Advice on a 2011 iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by GoldfishRT, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. GoldfishRT macrumors 6502


    Jul 24, 2014
    I'm thinking of picking up a 2011 21.5" iMac on the cheap and had a few questions.

    Is $400 a fair price for one in very good cosmetic condition with the following specs?

    2.7Ghz i5
    500GB HDD (ew)
    16GB Ram
    AMD 6770m 512MB

    A friend of mine claimed that these were not available with a true quad core CPU. Is this correct?

    Is 16GB the limit of RAM? Not that I ever need more than that.

    I understand the hard drives are hard to replace on these models. In your collective experiences, about how much can I expect to spend in order to place an SSD in the machine (under the assumption I already have an SSD).

    The GPUs on these machines are in fact upgradable yes? Is this generally advisable? The 6770m seems short on VRAM.

    Do these have the same GPU failure issues that the MacBook Pros had as a result of using the same chips?

    Are the displays on these machines IPS?

    Any reliability or operation quirks? Problems with cooling? I'm happy to hear any tips or experiences with current owners of these machines now as well. They are a bit aged but, if the slowing progress of the mobile chip space is anything to go by I'm thinking this will be more than powerful enough even today and far more powerful than my MacBook Pro correct?
  2. JoeFkling macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2013
    For ram you can go to 32GB max. The main HDD is very easy to replace as well as replacing or removing the optical drive. Adding in a 2nd drive is what is more of a pain. I have a 21.5" 2011 and I replaced the main spin hdd with a SSD. I opted against making a fusion drive and I have on order a blu-ray to replace my dead optical drive.

    As for the CPU it is a true quad core but it is a slowed version of the chip from what I understand. As far as upgrading the chip I am not sure. and from what I understand the 27" is IPS.

    My 2011 with 32gb and quad i5 2.6 is super fast for editing photos with LR and PS and a few other apps. Not sure about speed for video editing or 3d rendering though. Its a solid machine with just a few small upgrades. You can also upgrade the wifi/bluetooth card to be current with BT4.0 and AC for wireless. Gives you those bonus features like airdrop.
  3. Waughy macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2012
    I've done the BT4.0/wireless ac upgrade and so far have not been able to make all continuity features work, not that I would use them much. My watch unlocks the iMac, sometimes. I can send and receive SMS and calls, but no luck with airdrop and handoff. I did try the activation tool, but it didn't work, and when I uninstalled it I lost Bluetooth altogether and couldn't get it going again. In the end I had to reinstall Sierra, luckily I had a backup so was back to where I was before n no time.

    I've also gone for an SSD (replaced original drive, kept optical drive) and added 16GB ram to take the total to 20. The iMac runs great now compared to how it was with the platter HD and 4GB ram. Unless it dies I won't be replacing it for a few more years now.

    The SSD wasn't hard to do, if you've done similar things with computers and are confident and patient you should be ok, just look at a few tutorials so you know exactly what you'll be doing. Don't forget the extra cable for the SSD with the thermal sensor, otherwise the fans will be on full speed constantly. No idea what someone will charge to do the install if you're not confident to do it yourself.

    There's a thread on here about replacing the GPU. Looks like a bit of a hassle, so I didn't worry about it, and for the way we use the iMac it's not worth the cost.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I'd take that $400 and buy something newer...
  5. GoldfishRT thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jul 24, 2014
    Such as?

    Genuinely curious.

    My max is about $700. Which could get me into a nice 2012 21.5" (ideal for my small desk). Or an okay 2011 27". Or I could save some cash and get into a nice 21.5 from that era. My worry isn't with the hardware speed itself and more Apple's recent cutting of MacOS support for older machines.
  6. GoldfishRT thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jul 24, 2014
    Update: Ended up buying a different one. Two of them actually, one for my father and one for myself.

    For $350 each:

    2011 27" iMacs with the 2.5 i5, 8GB of ram, and 512mb 6770ms.

    Cheap way into a very nice screen.

    Forgot how big 27" actually is. It's even more monstrous after over a year of using devices 13" and under.

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