Buy 2019 iMac or refurb 2017?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ssledoux, May 3, 2019.

  1. ssledoux macrumors 65816

    ssledoux

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    #1
    If I'm gonna bite the bullet, should I just go new or go home? Or would buying a 2017 refurb be just fine?

    I've gotten a pretty good grasp on the internals, and what to look for that will meet my needs, but has the display changed at all? It doesn't look like it has to me, but I'm really pathetic with tech details.
     
  2. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #2
    Which specific model to buy depends on needs, budget and all sorts of personal variables.
    But for the factual side, I can say no. The display hasn't changed.
     
  3. ssledoux thread starter macrumors 65816

    ssledoux

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    #3
    My needs are fairly basic, and I'm feeling pretty torn between SSD/fusion/HDD just because I would like internal storage for pictures and stuff (I hate using external drives if I can help it). I realize after discussions that SSD is really the way to go, but hate to limit my storage, and with my use case, I REALLY don't know if I need it, but I don't want to be stupid.

    I'm using a mid-2010 iMac right now with a regular hard drive (it's my daughter's and I just set it up to see if I'd really use a desktop again), and it isn't the worst, so I know if I go to something that much newer, I'll be fine. The display is the main issue - this is kinda fuzzy.
     
  4. mj_ macrumors 6502

    mj_

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    #4
    Like I've already said in the other thread I wouldn't worry about the FD vs. SSD issue too much. Tech forums are heavily biased towards SSDs with a glaring disregard for actual and factual user requirements. The same is true for multi-core CPUs - the more the better, even if it's just for reading/writing emails, browsing FaceBook and watching YouTube videos.

    The display hasn't changed between the 2017 and 2019 model at all. Given your more than basic requirements I would say that a refurbished 2017 will work just as well as a brand-new 2019. If you can get a good deal on a 2017 then I don't see a single reason why you shouldn't get it.
     
  5. ssledoux thread starter macrumors 65816

    ssledoux

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    #5
    Thanks! I just asked that in the other thread also. I do like reading everyone's opinions, even if it doesn't always apply to my situation.

    It would be easy to just go off the deep end and buy the top of the line (within SOME reason), but I don't really need that for my situation.
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    If the decision comes down to
    - a 2019 with a fusion drive,
    or
    - a 2017 Apple-refurb with an SSD...

    ... I'd pick choice number 2.
     
  7. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #7
    I am personally quite happy with the performance of my Fusion Drive. For the most part I don't feel too much of a difference between it and pure-SSD. I'd go as far as to say that for typical use-cases, there's practically none. If you push long reads/writes, sure, there may be, but for what a typical user does, it's not that big a deal.

    However, I'll point out that I have a FD with a 128GB SSD. For the newer iMac, this is limited to the 2 and 3TB FDs. The 1TB FD has 24GB or 32GB depending on generation (as far as I'm aware, only first gen 5K had 1TB Fusion with 128GB SSD)
     
  8. awer25 macrumors 65816

    awer25

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    #8
    Same. I had the 2017 with a 1TB Fusion which only has a 32GB SSD. It was honestly slow as molasses every time I opened an app and tried to do anything. I ended up selling it for a new Mac mini with just an SSD, and it's night and day better.
     
  9. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    Oct 14, 2018
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    The Sillie Con Valley
    #9
    Switched from a mid-2010 to an iMac Pro last week. You are going to like the new screen.

    With the 5K, when you open System Preferences/Displays, click on Scaled. You will see 4 options ranging from Larger Text to More Space. Each is sharp and clear. Pick the one that works best for you.

    I'm with him.

    Yea, you're probably ok with a fusion but a large SSD is better. I installed a 2TB in my 2010 as soon as they became available and the price came down to $1,000 and the improvement was so great, I kicked myself for not doing it sooner. My new (to me) iMP has 2TB onboard—wouldn't consider less.

    If a 2010 with an HDD does the job, you don't need the 6 core i9.

    There are some tasks that like the i7 over the i5 in the refurb 2017 such as editing iPhone video to post on FaceBook, anything involving music, photo editing... Yes, the i5 works but the i7 is faster (sometimes a lot) for those tasks.
     
  10. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

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    Sep 23, 2014
    #10
    Apple's refurbished products are better than new ones imo.

    If you find what suites your needs in Apple's refurbished store, I would go with that. But, I wouldn't get an iMac with a HDD, and I wouldn't get the 1TB Fusion Drive in the 2017 iMac.

    If you can afford it, go with a SSD.

    Actually, if you would put a SSD in your current iMac, I bet it would be a huge improvement, and you might be able to put off getting another Mac for a while.

    Last summer, I put a SSD in my parents' Mid-2007 iMac after my father was complaining about how slow it was and asked me to recommend a new computer to him.

    After switching out the HDD for a SSD, he said it feels like a new computer to him.


    Me too, but if I was getting an iMac today, I would probably stick with a SSD.

    I have a 1TB Fusion Drive with the 128GB SSD in my Late 2012 iMac. It performs pretty well, but now I would try to stay way from spinning drives if possible.

    For the iMacs, the 1TB Fusion Drives with the 128GB SSD were on the Late 2012, 2013, and 2014 iMacs.

    The Late 2015 iMacs with the 1TB Fusion Drive switched to a crappy 24GB SSD, and Apple attempted to correct their mistake with the 2017 iMac by putting a slightly bigger 32GB SSD in them.

    The 1TB Fusion Drive in the 2019 iMac still has the relatively tiny 32GB SSD.
     
  11. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #11

    I phrased myself wrongly; I meant that of the 5K iMacs, only the first gen had 128GB SSD in the 1TB. The non-5Ks prior to that of course also came with the larger Fusion, but I was only thinking of the Retina models. Thanks for the corrrection though.

    Also, thanks for adding the time tables for when the 24 and 32GB models exactly were. Whilst 32 definitely was an improvement from the 24GB mistake, 32 is still way too small to really get the benefits if you ask me.

    And a "next gen" Fusion could be great! A large SSD mixed with an Optane Drive or something
     
  12. AlaskaMoose, May 3, 2019
    Last edited: May 3, 2019

    AlaskaMoose macrumors 68000

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    Alaska
    #12
    Instead of buying an iMac with a relatively small (even the 512GB) overpriced SSD, I chose one with a 2TB Fusion drive. The iMac is the 3.1GHz with the standard 8GB RAM, purchased on a military discount. What I will do when the warranty is over is to replace the Fusion drive with a 1 or 2TB SSD, but in reality I am happy with the Fusion drive. I do some light photo-editing of very large Raw and TIFF images, and while the Fusion drive may not be as fast for saving or moving the photos around, it's still quite good.

    I decided not to buy an iMac with an SSD, simply because I need at least 1TB of space for all my photo editing and other apps, plus room for temporarily saving a bunch of photos, and there is no way I am going to pay so much money for the Apple 1TB SSD.

    Refurbished versus new: you aren't going to save very much, but any discount is good. I have purchased refurbished iPhones, iPads, and some of the Apple computers, and have never had a single issue with them. The warranty is the same, regardless if new or refurbished. Besides that, you could always buy AppleCare for it, something that I have always done except for an iPhone 6s that is out of warranty already and working perfectly. While I have had AppleCare, I have never used it :)
     
  13. TheIntruder macrumors 6502a

    TheIntruder

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    #13
    Amazon still has brand new 2017 middle 27" 3.5GHz/8GB/1TB models for $1500, about $100 less than a refurb from Apple. That Benjamin could be used for a RAM upgrade.

    The top 3.8GHz/2TB models were being closed out for $1700, but are sold out. Almost bit on that myself.

    If there are no space constraints, the 27" display and user-accessible RAM are big pluses. And at least the Fusion drive in the 27" uses a 3.5" drive, not a smaller, slower notebook drive.

    The 2017s are being closed out for at hundreds off from various retailers, so a refurb is not the only option.
     
  14. ssledoux thread starter macrumors 65816

    ssledoux

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    #14
    I saw a couple on Best Buy. I’ve been considering a 27, even though a 21.5 is just fine for my needs. So dang much to consider...
     
  15. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #15
    OP wrote:
    "I’ve been considering a 27, even though a 21.5 is just fine for my needs. So dang much to consider..."

    The one thing you will NEVER hear any owner of a 27" iMac say:
    "Gee, I wish I had bought the 21" model instead...!"
     
  16. ssledoux thread starter macrumors 65816

    ssledoux

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    #16
    LOL true! I just don't wanna regret it financially. ;-p
     
  17. sracer macrumors G3

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #17
    I guess I'm going to have to buck the conventional wisdom here (again) and recommend...
    a refurbed entry level 2017 21" with old school spinning hard drive.

    Most recent (2014 and beyond) iMacs aren't user serviceable. When an internal drive dies, it's dead. Your options at that point are:
    (A) pay for repair (a drive will most likely fail outside the warranty/AppleCare window)
    (B) Buy an external drive to use as a boot drive
    (C) Buy a new iMac

    Given that, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me, to pay a premium for a drive that is going to cost more to replace/repair down the road. SSDs are great and I get them when I can but I won't pay a jacked-up premium for them.

    Last year I was faced with a near-dead harddrive in my iMac. I managed to buy an external Thunderbolt SSD (less than $100) clone the internal drive to it, and use it as the new boot drive. I repurposed it as my dedicated Plex server and bought a new iMac to be my main desktop system. That older iMac is more responsive than it was when it was new because of that SSD.

    If you get that entry level "spinner", you could also get an external SSD and start out its life that way.
     
  18. ssledoux, May 4, 2019
    Last edited: May 4, 2019

    ssledoux thread starter macrumors 65816

    ssledoux

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    #18
    LOL you almost always buck the system with your advice, and I always value what you say because it makes practical sense!

    I had pretty much resigned myself to a fusion drive because of not wanting to get such a small drive, but then I was struggling because the 1 TB only has that small amount of SSD, and I'm seeing no refurbs in a reasonable price range with 2 TB fusions.

    So you're saying the basic is a better option than even the fusion, mainly due to the cost/repair factors?

    I guess I'm curious because I can get a 3.0 ghz quad core with 1TB regular HDD or get a 3.4ghz with 1TB fusion for $130 more, and I didn't know if bumping that processor AND getting a fusion drive as well would be worth it.

    --- Post Merged, May 4, 2019 ---
    I was also gonna post here and ask whether, if the internals were the same, spending $250 more to get a 5K 27" over a 4K 21.5 would be a reasonable move? Or, other than size, would I even notice a difference in 4K and 5K?
     
  19. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #19
    The size is the difference. The bigger a display is, the more pixels are needed to get the exact same level of sharpness.
    Per inch, the 5k and 4k have the same pixel density.

    That's also the reason why Super High Resolution displays in phones, like 4k and ****, is pretty stupid. The display is tiny enough that it becomes imperceptible, and just drains the battery faster.

    If you took the 4k resolution from the 21.5" (which is DCI 4k not UHD) and put it in a 27" panel, things would be bigger, and less sharp. Instead, Apple puts a 5K panel in the 27", making items on screen have the same size, but you can fit more stuff on the display, and also everything maintains the same level of sharpness.
    Regarding the "effective screen space" point that's become less relevant with non-integer scaling. I.e. you can set the size of elements on scree. By default it is @2x. Meaning that a 5k, being exactly twice the resolution on each axis as a 2560x1440 QHD panel, gets the same screen space at twice the sharpness. But you could also set the screen space to 1080p or 4k or whatnot. Trading off pixels-per-object (and thus object sharpness) with amount of objects on screen. Keep in mind that even picking a larger object size, like 1080p, won't necessarily mean things are sharper than @2x, since the 2x scaling factor means there's a one-to-one match for each pixel, where as using 1080p space on a 5K panel means some object data may be between two pixels and will have to be interpolated. - Therefore the @2x default scaling. - And that's 2x per axis, so 4x the pixels overall.

    Actually, there may be one more thing. The 5K runs as a 10-bit panel (dithered). I don't know if the 4K does.
     
  20. curmudgeonette macrumors 6502

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    California
    #20
    My 2017:

     
  21. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #21
    Well there you go then, the 4K runs at 10-bit too. Thanks for clarifying the information :)
     
  22. ScreenSavers macrumors 6502

    ScreenSavers

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    #22
    The 5K 27” is an amazing machine. Mine’s the late 2015 with a 512 GB SSD. (I don’t like fusion drives) and 24GB RAM. I can edit 4K video no problem with it.
     
  23. ssledoux thread starter macrumors 65816

    ssledoux

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    #23
    Bit the bullet. Although so many suggested SSD, it just wasn't an option at this time. I did a 2017 refurb with 3.4 ghz with a 1TB fusion drive. I went with a 21.5 because I visited the Apple store again yesterday, and, though the 27" is absolutely gorgeous, it's just a bit more than I need. Heck, I've been using a 9.7 iPad and an 11" iPP for over a year - the 21.5 is massive in comparison!

    Also, the price just worked for me, and I'll have plenty of storage right off. Since I was going to have to work with an external hard drive if I got a small SSD, I figure I can work with an external SSD if need be, although I think this is going to be ample computer for my needs.

    I'm super excited.
     

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22 May 3, 2019