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Considering buying new 24" iMac


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My existing late 2013 27" model iMac is now not recognised by Apple to upgrade to Monterey OS therefore thinking of buying 24" (actual 23.5") 4.5k retina model. I have looked at the options available and like the one with Apple M1 chip 8-core CPU and up to 8‑core GPU 16GB unified memory (pity it does not go up to 32GB as in my 27") 512GB SSD 4 ports (2 Thunderbolt/USB 4 and 2 USB 3).  4480-by-2520 resolution at 218 pixels per inch. Silver model of course not interested in the fancy colours.

 

Any comments good or bad or different welcome.

 

Allan

 

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It's a bit of a shame Apple appears to have abandoned the old 27" form factor. I am hanging onto mine for dear life because the 5K screen which the gubbins sits behind is frankly a work of art.  If you don't need to replace it right away, I would wait a bit. I have a feeling Apple will release another model in the next 6-12 months that will fill the void. Perhaps something closer to 30" with similar design to the current 24". Assuming you're still on Big Sur, that got its latest patch this month, and I imagine patches will continue for a little while yet.

 

If you do decide to go ahead, you will probably be fine with 16GB of RAM. The SSD storage these use, as well as the busses that carry the data, are so ridiculously fast that paging isn't an issue. Plenty of YouTube reviews show this to be the case with YouTubers trying (and mostly failing) to show any discernible performance difference between 16/32.

 

You can patch older Macs to run newer versions of Mac OS but you might not want the hassle.

 

EDIT: Oh, I almost forgot. Don't bother with the 8 core CPU/8 core GPU. Get the one with the 8 core CPU and the 7 core GPU and save yourself £200. you will not be able to tell the difference between the 8/8 and the 8/7 because they are the same chip. The ones with a 7 core GPU are "binned" and instead of literally throwing them in the bin they sell them cheaper. It's otherwise the exact same chip and you won't miss that one core.

 

EDIT EDIT: looks like the 8/7 models don't have Gigabit ethernet where the others do... which I actually find hard to believe...! Ok, you can add it, for £30.

Edited by Cal
more info, even more info!
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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Cal said:

. Assuming you're still on Big Sur, that got its latest patch this month, and I imagine patches will continue for a little while yet.

 

My 27" iMac is late 2013 and on Catalina 10.15.7 which is the latest OS it will take.

 

Allan

 

Edit: " looks like the 8/7 models don't have Gigabit ethernet where the others do" also the 8/7 only has the two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports but NOT the two USB 3 ports which give greater connectivity.

 

ITMA

 

Edited by Allan Bell
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3 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

 

My 27" iMac is late 2013 and on Catalina 10.15.7 which is the latest OS it will take.

 

Allan

 

Edit: " looks like the 8/7 models don't have Gigabit ethernet where the others do" also the 8/7 only has the two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports but NOT the two USB 3 ports which give greater connectivity.

 

ITMA

 

 

Yes, I realised the 8/7 ones don't have gigabit ethernet as standard, but you can spec it for £30. If it only has Thunderbolt you could get a couple of adapters to plug in legacy USB devices. Up to you but I certainly (from what I know) wouldn't spend the extra dosh on the 8/8 model as performance wise it'll make little difference and you could still save even with the addition of gigabit and some USB adapters. Up to you of course. I hope they haven't pulled any other sneaky tricks with limiting the 8/7 model. That processor I believe is the same one used in iPad Pros and the tech community has noted how unbelievably powerful they are yet very limited by the software they run.

 

if you do get a 24" iMac I would be interested to hear how you rate it. Will you miss the slight drop in pixel real estate etc. One key factor of the 5K monitors on the 27" is you can produce 4K video at its native size with room for the toolbars round the edge. With pics, viewing them fullscreen is a good test of your kit and how steady your hand is, as the screen is well over 10 megapixels in resolution. I've had to chuck some pics I'm not quite happy with because they don't look "right" fullscreen, something you just wouldn't notice on standard monitors without zooming.

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12 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

Forgive me, but why would you need it if you're Allan, wireless and not on a network?

 

Thanks for pointing that out.

 

Allan

 

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1 hour ago, spacecadet said:

Forgive me, but why would you need it if you're Allan, wireless and not on a network?

 

You wouldn't. I may have missed the part where Allan said he was exclusively wireless.

 

Me personally I like having the option as gigabit wired is much faster than the wireless standards currently available to SOHO users and vastly faster than 10/100 ethernet, which in best case scenario gives you a max download speed of about 12 Megabytes per second. This is OK for internet, but if Allan wanted to do anything at all on a local home network, this speed would be very limiting.

 

Just making everything clear as would hate to think I'd swayed one towards something that might be limiting.

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Going down from 27" to a 24" monitor with such high resolution would not be my choice for photgraphy. These 24" iMacs are consumer machines although they should be fine to run Lightroom and whatever elae you use. The 16GB of RAM is fine as these silicon Macs have a very different memory model to the older Intel Macs. . 

 

What's your budget approximately? No point in suggesting alternatives without an idea of how much you are intending to spend. 

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My daughter has a new 24" and it's got a beautiful screen. No idea how well it runs PS etc. with only 16GB RAM but as many have said it's supposed to be plenty fast enough so you don't need the extra RAM. Still, it would be nice if they made a 24" aimed at the photography market. Not everyone wants a huge TV screen on their desk. 

 

You can always opt for a MacBook and a monitor. But the 24" iMac is a less expensive option than a MacBook and monitor unless you plan to have a MacBook anyway. I'd hoped to keep using my old 2013 iMac as a monitor in target display mode but I'd have to be running High Sierra or earlier on the iMac - which doesn't matter but I'd have to run Catalina or earlier on my MacBook which defeats the pointhttps://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204592#:~:text=24-inch and 27-inch,High Sierra or earlier installed.

 

Wish I'd realized this sooner or I'd have used the money I budgeted for tech this year differently. I'm torn between a new iMac and a monitor myself. My 2018 MacBook won't last forever and having a second computer helps both last longer but a monitor is a much less expensive option and you don't have the constant need to keep syncing lightroom catalogs between the two computers, though with a fast SSD drive and carbon copy cloner it's easy enough, I guess.  I've been doing some quick culling with a very long HDMI cable, and adapter, and my TV sitting many feet away, but for fine editing it's not an option. I don't know why Mac did away with target display mode. Makes a perfectly good but seriously outdated iMac useless (though I can stream shows on it 😎 I guess ). 

 

Will be interested to hear what you decide. 

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I'd love a Mac studio and a Ben-Q monitor but at $7,200+ for the Mac studio alone, it's beyond my current budget. Probably more power than I need too even with large photo files since I don't do video. Edit: It's about $5,000 if you opt for 1 or 2TB - the price I quoted is for 8TB SSD - overkill. 

Edited by Marianne
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2 hours ago, Marianne said:

I'd love a Mac studio and a Ben-Q monitor but at $7,200+ for the Mac studio alone, it's beyond my current budget. Probably more power than I need too even with large photo files since I don't do video. Edit: It's about $5,000 if you opt for 1 or 2TB - the price I quoted is for 8TB SSD - overkill. 

 

The Mac Studio is really aimed at video editors. You definitely do not need one for photo editing. The late 2021 14" and 16" MacBook Pros are in the same league as the Mac Studios in terms of speed. The Mac Mini is more than adequate for most photo editing although the M1 versions have max 16GB of RAM as do the first M1 MacBook Pros and Airs. While absolutely fine for now and the foreseeable future, the real issue with the 16GB max RAM  is long term future proofing.  The new ones go up to 24GB. People are eagerly awaiting the M2 Mac Mini.

 

If I was buying now for photo editing, I would go for the 13"  M2 MacBook Pro with 24GB of RAM and a good external monitor. There is no need to buy massive amounts of internal storage. 1TB is sufficient for most of us with external SSD drives now much more afforadable and silent. Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C drives are fine for photo editing as well. 

Edited by MDM
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8 hours ago, MDM said:

If I was buying now for photo editing, I would go for the 13"  M2 MacBook Pro with 24GB of RAM and a good external monitor. There is no need to buy massive amounts of internal storage. 1TB is sufficient for most of us with external SSD drives now much more afforadable and silent. Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C drives are fine for photo editing as well. 

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17 hours ago, MDM said:

Going down from 27" to a 24" monitor with such high resolution would not be my choice for photgraphy. These 24" iMacs are consumer machines although they should be fine to run Lightroom and whatever elae you use. The 16GB of RAM is fine as these silicon Macs have a very different memory model to the older Intel Macs. . 

 

What's your budget approximately? No point in suggesting alternatives without an idea of how much you are intending to spend. 

 

11 hours ago, MDM said:

 

The Mac Studio is really aimed at video editors. You definitely do not need one for photo editing. The late 2021 14" and 16" MacBook Pros are in the same league as the Mac Studios in terms of speed. The Mac Mini is more than adequate for most photo editing although the M1 versions have max 16GB of RAM as do the first M1 MacBook Pros and Airs. While absolutely fine for now and the foreseeable future, the real issue with the 16GB max RAM  is long term future proofing.  The new ones go up to 24GB. People are eagerly awaiting the M2 Mac Mini.

 

If I was buying now for photo editing, I would go for the 13"  M2 MacBook Pro with 24GB of RAM and a good external monitor. There is no need to buy massive amounts of internal storage. 1TB is sufficient for most of us with external SSD drives now much more afforadable and silent. Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C drives are fine for photo editing as well. 

 

Thanks for entering the fray Mick. You know how I appreciate your input and alternative suggestions. I am rethinking the purchase of the 24" iMac now after reading the comments above.

 

I do not really have a budget but a good setup with Mac computer and good photo processing screen is what is needed.  I bought two 4TB disc drives that you recommended a while ago and those are used for file storage so would only need sufficient capacity in the computer to hold the software necessary for processing photos.

 

I would be looking at a figure up to the £2000 mark for computer and screen. It would not matter too much if the combo went a bit above to get the best.

I thought about the Mac Mini M1 with separate screen but have no idea which screen would be best in the circumstances. I note you mention the M2 Mini are they coming soon. As I only process still images I would not need capacity for Video processing.

 

I do have a 13" MacBook Pro 2.4GHz dual core intel core i5 with 8GB memory. Retina disp 2560 x 1600, 251GB flash storage. It was updated recently to Big Sur OS.

This m/c was used to take with me when travelling but it is an older model and was not used for processing images only for checking images for the basics, (sharpness etc), and storing images till I returned home to process the images on my desktop. Perhaps I might exchange it for a new one as you mention above with M2 processor. I could then use it at home as a desktop with separate larger screen for final processing of images and travelling and forget about the Mac mini M2.

 

Allan

 

 

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19 hours ago, Cal said:

 

You wouldn't. I may have missed the part where Allan said he was exclusively wireless.

 

Me personally I like having the option as gigabit wired is much faster than the wireless standards currently available to SOHO users and vastly faster than 10/100 ethernet, which in best case scenario gives you a max download speed of about 12 Megabytes per second. This is OK for internet, but if Allan wanted to do anything at all on a local home network, this speed would be very limiting.

 

Just making everything clear as would hate to think I'd swayed one towards something that might be limiting.

 

You did not miss anything Cal. The fact that I am using wireless was mentioned some time ago in another thread and Mark (spacecadet) has obviously remembered it.

 

Thanks again for your input.

 

Allan

 

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18 minutes ago, Allan Bell said:

 

You did not miss anything Cal. The fact that I am using wireless was mentioned some time ago in another thread and Mark (spacecadet) has obviously remembered it.

 

Thanks again for your input.

 

Allan

 

Actually I assumed it. My mother had it before I did- who wants to trip over wires if they don't have to? I only have a wired printer because the wireless on it has packed up.

With Alamy uploads in a couple of seconds (when they happen at all!) there's nothing I can't do with 54Mbps wireless. Others' mileage may vary- especially for video.

Edited by spacecadet
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I've been working on an M1 MacBook Air 8GB RAM with Adobe CC for the past year. It has been doing a great job. I've had various tech issues but I do not point at my Air as the villain. 

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2 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

 

 

Thanks for entering the fray Mick. You know how I appreciate your input and alternative suggestions. I am rethinking the purchase of the 24" iMac now after reading the comments above.

 

I do not really have a budget but a good setup with Mac computer and good photo processing screen is what is needed.  I bought two 4TB disc drives that you recommended a while ago and those are used for file storage so would only need sufficient capacity in the computer to hold the software necessary for processing photos.

 

I would be looking at a figure up to the £2000 mark for computer and screen. It would not matter too much if the combo went a bit above to get the best.

I thought about the Mac Mini M1 with separate screen but have no idea which screen would be best in the circumstances. I note you mention the M2 Mini are they coming soon. As I only process still images I would not need capacity for Video processing.

 

I do have a 13" MacBook Pro 2.4GHz dual core intel core i5 with 8GB memory. Retina disp 2560 x 1600, 251GB flash storage. It was updated recently to Big Sur OS.

This m/c was used to take with me when travelling but it is an older model and was not used for processing images only for checking images for the basics, (sharpness etc), and storing images till I returned home to process the images on my desktop. Perhaps I might exchange it for a new one as you mention above with M2 processor. I could then use it at home as a desktop with separate larger screen for final processing of images and travelling and forget about the Mac mini M2.

 

Allan

 

 

 

There is nothing definite about a new Mac Mini as far as I am aware so I would not hold my breath. You would be looking at around £2000 for a 24GB M2 MacBook Pro or Air. There is not a huge difference as far as I can see. So a decent 27" monitor (a BenQ say) would set you back quite a bit more as well. You would need a hub with the MacBooks as well as there are very few ports. All in all you would be talking about £3000 I guess but you would have a pretty future-proofed system that should last several years. The existing M1 Mac Mini is a lot cheaper (£2000 in all about with a decent monitor) but max RAM is 16GB. As I said above, that is absolutely fine now but it may not be down the line.

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2 hours ago, Ed Rooney said:

 

I've been working on an M1 MacBook Air 8GB RAM with Adobe CC for the past year. It has been doing a great job. I've had various tech issues but I do not point at my Air as the villain. 

All of the M1 Macs are really excellent and 8GB of RAM is fine unless you are doing stuff that really needs more RAM (layered Photoshop files, high MP images, certain video editing activities). It's all about future proofing as I said when you were buying the MacBook Air. The minimim RAM for Lightroom and Photoshoop is currently 8GB - how long will it be before it is 16GB and you can't run the Adobe software? Hopefully a few years at least but it will happen eventually.

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3 hours ago, MDM said:

 

There is nothing definite about a new Mac Mini as far as I am aware so I would not hold my breath. You would be looking at around £2000 for a 24GB M2 MacBook Pro or Air. There is not a huge difference as far as I can see. So a decent 27" monitor (a BenQ say) would set you back quite a bit more as well. You would need a hub with the MacBooks as well as there are very few ports. All in all you would be talking about £3000 I guess but you would have a pretty future-proofed system that should last several years. The existing M1 Mac Mini is a lot cheaper (£2000 in all about with a decent monitor) but max RAM is 16GB. As I said above, that is absolutely fine now but it may not be down the line.

 

Thank you Mick.

 

I shall have to think carefully over the next few days as to the route I will take. That also includes sitting on my hands so I cannot sign any cheques.😉

 

Allan

 

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There is a long waiting time at the moment even after you order - the M2 MacBook Pros are early August and the M2 MacBook Airs are not yet available to order at all. You will probably find that you will need to order direct from Apple or Jigsaw 24 (as with the drives) if you want a 24GB machine. I have bought from Apple and Jigsaw 24 in the past with no problems at all. John Lewis tend to only sell standard consumer models. Jigsaw also do quality monitors. I can give you some advice about monitors if you decide to go that way.

 

 

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8 hours ago, MDM said:

All of the M1 Macs are really excellent and 8GB of RAM is fine unless you are doing stuff that really needs more RAM (layered Photoshop files, high MP images, certain video editing activities). It's all about future proofing as I said when you were buying the MacBook Air. The minimim RAM for Lightroom and Photoshoop is currently 8GB - how long will it be before it is 16GB and you can't run the Adobe software? Hopefully a few years at least but it will happen eventually.


is that minimum memory of 8GB enforced though? I occasionally still use PS and LR CC on my 2015 MacBook Air with only 4GB of memory and there is no problem running it. It’s possible my versions on there are a bit out of date as I hardly use it. 

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37 minutes ago, Cal said:


is that minimum memory of 8GB enforced though? I occasionally still use PS and LR CC on my 2015 MacBook Air with only 4GB of memory and there is no problem running it. It’s possible my versions on there are a bit out of date as I hardly use it. 

 

I don't know - you would need to update to the most recent versions and tell us. I suspect that it is enforced though and for good reason. 

 

I have had a philosophy for years now of getting twice as much RAM as I think I need for that time when I am buying a new machine if that is possible. This is much more important now with the silicon Macs (and MacBook Pros) in recent years as well as the memory cannot be upgraded. My first RAM upgrade was 2MB (yes megabytes) which cost around £200 for an LC2 back in the early nineties. That was when I developed my philosophy.

 

It was really frustrating back in the days of 32 bit systems (Mac and PC) when there was a 2GB restriction on the amount of RAM that Photoshop could actually use. The transition to 64 bit Photoshop in CS5 for Mac was a huge boon in terms of speed for big files and panorama merges when it could finally take advantage of more RAM. Waiting while it used virtual rather than real memory and slowing down accordingly using Photoshop was a major pain. I like a smooth workflow.

 

While the extra memory is not particularly cheap for the MacBook Pros and Airs (about £200 per extra 8GB I think), it is a lot cheaper than having to buy again prematurely because of not having enough in the first place. 

Edited by MDM
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45 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

I have had a philosophy for years now of getting twice as much RAM as I think I need for that time when I am buying a new machine if that is possible. This is much more important now with the silicon Macs (and MacBook Pros) in recent years as well as the memory cannot be upgraded. My first RAM upgrade was 2MB (yes megabytes) which cost around £200 for an LC2 back in the early nineties. That was when I developed my philosophy.

 

 

I still remember upgrading the memory in my Mac Plus. It was a PCB made by by either RasterOps or Super Mac. It sat above the logic board and was connected to it by a series of metal springs connecting to the wires of components. When I added a FPD (A4 full page display) graphics board, I had to add 2 small fans internally on each side of the rear carrying recess and readjust the 5V supply as the extra kit loaded down the power supply. How things have changed.

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7 hours ago, sb photos said:

 

I still remember upgrading the memory in my Mac Plus. It was a PCB made by by either RasterOps or Super Mac. It sat above the logic board and was connected to it by a series of metal springs connecting to the wires of components. When I added a FPD (A4 full page display) graphics board, I had to add 2 small fans internally on each side of the rear carrying recess and readjust the 5V supply as the extra kit loaded down the power supply. How things have changed.

 

Mine was an LC II - the first Mac I owned although I had been using various box Macs for a few years before that. I wasn't using any heavy duty graphics programs at that time beyond producing graphs from Excel in a drawing program called Canvas. The great thing with Macs at that time was incredible ease of use. I knew nothing about computers when somebody sat me down in front of a Mac Plus with Excel and Word, showed me how to use the mouse and that was it, no manuals, no onliine help. I was up and running in no time. PCs on the other hand .....

Edited by MDM
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