I bought a new iMac to replace my aging MacBook Pro. Here’s a post where I gush about it.

My old laptop still performs pretty well for the work I do (Rails/WordPress development). When I bought the Retina screen, though, I didn’t realize I’d be ruined for any other monitor and be stuck on a 15” laptop screen for 4 years. I’ve tried a couple non-Retina monitors, and the fuzziness of text prevented me from using them for any real work. At best, an external monitor on my 2013 MacBook was good for playing video.

Unfortunately the early 2013 MacBooks came just before support for UHD monitors existed. It could run a 4K screen at 30Hz, but performance was an issue for a lot of people when I was looking into buying one. In the end, I decided it would be better to wait to upgrade the computer itself before buying a screen.

During my pixel agony, Apple released the first iMacs with Retina screens. I was very tempted to buy one of these. I’ve learned, though, that brand new technology in Apple products can be a bit problematic, so I held off. I’m glad I did, because I’ve seen a lot of issues reported with them. So I waited, hoping Apple would release a Retina Thunderbolt Display. Patiently, I waited. And waited. Until last year they announced an LG screen and discontinuation of the Thunderbolt Display. I cried a little inside, and continued on with my 15” MacBook.

I’m getting off topic. Anyway, when Apple refreshed the iMac lineup in June 2017, I knew I was ready to buy one. I deliberated the purchase for about a day before giving in. Then I waited even more — 3 weeks total to receive it.


iMac (iMac18,3) Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017
Processor 4.2 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 4.5 GHz)
Memory 32 GB 2400 MHz DDR4
Hard-drive 512 GB SSD
Graphics Radeon Pro 580 (8192 MB)

The thing about Retina pixels is they’re addicting. On Amazon Prime Day, I found a 4K Samsung screen. I knew it wouldn’t be on par with the iMac’s Retina display, but had hoped it wouldn’t be totally unusable for me. As soon as I plugged it in I knew it wasn’t going to work out — it was nowhere close to the iMac screen. After a couple days using it, I knew this screen would end up being another expensive video player I couldn’t code on, so I packed it up to return to Amazon.

A coworker picked up the LG UltraFine 5K Display for use with a 2017 MacBook Pro. I grilled him about the image quality, and spent about 4 hours this time deliberating the purchase. Given the pretty hefty price tag for a monitor, I’m very excited to say this screen is on par with the iMac screen.

In the span of 3 weeks I’ve gone from a single 15” laptop screen — which I was 90% happy with — to two 27” screens. One thing I didn’t anticipate was having to adjust my workflows for two screens. I haven’t quite figured out where I like my editor, my browser, Slack, Mail, etc. Talk about first world problems.