Buying a Used iMac...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by aggiebradley, Apr 3, 2017.


Which imac?

  1. 2009 21.5" iMac for $375

    0 vote(s)
  2. 2011 21.5" iMac for $550

  1. aggiebradley macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2014
    Two options Both are 21.5 imacs in really good condition:

    $375 for:
    Late 2009 iMac 21.5"
    3.06 GHz Processor
    16GB RAM
    500GB HD
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400 256MB
    Mac OS 10.11.6 (El Cap)
    Serial number QP0101FT5PK

    or $550 for mid-2011:
    ILife 11, Office 11
    Adobe Master suite CS5.5
    Final Cut Pro
    Windows 7

    The iMac Quad Core 2.5 GHz Intel "Core i5" I5-2400S (Sandy Bridge) processor with a dedicated 256k level 2 cache for each core and a 6 MB shared level 3 cache. In lieu of a system bus, it has a "Direct Media Interface" (DMI) that "connects between the processor and chipset" at 5 GT/s.

    8 GB of RAM (1333 MHz PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM),
    500 GB (7200 RPM) hard drive,
    DVD+R DL "SuperDrive"
    AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics with 512 MB of dedicated GDDR5 memory.

    my Biggest concern is buying the $375, and it being a 2009 model, but for ~$175 more I could have a 2 year newer model?

  2. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    The 2009 is on the highest version of OS X it will ever run. The 2011 can be upgraded to Sierra, and could very possibly run the next version of MacOS as well.

    The newer iMac has less RAM, but it is upgradable. Without knowing your intended usage, I can't predict whether 8 GB is enough, but for routine usage, it is.

    Overall, I'd always go with the newer machine - you'll likely get two more years of life from it, which is a lot for machines of that age.

    Whichever computer you buy, consider what will happen to that software if you have to either replace the hard drive, or erase and reinstall the contents of the hard drive due to disk directory damage. Considering the age of both Macs, it's not a matter of whether, but when. I'd not factor the value of software into the price - how much is each computer worth with zero software?

    Apple software reinstalls/upgrades are tied to the Apple ID account of the original owner. Reinstalling Microsoft Windows would require possession of the product registration key. I'm not sure what Adobe requires for a reinstall.
  3. purpletalon55 macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2017
    Get 2011 basically it will last till at least 2019 in my opinion my late 2015 aka the current model will last till 2021 with updates.
  4. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    No, Late 2009 is supported by Sierra. Early 2009 isn't, but can still run it as unsupported.
    Agreed on this point, a Late 2009 with Core 2 Duo and GeForce 9400M will be showing its age. 2011 less so.

    Both Macs would see a decent improvement from an SSD upgrade regardless of other specifications, though.
    Agreed on this point as well, often sellers will load it up with hundreds of dollars worth of pirated software in an easy attempt to get more money for it.
  5. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000


    Oct 19, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    The late 2009 iMac 27" model will run Sierra as redheeler says.

    If you can run to the 2012 model, it comes with USB3 for faster backups and better graphics. That pirated software can be a trap. First time it requires an update, if the CD and activation code are not included, you have problems.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Also -- the 2011 has a thunderbolt port.
    You can buy an external SSD in a thunderbolt enclosure, plug it in, and set it up to be an "external booter".
    It will run the iMac MUCH faster than the internal platter-based hard drive can.

    It will transform the computer.
  7. Count Blah macrumors 68040

    Count Blah

    Jan 6, 2004
    US of A
    Where are you buying from? There are better deals out there to be had, depending on how much leg work you want to do.
  8. aggiebradley thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2014
    so, I ended up buying the 2009 model, partially because the 2012 was already sold, and the seller was willing to give it to me for $200!

    That being said, I erased everything via Disk Utility and now I'm stuck since my Apple ID isn't associated with OS Lion. (But on my old macbook I believe I have Maverick?) My original plan was to use an external enclosure to grab all the files off my old hard drive, but now I'm thinking that my old hard drive can actually fix my mistake of erasing everything off the computer. can I simply create a small partition on that hard drive with an installation feature for sierra I guess? Or should I try to downloand Lion as that is the OS that came with the mac and then upgrade after I install Lion?
  9. purpletalon55 macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2017
    That sounds difficult and like a time sink :( but hey Macs are great.
  10. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000


    Oct 19, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    No your machine came with Snow Leopard OS X.6.1 or X.6.2 depending on when it was sold. Lion is a pay for operating system and from there you can upgrade to Sierra. If the computer has an operating system you can purchase Lion OS X.7 from Apple Online, see below.

    You will need an Apple ID and at least a computer with OS X.6.6 to access the App Store as you will be emailed a code and supplied with the download link. You will be able to download via your MBP and then burn to a USB thumb drive and use that in the iMac, boot and hold down 'C'. Still on US$19.99.

    You cannot erase the drive you are booted from using Disk Utility, so check everything out first.

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9 April 3, 2017