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Old Nov 22, 2012, 01:59 PM   #1
FrankySavvy
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Wink Mid 2011 iMac owner, should I upgrade?

Hello Everyone

After seeing the new iMac 27" at the iPad Mini event, I was floored. It was gorgeous. I bought an iMac in July of last year. It is spec'd at:

27" iMac (mid 2011)
Intel Quad Core i7 3.4Ghz
4GB Ram
AMD Radeon HD 6970M w/2GB VRAM
1 TB Hard Drive

I am looking at upgrading to:

27" iMac (December 2012)
Intel Quad Core i7 3.4Ghz (whats the difference with the 2011?)
8GB Ram (double the ram, much better performance?)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX with 2GB of GDDR5 (big difference?)
1 TB Fusion Drive (definitely a big difference!)

Other then the redesign of the case, double the ram and a fusion drive, will it really be a substantial difference from my current iMac?

My big question is...do I need the new Quad Core i7 3.4ghZ, or will the Quad Core i5 3.2ghz be a big enough difference compared to my old iMac's i7? I never understood the logic of the i5 and i7. Will i be downgrading going from a 2011 i7 to a 2012 i5?

I know the Fusion Drive is a big upgrade, loading and boot up times will be substantially faster from the SSD alone.

Double the Computers Ram is always a good upgrade, but I could do that now on my current iMac.

Going from my old Radeon to the Nvidia with the same dedicated 2GB ram, will there be a substantial difference?

So many questions, what would you guys recommend?

HELP!

Thanks

-franky
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 02:06 PM   #2
rkaufmann87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankySavvy View Post
Hello Everyone

After seeing the new iMac 27" at the iPad Mini event, I was floored. It was gorgeous. I bought an iMac in July of last year. It is spec'd at:

27" iMac (mid 2011)
Intel Quad Core i7 3.4Ghz
4GB Ram
AMD Radeon HD 6970M w/2GB VRAM
1 TB Hard Drive

I am looking at upgrading to:

27" iMac (December 2012)
Intel Quad Core i7 3.4Ghz (whats the difference with the 2011?)
8GB Ram (double the ram, much better performance?)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX with 2GB of GDDR5 (big difference?)
1 TB Fusion Drive (definitely a big difference!)

Other then the redesign of the case, double the ram and a fusion drive, will it really be a substantial difference from my current iMac?

My big question is...do I need the new Quad Core i7 3.4ghZ, or will the Quad Core i5 3.2ghz be a big enough difference compared to my old iMac's i7? I never understood the logic of the i5 and i7. Will i be downgrading going from a 2011 i7 to a 2012 i5?

I know the Fusion Drive is a big upgrade, loading and boot up times will be substantially faster from the SSD alone.

Double the Computers Ram is always a good upgrade, but I could do that now on my current iMac.

Going from my old Radeon to the Nvidia with the same dedicated 2GB ram, will there be a substantial difference?

So many questions, what would you guys recommend?

HELP!

Thanks

-franky
I would strongly recommend just upgrading the RAM in your machine to 16 or 24GB and leaving well enough alone. You have an extremely capable machine so upgrading when something new and shiny comes out is chasing a fools errand unless you have an unlimited amount of money and time. I'm sure you will get some differing opinions but based on what you have stated I see absolutely no rational reason to buy a completely new machine.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 02:11 PM   #3
FrankySavvy
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Originally Posted by rkaufmann87 View Post
I would strongly recommend just upgrading the RAM in your machine to 16 or 24GB and leaving well enough alone. You have an extremely capable machine so upgrading when something new and shiny comes out is chasing a fools errand unless you have an unlimited amount of money and time. I'm sure you will get some differing opinions but based on what you have stated I see absolutely no rational reason to buy a completely new machine.
So you wouldn't see a substantial improvement at all?
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 02:15 PM   #4
firedept
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You have a great machine. I have the same one with ram upgrade to 32GB. Plus I have a real good external HDD for backup and overflow movie storage. You will not go wrong keeping it. I am keeping mine and upgrading to the Mac Pro when APPLE Finally upgrade it. Will still keep this iMac though as it has never been a problem and still runs like a charm. Will get rid of my C2D iMac when purchasing Mac Pro.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 02:22 PM   #5
MisterKeeks
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I don't see why you would want to upgrade just because something new is available. If you look at most of the Macs in my sig, you will see that I rarely upgrade from my old computers. That's because I don't really see any reason to upgrade: It works for me know, and it will continue to work for quite some time. You have quite the machine as it is, so I don't think upgrading from yours is really warranted.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 02:27 PM   #6
mohsy90
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You are not downgrading the processor. You have to take into account that the mid 2011 iMacs used sandy bridge and new iMacs use ivy bridge processors. The "i" is just for the core line that intel uses. i3 is low, i5 mid, i7 is high end processor. Ivy bridge processors are faster so you would be getting a fast processor but the increase is minimal and likely unnoticeable.

You're machine is already fast and I would suggest you save you're money and upgrade the ram and add an SSD yourself at a fraction of the cost. Right now the biggest performance increase between your machine and the 2012 model is the fusion drive. Save your money.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 02:39 PM   #7
FrankySavvy
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Originally Posted by mohsy90 View Post
You are not downgrading the processor. You have to take into account that the mid 2011 iMacs used sandy bridge and new iMacs use ivy bridge processors. The "i" is just for the core line that intel uses. i3 is low, i5 mid, i7 is high end processor. Ivy bridge processors are faster so you would be getting a fast processor but the increase is minimal and likely unnoticeable.

You're machine is already fast and I would suggest you save you're money and upgrade the ram and add an SSD yourself at a fraction of the cost. Right now the biggest performance increase between your machine and the 2012 model is the fusion drive. Save your money.
Will I see a noticeable difference going from 4GB to 16GB? And how would I go about getting an SSD drive in this machine, wouldn't that void the warranty?
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 02:45 PM   #8
mohsy90
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Originally Posted by FrankySavvy View Post
Will I see a noticeable difference going from 4GB to 16GB? And how would I go about getting an SSD drive in this machine, wouldn't that void the warranty?
Memory is all dependent on what software you use and how many applications you want to have open at one time. You wont notice a speed increase between 4 and 16 if you only open one program that requires only 1gb of memory.

Here is a guide on an SSD upgrade: http://blog.chargedpc.com/2011/05/20...all-guide.html -----Note: this is not an easy install
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 02:47 PM   #9
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I suppose it depends on what you use it for. If you game or do graphics heavy work you'll get a boost from the 680MX and some improvement from the rest but for other applications you'll likely not notice much of a difference day to day.

If you can wait it out for another year you may see another release with the newer Haswell chipset, or it could go another couple of years without one, you can't know for certan.

One thing though to keep in mind is the resale value of your current machine which will be at it's peak for the next few months.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 02:53 PM   #10
R1PPER
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Hi, im in the same situation. But i really couldn't stomach upgrading the imac "AGAIN". So i got a Lacie Rugged Thunderbolt 120 SSD for around 160 pounds and made it my boot drive and install all my apps to it. I then use the internal HHD for my Itunes and Iphoto Libraries. Very clean and the difference is AMAZING...Silent machine. Everything loads INSTANTLY!!! Games Run cleaner but i did try PLanetside 2 in bootcamp and it was abit of a dog. Bottom line is your mac is amazing if you can get a SSD but still struggles alittle at High End gaming. But to be honest only the top 27" 2012 imac is going to be ultimate gaming friendly.

I have 16 gig installed...but put it in at the same time that i went SSD. so cant tell if it made a difference.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 02:55 PM   #11
FrankySavvy
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Originally Posted by FuriousGreg View Post
I suppose it depends on what you use it for. If you game or do graphics heavy work you'll get a boost from the 680MX and some improvement from the rest but for other applications you'll likely not notice much of a difference day to day.

If you can wait it out for another year you may see another release with the newer Haswell chipset, or it could go another couple of years without one, you can't know for certan.

One thing though to keep in mind is the resale value of your current machine which will be at it's peak for the next few months.
I agree, I do some gaming on the machine, but I am a graphic designer and do alot of adobe creative suite work.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by R1PPER View Post
Hi, im in the same situation. But i really couldn't stomach upgrading the imac "AGAIN". So i got a Lacie Rugged Thunderbolt 120 SSD for around 160 pounds and made it my boot drive and install all my apps to it. I then use the internal HHD for my Itunes and Iphoto Libraries. Very clean and the difference is AMAZING...Silent machine. Everything loads INSTANTLY!!! Games Run cleaner but i did try PLanetside 2 in bootcamp and it was abit of a dog. Bottom line is your mac is amazing if you can get a SSD but still struggles alittle at High End gaming. But to be honest only the top 27" 2012 imac is going to be ultimate gaming friendly.
So I could get an external SSD and put the operating system on it? is that an easy process?

Thanks!
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 03:23 PM   #12
rkaufmann87
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Originally Posted by FrankySavvy View Post
I agree, I do some gaming on the machine, but I am a graphic designer and do alot of adobe creative suite work.

----------



So I could get an external SSD and put the operating system on it? is that an easy process?

Thanks!
No it's not easy and if you have AppleCare you may void it by installing and possibly damaging anything. The primary advantage of SSD (and now) Fusion drives is fast startup and shutdown times of the machine, apps and files. Day to day use, not so much.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 03:37 PM   #13
FuriousGreg
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Originally Posted by rkaufmann87 View Post
No it's not easy and if you have AppleCare you may void it by installing and possibly damaging anything. The primary advantage of SSD (and now) Fusion drives is fast startup and shutdown times of the machine, apps and files. Day to day use, not so much.
You can pay to have an Apple certified repair person do it for you, they replace drives all the time. It will likey cost around $50 and it won't void your AppleCare. Just call and tell them you want to replace the drive and ask them how much, then ask again if it matters that the drive you want to replace it with is an SSD in an enclosure? It should be the same price.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 03:59 PM   #14
rkaufmann87
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You can pay to have an Apple certified repair person do it for you, they replace drives all the time. It will likey cost around $50 and it won't void your AppleCare. Just call and tell them you want to replace the drive and ask them how much, then ask again if it matters that the drive you want to replace it with is an SSD in an enclosure? It should be the same price.
Yes that is correct, however I was thinking the OP wanted to do the install himself. As for the price $50 seems quite low, I'd recommend the OP call around his area and find out what actual costs would be in his area.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 04:35 PM   #15
R1PPER
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External thunderbolt SSD is really easy to do. You plug it in to thunderbolt port. make a mountain Lion boot disk on an 8gig USB key. restart and hold alt, instal to SSD and off you go. The only issue is linking to your new itunes iphoto library. but this is really easy. move them to your HHD and start the app hold alt and point it to the new location. No voiding of warranty. Speeds are not quite fusion but they are really good.

In an ideal world replace the internal HHD with a SSD but this is Very Complicated on 2011 model.
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 09:09 PM   #16
MattClassic
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Originally Posted by mohsy90 View Post
Here is a guide on an SSD upgrade: http://blog.chargedpc.com/2011/05/20...all-guide.html -----Note: this is not an easy install
I actually just completed this install today using this guide and install kit:
http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIYIM27SSD11/

It seems way easier than the one you linked to. It was quite nerve wracking to do, but I finished it in about 1.5 hours. Anyone planning to do this. BE CAREFUL with the small connector pins. You can easily kill the wires. The small connectors are really tight and hard to remove.

I've got Fusiondrive working perfectly using these steps:
http://www.petralli.net/2012/10/anal...nal-hard-disk/

Pretty nice.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 06:04 AM   #17
Siderz
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I don't think it's worth it.

You're much better off upgrading the RAM on your current model, here's how to do it - http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1423#1

And if you're daring enough, you could replace the HDD in your iMac for an SSD. But I think that may void the warranty. (Upgrading the RAM does not void the warranty though)
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 07:00 AM   #18
Dween
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Not worth it. Buy additional applecare then sell it when the 3 years are up.
You'll get a significant performance boost from the new iMacs in 3 years, and not really any difference from one year!

Upgrade RAM and either install SSD or boot from SSD via thunderbolt to see a difference.
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