Discussion Logic behind Apple iMac 27" Retina 5K from a rationale point of view. Please help me understand.

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SilverSeal

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Some of you need to explain the logic behind this build from Apple as I fail to comprehend it.

I am not really familiar much with Apple's product but after reading about this I got curious and on Friday I visited a store and had a look at it. Processing so many pixels yelled out one issue to me: Heat management.

The first thing I noticed was the insane reflections it had in it making me wonder if it was a mirror or a monitor? The picture had high details but the pixels appeared to be rather blurred out. Perhaps the store had set the monitor with to much brightness.

The second thing I thought about was: How on earth is that thing going to get rid of the heat such a massive resolution will cause even for mildly intensive applications? There barely seemed to be any air inlets/outlets let alone place for decent size fans. How can this possibly work out?

Anyway, when I read the specifications for this computer it really made me wonder (and this is my main question) : Who is really going to benefit from this computer?

Let's break down the stats (if I have understood it correctly):
* 5120x2880 IPS Monitor/Mirror (glossy finish)
* A Radeon R9 M290X 2GB (upgradeable to R9 M295X 4GB)
* i5-4670 CPU (upgradeable to i7-4790)
* 8GB DDR3 (2x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM
* A keyboard without numpad

Is it just me or has this computer a insanely undermuscled GPU?

Remember it's a mobile GPU, not even a "normal" GPU, as far as I know a R9 M295X 4GB is nowhere close to say a fairly moderate GTX770, and with mediocre heating solutions (at best) and it's suppose to run a resolution 4 times greater than 1440p (or almost 7 times greater than 1080p)? Really?

Isn't this so massively under-muscled and poorly designed (from a heat reducing point of view) that it cannot even do half-intense video editing at its native resolution or have I done the math wrong?

It's needless to say it will be completely useless for any halfway intense 3D graphical design (like 3D Studio Max / Maya except very basic figures) that put any strain on the GPU whatsoever and gaming is of course out of the question at its native resolution except very low graphic intensive games.

But as far as medium and high graphic intensive games, I have seen people argued that:

"Well you can just scale it down 2:1 and game from there".

And that is a fair point I guess. Downscaling is not so bad if you can do it in round numbers effectively reducing the amount of pixels by 75%. But even at 2560x1440 this machine will suffer playing many games at 60Hz at anything close of ultra settings (and you can just forget about multisample Anti-Aliasing even with the 4GB card) or am I wrong?

How is a single R9 M290X or R9 M295X going to pull that off when I can just barely run some games at everything at ultra at 2560x1600 with TWO GTX770@SLI on a tower chassi with water cooling (and where even one of them is a better GPU than the one in Apple iMac 27" Retina 5K)?
How can someone design something like this that will so obviously suffer from overheating and/or lack of GPU power from any stress whatsoever?

I have understood that Apple computers are not usually made for gaming, but this underpowering takes it to a brand new level of underpowering, doesn't it (no matter if you upgrade to R9 M295X and the i7 or not)?

Isn't this like putting a 3-cylinder 1 litre engine into a car that has the chassi of a Lamborghini?

I guess it can be a nice set-up for people who like to just hobby edit their photographs in a really dark room with no reflective sources and never have the need to use a numpad, but other than that, who is the target audience for this?

It feels like a very, very tiny market? And considering the price, people might as well buy one of the high-end monitors from Eizo/NEC and a superior desktop PC to power it without spending much more money anyway?

So please, help me understand the logic (if such exist)

Thanks in advance!





 

g-unit1111

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Remember it's a mobile GPU, not even a "normal" GPU, as far as I know a R9 M295X 4GB is nowhere close to say a fairly moderate GTX770, and with mediocre heating solutions (at best) and it's suppose to run a resolution 4 times greater than 1440p (or almost 7 times greater than 1080p)? Really?
Yeah that for me has been the biggest puzzling factor behind the iMac. It's a laptop GPU powering a monitor that's 7 times greater than 1080P and 4 times greater than 1440P. For graphic designers it's not a good choice because once Adobe Creative Suite adapts to the higher resolutions including the 5k output on the iMac, I would think that this GPU would struggle to keep up on redraws when you have heavily detailed Photoshop and Illustrator drawings with a hundred or more layers. For people who edit video I can't imagine it would be a good choice either because once you edit video that's in resolutions beyond standard Youtube consumption I would think those files would require more RAM than the system could handle. To me it looks like a status symbol more than anything else.
 

SilverSeal

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Yes that was my suspicion too. What's makes it even more bizarre is that at they market it by the slogan:

"14.7 million pixels. And the power to do beautiful things with them."

source: https://www.apple.com/imac-with-retina/

What power and what beautiful things are they talking about? In my opinion, that is extremely misleading marketing targeted at exploiting individuals with limited knowledge of computers.

And what also seems weird is that they choose to only have it at 27", when most high-end 3840x2160 monitors are 31-32". It just seems like an unnecessary high dpi, especially considering the glossy finish will make surrounding light interfere with the viewing perception anyway... If they had made the screen a massive 33" I would have understood it more as there is little doubt that this monitor is not intended to be used in a multi-monitor configuration anyway...
 

ferwindjacks

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They certainly aren't talking about gaming. Such a GPU is powerful enough to run 3D editing at an UPSCALED 5k resolution. It is rendering at around a 4k if I remember correctly.

So yes, this benefits no one, and nothing is actually being rendered in 5k. Their logic? Make themselves the first to enter the mainstream products with a 5k display. I imagine its a publicity thing, as any 'pro' 3D renderer is going to be using a MBP Retina or Mac Pro. What they should have done instead is release a 5k thunderbolt display as a Mac Pro has the hardware to push it with such 3d apps.

Another thing that bothers me? Why Apple can never keep up with the newest in GPU hardware *cough* 900m series *cough*
 

g-unit1111

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Yeah that's why I think it's a status symbol. I think this new 5K iMac is for people who want the latest and greatest, yet don't necessarily know what they're going to do with it. True design professionals will want a computer that can keep up with the demands of their displays, and that ridiculous trash can thing that Apple calls a "professional PC" isn't worth the cost of what a DIY system with a 5280K can provide for half the cost (no HR department in the world would justify the cost difference :lol: ). True video editing professionals will want a computer that can handle the high bandwidth requirements of Adobe CS5 and 6. If you wanted the power of Mac OS X for professional use with a well calibrated display you could Hackintosh it, but about 95% of the time that ain't worth the effort.
 
A 5K display is aimed at those who want to edit 4K video and still have screen space for a few toolbars. You can't buy a stand-alone 5K monitor for much less than the cost of the iMac (I'm not sure you can buy one at all yet). It may be a niche market but I would imagine it's quite a large one all the same.

No-one buys a Mac for games, so that's irrelevant.
 

SilverSeal

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Thanks for the response Ijack. That is what I read some other people typed on the net as well, but to me that seems like such a weird way to work. The reason is that the difference in resolution is so big the "screen space for toolbar" will actually cover almost half of the screen in terms of area leaving the actual video at only at a 20" size in one corner. If I was going to edit a 4K video, I sure wouldn't want to look at it in a tiny 20" window, but maybe that is just me. But I guess they choose 5120x2880 since it can be evenly scaled down to 2560x1440 which will be an absolute must if you are to use the computer for anything that is even remotely graphic intensive. But it is by no mean the ideal resolution for editing a 4k video and have "some" space for toolbars IMO.

Wouldn't it make more sense to have a 3840x2160 (or 4096x2160 monitor) with the video running full screen 27-32" inch monitor with a small 1080p monitor/laptop on the side for editing tools? That would limit it to 10,4 megapixels (or 10,9 for the 4096) and you would be able to get a much larger view of the video (whatever screen-size you have).

Remember a 5120x2880 have not just slightly more pixels than 3840x2160, a 5120x2880 have 14,7 megapixels which is more pixels than a 3840x2160 + 2560x1440 + 1920x1080 monitor combined! If people want huge real estate to edit a 2160p video and some extra space beside it, why would they settle for a relatively small 27" monitor anyway?

It's one thing that it will be massively under-powered for any half-intensive 3D rendering (not to mention gaming), but I get the sensation that a single mobile GPU (no matter if it's among the best of mobile GPUs) is going to be so bottlenecking that it will greatly reduce many tasks that are not really graphic intensive at all, which to me makes it very ironic and misleading that they are marketing it with the slogan:

"14.7 million pixels. And the power to do beautiful things with them."
 
4K resolution is 4096 × 2160, the iMac 5K is 5120 x 2880. The extra space of the 5K monitor over the 4K display hardly covers "almost half the screen" - it is a 25% increase. This just gives a relatively small extra space for the display of vertical and horizontal toolbars.

A 4096 x 2160 monitor would indeed allow for editing of videos at native resolution, but the addition of another monitor, or laptop, for editing tools may not be seen as an ideal solution. What is the point of an all-in-one if you then need additional monitors to use it?

I don't believe it is aimed at 3D rendering, more 2D video editing. For this purpose (and it is a sizeable market) a 5K display is ideal and reviews show that this iMac is more than able at this task. There is no cheaper way (currently) of getting a 5K display. I can see this model being a huge success in the video industry.
 

SilverSeal

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4K resolution is 4096 × 2160, the iMac 5K is 5120 x 2880. The extra space of the 5K monitor over the 4K display hardly covers "almost half the screen" - it is a 25% increase. This just gives a relatively small extra space for the display of vertical and horizontal toolbars.

A 4096 x 2160 monitor would indeed allow for editing of videos at native resolution, but the addition of another monitor, or laptop, for editing tools may not be seen as an ideal solution. What is the point of an all-in-one if you then need additional monitors to use it?

I don't believe it is aimed at 3D rendering, more 2D video editing. For this purpose (and it is a sizeable market) a 5K display is ideal and reviews show that this iMac is more than able at this task. There is no cheaper way (currently) of getting a 5K display. I can see this model being a huge success in the video industry.
Yes I know 4K resolution is technically 4096x2160 however since it's so often, although incorrect, referred to 3840x2160 as 4K I used both resolution as an example (as you can see above).

Please notice how I never questioned whether the computer would sell, I am sure it will sell quite a bit, I question the raw rationality behind the product's composition without considering things like "I must have it"-factors.

I am not sure how you are making 5120x2880 / (4096x2160) only a 25% increase as 5120x2880 / 4096x2160 = 1,666... = 67% increase and 5120x2880 / 3840x2160 = 1,777... = 78% increase. Thus when editing a 4096x2160 video, exactly 60% of the monitor would show the video while 40% would be "the extra space" while for a 3840x2160 video, 56.25% of the monitor would show the video while 43.75% of the monitor would show "the extra space" so I don't think it was any misleading exaggeration to call it "almost half of the screen". So I would beg to differ to call it "a relatively small extra space for the display of vertical and horizontal toolbars."

It's obviously NOT the ratio of the only the width or only the depth that matters. That is like saying a 200m² house is only about 41% larger than a 100m² house... LOL :)

The point about how large this non-video space is of course that the actual physical size of the video window will for a 4096x2160 video be a 21.3" window (18.8" in length (478mm) and 9.9" in height (252mm)) while for a 3840x2160 video the video window would be a 20.25" window (17.6" in length (448mm) and 9.9" in height (252mm)), which to me seems like an unnatural and unnecessary small window size to view such a video for editing purposes. In my opinion the computer would have made slightly more sense if the monitor was at least 30 inches.

As it is now I can't really see how this product is going to make actual sense beside people that really, really want a monitor that can show a 4K video and still have some space for other things and really hate having two monitors on the desk and somehow does not care that the actual video will only show up on a rather small size (20.25-21.3" only) or that they will not be able to use the computer for any significant graphical computation whatsoever.

So to summarize from the responses here. It seems like noone really understand the logic behind it. Seems to be a 100% gadget build with no real usage for a price tag in which you can get much better REAL desktop computer AND a better monitor for...
 
It's the ratio of the width or depth that matters, not the total area. 5120 is only 25% wider (slightly less actually) than 4096.

I agree that the only buyers to who this Mac makes sense is the huge market for video editing. That is the answer to your original query. It makes a lot of sense to them and Apple will sell a shedload of them. Things might change when other manufacturers sell 5K monitors (if they can beat the price), but until then Apple have a monopoly on this market.
 

unplugme71

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Exactly - the studio I visited uses these for 2D and any 3D work goes to Mac Pro's.
 
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