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Any designers working on 4K iMacs with Creative Cloud?

Explorer ,
Aug 09, 2019 Aug 09, 2019

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Hello all,

Admittedly, this topic is actually something I'm trying to figure out whether today's graphic designers/illustrators are migrating to 4K rather than staying on 1080p. I have a mid-2010 iMac running on High Sierra and now with Creative Cloud. I do mostly print and digital work but I've been eyeing a 4K iMac or 5K iMac 27 inches for some time, so I'm very curious if any of you find any benefit to working on 4K doing digital or print based graphic design/illustration work.

I'm going to need a new machine eventually with an SSD and re-install Creative Cloud as a second machine as per CC regulations allow. The reason I thought of 4K was to future proof the workflow in case a client needs 4K output and if it's print, then I assume screen resolution makes no difference let alone the DPI level for output. I've worked on a 27 inch iMac at a local print shop several years ago which was a godsend to my eyes and see bigger page spreads for production layout work. But these days, I'm now doing freelance work so I'm still deciding on which machine to go for. 5K might be overkill but 4K is probably sensible enough for most digital art/illustration/graphic design work.

Any thoughts? Thanks!

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Community Expert ,
Aug 09, 2019 Aug 09, 2019

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Asking in a program specific forum will probably get you better answers

Here is the list of all Adobe forums... https://forums.adobe.com/welcome

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Explorer ,
Aug 09, 2019 Aug 09, 2019

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Okay. Actually, it's all around although my work focuses on Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat. I do notice that it did get moved to the Hardware Forum however. Thanks.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 11, 2019 Aug 11, 2019

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Yes, but the Hardware Forum​ is for Premiere Pro and not general HW forum. Other products do not have a specific HW forum...

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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Community Expert ,
Aug 12, 2019 Aug 12, 2019

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The 21.5-inch iMac 4K and the 27-inch iMac 5K are each outstanding all-in-one Macs and each is great for Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, InDesign, Acrobat, Audition, Animate, Dimension.

Go with whichever one fits your budget; however, you cannot add more RAM to the 21.5-inch iMac 4K later.  If you pick that one, buy as much as you can afford.  The 27-iMac 5k has a small door allowing the user to add more RAM later.  Go with at least 16GB, but the 21.5 should max out at 32GB while the 27 supports up to 64GB.

Both support external monitors, so you could add a second monitor (5k or 4k) at any time.

-Warren

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Explorer ,
Aug 13, 2019 Aug 13, 2019

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Warren,

It's a tough call for me to decide on one of them but I'm more likely to go with the 4K since it's a bit cheaper, and probably more practical. However, the 27 inch iMac screen is something to behold. But you're right in that one can't add more RAM to the 4K model which gave me slight pause but I think 16GB of RAM will be good or max it out to 32GB if I have to out of the factory to custom order it.

Having external monitors would be a nice thing to have down the road so you bring up a great point about that. If I do 4K with a 21.5 inch, that leaves a bit more room on my desk to add another external screen. I had to post this because I was curious about the experiences of designers working on 4K and 5K and if there's much difference. I know that 1080p HD is pretty much standard but I keep seeing a trend of creative migrating to 4K lately, so I wanted to make sure if 4K makes any difference for print projects, however for screen/web, it certainly does due to resolution improvements.

I work mostly in Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and Acrobat and switch off to iPad Pro, and vice versa.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 13, 2019 Aug 13, 2019

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I think it's safe to say that the higher pixel count always makes a difference.

It looks like the 1080p 21.5-inch iMac only supports up to 16GB max while 4K 21.5-inch iMac supports up to 32GB.

From what you've mentioned, I'd go with one of the following:

21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display  $2,129.00

  • 3.0GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz*
  • 32GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory**
  • Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory***
  • 1TB Fusion Drive storage****
  • Magic Mouse 2
  • Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad - US English*****

If you go with 16GB on this configuration, the price drops $400.00 to $1,729.00**.

Or

21.5-inch iMac  $1,429.00

  • 2.3GHz dual-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz*
  • 16GB 2133MHz DDR4**
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640***
  • 1TB Fusion Drive storage****
  • Magic Mouse 2
  • Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad - US English*****

*While i7 would be ideal, you're saving some by going with an i5 and you'll still be getting good performance.  Avoid the i3 processor for graphics work.

**If going with 16GB helps to choose the Retina 4K, do it!

***While the graphics performance of the Intel Iris Graphics 640 is respectable, the performance of the dedicated Radeon 560X is, well, better.  Also, a better graphics card will likely help to extend the length of time that you can put the computer to use (maybe by several years).

****When it comes to saving a bit, going with a Fusion Drive over an SSD drive is a strong choice.

*****I find that the extra $30 bucks for the keyboard with a numeric keypad is well worth it.

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Explorer ,
Aug 13, 2019 Aug 13, 2019

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LATEST

I was thinking about the 4K iMac starting at $1, 299 with 16 GB of RAM but using an SSD instead of a Fusion Drive, probably at 256 GB storage which should be enough to hold the apps as I use a new external HD to store/archive the project files. That might be practical?

Have you had any experience dealing with the Fusion Drive in comparison with an SSD alone? I've been hearing some stories about the Fusion Drive that caused some concern with the professionals but if it's stable enough and faster than a regular hard drive, then I may consider it as a low cost option rather than staying with a traditional 1 TB spinning drive on the new computer.

And I do concur about the Radeon graphics card. My mid-2010 iMac is still kicking ( knocking on wood ) so it's running okay but not as a speed demon as it used to be.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 13, 2019 Aug 13, 2019

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Yes, the 27-iMac is a great all-in-one.

With the introduction of the Pro Display XDR for the new Mac Pro, I'm hoping we'll see a 32-inch iMac Retina 6K sometime soon.  Although, I'm pretty sure it'll take me awhile to save up for it - a very, very, very, very, very long while. 

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