One Week with the iMac 2019

If you’ve been keeping up with my on Instagram and Facebook, you should have noticed that my new iMac came in last week.

I was pretty excited to once again have a desktop Mac, especially one with such a great screen. I would like to say that I’ve put the machine through it’s paces, but I haven’t really. My time on the machine has been somewhat limited with my busy schedule and having my wife on the machine every day when I come home.

Still, I’d like to share my thoughts on the biggest Mac that Apple currently makes after owning it for almost a week.

The Specs

I don’t really want to spend too much time here, but I think for the sake of information you should know what’s inside my beast of a machine.

My iMac Specs
My iMac Specs

There a couple of things I’d like to touch base on, the processor and the storage.

Processor

First off, I was on a bit of a budget so I didn’t go all out and get the i9 9th generation 8-core processor, but I did spring for the 9th generation six core guy.

iMac customizing
iMac customizing

It took me really looking at the specs to realize that unless you select the top of the line iMac model, you’re getting an 8th generation core. If I’m going to be putting so much money down on a computer, I’d like it to last for a while. Still I didn’t want to spend $360 (Educational pricing since I’m a teacher) more.

That being said, I didn’t opt of the memory upgrade either. The iMac is one of the few Macs left that you can actually expand the RAM and you can get that much cheaper elsewhere. In fact, I ordered 32GB of ram off of amazon for under $200 that I plan on installing once it gets here.

While I’m dabbling in film-making and editing, I’m not jumping in where I think I’ll need the 8-core processor just yet. I feel like if I get to that point, I’ll end up going with a iMac Pro or something even more powerful. So maybe the next iMac I buy will be the tip-top of the line, but for now I’m good for a few year (until Apple changes everything to ARM processors).

Storage

With a little bit of regret, I did opt for the 2TB fusion drive. One of the biggest reasons I’ve wanted to get a desktop is to have a place that has plenty of space that I can store everything – photos, music I’ve purchased or collect, and movies.

I slightly wish that I had chosen the 512GB SSD and just gotten an external drive to store everything. I could return it and order a new one, but I think I’m going to stick it out with the fusion drive. Still, I haven’t really run in to any problems with it yet, but the spinning hard drive will be the bottle neck and probably the first thing to break on the system.

I’m just lazy and don’t want to be without an iMac now to take it back. Besides, I would be paying more for less.

Again, maybe my next iMac will have more SSD storage and I’ll just attach a USB3 or thunderbolt 3 hard drive to it.

Design

Much has been said of the dated design of the iMac. I’ve even said that I didn’t like the giant bezels on the screen when I envisioned what I wanted the next iMac to be.

When I saw the updated iMacs I was perplexed that they didn’t get a redesign. Maybe Apple is saving that for the next iMac Pro or maybe even a switch next year to new chips. Still, I had waited almost 2 years for a new iMac, so I jumped in.

I’m not really disappointed in the machine at all. It looks great on the desk, it functions well.

iMac all set up
Please ignore the wires – it’s still a work in progress.

When actually in use, I’ve hardly noticed the bezels or the design. Sure I would love for a redesign with smaller bezels, but when it comes down to it, the bezels fall away. I’m sure if you held this device in your hands, things would be different. You would definitely notice the bezels, but as it is, you don’t.

The screen is massive and beautiful. The last desktop I owned was the previous version of the iMac – the one before Apple slimmed the sides of the iMac.

Performance

Besides storage, I bought this desktop for the power, and so far it doesn’t disappoint. There has been lots of comparisons between the top of the line iMac and the iMac Pro this week, with the gap getting closer before Pro version gets refreshed.

So far, everything has been mostly good.

Setting up the device from my laptop TimeMachine backup took about an hour and a half. It was quicker than I was expecting from what I remember of restoring my iMac from before. I have been noticing some problems and slowdowns when I run apps that were already on the iMac. 1Password refused to even open once I got everything going for example. I deleted it and downloaded it from the App Store and it still wouldn’t open. I had to download it from the website to get it to finally work.

The same thing happened with Final Draft 11. Once I downloaded and ran it I haven’t had any problems.

I wonder if I wiped the entire device and started over from scratch if I would have these problems. I might be worth investigating once I get a free weekend because I’m sure it would clean up a lot of the cruft I had developed on my MacBook.

If I don’t return it because of the fusion drive.

I’ve noticed when I close some heavy apps – like Final Cut X or a game that the machine does freeze up a little.

I wanted to test out some games on the machine and ran StarCraft 2. It took a while for it to start up but once it did it ran fine. Until I closed it. Once I closed it, every window that I had open became unresponsive and it took about two minutes for anything to happen again.

Right now I’m chalking it up to the Fusion Drive. It’s been so long since I’ve had a spinning hard drive in a computer that I don’t really remember what it’s like.

Other than those times, this machine has handled everything that I could throw at it so far. I haven’t encoded a video yet, but I’m excited to see what it’s like.

Wrap Up

So far, I really love having the iMac around again. I actually kind of hate it at the same time though because I just spent so much money on the machine and my wife is always on it when I get home! That’s not a bad thing though, as I’m glad that we have a machine like this.

Would I recommend everyone to get the new iMac? I’d say no. If you are looking for a desktop Mac you can’t really go wrong with it. It’s the best all-in-one desktop I would say you can’t really go wrong with it. If you’re going to be using it for intense computing like video encoding, I would say to skip the Fusion Drive and go straight SSD.

But overall, I really love having the iMac back in my life.

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