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  1. #1
    Graphics card option on new iMac

    Member Since
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    2009 MacBook Pro 15" - 2013 iMac 3.4GHz quad-core i7, Fusion Drive, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX
    Graphics card option on new iMac
    I'm about to order a 27" iMac and the last decision to make is the graphic card.
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX 1GB GDDR5
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB GDDR5 [Add $135.00]

    I don't game at all but I do use Photoshop and Lightroom. I've been told that Photoshop takes advantage of the GPU but wondering how much speed (if any) the better card would provide.

    Side issue is that the local Apple store carries the high end iMac exactly like I want but it has the better card. Attractive if I want to buy in the store, but I can wait 3-4 weeks if that's what it takes to save the money if the card is of no significant value.

    Thoughts

  2. #2
    Graphics card option on new iMac
    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
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    45,202
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    27" iMac i5, 3.2 GHz, iPad 3, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, Yosemite
    My advice is to purchase as much iMac as you can afford. Keep in mind that the graphics card on all current Macs with the exception of the Mac Pro can not be upgraded later on. Certainly the better graphics card with more memory is desirable for Photoshop and Lightroom.

  3. #3
    Graphics card option on new iMac
    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
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    Nambucca Heads Australia
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    20,018
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    iMac i5 2.7GHz, 16GB memory, OS 10.10.5
    Well worth additional $135.00. Too late after purchase as cannot be upgraded. To save some money do not have the memory upgraded. Cheaper to buy from OWC or Crucial and install that yourself.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memor.../2012_27/DDR3L
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  4. #4
    Graphics card option on new iMac
    baggss's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 10, 2004
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    27" 3.4 Ghz i7 iMac-13" C2D Macbook-OSX 10.10.2 -64Gb iPad 2-64 Gb iPhone 6+-ATV 2-14Tb of Storage
    Buy the one with the better card. You'll never say "I wish I had the less capable graphics card". Ever.


  5. #5
    Graphics card option on new iMac

    Member Since
    Oct 25, 2010
    Location
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    325
    Specs:
    2009 MacBook Pro 15" - 2013 iMac 3.4GHz quad-core i7, Fusion Drive, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX
    Understand faster is better...but if it isn't better, why bother? As for memory, already planned to upgrade via crucial or OWC.

  6. #6
    Graphics card option on new iMac
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.7.5
    Quote Originally Posted by lrd View Post
    Understand faster is better...but if it isn't better, why bother?
    Huh...you just contradicted yourself.

    Faster is better...thus why would you say "but if it isn't better". Faster is better...thus it will be better...period. With graphics hardware it's both about speed & capability.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  7. #7
    Graphics card option on new iMac

    Member Since
    Oct 25, 2010
    Location
    Las Vegas
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    Specs:
    2009 MacBook Pro 15" - 2013 iMac 3.4GHz quad-core i7, Fusion Drive, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX
    Not all software interacts with hardware the same way. If doubling the graphics memory with a minor incremental speed jump is not noticeable when using Photoshop, then it may be "better" but not useful better. I'd rather spend the money on something else. But I understand your point...upgrades are not possible so...

  8. #8
    Graphics card option on new iMac
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    May 20, 2008
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    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.7.5
    Quote Originally Posted by lrd View Post
    Not all software interacts with hardware the same way. If doubling the graphics memory with a minor incremental speed jump is not noticeable when using Photoshop, then it may be "better" but not useful better. I'd rather spend the money on something else. But I understand your point...upgrades are not possible so...
    You asked for information/advice...and you got it. Now you as the buyer need to make the decision. If you don't want to spend the extra $135 then don't...nobody is forcing you!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  9. #9
    Graphics card option on new iMac

    Member Since
    Oct 25, 2010
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    325
    Specs:
    2009 MacBook Pro 15" - 2013 iMac 3.4GHz quad-core i7, Fusion Drive, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX
    But my original question hasn't been answered

    Would Photoshop or Lightroom take advantage of the GPU speed (most likely) or extra memory (no clue).

    But thank you for taking the time to answer!

  10. #10
    Graphics card option on new iMac
    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
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    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.7.5
    Quote Originally Posted by lrd View Post
    Would Photoshop or Lightroom take advantage of the GPU speed (most likely) or extra memory (no clue).
    Sometimes it's not just what will "something" do for you today...it's what will the graphics upgrade do for you 3 years from now??

    Go back 3 years in time...and see what sort of graphics requirements were the norm compared against the graphics requirements/recommendations are today (they are greater today). Jump ahead 3 years from now...they will most likely be greater still.

    What folks are trying to help you understand is...we don't want you 3 years from now saying to yourself..."Darn...I should have upgraded the graphics on my iMac like the Mac-Forums folks were suggesting."

    Of course we cannot pedict the future. But also remember your computing needs may change as well.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  11. #11
    Graphics card option on new iMac
    baggss's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 10, 2004
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    Margaritaville
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    10,310
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    27" 3.4 Ghz i7 iMac-13" C2D Macbook-OSX 10.10.2 -64Gb iPad 2-64 Gb iPhone 6+-ATV 2-14Tb of Storage
    Quote Originally Posted by lrd View Post
    But my original question hasn't been answered

    Would Photoshop or Lightroom take advantage of the GPU speed (most likely) or extra memory (no clue).

    But thank you for taking the time to answer!
    The answer is both.

    Now since you CAN upgrade the RAM yourself on the 27 inch iMac and you CAN NOT upgrade the graphics card, I think your answer is obvious. But if you still can not figure this out, let me spell it out for you:

    GET THE GRAPHICS CARD UPGRADE.

    You can put an additional 8 Gb of RAM in that machine for less that $65, I just did it to mine. And yes, I got the better graphics card too.


  12. #12
    Graphics card option on new iMac
    Adric's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 28, 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
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    Specs:
    27" iMac (Mid 2011), 3.4GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 2GB Video Card, 2TB HDD
    First of all, only certain tools in Photoshop take advantage of the GPU.

    The Mercury Graphics Engine powers a number of key features in Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CS6 Extended. It delivers immediate feedback when you edit images using the all-new Crop tool, Puppet Warp, Liquify, Adaptive Wide Angle, and the Lighting Effects Gallery. It allows you to paint more freely, smoothly resizing brushes and adjusting brush tips and it shows you the effects of the new Oil Painting filter in real time. It also helps you quickly render final 3D work in Adobe RayTrace mode in Photoshop CS6 Extended.
    Mercury Graphics Engine | Adobe Photoshop CS6 - Adobe.com

    ...meaning everything else still functions the old way by tapping the CPU.

    Also remember that graphics memory and graphics speed are two completely different things. All things being equal, a 2GB card will be able to handle larger images while keeping things fast over a 1 GB card due to being able to load more data right in the GPU. However, if editing a small photo requiring less data, both cards would be identically fast.

    The two cards you have pointed out are not equal though. The 1GB 675MX clocks in at 600MHz (core speed) and 900MHz (memory speed) while the 2GB 680MX runs at a faster 720MHz (core speed) and 2,500MHz (memory speed) so the 2GB card would not only be able to handle larger amounts of data, it would also be able to process it faster.

    Now those are the tidbits you should keep in mind. In reality, both cards will be very fast and more than capable of handling CS6 at the moment. My personal opinion though, is that you will want a card that will be future-proofed a little. Just because something might not need 2 GB now, doesn't mean that in two years, your new software wont require that (and it probably will eventually) to run nominally. I think it's a small price to pay to have a computer that will last a year or two longer before going obsolete. That's just my personal opinion.

  13. #13
    Graphics card option on new iMac

    Member Since
    Oct 25, 2010
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    325
    Specs:
    2009 MacBook Pro 15" - 2013 iMac 3.4GHz quad-core i7, Fusion Drive, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX
    Now that's an answer I can use! Thanks.

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