04 September 2021

27" iMac, 10 core i9 with AMD Radeon Pro 5700 XT 16 GB and 5K screen

 I recently made a huge decision and upgraded to the higher(est) end iMac and sold the machine I only bought in 2019. There were several reasons that seemed important, at least to me. The former imac I bought when it's predecessor exploded while I was working on several projects and I needed something THAT DAY. With limited funds and time I got a pretty much base model and while it was slightly faster than the one on fire at the moment, it wasn't a step up which is what I need after having a computer for 6 years. Then the pandemic hit and it seemed pointless to upgrade with no work coming in. I am convinced eventually the M chips for the new Mac lineup will take over but not as quickly as they might hope with the chip shortage etc going on. I also use an older version of Cinema 4D with a ton of plugins that will not weather that transition so well. I could have spent 8 grand on a Cinema upgrade and 4 grand on a new computer... but then I would have to live in the box the computer came in. 

The new machine ticked off a lot of boxes for me like increased rendering speed by, well, A LOT and even better performance with the few games I play. Apple now also only sells with SSD drives and while the fusion drive was fine for the years I had one, application just popping open after a couple seconds is really easy to get used to. The rumours of a 30" screen coming up was a temptation to wait but I already use 2 17" screens to work on and a new design isn't a big motivator for me. I use these for work, not decoration, and I wasn't exactly horrified by the look the iMacs already had. I don't care how thin my desktop is... it's on my desk. I am not moving it around and most of it faces a wall. 

My spouse is a teacher and I do much of his graphics for his classes especially - when everything went online for a year. This lets us buy one at the educational discount which isn't huge, but it certainly helps. I also know selling my other would cut a big chunk off the price and I moved the extra RAM I installed in the old computer into this new one so I did not have to buy that. 

Still it was a big investment to make with no guarantee more work would be coming in to justify it. I did know if more did come along, especially CGI work, the old computer wouldn't cut it and I would have to get something faster. So better to have it now. I should be able to edit up to 8K video now with no stuttering and my current animation project is much easier to work on with the new graphics card and processors. It's probably the biggest speed and performance bump I have ever experienced going from one computer to another. 

Fellow artist, Mike Luce bought one of these a while ago and he gave me me advice on my decision which I found very valuable. There was a big speed increase in the Affinity lineup which I am totally profiting from now and Blender will have a big update fairly soon and that already runs super fast so I am looking forward to doing a project with the exclusively. One can only draw and paint so fast but the opening on Krita (also updating very soon) and saving large files is done in seconds now and not a minutes. 

I am still in sticker shock but I can't imagine that I will regret doing this and it should be with me for quite a few years to come. 


T' said...

We indeed have the same machine. I'm running 40gb of RAM for no good reason. This is the last machine Apple will likely ever make where the RAM is upgradeable by the owner. Pity. I love my machine and use it tons, not even for paying work. The last one had a fusion drive failure after six years and I traded it in after seven, so I expect this one to last at least as long. The M1 was attractive, but I didn't want to lose screen real estate and some of the ports I use every day. Hope you like it! I love mine.

Behemoth media said...

I hearths Mac Pro will be upgradeable and still intel for a while since the M1 chip stuff isn't upgradable at all and pro users need that flexibility. But you you would know better than I about what Apple might do! This felt safer than waiting for the new larger iMacs to come out. I use 1000 ports more or less for scanner, charging things, etc etc. I run everything off USB hobs... 2 of them!