said:

Hi Aussie, good to have you back. :teehee:

Get it. The Retina display alone is worth the upgrade. It's simply gorgeous.

I just bought the aforementioned iMac with the i5/M395 combo for our studio at an insanely good price (at least by German/Euro standards).

Hi Jan, Good to be back!
Yeah I think im pretty much going to end up with the same system.

View Postmacdude22, on 21 December 2015 - 03:35 PM, said:

Other than the Retina display (which arguably may be worth the price of admission) there's little performance to be gained over a 2012 i7/680MX iMac.

I realize there's some pricing/resale timing going on here but I'd hate to see you kick yourself if some real game changing GPUs drop next year.

View PostJan, on 22 December 2015 - 05:27 AM, said:

I've had the same iMac as AussieMacGamer: The i7 2012 model with the GTX 680M and a Fusion Drive. It's still an awesome machine and definitely faster than an Xbone. :P

My recommendation is mainly about the Retina Display: It's pure awesomeness and you won't want to go back once you're used to such a clear picture. Especially for regular day-to-day tasks. I'm not talking gaming here. Of course the mobile AMD chips can't handle 4k or 5k resolutions -- even a Titan X would struggle to push as many pixels.

If you can wait -- wait for a Skylake revision with a beefier GPU and Thunderbolt 3. If you're able to just switch the systems at no additional cost, that's a valid option as well. You'll still be able to resell the 2015 Retina iMac in six months time at a great price.

Yeah I basically am on the same page, this is really just a combination of getting a good price and wanting to trade up while I still can get a good price for mine.

Really speaking if it weren't for me getting such a good price I would likely not go for another iMac, or I would keep this as long as I could. I (and i assume many other customers) am at an unfortunate crossroads. I love playing games on a PC, i also love the iMac (by and large) as a product. In the sense that it's a wonderfully designed all in one computer with great performance, runs my preferred operating system, and is prebuilt (non custom solution).

EDIT: I think what I really mean to say is that I like the Mac, I like OS X, but it is no longer superior enough to justify the exorbitant cost of Apple hardware, software based planned obsolescence, hardware lock in... (maybe save this for another day :teehee: )

The dream is that i would eventually be able to build a windows system to go under the desk and run it into the iMac as a display. Thunderbolt unfortunately ruined that dream. The hope is that eventually Thunderbolt will hit critical mass (or intel decide to ease licensing fees), and a thunderbolt PCI enclosure will become my second closest solution to this.

Til' then i'm going this slightly frustrating route and i'm pretty okay with that.

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#15 macdude22

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 09:35 AM

http://barefeats.com/tube21.html

This seems relevant to this conversation.
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#16 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 09:17 AM

Another option you could do is the following:

Get the following three things: medium spec Mac Mini, decent gaming build, 4K monitor.

That way you'll have the retina goodness that the new iMac has, great gaming performance (any gaming computer with a a medium desktop GPU will outperform the 395M) and still have a mac machine to do work on.

It would take up a lot more desk space, but it would give you a lot more performance, while being the same price or cheaper. The only thing I would possible worry about with that setup is the performance of the Mac Mini at 4K.
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#17 Tetsuya

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 11:23 AM

Only reason i dont recommend this is because the current Mini's are trash.  Terrible low performance CPUs.  

That is basically the setup i have though - i have a Mini (Quad-core "server") for daily driver usage and a gaming PC.  Whole thing (including monitors for both) cost a lot less than an iMac.

One thing to note about the 5k iMac - Its a steal for just the display.  Dell sells just the display itself (same exact panel Apple is using) for more than the base model of the 5k iMac.

#18 mattw

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 12:30 PM

It does all come down to how tied you are to the iMac form factor and if you have any need for the 5K resolution, also if you need a warranty.

Another alternative otherwise other that the Mac Mini + PC above (which has it's own advantages) would be a 2009+ Mac Pro as you can easily pickup an base model for little money and just upgrade the CPU and RAM, install an SSD and the GPU upgrade options go beyond even the top spec iMac.

The downside would be the lack of Thunderbolt but unless you have a specific need for this in reality it's still a long way from being a really well established standard in the current form and so you would be paying a premium for peripherals that you can use alternatives that would cost less via cheap PCI-E cards.
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#19 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 12:31 PM

View PostTetsuya, on 23 December 2015 - 11:23 AM, said:

Only reason i dont recommend this is because the current Mini's are trash.  Terrible low performance CPUs.  

That is basically the setup i have though - i have a Mini (Quad-core "server") for daily driver usage and a gaming PC.  Whole thing (including monitors for both) cost a lot less than an iMac.

One thing to note about the 5k iMac - Its a steal for just the display.  Dell sells just the display itself (same exact panel Apple is using) for more than the base model of the 5k iMac.

The base mini has the 1.6 GHz dual core, but the mid-range one as a 2.6 GHz i5 with an option for a 3 GHz i7. What makes those CPUs trash?
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#20 macdude22

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 12:45 PM

The top end dual core i7 is approximately half as fast as the top end quad core i7 available in 2012. i.e. If I walk into a store right now, 3 years later, I cannot buy a mac mini that is as fast as my 3 year old 2012. The current dual core i7 are mere percentage points faster than the i5s. Like within margin of error from test to test. That's pretty trash for a 200 dollar upgrade.

The current dual core i5s are moderately faster than the 2012 equivalents, and are reasonably fast.

So I wouldn't go so far as to say the mid range mini CPUs are trash but the top end is a terrible value compared to what Apple offered 3 years ago.

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