The inevitable computer upgrade

Last night I ordered a new iMac; what may be the last of the big Intel machines from Apple.

27″ 5K screen, 3.8Ghz Intel Core i7-10700K, 8gigs of 2666MHz DDR4 ram, a terabyte of SSD, and a Radeon Pro 5700 XT with 16GB of GDDR6.

I specifically ordered it with the least amount of ram possible because I can upgrade that to 32gigs on my own and for about a quarter of the cost. I went with the i7 versus the i9 because I don’t really do massive multithread work and instead need fewer but faster cores, and the i7 is just that. I also went with 1TB vs something larger as I already have big external drives and terabytes of cloud storage — and the jump from 1TB to 2TB internal was like $400.

It should arrive between the 13th and 17th of this month — riots willing of course.

The 16″ MacBook Pro I have now is a stellar laptop and I picked it up because it’s small and fits into my stuff reduction plan. But since I purchased it I’ve added an external GPU, external PCIe box with my old PCIe SSD in it, a 34″ wide aspect monitor, Bose speakers, etc, etc.

At home the laptop sits on top of the eGPU box, which is about half the size of a regular PC, and has a ton of wiring plugged into it to make all of the external stuff work. All told there’s an entire end-table covered in gear that interfaces to the laptop — or about three times the volume of a 27″ iMac.

Basically I don’t use the laptop as a laptop — it’s more of a small form-factor computer that I plug lots of stuff into.

There’s also the complexities of an eGPU; it works, mostly, but having an ATI 5700 XT in the box and connected over thunderbolt only gives the card 4 PCIe lanes — so it’s operating at about half-speed all the time. Which is fine, I didn’t do the eGPU thing for bleeding edge gaming, it was more to reduce the thermal load on the laptop while doing graphically intense things for hours.

The iMac on the other hand has basically the same card, but operating at full 16-lane PCIe 4.0 speed. So graphically it’s a pretty substantial upgrade and should make Warcraft and Second Life even better. 🙂

The iMac also has a nice 1080p camera, studio-grade microphones, and some quality speakers built-in… So the many weekly online meetings I have to attend won’t require a random camera stuck to the top of my monitor, and a separate mic and my headphones to limit echo.

Lastly Apple gave me about $2000 in trade for the laptop, and 0% financing for 12 months — so the new iMac winds up running me about $120 a month for a year. That’s doable.

And, hey — I took care of both the Christmas and Birthday computer upgrades in one easy purchase — so I’m ahead of the game. 🙂