To really get to grips of my opinion on the iMac 5K (late 2014 model), I thought we would take a short stroll through digital time. Dabble in some technostalgia. I consider myself first a multimedia creator, and a gamer/enthusiast second. But perhaps the computers I have used haven’t always reflected this. See all three of the computer’s I have ever owned and how they coped with my usage. Can you remember your first computer? Tell me about it!
How did I ever live without it? – Ha!
We don’t have very many stops along this trip, but I’ll make it as interesting as possible. 🙂
Once upon a time, many moons ago, I was an avid tech fan with a soft spot for powerful computing. But I didn’t know this then. This is some real technostalgia – this is around 2007.
My first computer was a HP G5056EA – which had a humble 1GB ram, video RAM that wasn’t worth mentioning (128MB of the integrated variety TT_TT ), minimalist 120GB storage and a slim battery life. But I adored that little sledgehammer.
Despite the “low” spec – at the time this was considered mid-range, really – I hammered it in every capacity. I played demanding, graphics heavy MMORPGs with essentially no memory card. I ran Photoshop Elements 5 and Macromedia Flash 8, what we now know as Adobe Flash.
While it was slow, I feel like it was reasonably faster in it’s hay-day than the computer that followed when it was on its last legs. Not kidding – and the next laptop was a reasonable heavy-duty piece of kit.
Little sledgehammer, the HP G5056EA: 2007-2011. Sleep tight, my little fire hazard.
Then Technostalgia Two…
Next up, I was heading off to university to do an Animation degree. I did some research and almost bought my first Mac at this point. However, I was admittedly biased against Apple. I mean, how dare you charge that price for a computer? That being said – the next hot alternative option I was considering was a top end Sony VAIO. Equally quite pricey.
I liked what I saw.
In the end, after much research I was ultimately undecided. I was in a branch of PC World when I happened upon a Samsung laptop. Let me tell you, I could not believe the spec it was offering for that price. Surely, something was amiss.
Yet, there was nothing amiss. It was genuinely that price for that spec. As I was heading off to university to make fabulous animations whilst enjoying some gaming and media in general, it was essentially a no-brainer.
I bought the Samsung RF711 S04-UK. (I got that number from memory. How do I remember nonsense like this? T_T ) It was discounted, which was even better. Even. Better.
It ran so well. When I first got it, it blew me away! Can you imagine: I went from using a computer – which by the end, took nigh on half an hour to boot up to the desktop – to one that started in seconds. I could not believe the speed.
As you can imagine, I brutalised this computer, also. Much, much worse that the last. Maya, Adobe CS5.5, gaming, a miasma of media. And three years later, the speed was not what it used to be. Again, you could wander off and make a cup of tea while it booted up. Then go back for a biscuit after you logged in.
My Sammy, the Samsung RF711 s04-UK: 2011-2015. May your retirement treat you better than I did.
However, while working on my student film, I was lent a MacBook Pro from the university. I thought: “oooh”. Whilst I have used a Mac in some of the computer suites during tutorials and workshops, this was different. I could look beyond what I was doing. And I liked what I saw.
First thing that struck me was the battery life. Oh. My. Days. I have never possessed in my hands a computer that could run off the plug for over 40 minutes. Minutes. And yet there I was, editing the days’ work on the sofa, with hours of battery life. Granted, I can’t recall specifically how long it was, whether it was an hour or two, or even four. But know that it was noticeable.
After I handed in the project, it was time to also return the mac. This was painful. I thought: next, I shall definitely have a Mac. And a PC, too, of course. Because my Samsung hadn’t completely buckled just yet.
In order to continue editing projects and prepping them for festivals or portfolio, I needed a particular output pre-set that was, unfortunately, mac specific. I could download some software, hack my pc a bit (with instructions provided, of course) but the warning was stark.
“If you do something wrong, or your pc, which could have a multitude of variables which may prevent the hack/workaround from working, you could permanently destroy your computer.”
Know that this struck quite hard with me. I only had the one computer. If I did mess up, or the steps didn’t work for my computer, I didn’t have the know-how to fix it. Or the funds to buy a replacement.
So that was a no-go. Let’s play it legal, not hack and save up. As I was living with my parents at this point, I could keep pretty much all of my salary. It only took 6 months to afford it. So off I went and bought the beauty that I am typing this on.
A Mac desktop, actually. But you knew that from the title.
I mean, come on. It had the spec that I wanted for the money I had. If I maxed out the MacBook Pro to what I required, it would have taken at least another year and a half to get the funds. And by then, I would have to keep the money to pay off my car. (Why is life so expensive?)
Can I tell you – at this point in my previous computer’s life, I had done less gaming and less media work. Yet this thing, two years later, is as fast as when I first bought it. Sure, it is the highest spec computer I have ever owned and easily the most expensive. But it is not slowing down. Not yet.
And I have hopes that it will last as long as the MacBook Pro I borrowed did. While it was 2013-2014 that I used it, it wasn’t until the end of my time with it that I checked it’s specs. Can you believe it was a model that was almost a decade old? I think my jaw hit the floor. Not once did I suspect it was older than maybe 3 years old.
Mini Review of the iMac 5K
It’s so thin and so sleek. It is easily both the prettiest computer I have ever owned and the prettiest that I have ever seen. Its thin edges, cool metal chassis, vast screen housing more pixels than there are people on this land mass (Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland), seems to hover over my desk. Of course, you can see the stand. But still. It’s irrefutably elegant.
Does it still pack a punch of “wow” after all this time? I look at it. I smile. Yes, yes I think it does.
System and Processing Stuff:
The Mac I have runs on MacOS Sierra. Let me tell you something I tell everyone who will listen. It was a bit odd adjusting to a Mac operating system, but I would never, ever go back. Perhaps some of the software and other hardware tools I regularly use are better optimised for use with a mac – namely Adobe products in general and my Wacom Cintiq (also things I saved for a long time for).
I’m also running on:
- a 4GHz intel Core i7
- a measly 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3 ram memory (I was not paying to upgrade that when they give you a slot so you can do it yourself. Currently saving up for that one…)
- some say the AMD Radeon R9 M295X 4096 MB graphics is not enough for serious gaming, but I think it’s okay. But you already know by now, I’ll game even without a dedicated graphics card
- 3 TB fusion drive – yes I splashed out here. I have been wary of running out of memory space since overflowing my first computer (multiple times) and the second one, and now I keep most things on an external bot. Yep, the fusion drive I forked out for is largely untouched. Maybe that’s why it’s still so fast…
…gaming has never looked so good.
I game often. That’s what I would like to say. But being on the other side of university, I find I spend most of my time scrapping together a living. When I do, though, it is such a dream. My Samsung can’t run Minecraft anymore, so it’s so nice to see those little blocks in such high-res on my screen. (lol)
No but seriously – most of my games, such as Skyrim, are quite old. That being said, they still look amazing on the iMac’s display. What I am trying to say is: gaming has never looked so good. And frame drops? What are those?
Day to day application:
Blazing. Fast. Well. Almost. I can sneeze, spin around in my chair a couple of times before Microsoft Word will boot. It’s probably the slowest application I use. Yes – it’s slower than Adobe to boot. Illustrator, for instance, which I use daily boots in a fraction of the time. At least I know the important things are indeed being kept on the SSD part of the fusion drive.
Would I buy it again:
No. I will buy the next one, or two, up. And a MacBook Pro. And a (stable) PC. And possibly a bunch of other computers. Whenever that happens. Of course I will be saving up in the interim. As always. I will be ready.
The bottom line is, honestly, that I often stop and wonder: how did I ever live without it? – Ha! It’s all mine ♥. Thanks for coming with me down technostalgia lane!