back to article Pixel mania: Apple 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display

It’s kind of ironic really, that the most expensive, over-the-top version of the iMac ever released should actually turn out to be pretty good value for money. Apple iMac 27-inch with Retina Display Costs on a par with a 5K monitor: Apple's iMac with 5K Retina display The so-called "entry level" iMac launched a few months …

Looks like a lovely machine....

Alas, it's also way outside my current price range.

4
1

Re: Looks like a lovely machine....

The computer you really want always costs $2500.

17
0
Silver badge
Pint

"...but you can upgrade the £1,999 base model..."

I don't think that "upgrade" is the best word to describe a CPU option that is available at the time of ordering. It just seems wrong to use the phrase "you can upgrade" in connection to an iMac. Historically not so much...

...Not that there's anything wrong with that.

1
1

4k video editing

Thats the real USP - for still photos, etc there's no real need to see every pixel 1-to-1 for your work, but with video editing there is - shifting about a zoomed window just doesn't cut it.

We've already got the first of the true consumer 4k cameras out with the go pro 4 black, more will undoubtedly follow.

For now, my workflows are all 1080p which my current retina MBP and iMac 27 both allow space to view 100% within FCPX with room for the interface, but even the go pro 3+ shoots in 2.7K - which can't be viewed in FCPX full size as its about the same resolution as the whole display.

So they'll be a quick pick up from pros shooting 4k now, and over the next year as more consumer 4k cameras come on the market, it's going to become more and more attractive to these folk.

8
3

Re: 4k video editing

Video editing 4K far easier (and much cheaper) dual monitors (4K + whatever) - I've been experimenting with GoPro 4 footage.

All in ones still have their place in consumerland but serious use there's still enough happening with CPU and GPU to want to upgrade a desktop more frequently than monitor so most professional developers will want to avoid the AIO format lock-in.

Apple seem to have grabbed most of the early production runs of 5K panels for iMac so we will have to wait to see what monitor pricing turns out like, I'm guessing ballpark £1000 (Dell have announced 5K but as far as I know no pricing yet - this article speculates $2500 but sounds an unlikely rumour/fud figure). Presumably Apple will refresh their monitor lineup within months too.

Incidentally the reason for 5K (5120x2880) is fact its exactly twice the height of the traditional 1440p display so 2x scaling works nicely.

2
2
Silver badge

Re: 4k video editing

You're ignoring the fact that this won't be worthless in a years time. If you want to swap out your computer then it's no more effort to swap out the screen at the same time, so sell this and get the new model. The Apple backup regime makes this extremely simple, and their resale value is second to none.

The real bonus here is that real professionals don't have time to fart about with drivers and upgrades. If your time is valuable it's much better to replace the whole caboodle and carry on working so component upgrades are less likely the further up the tree you go, especially given that for professional use as a tool, £2k is really not that much money!

4
0
Thumb Down

Bad Apple

Disabling the remote monitor support is a nasty trick wonder how many people will get bitten by that? If I splurge 2K on a piece of kit I should be able to use it with all my other Apple kit.

The less cynical part of me does wonder if its just that the function in OS X is still awaiting a tweak to handle the extra resolution.

9
18

Re: Bad Apple

The reason for not having a Target Monitor mode is down to the fact it requires DisplayPort 1.3 to drive it and Thunderbolt 2 only supports DisplayPort 1.2. Something to do with the sheer amount of bandwidth the display needs to move all those pixels.

From http://www.marco.org/2014/10/16/retina-imac-vs-mac-pro

"...Pushing this many pixels requires more bandwidth than DisplayPort 1.2 offers, which is what Thunderbolt 2 ports use for outputting video signals. (I wrote about this a few times.) Doing it right will require waiting until DisplayPort 1.3 in Thunderbolt 3 on Broadwell’s successor, Skylake, which isn’t supposed to come out for at least another year — and Intel is even worse at estimating ship dates than I am, so it’s likely to be longer..."

25
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Bad Apple

was wondering how long it'd be before the anti-apple rhetoric kicked in.

just out of interest, how many all-in-one Windows PC's with > 1080p displays DO provide target monitor support?

18
14

Re: Bad Apple

Since I have about 10 apple products in use in the house - I hardly think you can categorise me as Anti-Apple Mr Coward.

Whilst I appreciate there might be technical limitations - some kind of workaround would have been nice - ie displaying at 4k resolutions.

9
4

Re: Bad Apple

The reason I don’t really like all-in-ones like the iMac is that screens are the longest lasting part of a PC for me. I tend to use a multi-screen setup with my newest monitor as the primary monitor, the next oldest as a second monitor, and the third oldest as a third monitor (if the graphics hardware allows it). I don’t want to throw a perfectly good monitor away every time I buy a new PC. Target monitor mode at least partly alleviates this (particularly when an iMac costs about the same as an equivalent screen on its own - this is not the first time this has happened) and the lack of it is a deal-killer for me.

I’m not into conspiracy theories as to why Apple has disallowed it - the explanation is that the present version of Thunderbolt can’t handle the bandwidth. I am sure the next version of this iMac will fix this, which is a good reason to wait for it.

9
0
Silver badge

@Gordon 10

Displaying at 4K resolutions? So you want them to add an extra scaler for the target display mode that a minority of people use, and then have people complain when it doesn't look right? (The scaler in the iPhone 6 plus isn't a problem, because it has 1/4th the pixels but 1/25th the display area, so you can't notice where it it doesn't look right)

0
1

Re: Bad Apple

Really much simpler than that: Apple sells nothing else that can drive this display, yet. Look for the feature to reappear when they do.

1
0

Re: Bad Apple

I doubt if anyone will be "bitten" by this I.e. Pay £2000 for it with the intention of using it as an external 5K monitor in target display mode ot to get gone and find out it doesn't support it.

1
0

Re: Bad Apple

Well I would have been. I use target display mode for my work provided windows laptop when working from home.

0
0
Silver badge

Wotta lotta pixels

So what could you actually display on a 5K monitor that wouldn't be as good on a 4K one?

Well, the obvious answer for the average user is images from a 5K camera (and possibly the only answer: since video refreshes at rates that make seeing each pixel impractical - not to mention impossible, and once you can read a piece of text at a reasonably sharp definition, adding more hi-def. doesn't make it any better or easier to read - otherwise nobody would be able to use "old" 27-inch 1920x1080 screens to do that).

So still images it is. But wait! Even if you take an image from your DSLR, hasn't it been de-bayered inside the camera (and squished around to turn it into JPEG), so it's not exactly WYSIWYG any more. Going further: if you choose to take a squint at the RAW format, the camera still has an anti-aliasing filter in front of the sensor to reduce all those nasty Moire patterns. So you aren't even seeing the real image then, either - TIFF, JPEG or not.

2
6

Re: Wotta lotta pixels

Couple of things...

So what could you actually display on a 5K monitor that wouldn't be as good on a 4K one?

As pointed out in the review, the 5k screen allows you to view 4k video at 100% in your editor of choice, while also leaving enough screen space for panels/toolbars/menus etc

if you choose to take a squint at the RAW format, the camera still has an anti-aliasing filter in front of the sensor to reduce all those nasty Moire patterns.

My Fuji X series camera has no AA filter in front of the sensor, and I know that Nikon have AA filter-less cameras on the market too. Even regardless of that, I'd say this machine definitely has a potential place in a RAW workflow, if you're the type that regularly pixel peeps at 100%+

15
0
Thumb Up

Re: Wotta lotta pixels

...or view large atomistic systems (>500,000 atoms) with out having to squint.....

Our visualisation "cave" was impressive at 35 million pixels, and this screen is now almost half that....!

P.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: Wotta lotta pixels

Pixel-wide lines at anything other than vertical or horizontal (Think Illustrator or AutoCAD) would benefit.

'Retina' is based on the fallacy that 20/20 eysight is average, whereas people's average vision is actually better. If if this wasn't so, some scenarios, such as the one above, still benefit.

3
1
Silver badge

Re: Wotta lotta pixels

If anything, I think less than 20/20 is average. Most contact lens wearers have uncorrected astigmatism. Glasses rarely correct beyond or even to 20/20 unless the wearer has no choice but to have separate reading glasses. The main source of people with better than 20/20 vision is those who've had LASIK in the past decade, and their vision rarely exceeds 20/12. Not that being 20/20 or whatever matters once you're past your mid 40s or so and eventually have to rely on reading glasses or something to avoid needing them (like undercorrection)

0
0
LDS
Silver badge

Re: Wotta lotta pixels

A true RAW workflow needs more than pixels. What's this display gamut? How do it compares with Benq and Nec ones? What calibration capabilities has? For image professionals, there are several parameters to choose a monitor, not only how many pixel it has.

This looks a choice for advanced amateurs without much calibration needs - those who like 'bright' images even if they're not true (and usually look very bad when they print them).

And having a computer attached can be a real nuisance - no way to really attach the hardware you need for your workflow. Also, I wouldn't really like heat from the computer component impact display conditions.

But Apple too knows in the real professional market its displays have little space, so better to aim a little lower, where it can easily sell this kind of devices.

0
1

Re: Wotta lotta pixels

All Macs come with really good calibration capabilities courtesy of Colorsync Utility. You can get an idea of what it does by watching as someone pootles through its menus here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah_EpObQ1PE

1
0
Silver badge

Value for money?

I've just upgraded to a Dell 28" 4K display - £330+VAT. Guess what, it plugs straight in to my 2-year-old PC and works perfectly. Ah, the Mac aficionados will claim, but the Apple display has 5K pixels. But I already need to scale text up by 25% to make it legible on my (slightly larger) screen and individual pixels are only visible under strong magnification. How will having 5K pixels help?

Look, if owning a Mac rather than a PC (like owning a BMW* rather than a Škoda) helps you feel better about yourself, knock yourself out. But don't try to convince me what great value for money it is.

* The point being: I'm prepared to accept your view that the Beemer is a superior car - for some purposes, at least - just not that it offers superior value for money.

19
20

Re: Value for money?

The 5K display in the iMac has nearly twice as many pixels as the 4K Dell monitor you've just purchased, it's not a small step up in resolution.

The iMac looks like a nice piece of kit but for me and my ageing eyes a 27" display is a little bit small. I'd like a 5K display with a 30"-plus diagonal but I'll probably settle for the Dell 31.5" 4K display as a Xmas present to myself. It helps that the display I've got my eye on has an IPS panel with a good colour gamut, the smaller 28" Dell 4K display is TN.

10
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: Value for money?

I've just upgraded to a Dell 28" 4K display - £330+VAT.

So £396 then

7
3
Facepalm

Re: Value for money?

Legibility? You mean your operating system is too shit to scale the UI so that it's legible, regardless of the resolution?

The point of 5K shoul dbe obvious - display a full 4K image AND the user interface required to manipulate it.

5
5

Re: Value for money?

fact is in 3 years your Dell display will be worth nothing.

Just like a 3 year old beemer will hold its money better than a 3 year old skoda.

Not saying one is better, those are just the facts, stronger residuals on premium products.

12
15
Silver badge

Re: Value for money?

a 3 year old beemer will hold its money better than a 3 year old skoda.

Ah yes, the good old 'greater fool' argument.

6
9
Gold badge

Re: Value for money?

I'm still playing nicely with the Dell U2410. This uses the same IPS LCD panel as the iMAC from a while ago. However the difference is that the Dell has a CFL backlight that gives nice even coverage and AdobeRGB colour gamut. The i-version only manages sRGB, has a very shinny front and uneven lighting. Also the i-brightness is so high that you lose almost 2-bits per pixel attempting to adjust the brightness level when you calibrate it (and the calibration still varies across the screen). All of this is necessary with things that actually go to print.

I'm watching the Dell 5k monitors with interest to see how they play out. I'm unlikely to buy the i-version because of the limitations that normally come with it. Oh and I'm not anti i-things at all. These Dells are driven from Macs.

As an aside, I'm lost for words that Windows cannot scale the UI properly on screens, given that Window3.0 had a screen resolution DPI setting that was expressly designed to do things likt this.

4
4
Silver badge

Re: Value for money?

I was afraid that would bring the Mac zealots out frothing and screaming :)

Yes, I get that 5 is a bigger number than 4. (Which part of "superior [...] for some purposes, at least" are you having difficulty understanding?) No, I don't think that makes it "value for money" (as the author claims) to pay 5x as much, particularly if the difference is barely detectable by the human eye. YMMV.

And (of course) Windows (since at least v3) allows you to scale the font - which is precisely what I said, doh!

7
8

Re: Value for money?

Well, the 3 year old Skoda we had was still worth 50% of RRP (BMW would be about 55%) but the Skoda cost about 2/3 of the price when new. You do the maths and work out how much more the BMW cost over that period.

10
3
Silver badge

Re: Value for money?

Resale price is irrelevant.

I keep tech till it is beyond economic repair. My Jan 2000 laptop is controller now for a piece of test gear.

I'm not sure why there an authentic IBM AT (upgraded to VGA, Network and bigger HDD with 2 x full size AST memory expansion cards) and upgraded Amstrad PCW256 (2nd drive is DS 3.5" and RAM is 512K and has Clock/2xserial/1xParallel adaptor) in my attic. I did dump the 68000 based Mac with single 3.5" floppy drive. No-one wanted it even for free.

5
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: Value for money?

"The 5K display in the iMac has nearly twice as many pixels as the 4K Dell monitor you've just purchased, it's not a small step up in resolution."

Well, that's less than 40% higher resolution; is the cost less than 40% more?

The idea that anyone is editing 4K images at 1:1 and needs the extra space for toolbars etc. is classic Apple iWank. If you're editing those images, you're zoomed in; if you're watching them then you're in fullscreen mode.

10
8

Re: Value for money?

It also brings out the logic zealots. Car:computer analogies fail because cars travel on the same network of roads so a BMW must contend with the same speed limits and traffic conditions as a Skoda and the monies spent on the performance specs of cars are wasted for the basic task of transit from point A to B. Also, there is generally not a correlation between the price/performance of the BMW and that of the Skoda, so your implication is that the Apple is merely a status symbol the performance of which could be met by something much less costly. The performance benchmarks indicate otherwise. The "Skoda" PC does not compare favorably to the "BMW" iMac.

I'm glad you recognize that 5 is bigger than 4 and £396 is ~1/5 of £1999. You missed the fact that the relevant numbers for the monitor are 14.7 million pixels vs 8.3 million and a comparable 5K screen for a PC costs as much as the iMac does total without also including a nice computer.

9
4
Anonymous Coward

Re: Value for money?

Apple bought up the first batch of 5K displays so we don't know how much separate 5K monitors will cost. Don't let facts stop you spouting FUD from your Skoda if it gives you pleasure.

4
5
Anonymous Coward

Re: Value for money?

If you want to show 1:1 the video image without scaling then you need 5k.

Scaling 4k would be very slow and ugly.

3
0

Re: Value for money?

From the article, which I'll concede is stated as an estimate: "The 5K display recently announced by Dell is expected to sell for around $2,500 (approx £1,800 inc VAT) when it ships at the end of this year."

2
0
Silver badge

Re: Value for money?

That's actually not an estimate, but the price that Dell announced (at a point when Apple's new iMac wasn't announced yet, so they claimed "twice the resolution of the iMac).

However, Dell monitor and iMac cost the same in the USA ($2,500), so I would think that Dell will sell their monitor in the UK at the same price as an iMac as well (£2,000 incl. VAT).

To the guys who talked about £330 Dell monitors: Dell sells cheap stuff, and they sell good stuff. The cheap stuff isn't good, and the good stuff isn't cheap, just as you would expect. Dell's $2,500 monitor is the good stuff, just like the screen in the iMac. You just don't get the free computer with it.

9
0

Re: Value for money?

"...2-year-old PC and works perfectly. Ah, the Mac aficionados will claim, but the Apple display has 5K pixels. But I already need to scale text up by 25%..."

So Windows still uses physical pixel sized elements in 2014? The 1980s called, and wants their CGA era display toolkit back. Maybe that is something that Microsoft could fix in Windows 10, and use absolute sized display elements.

7
0

Re: Value for money?

The Dell you refer to is a TN panel with about 8.3 megapixels and a linear density of around 163 ppi. The same as a first-generation iPhone.

The iMac is an IPS panel with about 14.7 megapixels and a linear density of around of around 217 ppi. A shade above the Nexus 7.

It's a fatuous comparison.

3
1

Re: Value for money?

"Dell's $2,500 monitor is the good stuff, just like the screen in the iMac."

the imac is 8bit, the dell is 10bit

they are not realy comparable

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Value for money?

>the imac is 8bit, the dell is 10bit

..... the iMac uses a Sharp panel and Dell's 5K an LG AH-IPS. Aside from the superior gamut and PPD, I'd put my money on LG having the better reliability given Sharp's recent history and the comparative frailty of IGZO....on the other hand it costs more.

...also worth checking the anomaly rate - Dell has a zero dead pixel policy, Apple has http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4044 - docs leaked from Genius Bar previously have set the 'acceptable' threshold for repair at more than a dozen dead pixels.

2
0
Silver badge
Pint

Re: Value for money?

"...so a BMW must contend with the same speed limits and traffic conditions as a Skoda..."

On the open roads, the difference between a cheap car and a nice car becomes very real again. Like 1800+ km straight through including overnight, stopping only as required. In a VW it was torture, in spite of the nice seats. Noisy, buzzy, not nice. In a nice Mercedes E-Class, perfectly comfortable.

And there are roads, even entire provinces, where speed limits can become effectively voluntary. When *all* the trucks are doing 140 kmh in the wee hours, then you can rest assured that the revenue collectors have gone home for the night. One can really open it up and stretch its legs. And perfectly safe, due to details I can't be bothered to explain.

These are wonderful "lifetime memories" road trips.

If you're worried about value for money, then a Certified Pre-Owned nice car is the solution. About 50% of the new price and, in our case, next to no milage on it (15,000 miles). Perfect.

Back to the iMac now...

0
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: Value for money?

Yeah but, you had to spend three years being seen at the wheel of a Skoda. I'd say not spending three years at the wheel of a Skoda is priceless. LOL, and I don't LOL often.

0
0

Re: Value for money?

Downvoted why? Chris posted that for him the price/functionality ratio was not worth his investment, he didnt say is was bad meerly not what he wants, fascist down voting is becoming a problem on the reg it seems.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Value for money?

"As an aside, I'm lost for words that Windows cannot scale the UI properly on screens,"

Windows scales identically to the Mac on my rMBP. The difference here is sitting between screen and chair, rather than on the disk. Windows does indeed look awful if you just switch to native retina resolution without setting it up for hi res viewing although I suspect that the person claiming to have issues was trying to make a point against the iMac rather than saying anything useful. I'd like to think anyone who actually has a 4k screen would know how to set their display properties correctly...

0
0

Re: Value for money?

> "I've just upgraded to a Dell 28" 4K display - £330+VAT."

>> "So £396 then"

The net cost depends on whether Chris - or any other buyer of the same product - is VAT registered. An important consideration that seems to have escaped you.

So potentially £330. Or potentially £396.

Which I expect is precisely why Chris specified net cost + VAT in the first place. He's a helpful chap. Unlike some.

1
0

Re: Value for money?

> The idea that anyone is editing 4K images at 1:1 and needs the extra space for toolbars etc. is classic Apple iWank. If you're editing those images, you're zoomed in

How do you figure that? Why would I want to zoom in when editing?

1
0

Re: Value for money?

<iYes, I get that 5 is a bigger number than 4."</i>

It's 5^2 ie 25 to 4^2 ie 16 actually.

A considerable difference.

1
0
Silver badge

One question and a comment

First up, the Q: the reviewer here had his display set to "scaling", so that his 5k screen appears the same resolution as his current 2560x1440 screen. He then says that the advantage of a 5k screen is that your 4k content can be displayed pixel for pixel. If you are scaling the screen, doesn't that mean that your 4k content is scaled down and then up again?

Secondly, the comment: the only reason why this is "value for money" is that 5k screens only exist for Apple. 4k screens on the other hand are fairly common, and you can choose whether you can accept TN (<£500) or must have IPS (<£1000). On that basis, a 5k screen isn't that value for money - for me, I'd rather have a 4k screen for content, a second 1080p screen for controls, and an extra £1000 in my pocket.

8
7

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017