2011 imac too old?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Hicup, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. Hicup macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2017

    I’m completely new to Apple computing but am considering getting my teenage son a second hand imac for Christmas. Not quite sure where to start but, initially looking at a imac 21 inch core i5 2.5 ghz 2011 IMAC for £499.

    My initial question is - are there any obvious software legacy issues with old machines, ie is there are an age of IMAC that I shouldn’t get as it won’t run current software?

    Any advice as to buying an older iMac most gratefully received.

  2. Trusteft macrumors 6502


    Nov 5, 2014
    I wouldn't go for a 2011 machine, even more so if you plan on keeping it and using it as a main machine for a few years.
    I don't know when exactly but the 2011 imac will be declared obsolete or vintage or something, sooner than later.
    Take a look.
  3. trifid macrumors 65816


    May 10, 2011
    In terms of CPU power, it's perfectly fine, in fact it's faster than some 2015/2016 Macs:



    Currently the latest OSX High Sierra is compatible, in fact it's supported even for 2009 macs, so you should get a couple more OSX updates before Apple stops releasing updates for the 2011 model. Even after Apple stops releasing updates for your Mac, you should even get a couple more years before it starts falling behind in updates.

    It's perfectly fine and normal to stay behind a couple of years in OS updates, in fact several professional users don't always update due to compatibility issues which could severely affect their business. So you'd still get browser updates etc even if you can't update your OS.

    Last but not least, if possible look into changing the internal disk with a SSD, it'll make that machine scream.
  4. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    Don't go for a 2011 model, as they are extremely prone to GPU failures. And I do think 499£ is WAY a too high price for a 6 year old 21" model.

    It *is* an excellent machine (And my own main machine), but the GPU *will* fail at some point. And it is practically impossible to get a replacement GPU (As seen by the gigantic thread we have on GPU upgrades for that specific model)

    Of course, if the seller can document that the GPU has been replaced by Apple with their replacement program, then it should be fine. I would definitely recommend an SSD upgrade though.
  5. vkd, Dec 7, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017

    vkd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2012
    I have the mid-2011 27" iMac and can't see myself swapping it for another any time soon. It does everything I want perfectly well; internet, multimedia, etc. Personally I stopped upgrading the OS at Mavericks 10.9.5 but I understand it'll run the latest and greatest perfectly well. Its a great, solid machine, a pleasure to use.

    Contrary to multiple fearful shock reports regarding the gpu, I have not had a single issue with it, it has an AMD Radeon HD 6770M 512MB inside, I believe it is the more potent 6970M in the high-end 27" models with i7 CPU that is failure-prone.
  6. AmazingRobie macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2009
    Dear sir, I am the current owner of a Mid-2011 imac. Do not purchase this machine. I have had the display replaced, the graphics chip replaced, and a multitude of other issues with it. Google to confirm any issues for older apple products before purchase. Do not purchase this machine for anyone that you care about as it will only give you and them grief. They are ticking time bombs and even after any repairs you will still be in the same boat as they can only replace faulty parts with more faulty parts, there are no faulty parts that have been manufactured, only ones that have yet to fail. You have been warned. Take care.
  7. padams35, Dec 7, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017

    padams35 macrumors regular

    Nov 10, 2016
    The 2011 21.5" are great machines (for their age). They're the newest 21" with user replaceable ram, shipped with 7200rpm HDDs standard vs the 5400rpm that became standard in the 2012 refresh, and seem to have escaped the GPU issues on the 2011 27"s.

    I'm currently using a 2011 21.5" 2.7GHz with 12GB ram running Sierra as my primary. If your son is into gaming he will find his selection limited to casual/retro/older titles but otherwise there are currently no software issues.

    That said it is nearing end of life. 2011s uses the USB 2.0 standard and lacks support for several features such as Metal graphics and iOS Air Drop. Also while I'm not aware of any specific hardware issues the risk of something breaking does usually increase with age.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Try and find at least a 2012 or later.

  9. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004
    Not good enough. You can get a TB to USB3 plus hub adapter fairly cheaply and the 2011 model was the last that could easily be opened up for upgrades.

    Install Macs Fan Control to override Apple's unrealistic cooling parameters and you won't have any trouble with your GPU failing.
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Not good enough. You can get a TB to USB3 plus hub adapter fairly cheaply and the 2011 model was the last that could easily be opened up for upgrades."

    Those adapters cost about $80 or so, last time I looked.
    If you know of where one can be had more cheaply, post it.

    My original advice stands:
    Get something with USB3.
    You'll regret it if you don't.
  11. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004

    $80 is fine. You won't get a 2012+ model for less than the $80 difference over the 2011 and it still comes with the same disadvantages.
  12. T Coma macrumors regular

    T Coma

    Dec 3, 2015
    People's Republic of Chicago
    Thank you for writing exactly what I would have, but for the OS description. My 2011 runs El Capitan 10.11.6 well, and I was easily able to upgrade the RAM and the hard drive to SSD. It has been virtually bulletproof and problem-free since purchase and has never been in for service *knock on wood.* If you think it's a good price, get it. As someone else mentioned, a service history would be a nice confidence-builder.

    I also wouldn't be too concerned about the USB ports. If your son's peripherals are limited to typical items like: printer, basic scanner, and external drive for Time Machine/CCC backups, USB2 is fine. If, however, he will be using one or more drives for lots of data transfer, USB3 would certainly be helpful. But since the 2011 iMacs come with Thunderbolt ports (which likely go unused anyway), as mentioned previously, there is a simple way to take advantage of USB3 speeds: Thunderbolt to USB3 adapter.

  13. Hicup thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2017
    Genuine thanks for all the replies, all really useful. I guess it’s always going to be a comprimise at this price. Will have a think which is best, but great to have a bit more back ground info, thanks again.
  14. mlody macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2012
    Windy City
    I am still rocking 27 mid 2010 model and I am %100 fine with it, but I am looking to make a move early next year but that a topic for a new thread.
  15. Booch21 macrumors regular


    Oct 13, 2010
    My Mid-2010 iMac is running great. I've added external hard drives and doubled the RAM. Have you considered wiping it and reinstalling from Time Machine? I do audio and video editing and I honestly haven't seen a slow down. Certain programs will bog the machine down, namely anything with Microsoft in the name, but other than that, I'm pleased with how well mine has held up.
  16. AppleRus macrumors member


    Mar 23, 2014
    Ive got a 13" MacBook Pro late 2011 and it runs good (runs the latest MacOS) So I don't see why the 2011 iMac wouldn't?
  17. TekAdvice Suspended

    Jan 4, 2018
    Mid 2010 and newer Macs should be fine for keeping their software up to date, as far as Mac OS High Sierra is concerned.

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