Anyone ever bought an entry-level iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Firebrand, Jun 11, 2017.

  1. Firebrand macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2016
    “Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 (with 64MB eDRAM): 80% faster than previous generation etc.”

    Don’t be shy. I was wondering if anyone ever bought an entry-level iMac?

    What was your reasoning, experience, and how many years... ?

    Any reviews out there yet?
  2. antonypg macrumors member

    May 8, 2008
    I went into an Apple store at the weekend specifically to look at iMacs, I am trying to decide which one to buy. They had a low end 27" and a low end 21.5" sat next to each other (not 2017 models). I decided to open Pages/Numbers to check out the difference in screen space. I was appalled by how slow both machines were, literally waiting what seemed like 10 seconds or more just to launch two programs. This is purely down to the speed of the hard drives fitted, all the power of the CPU gets wasted waiting for the hard drive to fetch data. Do not buy the hard drive only machines, or plan on getting an external SSD to boot from.

    I might go for the low end 4K or 5K, but I will select the SSD upgrade.
  3. Half Rick macrumors member

    May 28, 2017
    Entry level macs (of all models, at least the older ones) are actually quite decent if you are a "normal" user and make sure to close only the windows and the apps themselves - and reboot once in a while.

    I'm on the early 2011 MBP base model (no SSD), using it for Stata, R, the Office suite, mail, web, iTunes, iPhoto and Spotify. Even some editing of raw photos in Lightroom (but not too many pictures at once ;) ) Basically, opening any and all app is something you do before preparing dinner, then it might be done by the time the dishes are done and the kids have gone to sleep, but once the apps are opened it honestly runs surprisingly smooth. Opening a Word document without the app being open can take up to a minute, whereas opening the same document when Word is already running takes a few seconds. Even fairly large Excel data sets open fast enough for the wait to not be annoying - if Excel is already running that is ;)

    I've gotten the mid level 21.5" 2017 iMac with 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD to replace it, but I imagine I could easily get a couple more years out of the MBP as is (I got the replacement because I wanted one, not because I needed one), and even more by installing an SSD. If I'd also replace the battery (~80 % health), remove all the dust inside, and maybe switch out the fan if needed (it revs up more often now than it did before), I wouldn't be surprised if this computer could last north of a decade in total without feeling like a corpse.

    Sadly though, these kind of upgrades are not possible in the same way with an iMac so I'd definitely recommend the RAM upgrade and an SSD in order to "secure" its longevity.
  4. Darajavahus macrumors member


    Aug 8, 2015
    I have base late 2012 21.5 iMac and the experience is nightmare,
    without SSD because how expensive they were then,
    I was sure in 5 years the prices will go down a lot, and they barely did,
    I still can't afford iMac with 1TB SSD, and I'm not gonna upgrade until apple lowers the insane prices,
    what's the point of retina screen and so much better GPU and CPU when they have the exact same HDD (we know from teardown).
    There not only NVMe SSD exist, the are SATA SSD a lot slower but than NVMe but better price, so much better value, from HDD to SATA SSD is drastic difference, from SATA SSD to NVMe not even close, I get it that they want best but they should offer the cheaper SSDs.

    Mine was up to 90MB/s when fresh, but just putting bit more slowed a lot, right know I have the least possible on just 300GB so 700GB free and the speed is under 60MB/s when the HDD was just over half full under 40MB/s that's just brutal, it takes almost 2 minutes for the iMac to boot and the HDD is in good condition, nothing wrong with it.

    Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 12.59.41 PM.png
  5. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    I got the base 2011 Mac Mini, and upgraded it with an SSD myself. It has served us perfectly and is still running as it should, as a wiki server, Plex server, and backup central - Or headless NAS, essentially.
  6. trsblader macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2011
    I bought an entry level 21.5 inch in mid 2011 because it fit my needs at the time. I upgraded the ram myself but it had and still has the original hdd. I've had no issues 6 years later and have definitely put it through it's paces. For multiple years I was running parallels 24/7 never bothering to shut it off because of how often I used it. I did development and very basic (like 3-year old child basic) photoshop work. I gamed on it quite a bit too on both the windows and Mac side. Not a single dead pixel or GPU issue since I bought it. The only real reason I'm wanting to upgrade is to treat myself and because I can benefit from the speed increase. I don't NEED to upgrade though since I don't use the computer for work anymore, just for play, so saving a few seconds doesn't mean much to me but saving multiple hours is nice on the weekends.

    Just my opinion as well, I think the entry level models in 2011/2012 were better bang for the buck. My entry level iMac has a dedicated graphics card, as does my base model first gen retina pro which could be why my experience was so good and why it's lasted me this long for my slightly above average user usage.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Don’t be shy. I was wondering if anyone ever bought an entry-level iMac?
    What was your reasoning, experience, and how many years... ?"

    I did.

    Back in August 2007, I bought one of the last "white Intel iMacs" (actually, it was a 2006 design). It was the base model, nothing added.

    Ten years later, it still boots and runs fine.
    It's not as snappy as it once was, but still boots every time (although I don't use it much anymore).
    Was using it yesterday for a while.

    I have a theory about Macs, and it's my opinion only.
    I've come to the conclusion that the Macs (be it iMac, MacBook, etc.) that last the longest are "the base models". The "hopped up" models (particularly MacBook Pros with discrete graphics) seemed to wear out faster.
    Not sure why this is, but that's the way I see it.
  8. covisio macrumors 6502


    Aug 22, 2007
    I bought the Summer 2000 iMac Indigo 350mhz, one of the cheapest Macs ever sold. Family computer for three years, did a bit of medium weight graphic design, web design on it, plus all the other family things. Was manageable. Biggest handicap was lack of fast ports.
    I had a Late 2009 iMac which was almost base spec except that it had the discrete Radeon card (which was what killed it in the end). Things had improved massively by this point and it lacked for nothing, really. If it hadn't had flaky discrete graphics it would probably be still my main computer.
    I now have a white Mid-2010 MacBook.
    I have always wanted to have Macs but have never been able to afford anything other than the cheaper models, which I fully accept and doesn't really bother me.
    If I was wanting to use it professionally it would be a different story.
  9. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    A base early 2009 iMac has been the "family computer" for the last 8 years. It sees web, email, fairly light Word/Acrobat editing, photos storage, etc so it's hardly stressed. I upped the ram to 8 Gb and swapped out the disk drive for a 512 Gb SSD about a year ago which gave it a new lease on life (app startup times went from 45 seconds to a few seconds, boot time from minutes to under a minute). This machine is easily good for another 2 years unless something turns into smoke, or unless my wife asks for a shiny new machine.
  10. Ottonaldo macrumors newbie

    May 5, 2010
    I have bought an iMac 2010 i3 low end model and it is still working well. I have upgraded the ram and put a SSD into it. I think you can buy easily the entry level 27", but I would consider to choose a SSD.
  11. EdwardC macrumors regular


    Jun 3, 2012
    I am using a 2012 Mac mini 2.5 i5 with 16 gigs of RAM and the stock 5400 RPM spinner as well as a late 2013 iMac 2.9 I5 with the GT750 video card in my office. As far as the 5400 RPM HD goes it is indeed the weak link but I just open all my apps at start up which takes a few minutes but then they can be used with very little wait. You could always go with an external TB or USB 3 SSD for large file access as well.
  12. RUGERMAN macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2010
    I still use a late 09 C2D and have no problems. I don't care about booting time because I rarely shutdown. I always have Safari, Excel, Parallels w/Win7. Word. Msg. Mail and sometime a few other apps open. The only thing I've done has been to add 8 gig of ram. Still the original HD, no SSD or Fusion. I'm sure I don't push it as hard as some here but certainly harder than many and I have no need to upgrade. I also have the same vintage 13' MBP that also runs fine for my wifes needs.
  13. nyc2pdx macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2012
    Portland, Oregon
    My first mac was an entry level mac. I recall the specs were not as good as the windows machine I was coming from...but it worked a whole lot better ;)
  14. iGeek2014 macrumors 68010

    Jun 29, 2014
    === Nowheresville ===
    I purchased the entry level mid-2011 iMac 21.5" a few years ago.

    Went for the mid-tier Mac Mini (late 2014) afterwards until November last year and am currently using the entry level mid-2015 iMac 5K.

    It's likely this time next year I'll probably go for the entry level 5K iMac if Apple have updated the specs by then.
  15. Swissness macrumors newbie

    Dec 5, 2016
    I bought the entry level 27" mid-2010 model. It's still chugging along and the screen still looks good. I don't really use it for anything other than to watch videos these days as it's a little slow with photoshop, illustrator, etc but in a fix it would be able to handle most of the things I need a computer for.

    My new replacement arrives today. Hoping for a nice surprise.
  16. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    My current 2012 21.5" iMac is an entry level. I bought it to hold me over while waiting for Apple to update the MP line and didn't feel like sinking a ton of money into a computer I thought I was going to flip rather quickly. That never happend. 2017 and I'm still using it. It's done everything I asked, including FCP, basic Motion, PS (not huge MP photos), Lightroom. Really surprised me because I assumed an entry level w/ 8GB RAM and integrated video would just lock up and tell me to go on vacation doing any of that stuff.

    I'm preparing to finally buy a 27" iMac now that I know headless Mac is pretty much a dead concept with Apple announcing the iMac Pro rather than the Mac Mini Pro. I've decided on the entry level of that model too and buy RAM 3rd party and also external SSDs rather than buy the top of the line. If the top of the line came with an i7 and 16GB RAM w/o CTO I likely would have bought that but a faster i5 and GPU and more VRAM is a luxury I can live without.
  17. Mg555 macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2017
    Memphis, TN
    Until March 2017 I was still using my 2006 iMac core duo. I believe it was the first generation of the Intel core duos. Used it daily in my small business and for personal use. Word processing, Photo Shop editing, Excel, internet browsing, etc. Bought it new in August 2006. Basic entry level model that was the 15 inch screen size. Never, ever had a repair on the machine. Only thing I ever upgraded was the ram several years ago. Maxed it out at 2GB, that's all it could hold. Yes it was slow the last few years, but it still did what I needed it to do. Was a great computer until the display died in March. Cannot complain, as I certainly received my money's worth! Now I need to replace it with the new iMac 2017. Probably just replace with the entry level or mid level 21.5" machine. Hoping it will last as long as the last one did! :)
  18. slpslee1 macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2014
    Yes, I needed one in a hurry in 2013 and figured it would last long enough to hand it down to my grandchildren after a few months so I just ran into the Apple Store and grabbed a plain vanilla model right out of the stock at hand. It's still going strong. I just think it's time for a retina display. It's done way more than I intended it to do. I wanted one to put in my sewing room, but I ended up using it for photography, video, you name it.

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