Buy an iMac now (11/28/11) or wait?

Aristor

macrumors member
Original poster
Hello, I was going to buy an iMac 27" 3.1GHz, for general computer usage, watching movies via netflix (on an absolutely beautiful screen *drools*), and casual gaming, but then I saw the recommendation not to buy it on this site as it was nearing the end of it's cycle. I used the chat online feature to talk to an apple employee who told me that the latest update was released in August, so it was very current. My questions are:
1) How often do updates come out?
2) Do they usually improve enough to make a noticeable difference?
3) Is there any way to upgrade an iMac without buying a new one completely?
4) What's coming in the next update?
5) How old is the actual iMac?
6) Unrelated, but whatever: Should I go Magic mouse or trackpad? (I plan to buy a Razer Deathadder for gaming, but for general web browsing, what do you think?
Thanks!
 
Last edited:

iSayuSay

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2011
3,260
389
1) How often do updates come out? Averagely 300 days. So, no reason for waiting if you have to buy now.
2) Do they usually improve enough to make a noticeable difference? Yes, quite noticeable. 2011 iMac roughly 20% faster than equally priced 2010 iMac.
3) Is there any way to upgrade an iMac without buying a new one completely? Officially? No. User can upgrade RAM. However if you wanna go rebel, you can replace almost anything inside iMac today, CPU, GPU, HDD, you name it .. just don't go to Apple if anything goes wrong, however.
4) What's coming in the next update? Predictably Ivy Bridge CPU, and Radeon 7xxxM GPU, or maybe switch back to nVidia, nobody knows for sure.
5) How old is the actual iMac? I don't totally get this question, but first "Bondi Blue" iMac was released in 1998.
6) Unrelated, but whatever: Should I go Magic mouse or trackpad? (I plan to buy a Razer Deathadder for gaming, but for general web browsing, what do you think? TrackPad, IMO Magic Mouse is a terrible mouse, not "trackpady" enough but not capable for a mouse either. Hybrid just wont cut it, get a real mouse!
Thanks! You're welcome :)
 

MatthewAMEL

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2007
374
8
Orlando, FL
1) How often do updates come out?
The buyer's guide is pretty accurate. The next update will incorporate Ivy Bridge which isn't due until Q2 '12.

2) Do they usually improve enough to make a noticeable difference?
Ivy Bridge is a die shrink of Sandy Bridge. So, IMHO it won't be as big a jump as a Core 2 Duo to Core i7 was.

3) Is there any way to upgrade an iMac without buying a new one completely?
HDD/SSD and RAM only. CPU, GPU, motherboard is 'fixed'

4) What's coming in the next update?
Pure speculation is Ivy Bridge, GPU bump

5) How old is the actual iMac?
Not sure what you mean by this

6) Unrelated, but whatever: Should I go Magic mouse or trackpad? (I plan to buy a Razer Deathadder for gaming, but for general web browsing, what do you think?
I prefer the Magic Trackpad. I like that the gestures/scrolling stays consistent between my iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad and iPhone.
 

iSayuSay

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2011
3,260
389
You ready and need the computer now? Well no reason for wait .. Buy now :)

In short, iMac isn't a type of computer that updated every few months, unlike when you build a custom PC. So, dont wait the next gen iMac.
 

TrollToddington

macrumors 6502
Feb 27, 2011
312
0
Here's my take:

1) How often do updates come out? Once in a year

2) Do they usually improve enough to make a noticeable difference? No. You may notice significant increase in speed if you compare every other release, i. e. C2D to Sandy Bridge. The bump from a 2010 base i3 to 2011 base i5 is only ~25% and is not enough to make me upgrade my iMac. The gurus on here say Ivy Bridge will bring a small increase in speed.

3) Is there any way to upgrade an iMac without buying a new one completely? Others have already replied

4) What's coming in the next update?
5) How old is the actual iMac? The iMacs were last updated in May 2011
6) Unrelated, but whatever: Should I go Magic mouse or trackpad? (I plan to buy a Razer Deathadder for gaming, but for general web browsing, what do you think? I like the magic mouse but it drains the batteries pretty quickly.

Thanks! You're welcome
 

colonelbutt

macrumors 6502
Nov 14, 2007
314
270
London
Hello, I was going to buy an iMac 27" 3.1GHz, for general computer usage, watching movies via netflix (on an absolutely beautiful screen *drools*), and casual gaming, but then I saw the recommendation not to buy it on this site as it was nearing the end of it's cycle. I6) Unrelated, but whatever: Should I go Magic mouse or trackpad? (I plan to buy a Razer Deathadder for gaming, but for general web browsing, what do you think?
Thanks!
Its not nearing the end of its cycle. Its possibly from half to a quarter way through (depending on the rumors)

Its the same qu,. If you need/want it now buy. Otherwise wait 7 months sure.
note that after the next iMac there will also be another one and another one and another one .....;)

I use a Microsoft X8 and steelseries s&s mousemat. Its a joy to behold. I found the magic mouse too slow and insensitve but hey am I used to gaming mice which are a different league to normal mice. The 4000dpi setting on the X8 is particularly suited to the 27" scren.
 

Penn Jennings

macrumors 6502
Apr 22, 2010
350
48
Michigan
1) How often do updates come out? Averagely 300 days. So, no reason for waiting if you have to buy now.
2) Do they usually improve enough to make a noticeable difference? Yes, quite noticeable. 2011 iMac roughly 20% faster than equally priced 2010 iMac.
3) Is there any way to upgrade an iMac without buying a new one completely? Officially? No. User can upgrade RAM. However if you wanna go rebel, you can replace almost anything inside iMac today, CPU, GPU, HDD, you name it .. just don't go to Apple if anything goes wrong, however.
4) What's coming in the next update? Predictably Ivy Bridge CPU, and Radeon 7xxxM GPU, or maybe switch back to nVidia, nobody knows for sure.
5) How old is the actual iMac? I don't totally get this question, but first "Bondi Blue" iMac was released in 1998.
6) Unrelated, but whatever: Should I go Magic mouse or trackpad? (I plan to buy a Razer Deathadder for gaming, but for general web browsing, what do you think? TrackPad, IMO Magic Mouse is a terrible mouse, not "trackpady" enough but not capable for a mouse either. Hybrid just wont cut it, get a real mouse!
Thanks! You're welcome :)
Good response all around.

Just to "pile on", the Magic mouse is a horrible device. I hate it. The track is very nice of just about everything except gaming.
 

Madmats

macrumors member
Oct 28, 2011
47
3
I'm waiting. I have a PC which is only a year old and a Macbook. I will survive even though I would love to get one now - since I have the money. But I wouldn't be able to live with that decision when they announce a new one.
 

6ftunder

macrumors member
Mar 4, 2011
74
0
Austria
Why would you say that the iMac won't get updated for another 7 months?

If you check the buyer's guide, the average cycle is 273 days, and even if you take the longest cycle, which is 309 days, that only leaves about 100 more days because it's already been 211 days since the last update.

And since today is November 30th, I think we could be expecting the new iMac around March 2012.

I will definitely be waiting for the new one to come out since my Unibody Macbook is only a year old, but I'll need the iMac for 3d modeling, heavy photoshopping etc.
 

ozziegn

macrumors 65816
Aug 16, 2007
1,002
138
Central FL Area
I have a late 2009 27" iMac that still runs 100% perfect just like the day when I bought it. I'm usually the type that likes to have the latest and greatest.

but this time will be the exception. my iMac does everything I need to do and some. no reason(s) for me to upgrade.
 

jollino

macrumors 6502
Nov 15, 2006
308
3
Chieti, Italy
I'm torn about this myself: I currently have a 2006 iMac C2D, ie. the last white model, and I've overgrown it. I'm pretty sure that for basic "office" usage it's still perfectly usable (especially with a clean install) and I'm sure I could make some change by selling it — the alternative being leaving it to collect dust.

I suppose it would survive to March or whenever it is the new ones will come out, but Xcode and heavy Photoshop are making it quite unbearable. Ivy Bridge sounds nice, but the only 'real' thing I can see myself waiting for would be USB3, and that'd be mostly to future-proof the purchase. Then again, I expect Thunderbolt-USB3 hubs to come out soon enough, and I don't even have any USB3 device anyway, so...
The "new design" honestly kind of scares me: so-called first revisions of new hardware rarely work well, and I'd like to avoid being a paying beta tester. :)
 
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