Best iMac version?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Forbes2000, May 2, 2015.

  1. Forbes2000 macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2015
    Hi! I'm thinking about getting the 27" iMac.

    Since it's so much $$, I am considering buying a used model on Craigslist (my main uses for it is email and word processing, so i don't really need the latest and greatest in speed).

    However, i do want to be sure that the display is high quality-especially with things like glare and brightness.

    Has there been any display upgrades in the last 2 years of iMac versions that would make the display quality significantly better?

    In other words, should i avoid buying any used iMacs from the last 2 years because the newer version has a noticeably better display?

    Thanks a bunch!
  2. zlogs macrumors member

    Dec 27, 2013
    One thing you can count on with an iMac is an excellent screen. Most of the iMacs ever released have excellent color reproduction and are very good quality monitors for color correction in photoshop and other programs. Personally, I would go with any iMac released after the late 2012 redesign (the wedge design). If you are just doing emailing and word processing, I would suggest getting the 21.5 inch model. But, if you need the extra screen real estate and clarity of the 1440p display on the 27 inch, go with the base model. Like I said, I would just stay >late 2012 on any iMac.
  3. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I suppose I sit in the camp that finds the iMac screens to be "acceptable" but, in my opinion, subpar when compared to monitors such as the NEC PA series. The iMac screens have a far more limited colour gamut, can only have colour profiles (software) correction vs true colour correction and always a chance of some form of glare. Again, they are usable but certainly not really the best choice for Photoshop or any other graphic use with printing as an end goal.
  4. BuleepMan macrumors member


    Jun 5, 2008
    San Diego
    Buy the best you can afford

    I have a philosophy where I will buy only quality products, electronics or otherwise, because I find them most dependable and longer lasting. If I cannot afford the best item, I wait until I can. If you are of the philosophy of wanting the latest, greatest version frequently replacing items, by all means buying the least costly version would be your choice.

    Late in 2014, I was fortunate to come into some money and decided it was time to replace my 2006 iMac even though it was still running well (note I tend to keep things for a long time). That iMac is so old that it only has a 32 bit core duo, not even a core 2 duo. It can only run OS X 10.6.8 (one of the best OS X versions Apple ever released) but it was increasingly problematic finding software that would work on it. It still runs well and now is helping children in an elementary school in the Philippines.

    You can view the specs of my new iMac in my signature and note that everything was the fasted and largest available. I generally don't use the word thrilled but I can use thrilled to describe my purchase so far. The machine is blazing fast and other than the time I knocked it to the floor requiring expensive repairs, it has worked flawlessly. Many may not consider buying refurbished machines but my last 4 Mac purchases as well as my 64 GB iPad Air and 3T Time Capsule have all been refurbished purchases and I never had any problems with them. I will only purchase refurbished equipment from Apple though. The machines are returned for a variety of reasons sometimes because the original purchaser just changed their mind. Each item is disassembled, tested, repaired/replaced then reassembled and comes with a full, 1 year warranty. Again, nothing I have ever purchased from the Apple Store's refurbished area, including that 2006 iMac, has ever failed.

    So summarizing, I recommend you check out the better or best quality iMacs in the refurbished section of Apple's Store (it can be hard to find but a link is usually at the bottom of each Apple Store page) and see if there is a model that meets your needs. You could save 15%, 20% maybe more which is money you can use to buy a better machine. Buy a machine with much more memory than you think you will ever need because Apple's OS's are only becoming more resource hungry. Buy the largest hard drive you can afford because I bet you will start downloading and saving more and more music and videos on the new machine. Consider a machine with a SSD as long as the SSD isn't too small. I installed a SSD in my 2012 MacBook Pro and increased memory and that 3 year old machine is very fast and seems brand new. When you have decided on the specs of your new machine, check the refurbished page frequently because items come and go sometimes several times a day. Good luck on your purchase.

  5. Naimfan macrumors 601


    Jan 15, 2003
    My iMac preferencewould be for the last model before they made it anorexic.

    Screens will be pretty close; the retina iMacs excepted.
  6. robeddie, May 3, 2015
    Last edited: May 3, 2015

    robeddie Suspended


    Jul 21, 2003
    Like the poster above, I'll suggest any 2011 model, right before the 'wedge' design.
    Here's why:

    The 2011 models were all 4 core models (up from the 2010 2 core models) so their speed rankings are pretty close to the subsequent 2012-2014 models in terms of performance.

    But here's the real kicker ... the 2012 'wedge' models and beyond made it MUCH more difficult (if not impossible) to upgrade ram and the hard drive. On my 2011 iMac I was easily able to raise it to 16 gigs of ram, which is strongly recommended for something like Premiere Pro. Also, I was able to swap the optical drive (with a 1TB SSD - $380 on Amazon), which means I now have a fast, large SSD for booting, and swapped in a 4TB HDD in the regular drive bay. 5TB of storage space total!

    That ability to upgrade to a machine that now has features that way outstrip many of the newer 'wedge' models was a huge value. Since the 1TB SSD was way cheaper than the compromised 'fusion' drive that Apple sells, and it still left the regular drive bay free for yet another HDD (or SSD if that is your preference).
  7. BuleepMan macrumors member


    Jun 5, 2008
    San Diego
    RAM is easy to upgrade but HD not

    I have a late 2014 iMac, a wedge model, and replacing/upgrading RAM is easy. On the back of the machine, there is a door that opens to reveal the 4 RAM slots. I upgraded mine from 8 GB to 24 GB. I agree that doing anything inside a new iMac is a chore and not recommended for the faint of heart. I have pulled many Macs apart and tinkered inside of them but I do not think I will ever open the 2014 iMac.
  8. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    I disagree

    There is literally nothing on the older machines worth worrying about. Old connection standards, poor wifi and bluetooth standards and an obsolete DVD ROM. Does nothing for me. Neither does very poor graphics cards and out of date CPU's that run hot....

    The Fusion drive is not compromised it is a fast 128gb SSD and a 1TB HDD nothing wrong with that. Though if it was me I'd go for a 256gb SSD and external storage with a desktop these days.

    Ram is still fully and easily upgradeable in the 27 inch and if you spec your drive out as you need it'll last 5-6 years easily (especially if you go SSD). With cheap fast HDD's available connected using USB 3 or thunderbolt you'll never need to open it up unless it breaks down and then I'd get a proffessional to do it anyway.

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