Buying advice please, new vs refurb iMac

scienide09

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 5, 2007
1,385
0
Canada
I came here a short while ago looking for advice on buying a used iMac, and you guys were great. My main problem is that I'm way more familiar with the portables than the iMacs. However, since my wife and I have been thinking of upgrading for a while, and the refresh of the lineup has been a crash course in the different iMacs models, I'm looking for advice again...

We use our computers for:
-general stuff: webbrowsing, email, music, occasional video watching
-lots of document processing and multitasking for personal reasons, school, and work (but not this is nor for a personal business)
-occasional games via Steam, plus I'm really looking forward to Civ5
-occasional ripping/burning of DVDs, etc.
-occasional image work and web design (non-professional in both cases)
-she's back in school doing grad studies (part-time school, full-time work)
-running Win7 via Bootcamp, but I'm considering virtualization as an option too

We both need a workstation that will help maximize workflow while researching and writing. We missed the boat on the 24", and suspect that's was likely our sweet spot. Right now our primary workstation is the 15" MBP from 2006 listed in my sig attached to a 20" cheap external.

Now wavering between the 21.5" w/ i5 upgrade (2010) or a refurb 27" w/ i5 or i7 (2009). Ideally, this computer will last us for the foreseeable future, 4 years or more.

Your thoughts?

EDIT:
-we both work in education and qualify for the education discount, but neither of us need a iPod Touch so education deal isn't necessarily a selling feature
-we have a MacBook that's in great shape, so portability isn't a factor
 

mr.steevo

macrumors 65816
Jul 21, 2004
1,324
785
Hi,

The refurb i7's are going for a great price right now. $500 savings is a pretty good kick in the pants.

s.
 

uller6

macrumors 6502
May 14, 2010
319
223
Go Refurb 27"

I just purchased a refurb 27" i5 to get me through grad school (5+ years). I wanted to maximize screen space, and this thing is awesome. I can have 6 windows open at the same time, which is fantastic for data analysis. The refurb 27" still have a better graphics card than the 2010 21.5", but as long as you're not playing hardcore games you should be fine. I play Half Life 2, portal, and starcraft 2, and all are awesome. I went with the i5 to save $200, as the i7 seemed like overkill. I also use parallels to run windows XP. If you go this route, I would recommend you buy and additional 4 gb of RAM as an aftermarket upgrade, otherwise things tend to slow down fast. Or just use bootcamp.

Good luck, you will enjoy your new iMac no matter which one you decide to get!
 

dwd3885

macrumors 68020
Dec 10, 2004
2,109
92
I JUST returned my new i5 (1899 edu discount) and paid the $189 restocking fee in order to buy the refurb i7 at $1699.

It's basically:

i7 + 4850 512mb graphics
1066 ram

i5 + 5750 1gb graphics
1333 ram
sdxc

The consensus seems to be the i7 is still the better buy because the processor is much better and would last longer. Even at the same price or a little more I think the i7 is the better buy. At $2-300 cheaper, I think the i7 is a freaking no brainer.
 

scienide09

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 5, 2007
1,385
0
Canada
I knew the community wouldn't let me down. Thanks for the comments so far.

I was thinking more about this, and a couple of things that maybe I should have mentioned:

-we both work in education and qualify for the education discount, but neither of us need a iPod Touch so education deal isn't necessarily a selling feature
-we have a MacBook that's in great shape, so portability isn't a factor

I'll add this here and edit the OP as well.
 

dwd3885

macrumors 68020
Dec 10, 2004
2,109
92
I knew the community wouldn't let me down. Thanks for the comments so far.

I was thinking more about this, and a couple of things that maybe I should have mentioned:

-we both work in education and qualify for the education discount, but neither of us need a iPod Touch so education deal isn't necessarily a selling feature
-we have a MacBook that's in great shape, so portability isn't a factor

I'll add this here and edit the OP as well.
I factored in the selling of the ipod touch for a net of $135 or so. Meaning it would make the new one that much cheaper, but it would still be more than the refurb.
 

Flatz

macrumors newbie
Jul 22, 2010
20
0
I JUST returned my new i5 (1899 edu discount) and paid the $189 restocking fee in order to buy the refurb i7 at $1699.

It's basically:

i7 + 4850 512mb graphics
1066 ram

i5 + 5750 1gb graphics
1333 ram
sdxc

The consensus seems to be the i7 is still the better buy because the processor is much better and would last longer. Even at the same price or a little more I think the i7 is the better buy. At $2-300 cheaper, I think the i7 is a freaking no brainer.
If I am using Adobe programs (including After fx), and Final Cut,
Which of the above two options would work better for me?
 

dwd3885

macrumors 68020
Dec 10, 2004
2,109
92
If I am using Adobe programs (including After fx), and Final Cut,
Which of the above two options would work better for me?
I would say i7, only because the chip is better than i5 and I don't think the graphics and ram difference are worth paying more for, especially when the processor is worse than the cheaper one.
 

scienide09

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 5, 2007
1,385
0
Canada
Thanks!

Thanks to those of you who responded. I was hoping for a little more input, but I'm not the only one asking this or similar questions, so I spent a lot of time bouncing around the other threads.

We've ordered refurb products in the past, and have been very happy with our purchases. By late last evening we were convinced, and placed an order for a refurb 2009 27" iMac w/ i7 quad-core. The confirmation email was waiting for me this morning, and just waiting for the shipping email to convince me it's on its way.

Thanks again. Now maybe I'll start browsing the threads on VESA mounts for this monster!
 
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