May 19, 2015

The 5K iMac Just Got a Little Cheaper, Plus a New 15-Inch Macbook Pro

iMac 5K and Macbook Pro
Apple today made a few noteworthy announcements, primarily that the 5K iMac's base price has dropped by $200, which means there's now an entry-level 5K iMac for under $2K, and that the 15-inch Macbook Pro got some welcome performance upgrades as well as their Force Touch trackpad.

The biggest news for filmmakers here is the 5K iMac, which just became a little more affordable (in a very loose interpretation of that word). When it initially launched last fall, the base model for the 5K iMac came in at $2500. As of today, that exact model is $2300. Apple also announced a new stripped down version of the 5K iMac, which has most of the same hardware as the original, but has a slightly slower processor and comes with a traditional spinning drive instead of Apple's Fusion Drive. That new model clocks in right at $2000.

The other major announcement is that the 15-inch Macbook Pro got a few upgrades in line with the ones afforded to the 13-inch models earlier in the year. The 15-inch models now come with longer battery life (up to an hour longer), faster SSDs, and the Force Touch trackpad, which offers a more tactile and nuanced way to interact with your content. Here's a quick look at the Force Touch trackpad from The Verge.

Lastly, the high-end model of the 15-inch Macbook Pro now boasts higher graphics performance thanks to a new discrete GPU. Unlike the iMacs, which all got less expensive, these new Macbook Pros actually got a slight bump up in price, with the base models now starting at $2000 and $2500 respectively.      

Your Comment

24 Comments

Is it just me or did they also change the customizable options for the graphics card, now only allowing you to upgrade on the higher end 5k iMac? Just the other day I thought you could select a better graphics card on the 27inch regular iMac.

May 19, 2015 at 4:07PM

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Stephen Herron
Writer/Director
1306

Well... Mac's not for me...
...
I'm not an i.gadget nor an apple user... Maybe one I'll understand that I'm wrong... but not today... :-)
...

May 19, 2015 at 4:09PM

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João Marco
Independent Director/Writer
88

Why does it have to be right / wrong? Just use the tool that fits your needs. Brand tribalism distracts from creation.

But then again, I guess commenting your comment does that as well. D'oh!

May 19, 2015 at 4:44PM

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Daniel J Collins
You know, he's just this guy (with a camera)
99

Eheh... No more no less... I'll drink to that... :-)

May 19, 2015 at 6:52PM

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João Marco
Independent Director/Writer
88

Still way more expensive than my Hackintosh...

May 19, 2015 at 5:07PM

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Kayode
864

How stable is your build with heavy use?

May 19, 2015 at 10:37PM

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Daniel Reed
Hat Collector
1019

My Hackintosh is actually pretty stable with heavy use. I did have the audio drivers disappear a couple of times before I got a better sound card, and the DVD burner has never worked properly. Still it has cranked out lots and lots of renders over the last couple of years.

May 20, 2015 at 2:30AM

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Stu Mannion
writer/dir/dp
580

I also have a hackintosh. Its actually the most stable computer I have used, previously I used an iMac for editing/vfx and there were way more bugs and crashes than with my current computer. Hackintoshes may have a reputation of being unstable but if you pick the right parts it will outlive any mac (based on the fact that you can very easily replace any component that fails).

Ben

May 20, 2015 at 10:21AM

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GradedBlue
DP, Director, Editor, VFX
198

My hackintosh is very stable under heavy use. I have a fully loaded 12-core Mac Pro with dual D700's at work which performs well using Premiere and After Effects but my hack at home seems to match that performance pretty well with only 4-cores and a single CUDA GPU. Having been able to upgrade my GPU and CPU as needed over the last few years has allowed me to get a lot more value out of that machine than I could get out of a Mac Pro.

Now I only wish that the current batch of powerful gaming laptops could be hacked in the same fashion but Optimus implementation is still entirely prohibitive.

May 20, 2015 at 1:44PM, Edited May 20, 1:54PM

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Ryan Ashford
pr-editor, wr-ector, desi-ngineer
81

What often isn't fully explained in hackintosh builds is that Apple can change anything about OS X in new builds and its API's do drastically change which then requires new firmware and drivers. So you are dependent on the hardware manufacturers to update their firmware/drivers for the new API's. Some are more diligent about this than others.

It is possible to stabilize to a certain version to OS X but then you have to be careful about system updates as you run the risk to API changes.

When Apple releases a new version of OS X the API's will absolutely change and will absolutely require new drivers/firmware and in some cases new components.

I always take "my hackintosh is more stable than a Mac" as total hyperbole for many reasons.

May 20, 2015 at 3:44PM

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Tenolian
249

This is true and it can be a little annoying to wait for a while after updates have been released until there is enough information from the hackintosh community about it's affects on your hardware setup. However, having upgradability options for key hardware components can be worth the nuisance if you watch your step. I have actually had more issues on the Mac Pro than the Hackintosh in the last year now that I follow the "wait and see" rule.

May 20, 2015 at 5:25PM

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Ryan Ashford
pr-editor, wr-ector, desi-ngineer
81

Upgrading (or even updating) to the newest version of OSX on release is an incredibly idiotic thing to do in any circumstance - hackintosh or not. I usually wait until .2

May 25, 2015 at 6:59AM

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mardus
74

So basically, after pushing SSDs and not wanting us to replace our own components by soldering the components in and making the only way in through popping of the screen, they're essentially forcing anyone who wants half-decent performance to buy the more expensive model or get stuck with a slow drive.

Bring me back the ability to add my own bloody RAM and SSD without voiding my warranty or risking screen damage, and I will buy one. I've wanted an iMac for a long time but this design revision put me off.

May 19, 2015 at 6:06PM

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Anne Le Sauvage
Ethusiastic amateur editor
185

I agree that it's frustrating how they make it harder and harder to upgrade certain parts. But upgrading the RAM is no harder on the iMac than it ever has been. They left an access panel on the back of it. https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+27-Inch+Retina+5K+Display+RAM+Re...

May 19, 2015 at 7:38PM

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David S.
2989

Apple shares are expensive, they need to keep the shareholders happy :-p

May 20, 2015 at 5:27AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8821

The market for those who swap internal hardware components at this point is so small, Apple doesn't have to support that desire - most people just buy a new computer.

May 20, 2015 at 3:47PM

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Tenolian
249

For the extra $200 I'd go this route

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Xeon E5-2620 V2 2.1GHz 6-Core ProcessorP ($404.98 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU CoolerP ($29.94 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: Asus P9X79 LE ATX LGA2011 MotherboardP ($224.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 MemoryP ($129.84 @ Amazon)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 MemoryP ($129.84 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital BLACK SERIES 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard DriveP ($187.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX Titan Black 6GB Superclocked Video CardP ($1099.99 @ B&H)
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower CaseP ($44.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650W 80+ Platinum Certified ATX Power SupplyP ($84.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD WriterP ($19.98 @ OutletPC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional (OEM) (64-bit)P ($139.98 @ OutletPC)
Total: $2497.51

I would be able to do a lot more 4k editing on this. Already have a color grading monitor keep your 5k Mac.

May 21, 2015 at 6:24PM

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I use both Mac and PC. I'd be happy making the switch to just PC if it saved money.

My two concerns are:
- Thunderbolt drives - Is there a good PC laptop that can do small edits and has a thunderpolt port?
- Hardrive formating - I don't know enough about this to not have all my data stuck on a drive, especially when working with people who mainly use Mac.

Solve this for me. Recommend me a computer (Windows or Hackintosh setups are cool and I'm ready to ditch Macbooks!

May 20, 2015 at 9:54AM, Edited May 20, 9:54AM

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Brooks Reynolds
Director/DOP
407

Dell M3800

May 20, 2015 at 10:21AM, Edited May 20, 10:21AM

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Mark F
81

My current hackintosh build:
Xeon E3 1230 v2 (basically an i7)
GTX 760
24GB Ram
1TB HDD system drive
3x 80GB HDDs in raid 0 as a scratch drive
500w PSU
Gigabyte z77 ds3h

I highly recommend it, it will rival the 5K iMac and the entry level Mac Pro for less than £1000. Any hackintosh questions just ask :)

Ben

May 20, 2015 at 10:27AM

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GradedBlue
DP, Director, Editor, VFX
198

Hey Ben,
I'm very interested in getting one - did you put your hackintosh together yourself, or did you purchase it custom built?
thanks!
R.

May 21, 2015 at 8:07AM

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Rob Wilton
DoP
307

I work on tons of high end stuff - both video and animation. I have a 2013 iMac and it works perfectly fine. Before that, I had a 2007 Mac Pro which worked perfectly fine. Sure things might be a little faster here and there, but at the end of the day computers and software have been functioning at a high level for quite a while now.

When I go into a studio to do post freelance work, often times I’m working on an old 2010-ish Mac Pro and it’s also perfectly fine. One of the places I freelance at does use Hackintosh machines and for the most part they work OK, but defiantly a bit more glitchy than an Apple Mac; but Hackintosh’s seem to be fine for the most part.

As for the whole Mac vs. PC debate (not saying one is better than another), if you work in a pro / studio type environment, you kind of need a Mac because of the native Pro-Res support. With the exception of 3D files (mostly image sequences), most files we get from clients, pre-renders, final renders, test renders, files for foreign markets, etc…. is 100% Pro-Res. I tend to work at studios that shoot a lot of live action mixed with VFX / MoGraph and it's often PC for 3D and Mac for video. 2D and compositing.

And that’s probably the only real reason to use a Mac over a PC is Pro-Res, but that is a big reason. Yes, there are PC Pro-Res apps, but they definitely are not as good as native Apple support.

May 20, 2015 at 5:07PM, Edited May 20, 5:07PM

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Gene Sung
DP / Director
667

AVID's DnxHD codecs on the PC are virtually identical to Pro-Res. You need the free codecs installed, but that takes all of 5 seconds.

May 20, 2015 at 5:22PM

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Josh.R
Motion Designer/Predator
977

But the point is, many studios (at least in LA) are Pro-Res based and it's greatly preferred. Once again, not saying one is better than the other, just one is used quite a bit more and it makes life easier if everyone is on the same page.

May 20, 2015 at 5:40PM

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Gene Sung
DP / Director
667

It must be amazing to enjoy a blu-ray movie on this new Pro with family. Mac Blu-ray Player share this with you.

May 27, 2015 at 10:57PM

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