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Please help me to choose the right iMac


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Hello, I am sure it was asked before but I am not sure how to find the answers. i am researching to purchase a new 27 inch iMac but need help to choose the right model. I mostly need it to edit the pictures and surf on internet; may be do some classes/school work and watch tutorials. I go to the apple website and choose the 27 inch model. I think I will be good with the model in the middle row (even still have no idea what all those specs means, sorry). Unless, you would definitely recommend to go with the next model.

Next, it gives you an option to choose 3.1 or 3.6 GHz. Is is a huge difference between these two? 

The memory: definitely not 8GB. Will 32 GB be pretty fast?

Storage: there are options for Fusion Drive Storage and SSD one. Again, I am a complete dummy in this science and just want my computer to work fast. I see that they want extra $$ for SSD storage so I would assume it is better to have this one? 

Can you please help me to choose the right model? Thank you a lot!

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First, what is your budget?

Second, while I recommend 32GB, Apple’s prices on RAM are insanely high. But before we get into that, how much are you comfortable spending? 

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Around $3000 is Perfect.

To answer your question above, AVOID A FUSION DRIVE and get a 1TB SSD instead. Now for the configuration! Let's go spend money!!

  • Start out with the $2299 27" iMac.
  • Leave the processor at the default, the RAM at 8GB (wait until I'm done) and the video card, the Radeon Pro 580X with 8GB video RAM at the default.
  • Upgrade the Storage to a 1TB SSD Drive and I like the Magic Mouse 2.
  • Upgrade the keyboard to the one with the built in Number-pad, it's totally worth the extra $30. It's listed as Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad - US English (or whatever language you choose.)

Your cost at the bottom in the box with my configuration should be $2629.00. (US Dollars)

Purchase/Add the AppleCare for $169.00 and your subtotal should be $2798.00, before tax. Have it shipped to a local AppleStore if one is nearby, as having a $3000 Computer sitting at your door is a little unsettling, although they make you sign for it. If you aren't able to be home, have it shipped to a FedEX Shipcenter or UPS Station. You can put the ship-to address as the following:

Jane User
Hold at Fedex Depot!

1234 Address of Fedex Depot

Your Town, State 12345-6789

Then all you have to do is show up to the local Fedex Shipcenter, show them your ID and they will bring out your iMac. Usually things are ready around 9-10AM, so it's not like you have to wait around all day with the dreaded Yellow sticker being placed on your door.

Now for the RAM. Yes, 8GB is not enough by today's standards. Unfortunately, Apple's price on RAM is insanely expensive. If you were to upgrade the RAM to 32GB, that's a $600 up-charge. You can simply buy a 32GB Kit from Crucial.com and take it up to 40GB of RAM...FOR LESS Money!! How about $132 instead of $600? That's how you get a better iMac and the reason that we can start with the $2299 27" iMac Model. Here is the RAM kit at B&H that I am referring to:

Crucial 32GB DDR4 2666 MHz SO-DIMM Memory Kit (2 x 16GB) - $131.99.

Yes, you can install the RAM yourself. It takes about 5-10 Min. The only "tool" that you will need is the rounded end of a toenail clipper to push the little button to open the access panel. Then there is two tabs that you push, and the RAM Cage Pops out. Then all you do is touch something metal to ground yourself before handling the RAM (static electricity is bad) and insert the two sticks in the empty slots. Then click the cage back in and re-install the access panel. Easy-Peasy. Here is a YouTube video demonstrating the process. When you boot your iMac and head to the Apple Menu, and select "About this Mac" you should see 40GB of RAM. Of course, if you just want to max it out to 64GB and be done with it, buy two of those $132 kits and take out the existing Apple RAM, and then replace it with the Crucial RAM.

Now, in case you are wondering, why start with the $2299 iMac instead of the $1999 model? It's the Video Card. The Radeon Pro 580X with 8GB video RAM is  a better fit with Photoshop and the one that is in my 27" iMac. It works fine with the "Use Graphics Processor" part of Lightroom and Photoshop. Photoshop is relying more on the video card these days for a performance boost. It's almost as important as the CPU chip. Also, Photoshop doesn't always take advantage of a super-fast CPU chip, as it's just not programmed to. So buying a really fast and expensive i9 or whatever may only give you a slight performance boost when it comes to Photoshop. It's actually BETTER to get a slightly slower CPU and then take that savings and put it towards an upgraded video card that plays well with Adobe Photoshop.

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