Considering iMac 5k. Thoughts on heat/noise?

pixelblue

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 31, 2015
Messages
122
Hi,
I'm considering switching over to an iMac 5k for editing photos and 4k video, and 3D rendering. Was curious if anyone could attest to it's cooling performance, or any noise issues, or throttling issues you've experienced when rendering specifically. Asking here since there aren't really and longer term reviews about it's reliability in these tasks. I'll be using Maya, After Effects, Premiere, and Lightroom.
Thanks!
 

defaultluser

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
Messages
14,399
I've read several complaints on various forums about the system overheating. Just search Google.

It's running a 100w video card plus 100w processor (4790k) plus a 30-50w display, all in a thin case that places form over function. You can easily figure out what happens.

That said, you can try for a month no strings attached if you buy it now from their online store.

http://www.apple.com/shop/help/returns_refund#policy

They normally only give you 14 days, but that's extended to 14 days after Christmas this time of year :D That would gave you plenty of time to find out for sure!

I'd make sure they will give you a cash refund, and not just store credit before I dropped thta kind of cash, but if so you might as well.
 
Last edited:

UnknownSouljer

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 24, 2001
Messages
7,651
Plenty of people use it as a production level machine (as an example, Pulitzer prize winning photographer and videographer Vincent Laforet). I would say that any issues people are having are isolated cases. There is a lot of discussion about 105 degree temps that it's designed to sit at (with a max operating temperature of 127, but the sensors maintain the fans from 85-105). But I don't see even anecdotal evidence of failure. It's a lot of people 'worried' about temps and making noise about it. Those complaints are also for the first gen 5k iMacs, and not the second (current) gen iMac.

So if seeing high temps stresses you out, then I guess don't buy it. If you're okay with it's "high-temp" design, then you'll be fine (even though it's well within its operating limits). If you still want it and that stresses you out, simply install fan controller software and run the fans at a higher RPM sooner and sacrifice noise for temps. For extra security pickup Apple care. Then you're at least guaranteed that any hardware failure within 3 years is covered by replacement.
 

Aurelius

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 22, 2003
Messages
4,003
Keep in mind that the overheating complaints aren't even really valid now, since the current iMacs have Skylake processors.

In my experience (I have one of these latest 5K iMacs, the highest-end stock model), you should be fine. The fans will kick in when you're doing something intensive, but they don't sound like jet turbines. Photo editing and 4K playback don't even faze the system.
 

Archer1212

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 5, 2004
Messages
10,219
They will run warm. All the exhaust is out the top, so try to avoid putting it under a shelf/hutch. While it does get warm, it wont melt down or anything. It will shutdown if it gets too hot so dont worry.

As far as noise, It will get loud when you max it out, but for the most time it will be pretty quiet. Especially if you're the type that plays a movie or music in the background.
 

Dayaks

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 22, 2012
Messages
9,162
While it does get warm, it wont melt down or anything. It will shutdown if it gets too hot so dont worry.

That line is hilarious to me. A thermal shutdown is instantaneous and would be extremely concerning. Completely unacceptable for how much that thing costs and considering it's a desktop. I'd find it unacceptable on a $300 laptop never mind a desktop costing thousands.

The correct response is that the computer will throttle itself slightly. Although, you have to do extremely intensive tasks for a long time. Why Apple would sacrifice thermals on a desktop is beyond me.
 

Aurelius

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 22, 2003
Messages
4,003
The correct response is that the computer will throttle itself slightly. Although, you have to do extremely intensive tasks for a long time. Why Apple would sacrifice thermals on a desktop is beyond me.

Because Apple is also concerned about design, not just raw speed. The 5K iMac is certainly designed with pros in mind, but at its heart it's still an all-in-one. That means considering things like size and noise on top of performance. Yeah, you should probably look at a Mac Pro or Windows tower if absolute performance is important... but it's nice to have a reasonably quick computer and 5K display in a very compact machine that's virtually silent.
 

pixelblue

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 31, 2015
Messages
122
Thermal shudown is a big concern....I love the display, and the fact that it has DCI-P3 gamut for color grading is a huge plus, but throttling is no good, I need to be able to render 3D animation, sometimes for a couple days at a time. Sounds like the Mac Pro or a new custom pc is a better option.
 

Verge

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 27, 2001
Messages
7,616
Thermal shudown is a big concern....I love the display, and the fact that it has DCI-P3 gamut for color grading is a huge plus, but throttling is no good, I need to be able to render 3D animation, sometimes for a couple days at a time. Sounds like the Mac Pro or a new custom pc is a better option.

If that's really what you are doing I wouldn't buy an iMac. I wouldn't even consider it. Is it all cpu? Why not have a separate rendering box with some Xeons in it? Might run you into licensing problems though.
 

pixelblue

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 31, 2015
Messages
122
I guess I'm mainly considering it for the display value, and it's compact size, it would mean I could avoid a tower.
 

defaultluser

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
Messages
14,399
I guess I'm mainly considering it for the display value, and it's compact size, it would mean I could avoid a tower.

You're not helping us at all by being this damn cryptic. What do you "value" in the display enough to spend $2500?

Do you care about the 5k resolution much at all, or are you mostly interested in the color accuracy? WHAT ARE THE KEY FEATURES YOU *MUST HAVE*?

Would you be satisfied with 1440p or 4k display with otherwise similar specs?
 

pixelblue

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 31, 2015
Messages
122
"and the fact that it has DCI-P3 gamut for color grading is a huge plus"
There's only one other 5K monitor on the market, and it doesn't support this color gamut for grading, and costs $1700 alone, vs $2500 for a complete system in the iMac. 5k is ideal since it allows for viewing the image at full resolution in UHD and even cinema 4k while allowing space for the interface. Super accurate color, ie 14 bit luts isn't that important since I'll likely never shoot higher than 10 bit footage, but 10 bit color is preferred. With it's display the iMac seemed like a good value, but as I said I'm concerned about it's stability in rendering.
 

defaultluser

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
Messages
14,399
"and the fact that it has DCI-P3 gamut for color grading is a huge plus"
There's only one other 5K monitor on the market, and it doesn't support this color gamut for grading, and costs $1700 alone, vs $2500 for a complete system in the iMac. 5k is ideal since it allows for viewing the image at full resolution in UHD and even cinema 4k while allowing space for the interface. Super accurate color, ie 14 bit luts isn't that important since I'll likely never shoot higher than 10 bit footage, but 10 bit color is preferred. With it's display the iMac seemed like a good value, but as I said I'm concerned about it's stability in rendering.

Okay, if you're editing 4k content, there is nothing else.

I was only mentioning what you value because Dell just released a 1440p monitor with 98% DCI-P3 gamut for $900. But if higher resolution is of top importance, that won't work for you.
 

pixelblue

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 31, 2015
Messages
122
Just saw that, looks really promising as an alternative if I scale 4k to 1080 for publishing to YouTube / Vimeo, or as a second monitor.
 

Ocellaris

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Messages
19,080
It'd probably be better to build a hackintosh if you're really a fan of the OS. The hardware itself is just reall y bad for the price.

You realize this thread is about 5K setups where the Apple hardware is pretty much the best value going for a 5K?
 

defaultluser

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
Messages
14,399
You realize this thread is about 5K setups where the Apple hardware is pretty much the best value going for a 5K?


Right, there are lots of 4k monitors out there targeted at the Prosumer market. But these monitors just support 100% sRGB if you're lucky. None of these high-end features come into play until you spend well over a thousand.

If you read the whole thread, he will remote in for anytime that needs heavy liftig. He just needs a monitor attached to a decent quad core with 4k video acceleration and lots of ram/ssd.
 

Aurelius

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 22, 2003
Messages
4,003
UPDATE: if you haven't pulled the trigger yet, HP just released this 5k 27" 10-bit beauty for $1300:

http://anandtech.com/show/9870/hp-z27q-monitor-review-aiming-for-more-pixels/6

Only thing you'd be missing is no DCI support.

Much better pricing, although it still bugs me that you need two DisplayPort links just to drive current stand-alone 5K displays. Bring on Thunderbolt 3.

It's still amusing to me that you could buy a full 5K computer from Apple for a few hundred bucks more. It's an all-in-one with only moderately powerful hardware, but still...
 

defaultluser

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
Messages
14,399
I was just posting because cheaper 5k. That, and he didn't exactly sound thrilled getting locked into the same system as the display. Unlike previous iMacs, you can't use the 5k as a standalone display, so it's not as appealing as it once was to "buy for an awesome display you'll use for years."
 

Aurelius

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 22, 2003
Messages
4,003
I was just posting because cheaper 5k. That, and he didn't exactly sound thrilled getting locked into the same system as the display. Unlike previous iMacs, you can't use the 5k as a standalone display, so it's not as appealing as it once was to "buy for an awesome display you'll use for years."

Oh, true -- the 5K iMac is just unique in that it's doing something which is technically difficult any other way, at a price that's still hard to beat. Buy a 5K display, get a free computer attached!
 

UnknownSouljer

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 24, 2001
Messages
7,651
This may have swayed my opinion in favor of getting one:
http://www.macrumors.com/2015/10/30/4k-5k-imacs-10-bit-color-depth-osx-el-capitan/

About time OS X supported 10 bit color, will be interesting to see how long it takes for Adobe and others to update to support it as well

I've known about that feature for a while. It just increases the value of the iMac as a production workhorse. I imagine Adobe will have support for it throughout their suite within the year.
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2013
Messages
18
I imagine that the heat would be similar to a MBPr 15" with the same specs. Noise would probably be less due to the size and how far you sit away from the iMac compared to the 15" MBPr.
 

Aurelius

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 22, 2003
Messages
4,003
This may have swayed my opinion in favor of getting one:
http://www.macrumors.com/2015/10/30/4k-5k-imacs-10-bit-color-depth-osx-el-capitan/

About time OS X supported 10 bit color, will be interesting to see how long it takes for Adobe and others to update to support it as well

One of the things I first noticed (apart from the resolution) on my 5K iMac was the color. It's just... right. Vivid without being exaggerated, no banding or anything of that sort. It's hard to say how much of that is the expanded color gamut versus just having a newer screen (my last system was from 2012), but I don't think you can find a better screen for personal use.
 

StryderxX

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Messages
1,625
We currently have about 12 iMacs at my job that are used to edit high res video using Premiere and none of the guys complain about heat, noise or throttling. You should not be concerned about the iMacs thermals. Here's a quote from the Notebookcheck.com review:

"We stress the core components with the tools FurMark and Prime95. The CPU reaches up to 91 °C (~196 °F), and the processor never drops below its nominal clock even under sustained load. This means that the iMac can always utilize its maximum performance. The graphics card can also maintain its maximum clock under load."

The iMac is a great computer for video editing. I recommend you purchase one with whatever options you think you need and use it for 2 weeks. If you feel it doesn't perform up to your expectations simply take it to an Apple store for a full refund (no questions asked).
 

pixelblue

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 31, 2015
Messages
122
91 C sounds awfully hot compared to the 55 C of my current desktop under load.....
Did you hit that temperature after running Prime95 continuously, or within the first few minutes?
The display is a huge selling point, and I'm really interested in moving to a more minimalist setup, so I'm still considering the iMac.
 

StryderxX

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Messages
1,625
91 C sounds awfully hot compared to the 55 C of my current desktop under load.....
Did you hit that temperature after running Prime95 continuously, or within the first few minutes?
The display is a huge selling point, and I'm really interested in moving to a more minimalist setup, so I'm still considering the iMac.

Just follow the link I posted. On the site linked they tested the CPU and GPU extensively and found no issues related to heat. If the only thing holding you back is that you're worried about thermal throttling or noise then those questions have been answered.
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2013
Messages
18
Running at 91C all the time in a production environment would kill the CPU. That is way above the T Case limits that Intel puts out for it's i7-6700K or i5-6500. I would have expected a much better cooling solution if they expected this to be used in a professional environment.
 

UnknownSouljer

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 24, 2001
Messages
7,651
Running at 91C all the time in a production environment would kill the CPU. That is way above the T Case limits that Intel puts out for it's i7-6700K or i5-6500. I would have expected a much better cooling solution if they expected this to be used in a professional environment.

Intel doesn't think so. It's well within stated operating limits. If it were not, it would throttle. That's the point of these checks and balances. People get "scared" and don't feel comfortable with "high temps" despite it not really mattering.

Armchair critics worry about this stuff. People in production level environments are using their iMacs just fine and getting work done.
 

StryderxX

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Messages
1,625
Intel doesn't think so. It's well within stated operating limits. If it were not, it would throttle. That's the point of these checks and balances. People get "scared" and don't feel comfortable with "high temps" despite it not really mattering.

Armchair critics worry about this stuff. People in production level environments are using their iMacs just fine and getting work done.

Another thing to note is that Furmark and Prime95 aren't even real life stress tests. Those tools go well beyond what a typical user puts their system through. If the iMac isn't throttling when stressed under those conditions then any debate about thermal issues or limits is moot.
 

martinmsj

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 3, 2005
Messages
1,581
I'm going to chime in and say that whether you purchase the first model or the recent model, it will be a fantastic machine.

For 4K video editing get the GPU with 4GB. Premiere Pro will be happy with this. I'd like to point out even though you use PP/AE that FCPX works beautifully even on the GPU with only 2GB. Premiere Pro on the other hand will choke rendering the previews/playback for 4K footage. (On the Iris 6100 with 1.5GB the it's a complete mess.) I am planning on switching to Resolve/Fusion 12 which runs much better, just need to relearn a lot.

Sometimes it feels like people have terrible hardware purchase anxiety. Yes, out of so many units sold there will be bad units and it's the luck of the draw. The iMac 5K is a fantastic machine. The screen is well worth the compromises.
 

Aurelius

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 22, 2003
Messages
4,003
I'm going to chime in and say that whether you purchase the first model or the recent model, it will be a fantastic machine.

For 4K video editing get the GPU with 4GB. Premiere Pro will be happy with this. I'd like to point out even though you use PP/AE that FCPX works beautifully even on the GPU with only 2GB. Premiere Pro on the other hand will choke rendering the previews/playback for 4K footage. (On the Iris 6100 with 1.5GB the it's a complete mess.) I am planning on switching to Resolve/Fusion 12 which runs much better, just need to relearn a lot.

Sometimes it feels like people have terrible hardware purchase anxiety. Yes, out of so many units sold there will be bad units and it's the luck of the draw. The iMac 5K is a fantastic machine. The screen is well worth the compromises.

Thanks for that. I figured that 4K video editors would want the extra video RAM, but it's nice to have proof. I'm rarely ever working with more than stills, so 2GB is plenty for me.

As it stands, it doesn't feel as if there are many compromises -- the use of mobile graphics is about it. You have to pay through the nose to get both the 5K screen and high-end specs, but it's still cheaper than a separate 5K screen (maybe even a good 4K screen) and a tower.
 

Grentz

Fully [H]
Joined
May 5, 2006
Messages
17,256
People worry about heat without knowing when they should worry. They see a temp higher than old machines were designed to run at and freak. Just use the machine and relax about the temps.
 

NetJunkie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Mar 16, 2001
Messages
9,682
Have had a 5K iMac since launch day. Absolutely love it. Zero issues. Very quiet.
 

willx

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
105
If you're stuck on a mac, then you dont have much choices.. If you're not, the HP is a pretty good option to look into.
 

pixelblue

Weaksauce
Joined
Aug 31, 2015
Messages
122
As follow up....how bad is the screen glare in different lighting scenarios? In store it seems fine, just wondering if anyone's found problems with it.
 

defaultluser

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
Messages
14,399
As follow up....how bad is the screen glare in different lighting scenarios? In store it seems fine, just wondering if anyone's found problems with it.

I'm just amazed you didn't take advantage of the "try now for a month" option I mentioned originally. You would have only had to return it last week!

Then you wouldn't have to ask!.
 

Ryankirsch13

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 11, 2015
Messages
387
As for throttling, Linus Tech tips reviewed the i7 4790 model and the i7 throttle in under a minute. 91°C is way to hot in my book. Not hot enough to damage, maybe not even jot enough to reduce longevity, or throttle.. idk.. but definitely hotter than I'm ok with.
 

Ryankirsch13

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 11, 2015
Messages
387
The screen glare.. well it's a glossy screen. If you're in a dark room it will look amazing. If there's a window nearby then you probably will have to deal with serious glare
 

StryderxX

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Messages
1,625
As for throttling, Linus Tech tips reviewed the i7 4790 model and the i7 throttle in under a minute. 91°C is way to hot in my book. Not hot enough to damage, maybe not even jot enough to reduce longevity, or throttle.. idk.. but definitely hotter than I'm ok with.

What you're failing to account for is that the i7 4790 has an 84 watt TDP. The current iMac uses Skylake processors with a TDP of only 65 watts. All the current reviews are not seeing any throttling. It's a non-issue.
 
Top