Which - iMac i5 or i7 27" 5k

I’m looking at buying an iMAC 27" 5k with the Radeon Pro 580 GPU - 8GB video memory.
I’ll upgrade the memory as soon as I get it,
Now the question I have is : - i5 or i7 CPU.
I hear the i7 can be noisy and I do use my iMac as a DAW so the fan noice might be irritating.
Will i5 with the above mentioned GPU run Final Cut Pro nicely.

I want a new iMAC now. I’ll have to wait a bit to get one configured with i7

1 Like

Buy a MacBook Pro.

Best £2k I’ve ever spent.

i have an ageing 27" i5 with 16gig ram (fitted myself) ok its a bit slower now bought in 2011 than when new but it does FCPX still
as of Monday i cannot install Mojave as its like me is too old
found this article which may be of use i can still edit FCPX but i now allow for the rendering in the background

Hope this helps a little to be honest as much memory that you can afford (but fit it yourself)
be aware there is a chance of an updated spec due don’t know when could be another 12 months

27" screen is ideal real-estate for editing other than that its up to you how much you want to spend


@Yorksnproud Not quite the recommendation I was looking for. I have my reasons (many of them) to purchase an iMAC - one of which is a 27" screen .

I am thinking of buying an iMac myself the wife and i both use the machine her for the business me for the editing we also have a 13" MacBook pro which i do editing on too bought late last year it handles FCPx at about the same speed as my iMac
only added benefit i would go for is an SSD in the build
The hard drive went on my iMac a couple of years ago so i stumped fr a fusion drive (fitted myself was fairly easy TBH) to speed things up i may get a couple of SSDs and fit them myself as a cheaper option than all out buying new
I look forward to how you get on but the i7 maybe a price to far for your needs

@sparkman999 To my surprise (realised today) - my current iMac is a Mid 2010 model. Seeing as I’m a contractor in IT, I can renew my kit every 3-4 years… so I’ve missed the boat here for several years.
I’ve upgraded this 2010 Mac with SSD and yes…performance increase is great, however, I’ll kit my new iMAC out with a 2TB Fusion Drive and turn the 750 GB SSD from the 2010 iMAC into an external drive on the new one plus I’ll do a memory upgrade myself.
Just not sure about CPU tho’ … I’m sure i5 should be OK. A retrospective CPU upgrade is quite complex and I don’t know if I want to rip apart any more iMACs.
Just that I hear that the i7 is inherently noisy .

I’d try think ahead in case you plan to upgrade at any point to something that uses HEVC/H.265.
In that case you’d want to make sure your cpu can do H.265 hardware decoding.

1 Like

try this on for size as an aid to what you may need admittedly the article is a couple of years old


ok didn’t look at that properly
you could build a Hacintosh

SZ[quote=“joe.k, post:1, topic:4000”]
I’m looking at buying an iMAC 27" 5k with the Radeon Pro 580 GPU - 8GB video memory.
I’ll upgrade the memory as soon as I get it,
Now the question I have is : - i5 or i7 CPU.

Great question Joe - I am in exactly the same situation including age of iMac. I went low spec last time as so like you I will go for the fusion drive.

I was thinking of using the older iMac as a slave 2nd screen, do you know if this is possible?

i7, eats video for breakfast with the right graphics card, and plenty of RAM !

@BrianB The late 2014 5k’s and upwards can’t be used as target display mode displays.
Some older ones can …

1 Like

This might answer a few questions.

Also worth noting if you know any students or education staff then you can get 10% discount ;o)

1 Like

I have a late 2014 iMac 5k with 500gb SSD - Didn’t fancy the Fusion drive and from reading many upgrade problems when upgrading OS, the Fusion drive can be a pain. So opted for the SSD internal with a couple of Lacie 4TB external drives added on.

To this day the machine feels and acts like the day I bought it.

Manages video, audio, 3d rendering, etc easily.

As far noise, I cannot say that it is noisy really. Sure, when you give it some hard work to do, the fan will kick in to keep it cool, but I wouldn’t say it is massively noisy. You will hear the fan of course, it is right next to you, rather than in a box on the floor or hidden in a cabinet.

Waiting for the depreciation to wipe it off my books and I will then probably get the latest incarnation.


Thanks for sharing that

Not updated to Mohave yet?

Too early for me, like to see if any early update problems occur before I pull the trigger :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks for this video share @milkmanchris I didn’t realise that you could upgrade the RAM on the newer iMac’s as you can’t on my 2011 model.

Only decision left is whether to go for the fusion or pay for an SSD. I had my current iMac drive changed to an SSD when it couldn’t handle the latest software and that made a massive difference over the standard (non fusion) drive.

SSD’s are dirt cheap at the moment.

1TB SATA for for around £150+

Even the 1TB PCIE NVME drives are coming right down.


Have you checked disc performance?
For me, I’m limited by processor speed even using the same HDD for source and render.


That was using D: as both source and render - standard spinning disc.