Bad Idea to buy a Mid-2011 27" iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Saint.Icon, May 19, 2014.

  1. Saint.Icon macrumors regular

    May 11, 2014
    I'm debating between a Thunderbolt Display for my rMBP, or a 2011 27" iMac. The iMac can be used just like a TBD, and is roughly the same price refurbished.

    My rMBP covers most of my needs, but a desktop would be nice to have again. My only worry is that buying a model that's three years old might be a bad idea. Though I could, and likely would shortly after buying, upgrade the RAM to 16GB.

    I'd likely use it for 2-3 years, then worry about upgrading both the rMBP and iMac and selling these two.

    At $1100, is a 2011 iMac still a good buy, or is a newer model the better option? Or would I be best off sticking with my rMBP and a TBD?
  2. bensimpsy macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2013
    I have a mid 2011 27" and have barely had a problem with mine. Good solid machine.

    I think your only downside is going from a retina display to a non-retina display :p
  3. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    Just wondering, but what do you need the TBD display for? It is a really expensive piece of professional equipment, and 99% of people will not benefit from it. If you are going to be spending over 1000$ just for the display, you might as well get a new iMac that you won't have to upgrade. This might seem crazy, but if you are really set on getting an Apple display, get a refurb 2012 27" iMac with the i7/8GB RAM/gtx 680mx/1 TB Fusion. It is 1950$, which is a lot. For 850$ you will get an SSD and the most powerful GPU that any iMac currently has. You wouldn't even use it as a display for your rMBP just because it would be so much more powerful. It isn't very price conscious, but I personally don't think a TBD is either.

    When it comes down to it, it is your money to spend. I personally wouldn't get a TBD unless I was a professional photographer or graphics designer. Either way, there is no reason to get the baseline 2011 iMac because the rMBP will realistically perform better than it. Any upgrades to the iMac will kind of be a waste. If you are a consumer, or even if you are a professional, you can get a really nice 2560x1440 display for less than 500$ on Amazon. Just things to think about!

  4. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    If it is a i7 quad machine, it is almost as powerfull as the latest. For the top models 2011 and 2013: Geekbench 3 (64): 11773 vs Geekbench 3 (64): 14673. That is only 20% slower.
  5. Saint.Icon thread starter macrumors regular

    May 11, 2014
    I should have specified. I'm an iOS and OS X developer, do professional design with Photoshop, and some pro photography on the side. The screen real estate is mainly what I'm after.
  6. MacRazySwe macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    I would definitely do it!

    The TBD is crazy expensive, and seeing as you can get a whole iMac for the same money, that's the better option if you ask me - especially as you're able to use it as a secondary display to your rMBP. I have a 2011 iMac base model (21.5"), which still works very well, although SSD drives have got me spoiled.

    If I were you, I would get the 2011 iMac 27" and throw in an SSD. After doing so, you have a computer which is nearly as fast as a brand new iMac, other than GPU performance.

    Worth noting however, the iMac has to be switched on of course, in order to use it as a TBD, so it will emit more noise and heat than the TBD. The TBD also has USB-ports, thunderbolt, iSight-camera, speakers and ethernet-connection you can use by connecting your rMBP. This does not work with the iMac as I understand.

    Also, I do tend to think that $1100 sounds a bit much for a 3 year old machine...
  7. Saint.Icon thread starter macrumors regular

    May 11, 2014
    It does seem high, but paying nearly the same amount for the same display without the computer component is also quite high.
    The computer component isn't really a necessity for me, but more of a nice bonus that I'd make use of. My main need is a large workspace

    The alternative is a newer model iMac, but that sends the price much higher - $1399 minimum for a 2012 27". I'd also still need a Superdrive for an additional $80, taking my total cost up to $1479 over $1100.

    I guess what I'm looking for is opinions on if the loss of some connectivity options, but gain of a secondary Mac makes the 2011 iMac worth it over the Thunderbolt Display for the same total cost.
  8. Saint.Icon thread starter macrumors regular

    May 11, 2014
    I went for it and ordered the iMac. Thanks for the help and advice, everyone!

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