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Hello,

After many years of faithful service my iMac has died. I want to buy a new one but was wondering if anyone had any info or thoughts on which options to choose for best results with Affinity Photo.

I know that I'll need to upgrade the RAM but will 16GB be enough or should I stretch to 32GB? 

Mostly I'm confused as to how much difference going for the faster CPUs would make.

I know this will ultimately fall down to my budget but what I'm asking is how much difference upgrading the CPU / RAM will make when just doing basic adjustments. I'm also conscious of the fact that I will be upgrading my camera at some point and the file sizes being much larger in future. 

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I will leave the configuration to professionals; however, I would suggest 8 GB RAM for your initial purchase and buy additional RAM.  Buy the same RAM found on your iMac spec info.  I saved a lot of money with this simple and easy upgrade. 


Cecil - North Carolina

iMac Retina 5K, 27”, 2019. 3.6 GHz Intel Core 9, 40 GB Memory DDR4, Radeon Pro 580X 8 GB. iPad Pro 10.5.

Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection 

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Posted (edited)
On 8/8/2019 at 5:23 PM, Cecil said:

I will leave the configuration to professionals; however, I would suggest 8 GB RAM for your initial purchase and buy additional RAM.  Buy the same RAM found on your iMac spec info.  I saved a lot of money with this simple and easy upgrade. 

Note that only the 27" iMacs have user upgradable RAM. The 21.5" models can be factory configured with more than 8 GB (up to 16 or 32 GB depending on if it is a Retina model or not) but to upgrade the RAM in a 21.5" model requires almost completely disassembling the iMac, special tools, & new gaskets. (The much more expensive & powerful iMac Pro also does not have user upgradable RAM, apparently because the cooling system uses most of the space that the access door on the regular 27" iMacs could otherwise use.)

So if your budget will stretch for a 27" model, that is definitely the way to go. Personally, I think the 'sweet spot' in the cost vs. performance equation is the 3.1GHz CPU model with the Radeon Pro 575X. The US base price for that is $1900 with a 1 TB "fusion" drive; upgrading to a 512 GB SSD bumps the price up to about $2200. Paired with a relatively cheap multi-TB external USB 3 drive gives you lots of extra storage space.

Edited by R C-R
fixed typo

Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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I should have stated that I currently have a 27" iMac, so I wouldn't be looking at the 21.5" models.

So you think that I should get the middle spec iMac with the standard 8GB and then upgrade the memory afterwards? Also, would the SSD drive make a noticeable difference to the performance?

I've had my current iMac for over 10 years so I'm happy enough to spend extra to future proof it.

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2 hours ago, aledowenthomas said:

I should have stated that I currently have a 27" iMac, so I wouldn't be looking at the 21.5" models.

So you think that I should get the middle spec iMac with the standard 8GB and then upgrade the memory afterwards? Also, would the SSD drive make a noticeable difference to the performance?

I've had my current iMac for over 10 years so I'm happy enough to spend extra to future proof it.

If your set in purchasing the iMac 21”,  upgrade the RAM at purchase.  As stated by R C-A, 21” iMac requires completely dissembling the iMac to upgrade the RAM. Base model iMac 27” or minimal upgrade of 27”, may achieve your goal of future proofing. Simply remove a small panel on back to insert additional RAM. Cost is always a factor.  September/October time frame, Apple may  release a few additional options. Good luck.


Cecil - North Carolina

iMac Retina 5K, 27”, 2019. 3.6 GHz Intel Core 9, 40 GB Memory DDR4, Radeon Pro 580X 8 GB. iPad Pro 10.5.

Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection 

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2 hours ago, aledowenthomas said:

So you think that I should get the middle spec iMac with the standard 8GB and then upgrade the memory afterwards? Also, would the SSD drive make a noticeable difference to the performance?

Which one you get will depend on your budget & how far up the price/performance curve you can stretch it to go. Higher performance is always better & a bit more future-proof, but as you go higher up the curve, you get progressively less of an improvement per dollar spent.

Fusion drives are faster than regular ones but SSD's, particularly the ones using the fast multi-lane interface in the new iMacs, are much faster. Personally, I think the 256 GB SSD upgrade is probably too small to consider, so I think the extra roughly $270 US is worth it if you opt for an SSD. The 1 TB SSD would be nice but you could buy a much larger than 1 TB external USB 3 drive for the $180 US cost difference. That's what I would do, anyway.

Regardless, I would not pay Apple's prices for more than 8 GB of RAM. Factory installed modules are screened to tighter specs than 'budget' third party ones, but reputable third party sellers like Crucial also guarantee their modules meet Apple's specs. A quick web search will show you what Crucial is asking for modules compatible with the latest 27" iMacs. Compare (for example) what it costs using four 16GB Crucial modules to max out the RAM to 64 GB (probably overkill) compared to what Apple is asking for just a factory installed 32 GB memory upgrade. Even if you just throw away the two 4 GB Apple modules of the base configuration & opt for four 8 GB Crucial ones for the same 32 GB total, it is much cheaper than the factory option.

Note: Crucial is just an example of a reputable seller. There are others like OWC (& they will pay you a little for your OEM modules if you buy new ones from them) so shop around a bit & find a seller that works best for you.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.3.155 & Affinity Designer 1.7.3.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.1.2

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Hi, I am just working on a new standard iMac 27 inch (2019 model quad core) with 8 GB and fusion drive. It works very fast with al the new Affinity products.
My old Macbook Pro with SSD drive and 16 GB do also a good job but the iMac is  faster. (I mostly work in Affinity publisher and Affinity Photo)

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