Buying a late 2013 iMac - Why/why not

PhillipJ

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 11, 2014
20
2
Denmark
Hello everybody.

I need some help/advice on buying the late 2013 iMac.
I just read about the rumors going around that they might release a new iMac this year and I'm starting to wonder whether or not I should buy it now or wait. (waiting is hard when we're talking about new gear!)

Do you have any personal experience?
I don't want to buy it now if they'll release it later this year with a retina display or something huge like that.
Some advice would be nice.

Phillip
 

brightjc@me.com

macrumors member
Mar 17, 2012
59
4
UK
2013 iMac

I bought a late 2013 iMac just before Christmas and I must say it is an excellent machine. May I recommend maxing on the RAM when you order if you are getting the 21" (as it can not be upgraded after purchase) BUT if you are going for the 27" get the cheapest RAM option available (2 * 4GB) then buy 32GB (4 * 8GB) from a reputable source - I would suggest Crucial as they guarantee compatibility with macs & you can buy direct from the manufacturer (this is precisely what I did). Also I got a ½TB SSD and it is extremely fast - it boots to the log in screen virtually immediately then it opens the apps immediately with a 2 second delay in opening iTunes (I have at least 6 apps that open on log in including iTunes) - basically how long it takes to boot and log in depends largely on how fast you can type your password!). If you want a large internal storage however I have heard that the fusion drives are very good but I have no personal experience of them.
I hope that you can get back to me and ask any further questions that you think of and also let me know what you eventually decide. As far as by now/wait for update I think the update probably won't be until early Autumn (though this really is just a guess) but if you do decide to wait Intel have just released new Chips (Broadwell I think) also they may upgrade the Thunderbolt port on the back to Thunderbolt 2.
Good luck with your mac.
 

Steve121178

macrumors 601
Apr 13, 2010
4,943
3,989
Bedfordshire, UK
The iMac will be refreshed towards the very end of the year, usually around November. We don't know if it will be a minor spec update featuring Broadwell (which shouldn't matter for a desktop class machine) or if Apple will revamp the iMac with a retina display.

I personally don't think we will see a major overhaul of the iMac. The current design launched in late 2012 so I can't see anything major happening for at least 1-2 years.

If you are buying an iMac then I would suggest going for the Fusion drive as it's a perfect cost/performance balance. I have had my iMac (my first!) since late 2012 and I love it. It's a brilliant machine and I think if you buy now you will be very happy with your purchase.
 

TripleMoxy

macrumors regular
Jul 19, 2012
219
64
UK
I've just bought a new 27" iMac, but I'm slightly concerned that Apple might upgrade the screen in the next model.

I suppose it is suitable for what I need it for now, but I will end up coveting a retina screen if they release one. :mad:
 

Steve121178

macrumors 601
Apr 13, 2010
4,943
3,989
Bedfordshire, UK
The 1080p screen on my iMac is amazing. I certainly won't be bothered if/when a retina iMac comes along. When I look to upgrade my iMac in a few years it will of course be nice to have a retina display.
 

topmounter

macrumors 68020
Jun 18, 2009
2,212
374
FEMA Region VIII
I'm just hoping for an updated 27" Cinema Display that is a better match for the "Late 2013" iMac. Otherwise I'll probably pick up a used 2012 iMac and run it in TDM, but that seems like such a waste.
 

PhillipJ

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 11, 2014
20
2
Denmark
Thank you very much for your reply.

The most important thing right now is the retina display. I got a NAS server running at my home, so I'll just go with the 256 flash drive.
And I'm not going to be using the thunderbolt so that doesn't matter.

Thanks a lot for the advice on the RAM part. I'll of course go with the 8 GB standard and then upgrade if necessary.

And it is the 27" iMac. :)


I bought a late 2013 iMac just before Christmas and I must say it is an excellent machine. May I recommend maxing on the RAM when you order if you are getting the 21" (as it can not be upgraded after purchase) BUT if you are going for the 27" get the cheapest RAM option available (2 * 4GB) then buy 32GB (4 * 8GB) from a reputable source - I would suggest Crucial as they guarantee compatibility with macs & you can buy direct from the manufacturer (this is precisely what I did). Also I got a ½TB SSD and it is extremely fast - it boots to the log in screen virtually immediately then it opens the apps immediately with a 2 second delay in opening iTunes (I have at least 6 apps that open on log in including iTunes) - basically how long it takes to boot and log in depends largely on how fast you can type your password!). If you want a large internal storage however I have heard that the fusion drives are very good but I have no personal experience of them.
I hope that you can get back to me and ask any further questions that you think of and also let me know what you eventually decide. As far as by now/wait for update I think the update probably won't be until early Autumn (though this really is just a guess) but if you do decide to wait Intel have just released new Chips (Broadwell I think) also they may upgrade the Thunderbolt port on the back to Thunderbolt 2.
Good luck with your mac.


----------

Thank you Steve. Yeah, well I don't think I'll notice any upgrade on the CPU compared to the one thats out now.

And about the storage, I got a NAS server at home so I'll go with the 256 flash storage.

Thanks again, really helpful!

The iMac will be refreshed towards the very end of the year, usually around November. We don't know if it will be a minor spec update featuring Broadwell (which shouldn't matter for a desktop class machine) or if Apple will revamp the iMac with a retina display.

I personally don't think we will see a major overhaul of the iMac. The current design launched in late 2012 so I can't see anything major happening for at least 1-2 years.

If you are buying an iMac then I would suggest going for the Fusion drive as it's a perfect cost/performance balance. I have had my iMac (my first!) since late 2012 and I love it. It's a brilliant machine and I think if you buy now you will be very happy with your purchase.


----------

yes it would indeed be nice, but I'm just not sure whether or not it would have any influence on day to day basis. :/

The 1080p screen on my iMac is amazing. I certainly won't be bothered if/when a retina iMac comes along. When I look to upgrade my iMac in a few years it will of course be nice to have a retina display.
 

blanka

macrumors 68000
Jul 30, 2012
1,549
3
I think the 27 is a legitimate buy if you pick an i7 and a decent GPU. The 21 isn't. The latter has a too tiny screen, is completely locked, no option for a big and fast HD, too expensive, bad second hand value. The only reason I see to buy a 21 inch if you want a very clean desk, on a store booth or something like that. But in that case a second hand lamp-post mac for 100 bucks will work as well.
 

PhillipJ

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 11, 2014
20
2
Denmark
I might go with the 3.4 GHz I5 and 2GB GPU and then upgrade the RAM in it later on to 32GB I think. I don't need the storage because already got a NAS server with 8TB on it.



I think the 27 is a legitimate buy if you pick an i7 and a decent GPU. The 21 isn't. The latter has a too tiny screen, is completely locked, no option for a big and fast HD, too expensive, bad second hand value. The only reason I see to buy a 21 inch if you want a very clean desk, on a store booth or something like that. But in that case a second hand lamp-post mac for 100 bucks will work as well.
 

businezguy

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2003
389
445
Hello everybody.

I need some help/advice on buying the late 2013 iMac.
I just read about the rumors going around that they might release a new iMac this year and I'm starting to wonder whether or not I should buy it now or wait. (waiting is hard when we're talking about new gear!)

Do you have any personal experience?
I don't want to buy it now if they'll release it later this year with a retina display or something huge like that.
Some advice would be nice.

Phillip
I just purchased a 27 inch late 2013 iMac and received it 3 days ago. This machine is awesome! I fully expect there will be a new iMac offer sometime in the September to November timeframe but that didn't stop my purchase. I even considered a 2012 iMac because frankly the difference between models just isn't what it used to be.

I went with a refurbished model and it has worked flawlessly with the exception of an iTunes hangup on the first day that required me to hold down the power button (even a force quit of the app didn't work). The screen doesn't have the yellowing issue I've heard of, and all of the components that came with it were flawless.

One of the concerns I had is my back is to two really large windows in my bedroom, so my screen is actually facing the windows and getting a lot of sun glare. They really *did* reduce the glare significantly on the 2013 models, and the brightness of the screen also helps to compensate for the remaining glare. The screen is so good it *almost* gives the illusion that it is drawing sunlight on the screen to help me see. Obviously the opposite is true, but that is how vivid and colorful the screen is. This is the best computer I've ever owned, and I don't usually give an opinion like that until I've had it for a few weeks minimum.
 

mmomega

macrumors 68040
Dec 30, 2009
3,218
1,410
DFW, TX
If you're interested in benchmarks with 32GB over the stock 8GB here are my results.
Also have to take in to consideration the first test was with 10.9.2 latest build and my new score with 32GB RAM is running on 10.9.3 13D38.

I just installed the RAM and got home from work so I have yet to put the machine to work crunching videos.
 

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rambo47

macrumors 6502a
Oct 3, 2010
589
101
Denville, NJ
I'm using a mid-2010 iMac 27" (2.93GHz Core i7, 12GB RAM) and it works beautifully. Photoshop runs like a dream. I'm looking for an excuse to upgrade to a new model but I just can't justify it when this one is still so capable and still suits me perfectly.

Even if Apple puts out a new one soon, you can't go wrong buying the current model right now.
 

thedeske

macrumors 6502a
Feb 17, 2013
963
58
After years of buying topped out iMacs every 2 or so years, I can verify it's a small bump each time. Late 2012 was the screen & late 2013 was PCIe. Processor speed seems to move up at a rate of 9-12% on average - given the real world performance and the platform.

The top spec (SSD only) new machines are so close to a Mac Pro, it blurs with everything except Video Editing and 3D rendering, where the Video Processor needs real power. If you're willing to go to the Mid 3k range with an iMac, you have a powerful Mac.

The best bang for the buck at Apple IMO.
 

richardbb85

macrumors 6502a
Dec 9, 2009
651
22
After years of buying topped out iMacs every 2 or so years, I can verify it's a small bump each time. Late 2012 was the screen & late 2013 was PCIe. Processor speed seems to move up at a rate of 9-12% on average - given the real world performance and the platform.

The top spec (SSD only) new machines are so close to a Mac Pro, it blurs with everything except Video Editing and 3D rendering, where the Video Processor needs real power. If you're willing to go to the Mid 3k range with an iMac, you have a powerful Mac.

The best bang for the buck at Apple IMO.
best bang for the buck and apple dont belong in the same sentence
 

PhillipJ

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 11, 2014
20
2
Denmark
Whats your specs in your new iMac?
I started thinking about just upgrade it all to I7 and 4GB graphic even tho I'm not going to use it right away.

I spent about $2,300 for my imac and I feel I got my bang for the buck.
 
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Roller

macrumors 68030
Jun 25, 2003
2,527
964
I don't think we'll see major changes until late this year. Broadwell has been delayed, and a retina display will take some time.

In the short term, Apple may do an unannounced update that would include the upcoming Haswell refresh, 800 series GPUs, and maybe less expensive flash storage and/or dropping HDD-only configurations altogether. I'm in the market for a high-end 27" iMac, and I may wait a few weeks to see if this happens. If not, I'll get a late 2013 model.
 

PhillipJ

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 11, 2014
20
2
Denmark
Yeah, right now I'm thinking about doing the same, just with a 256 Flash drive instead. - But I'll only be using it for pages and Xcode, and maybe a game or two once in a while. Not sure if it would be a overkill but then again, it will last longer.

3.5 ghz I7
8 gigs RAM
4 gig GTX780m
3 TB Fusion Drive
 

Apple fanboy

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 21, 2012
32,800
22,653
Behind the Lens, UK
I think the 27 is a legitimate buy if you pick an i7 and a decent GPU. The 21 isn't. The latter has a too tiny screen, is completely locked, no option for a big and fast HD, too expensive, bad second hand value. The only reason I see to buy a 21 inch if you want a very clean desk, on a store booth or something like that. But in that case a second hand lamp-post mac for 100 bucks will work as well.
I wouldn't describe a 21" screen as tiny. More people use an iPad or 15" MacBook Pro these days with smaller screens.
 

dizmonk

macrumors regular
Nov 26, 2010
207
12
So is it accurate to say that with the 32GB you're seeing a 8-10% performance improvement? I don't really know how to interpret Geekbench scores in real world usage.

I've got the stock 8Gb and may upgrade but I'd like to know how much of a boost I'm going to get.

If you're interested in benchmarks with 32GB over the stock 8GB here are my results.
Also have to take in to consideration the first test was with 10.9.2 latest build and my new score with 32GB RAM is running on 10.9.3 13D38.

I just installed the RAM and got home from work so I have yet to put the machine to work crunching videos.
 

businezguy

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2003
389
445
This is exactly what I am going to order in a few days! :) Cant wait!
Good choice! I was just playing World of Warcraft while streaming Silence of the Lambs from Netflix. The iMac didn't even make any fan noises let alone drop a frame in the game. And of course it has been extremely stable. It's the best computer I've ever owned.
 

mmomega

macrumors 68040
Dec 30, 2009
3,218
1,410
DFW, TX
So is it accurate to say that with the 32GB you're seeing a 8-10% performance improvement? I don't really know how to interpret Geekbench scores in real world usage.

I've got the stock 8Gb and may upgrade but I'd like to know how much of a boost I'm going to get.
This boost could also be a bit from the jump from 1600MHz to 1867MHz RAM.

If it wasn't such a hassle to swap the RAM out again I would test 8GB 1600 v 1867 on the same build of Mavericks.
(I have the machine VESA mounted in my desk so it's a little tough to pull the machine out to gain access to the RAM door.)