So how long do iMacs tend to last on average?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by seoskaura, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2013
    I've had my PC desktop for 10 years and it still runs smoothly.

    :O I just wanted to know all the prospects before I buy one.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    There is not really a study, but my 2007 iMac is still working, with RAM and SSD upgrade I did myself in the last years.

    Many still use their G4 and G5 iMacs nowadays, but since they are PPC Macs, they cannot be upgraded to the newest Mac OS X versions (10.5.8 being the last version they support) and often cannot run current Flash or iTunes versions.

    If you buy a 2012 iMac it should probably be good for 5 to 7 years.
  3. macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2012
    Pentium CPU with Windows 95 .. :D
  4. Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    It really depends on a lot of factors. Me personally, there is no way I'd use a 10 year old computer. I like newer technology so my Macs only last a 3 or 4 years. My wife has been using her MacBook for 6 years though.
  5. macrumors regular

    Dec 22, 2012
    They last longer than most PC and have better resale value if that helps at all. How long are u planning on keeping it?
  6. JoeG4, Jan 7, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013

    macrumors 68020


    Jan 11, 2002
    Bay Area, Ca.
    I think it really depends on lots of factors.

    For example, early G3 iMacs didn't have very good flyback transformers on the CRT and the monitor often died. Some G5 iMacs are particularly bad about capacitors not lasting, and some x86 iMacs have GPUs that overheat and fail.

    To some people, the lack of current software support (with PPC iMacs, for example, and 32bit iMacs that no longer support the latest version of OS X) might be a deal killer.

    Or maybe the hard drive dies (which isn't unusual 3-5 years in), and then the owner can't be bothered to change it themself (or they don't find it worth paying someone else to).

    Or maybe the machine only meets your performance (or power usage) needs for so long until the new ones seem so much better you have to upgrade.

    Or maybe the new iMac fits in the decor of their room better.

    The 2 debatable items: Resale value and estimated age of operation...
    The price difference you put into buying a Mac vs an equivalent PC is usually the price difference you get out when you go to resell them. In a $500 laptop vs $1200 mac laptop example, the mac laptop will probably be worth ~$5-600 more in 3 years lol.

    Reasonable lifetime? I'd guess 3 years on laptops and 5 on desktops. By that, I mean the amount of time before you'd really be itching to get a new machine. On a desktop, you can replace the keyboard and mouse and wipe it clean and you're good as new. On a laptop, replacing the keyboard and trackpad is a bit more involved, and you either go through some measure of preservation (like a case, plastic stick-on covers, using it on a stand with external everything, etc), or you end up with a laptop that has obvious signs of wear after 3 years.

    That, and because laptop chips tend to be lower power, they will get longer in the tooth faster. Different priorities! I can stick 16GB of ram and as many SSDs as I want into my ancient PowerMac G5. Aside from running lots of intel only stuff, it's still pretty competent everywhere else. Meanwhile, my PowerBook G4 is a real pain in the butt to use.
  7. macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    It's interesting in most of the replies you don't answer the persons question. Obviously if the person used the same PC for 10 years (without upgrading it) he doesn't care much about the latest and greatest.

    Based on that, there is always a chance of some part dying especial the hard drive. However, 5 to 7 years at least for an iMac is not unreasonable to expect.
  8. macrumors regular

    Fried Chicken

    Jun 11, 2011
    Early 2006 iMac here, my main computer....

    Though it's slowly getting time to upgrade
  9. macrumors newbie

    Dec 5, 2012

    Same Here. 20" PPC G5 iMac here. Finally bit the bullet and am awaiting my 27"
  10. macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    I'm guessing that's not an average life for a PC, either.

    Macs generally have very good build quality and can last forever -- my Dad still has 1990s beige Macs in daily use.
    My 2006 iMac is still going strong on Lion. Of course, dust, heat, vibration, humidity and just plain bad luck can shorten the life considerably.

    You'll also see a lot of old Macs on eBay still getting a lot of interest.
  11. macrumors 6502


    Dec 6, 2006
    Washington, D.C.
    Same here. I've had my 17" Macbook Pro since Dec. 2006, so it's just over 6 years old and outside of the battery not really keeping a charge any more, it still runs very smoothly (as long as I keep it plugged up).
  12. Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    Batteries are cheap compared to new computers. I just purchased a new one for my wife for about $120. She is getting 5+ hours of battery again.
  13. macrumors 68000

    Dec 8, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    I know the logic boards in the older model iMacs were prone to die after around 5 years but some last alot longer then that, my 2008 iMac is still going strong but im aware that the logic board could fail at any time. The new 2012 models are too new to know what issues could arise. imo if a computer can last for 6 years then that's acceptable as most people need to upgrade by then anyway.
  14. macrumors 603

    Feb 20, 2009
    I have a 2007 white Intel iMac that still seems to be doing fine.

    However -- it has not been my "main machine" all these years, and gets relatively light-to-moderate usage. It may not have had such longevity if I had had it on all day long, every day.

    The computer that I -have- had on for many hours a day has been my old 2004 PowerMac g4/1.25 MDD. Sometimes it runs 12 hours+ a day, just keeps going. But after almost 9 years, I've got a new Mac Mini 2.6 beside it, just getting the Mini set up and I'm going to put the trusty g4 under the table.

    After 9 years, it's harder than one might think to move the appropriate things from one platform to another!
  15. macrumors 6502


    Dec 6, 2006
    Washington, D.C.
    Oh wow that's not bad at all. I have to definitely look into that. Thanks.
  16. macrumors member

    Jul 29, 2007
    8 to 10 years. Then it becomes more of an issue of obselenesnes than actually having something fail.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2007
    Depends entirely on what you do with it. I have an old Pentium III 450MHz PC that will run FreeBSD just fine but I wouldn't exactly say it "runs smoothly" considering I can't use it for anything other than a basic server or running software/OSes that were current in its day.

    If you want anecdotal evidence, our 2007 iMac lasted us about 5 years. Today, on a clean install of Mountain Lion, it's basically only good enough for simple tasks like web browsing and checking email. Installing an SSD would make it feel much quicker but I'm not motivated enough considering it's still a slow computer and has already been replaced.

    My late 2006 MacBook lasted me 6 years and was just replaced with a new one. I was able to hold onto the MacBook longer than the iMac because I was easily able to replace the HD with an SSD. Even still, it's basically only good enough for simple tasks. Even scrolling through a long web page feels somewhat slow, especially when compared against a new computer.
  18. macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I work parttime in a computerstore, although we don't sell Apple i think i can give you a fair estimate.

    Desktops: Around 5 to 7 years is fairly average. After this period of time part become harder to come by and most repairs aren't worth their time and money.

    Laptops: 3 to 4 years tops. Batteries on laptops wear really quickly because most users don't know how to properly charge it. After this amount of time any reparation costs made is too many in my opinion.

    iMac's: I'm on my first iMac (Late 2012) so i can only speak from people around me. Most friends of mine did a Ram and/or SSD upgrade on their iMacs but they lasted around 5-7 years too.

    Macbook's: i'm currently using a 2009 MBP 15inch. This baby still works like the first day and my battery levels are awesome. still 92%. I think around 5 years is a good estimate for a MacBook.

    All these things above will always differ because people use their machines differently. I don't know what kind of user you are, but by seeing that your current machine lasted 10 years i wouldn't see a reason why your new iMac would last 7?!
  19. macrumors 603

    Oct 14, 2008
    We still have an iMac G3 in our basement as a library database front-end, running 24/7. This thing must be over 10 years old. And in my previous dormitory, there was also a similar iMac in the basement, for laundry reservation and such.

    Of course, all these statements are purely anecdotal. I wouldn't want to own the same computer longer than 3 years - technology moves very quickly.
  20. macrumors member


    Dec 19, 2007
    Jefferson City, MO
    I have two iMacs, a lime green one from 2000 and the 2007 edition. Both still work.

    So, judging only from personal experience, they last a long time. Possibly until infinity.
  21. macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    My first iMac ... an old white plastic G5 unit is still plugging away.

    I have acquired several others over the years and not one of them has died.

    I did have one G5 iMac fall off a table onto the hardwood floor. It landed screen down and I just new it was done ..... but it wasn't.

    My son still uses it today.


    We have one of these iMacs and it still works fine .....

  22. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2010
    Can't speak for iMacs, but my Macbook Pro 2006 got 5-6 years life out of it, would've got more if it wasn't for the crappy graphics card messing up the logic board, I'm convinced those ATI chips were a little dodgy too, just like the Nvidia ones.

    My uncles powerbook which is now mine, is about 10 years old, still functions fine, heck its been stolen; recovered, and battered to death (dropped quite a few times), and travelled the world (he used to work for a film production company), the power pack makes a hiss, the lid won't shut properly, the metal is bent on the side so you can't access the CD drive, yet it STILL works!
  23. macrumors 68020


    Jan 11, 2002
    Bay Area, Ca.
    Yea, I was super conservative about my 3 and 5 year statements, but they probably aren't that far off. I think it's fair to say that 90% of the time, you can get at least 10 years out of a computer.

    It's like a car though, what you have to do to get it there might vary. You might get a machine that runs 10 years without a single fault, not even a PRAM battery error! You might get a machine that needs a new hard drive, a new power supply, a new optical drive.. and so on.

    Thus the averages :)
  24. macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Using May 2008 iMac. No real problems except for the usual screen 'bleed' type stuff. But recently it has started to slow down and media intensive tasks are leading me to consider replacement. However missing features on new iMacs don't impress!

    Previous white iMac (2006) lasted about 5 years before motherboard failure led to replacement by Mac Mini which has been OK except fan spins wildly (Apple store can't find why) and sometimes sound drops out. G4 lasted years and years. G5 PowerPC still going fine as well (built to last!)
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 19, 2006
    I have one of those. Mine is a 17" G4 @ 800MHz. I've upgraded the RAM and HDD, the OS is one level higher than Apple allowed, via a Target Disk Mode work around. Runs slow but fine. Slow is relative, as I am typing this on my 2012 iMac.

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