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This is one of 3 articles dedicated to Apple’s iMacs:

1. How you can choose the best Apple iMac 21.5″
2. How to choose the best Apple iMac 27″ (this article)
3. How to choose the best Apple iMac Pro

Who is the Apple iMac ideal for?

1. Do you want one of the most reliable computers available on the market?
2. Do you want a relatively powerful all in one computer available from Apple?
3. Do you want a computer that’s excellent all around?

That’s the Apple iMac 27″ for you.

It’s a computer that’s solid, reliable, powerful, with an outstanding 27″ 5K Retina display, surprisingly powerful and accurate speakers and that has a small footprint.

What can the Apple iMac 27″ do for you?

– Web browsing
– Office work (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.)
– Emails
– Listen to and record music
– Watching TV/movies from local files or streaming.
– Audio/photo/video/3D editing: While the highest-end models are capable of handling such tasks, consider the more powerful iMac Pro if you want more processing power
– Connecting multiple external monitors.

Why choose the iMac 27″?

– It’s an all-in-one computer, so there’s no bulky tower.
– The power supply is integrated in the iMac, so there’s no bulky power brick.
– Great CPU performance: High frequency Six or Eight core Intel Core CPUs offer snappy performance
Dedicated video card, boosting performance in apps with GPU acceleration.
– Displays come with an IPS panel and high maximum brightness, with excellent color accuracy and viewing angles.
– It’s an Apple PC: mac OS, Siri, iCloud, many built-in apps, highly reliable, excellent customer service
– Quiet: The fan is hardly audible, unless you push the CPU to 100% for a long time.
– Speakers can go surprisingly loud and actually offers a decent dynamic range, considering their size.
– Solid and great looking aluminum chassis
– Bluetooth
– 802.11ac WiFi
– 2x Thunderbolt 3/USB Type-C ports: Integrates data transfer, charging, and video output in a single reversible connector, delivering up to 40 Gbps of throughput.
– 4x USB Type-A ports
– 90 Days of Free Telephone Support from Apple
– Although Apple makes some odd choices sometimes, their customer service is excellent in the vast majority of cases.
– UHS-II SDXC Card Reader
– Upgrading the RAM is easy on the 27″ iMac

Why you might not want the Apple iMac 27″: Cons

– Upgrading the CPU and storage is possible, but highly complicated
– It might not be powerful enough if you work with highly demanding photo/video/3D apps and heavy files: Consider the iMac Pro instead.
– No optical drive. You can get an external USB powered optical drive, if you want to.
– 1 year warranty is surprisingly short for such a premium product. You can extend it with AppleCare though.
– Getting used to macOS if you’ve never used it before.

How to Choose your Apple iMac 27″

What you need to know:

The 5 differences between all the iMac 27″:

1. Choose between four levels of CPU performance:

From the lowest to highest performance:
– Intel Core i5-8500: Six-Core / 6 threads 3.0-4.1GHz
– Intel Core i5-8600: Six-Core / 6 threads 3.1-4.3GHz
Intel Core i5-9600K: Six-Core / 6 threads 3.7-4.6GHz
– Intel Core i9-9900K: Eight Cores / 16 threads 3.6-5.0GHz

Higher Base/Turbo frequencies (GHz) mean higher performance.

From the Core i5-8500 to the Core i5-8600, there’s hardly any difference. The i5-9600K offers a small boost in performance, roughly 10-15% more.

The Core i9-9900K is the only model offering a meaningful increase in performance, not only because it features two more cores, but also because it can handle 16 threads simultaneously, 2.5x the number of threads of the other CPUs, boosting performance in multi-threaded applications, such as photo/video/3D and other demanding programs.

2. Choose between four levels of graphic card performance

In total, there are three options available to you, in order of performance, from slowest to fastest:
1. AMD Radeon Pro 570X 4GB: 1792 SPs, 28 compute units, 4GB of memory
2. AMD Radeon Pro 575X 4GB: 2048 SPs, 32 compute units, 4GB of memory
3. AMD Radeon Pro 580X 8GB: 2304 SPs, 36 compute units, 8GB of memory
4. AMD Radeon Pro Vega 48 8GB: 3072 SPs, 48 compute units, 8GB of memory

If you only use your iMac to run basic programs, such as Office and Web browsing, the base-level graphics are fine.

For image editing, the Radeon Pro 570X or 575X 4GB graphic card are fine options.

On the other hand, if you do a lot of video editing, render 3D or play video games, the Radeon Pro 580 8GB or even better, the Vega 48 8GB will give you better performance. Keep in mind that you have a 5K monitor with a lot of pixels to drive, so the extra memory will help prevent bottlenecks.

3. Choose between 8, 16, 32 or 64GB of memory (RAM)

4GB_RAM_macbook_airYou have the choice between 8GB, 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of memory.

So what do I want? 8GB, 16GB, 32GB or 64GB?

It depends on what you intend to do with your iMac.

If you only use your iMac to run a few basic programs at once, like email, some Excel, Word, a web browser and iTunes, 8GB is plenty of memory.

Do you want to run heavier applications (Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.), have multiple applications open and lots of web browser tabs? 16GB would be my minimal recommendation then. 32GB isn’t a bad idea.

Are you a power user, wanting to run multiple heavier programs (audio/photo/video/3D) at once, work with virtual machines, very large data files, like to multitask and have no time to lose? 32 GB would be my minimum recommendation and I’d consider 64GB. You may want to consider the more powerful iMac Pro, in order to get a more powerful CPU.

If you intend on keeping your iMac for many years, going with more RAM is a good idea, seeing as memory usage keeps increasing, with newer versions of programs using more and more memory.

That said, the iMac 27″ has the advantage of having easy to upgrade RAM, so you can always add more in the future, or pick a model with less RAM and upgrade it yourself to save money.

Actual maximum RAM: 128GB
The Early 2019 iMac 27″ actually supports up to 128GB of RAM, that is 4 sticks of 32GB. You want DDR4 SO-DIMM 2666MHz sticks.

4. Two types of storage:
Fusion Drive (SSD + HDD) or Solid State Drive (SSD)

You have the choice between two type of storage, in order of performance, from slowest to fastest:
1. Fusion Drive (SSD + HDD)
2. Solid State Drive (SSD)

The Fusion Drive: this is an Apple marketing term for a combo of a hard drive and a SSD working together. The magic happens in software, so you see a single drive, as your iMac will automatically take care of where to store that data based on your usage patterns. It’s a good trade off if you want higher performance than a regular hard drive, but without the higher cost of SSD storage. Storage capacities of 1TB to 3TB.

Solid State Drive (SSD) are newer drives, with no moving parts. They use flash memory, along with a controller, to store your data. Their main advantages are that they offer far superior performance, resulting in a computer that’s far more responsive, faster boot time and nearly instant (or far faster) application launch. They are also far more reliable. The downside is that they are more expensive than the fusion drive and their storage capacity is limited to 2TB on the iMac 27″

My recommendation:

Fusion drives are a decent, cost effective solution, that will speed up your computer a bit if you need a lot of storage at a low cost.

That said, there’s nothing like a SSD for the best, maximum performance and reliability.

5. Five storage capacities:
Fusion Drive: 1TB, 2TB or 3TB
SSD: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB

Unsure about how whether you want 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB or 3TB of storage?

Read our article on How to choose the right SSD storage capacity and pay less for your computer to figure it out.

Yes, it says SSD, but it doesn’t matter, you still have to choose between different amount of storage.

Need more than 3TB? Look into the iMac Pro or simply use external storage.

Leave a comment at the end of this article if you have any questions.

Apple iMac 27″

27 recommended CPU/RAM/GPU configurations:

From the least powerful to the most powerful model:

1. Core i5-8500
8GB RAM, Radeon 570X 4GB

1TB Fusion Drive: $1,599.00 at B&H
– 2TB Fusion Drive
$1,999.00 at B&H
– 256GB SSD
$1,799.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD: $1,949.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $2,199.00 at B&H

Is it safe to buy an iMac from B&H Photo Video instead of the Apple Store? 

B&H Photo Video is an Authorized Apple Reseller. That means B&H has received authorization from Apple to sell Macs, iPhones, iPads, etc. This is great for you because B&H prices are generally much lower than the Apple Store. Items ship promptly and you receive the same warranty as if you had made the purchase at the Apple Store. In fact, you still receive all the benefits of the Apple Store (classes, Genius Bar access, etc.) when you buy from B&H Photo Video. So really, the only difference between buying from B&H and the Apple Store is that with B&H you will probably save a lot of money!

2. Core i5-8500
16GB RAM, Radeon Pro 570X 4GB

1TB Fusion Drive: $1,899.00 at B&H
– 2TB Fusion Drive: $2,199.00 at B&H
– 256GB SSD: $2,099.00 at B&H
Not recommended, get 512GB of storage for the same price.
– 512GB SSD: $2,099.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $2,499.00 at B&H

3. Core i5-8500
32GB RAM, Radeon Pro 570X 4GB

1TB Fusion Drive: $2,399.00 at B&H
– 2TB Fusion Drive
$2,599.00 at B&H
– 256GB SSD
$2,499.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD: $2,699.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $2,899.00 at B&H

4. Core i5-8600

8GB RAM, Radeon Pro 575X 4GB

1TB Fusion Drive: $1,849.00 at B&H
– 2TB Fusion Drive
$2,199.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $2,299.00 at B&H
– 256GB SSD
$2,099.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD: $2,299.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $2,499.00 at B&H

5. Core i5-8600

16GB RAM, Radeon Pro 575X 4GB

1TB Fusion Drive: $2,199.00 at B&H
– 2TB Fusion Drive
$2,399.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $2,499.00 at B&H
– 256GB SSD
$2,299.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD: $2,499.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $2,699.00 at B&H

6. Core i5-8600

32GB RAM, Radeon Pro 575X

1TB Fusion Drive: $2,599.00 at B&H
– 2TB Fusion Drive
$2,799.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $2,899.00 at B&H
– 256GB SSD
$2,699.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD: $2,899.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $3,099.00 at B&H

7. Core i5-8600

64GB RAM, Radeon Pro 575X

1TB Fusion Drive: $2,999.00 at B&H
– 2TB Fusion Drive
$3,199.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $3,299.00 at B&H
– 256GB SSD
$3,099.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD: $3,299.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $3,499.00 at B&H

8. Core i5-9600K

8GB RAM, Radeon Pro 580X 8GB

– 2TB Fusion Drive$2,149.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $2,399.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD
$2,249.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $2,449.00 at B&H
– 2TB SSD: $2,999.00 at B&H

9. Core i5-9600K

16GB RAM, Radeon Pro 580X 8GB

– 2TB Fusion Drive$2,499.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $2,599.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD
$2,599.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $2,799.00 at B&H
– 2TB SSD: $3,199.00 at B&H

10. Core i5-9600K

32GB RAM, Radeon 580X 8GB

– 2TB Fusion Drive$2,899.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $2,999.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD
$2,999.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $3,199.00 at B&H
– 2TB SSD: $3,599.00 at B&H

11. Core i5-9600K

64GB RAM, Radeon 580X 8GB

– 2TB Fusion Drive$3,299.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $3,399.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD
$3,399.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $3,599.00 at B&H
– 2TB SSD: $3,999.00 at B&H

12. Core i5-9600K

8GB RAM, Radeon Pro Vega 48 8GB

– 2TB Fusion Drive$2,749.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $2,849.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD
$2,849.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $3,049.00 at B&H
– 2TB SSD: $3,449.00 at B&H

13. Core i5-9600K

16GB RAM, Radeon Pro Vega 48 8GB

– 2TB Fusion Drive$2,949.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $3,049.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD
$3,049.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $3,249.00 at B&H
– 2TB SSD: $3,649.00 at B&H

14. Core i5-9600K

32GB RAM, Radeon Pro Vega 48 8GB

– 2TB Fusion Drive$3,349.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $3,449.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD
$3,449.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $3,649.00 at B&H
– 2TB SSD: $4,049.00 at B&H

15. Core i5-9600K

64GB RAM, Radeon Pro Vega 48 8GB

– 2TB Fusion Drive$3,749.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $3,849.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD
$3,849.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $4,049.00 at B&H
– 2TB SSD: $4,449.00 at B&H

16. Core i9-9900K

8GB RAM, Radeon Pro 575X 4GB

– 1TB Fusion Drive: $2,499.00 at B&H
– 2TB Fusion Drive: $2,699.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $2,799.00 at B&H
– 256GB SSD: $2,599.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD: $2,799.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $2,999.00 at B&H

17. Core i9-9900K

16GB RAM, Radeon Pro 575X 4GB

– 1TB Fusion Drive: $2,699.00 at B&H
– 2TB Fusion Drive: $2,899.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $2,999.00 at B&H
– 256GB SSD: $2,799.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD: $2,999.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $3,199.00 at B&H

18. Core i9-9900K

32GB RAM, Radeon Pro 575X 4GB

– 1TB Fusion Drive: $3,099.00 at B&H
– 2TB Fusion Drive: $3,299.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $3,399.00 at B&H
– 256GB SSD: $3,199.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD: $3,399.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $3,599.00 at B&H

19. Core i9-9900K

64GB RAM, Radeon Pro 575X 4GB

– 1TB Fusion Drive: $3,499.00 at B&H
– 2TB Fusion Drive
$3,699.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $3,799.00 at B&H
– 256GB SSD
$3,599.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD: $3,799.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $3,999.00 at B&H

20. Core i9-9900K

8GB RAM, Radeon Pro 580X 8GB

– 2TB Fusion Drive$2,599.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $2,799.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD
$2,599.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $2,749.00 at B&H
– 2TB SSD: $3,399.00 at B&H

21. Core i9-9900K

16GB RAM, Radeon Pro 580X 8GB

– 2TB Fusion Drive$2,899.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $2,999.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD
$2,999.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $3,049.00 at B&H
– 2TB SSD: $3,599.00 at B&H

22. Core i9-9900K

32GB RAM, Radeon Pro 580X 8GB

– 2TB Fusion Drive$3,299.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $3,399.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD
$3,199.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $3,599.00 at B&H
– 2TB SSD: $3,999.00 at B&H

23. Core i9-9900K

64GB RAM, Radeon Pro 580X 8GB

– 2TB Fusion Drive$3,699.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $3,799.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD
$3,799.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $3,999.00 at B&H
– 2TB SSD: $4,399.00 at B&H

24. Core i9-9900K

8GB RAM, Radeon Pro Vega 48 8GB

– 2TB Fusion Drive$2,999.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $3,199.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD
$2,999.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $3,299.00 at B&H
– 2TB SSD: $3,599.00 at B&H

25. Core i9-9900K

16GB RAM, Radeon Pro Vega 48 8GB

– 2TB Fusion Drive$3,349.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $3,449.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD
$3,449.00 at B&H Not recommended, get the 1TB SSD version below for less!
– 1TB SSD: $3,399.00 at B&H
– 2TB SSD: $4,049.00 at B&H

26. Core i9-9900K

32GB RAM, Radeon Pro Vega 48 8GB

– 2TB Fusion Drive$3,749.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $3,849.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD
$3,849.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $4,049.00 at B&H
– 2TB SSD: $4,449.00 at B&H

27. Core i9-9900K

64GB RAM, Radeon Pro Vega 48 8GB

– 2TB Fusion Drive$4,149.00 at B&H
– 3TB Fusion Drive: $4,249.00 at B&H
– 512GB SSD
$4,249.00 at B&H
– 1TB SSD: $4,449.00 at B&H
– 2TB SSD: $4,849.00 at B&H

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article on how you can choose the best Apple iMac 27″ for your needs.

Do you have any feedback or any questions? Are you unsure which model is the best one for you?

Please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.