Compare the two. Which iMac should I get?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Certainspider, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. Certainspider macrumors newbie


    Sep 2, 2013
    Hi there,
    I'm having trouble choosing between two refurbished iMacs so I thought others might be able to shed some light on the matter.

    I'm deciding between a Refurbished 27-inch iMac
    2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5
    Originally released October 2012
    8GB memory
1TB hard drive
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M with 512MB
    At $1698

    Refurbished iMac 27-inch 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    Originally released May 2011
    4GB memory
    1TB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics with 1GB memory

    At $2149

    I'd like to understand why the older iMac costs more but has less memory and how does the Radeon compare to the Nvidia.
    The cheaper iMac doesn't include a SuperDrive but I can get that for $89 so that's not an issue but having it separate is good should it breakdown I suppose?

    What's the difference between i5 and i7?

    I'd really appreciate any input to help clarify things, thanks!
  2. wmy5 macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2012
    upstate NY
    1. RAMs are cheap and you can easily add 3rd party rams by yourself.
    2. AMD 6970M is one generation behind GTX 660, but the former is way more powerful than the latter.
    3. i7 scores around 30-40% more than i5 on benchmarks. But the real life differences depend on actual applications.
  3. tanker5 macrumors member

    Apr 19, 2011
    Your question is a very good one. Both are excellent computers. There are several differences.

    The CPU used in the 2011 i7 is the i72600, and the CPU used in the 2012 i5 is the i7 3470s. There is a great comparison of the 2 processors on here:

    Just based on CPU performance, the i7 only beats the i5 by 4 tenths of a point. So, there is not much difference between these 2 processors.

    Another difference between these two is the RAM. the 2011 iMac comes with 4 GB DDR3 RAM at 1333 MHz, and the 2012 comes with 8 GB DDR3 RAM at 1600 MHz, -- Double the memory and at a faster bus speed, which may help give that i5 a bit or a boost to help your system with multitasking better.

    The 2012 iMac has 4 USB 3.0 ports and and the 2011 iMac uses USB 2.0 ports. If you use Firewire, keep in mind that the 2012 iMac does not have a Firewire port, but you can purchase a $29 thunderbolt - Firewire adapter.

    The screen resolution on the two iMacs is the same, but the screen on the 2012 iMac produces a lot less glare. If you use your iMac in a heavily lit room, the glare on the 2011 can be rather annoying at times (which was ultimately the reason I decided to purchase a 2012 iMac and sell my 2011 iMac).

    When I bought my new iMac about 6 months ago, I purchased an external optical drive, and have not used it since. You do not need to spend $89 on Apple's superdrive. A $20-30 dvd drive from amazon or newegg will also work with OS X. I think I paid around $20 for mine.

    Apple goes back and forth between the two every couple of years. Here is a comparison between the 2. The 6970m received an 7.3 and the 660m received a 6.8.

    In short, I would not pay $2149 for a 2 year old computer - even if it has a 1 year warranty. I'm not sure why Apple is still pricing it so high. I think the 2012 refurb is a better choice. You will save over $400 too.
  4. Certainspider thread starter macrumors newbie


    Sep 2, 2013
    Excellent feedback

    My thanks to both of you for your clear and informative advice. Its interesting learning about the more subtle differences and getting a more detailed understanding really helps me to make my mind up.

    I felt that there really had to be something special about the 2011 iMac for me to spend that extra money. Especially when my needs are fairly basic and I don't have a need to get top of the range.

    I will think on it a couple of days but I reckon I will go with the 2012 iMac, heavens! I've gone with just an iPad since my MacBook broke down about 4 months ago so any computer will be a step up!

    Thanks again :)
  5. kaellar macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2012
    Why do you even consider a refurb'd 2011 imac for $2150 when you can buy NEW 2012 with a bit better specs (i7, 8gb ram, 1tb hdd) and more powerful gpu for $2200?
  6. Certainspider thread starter macrumors newbie


    Sep 2, 2013
    Yes valid point. I suppose it was more about wanting to understand where the value was in the machine.

    In any case I bought the refurbished 2012 iMac for $1698 and am very happy with it. So glad I got the 27inch. I have bad eye sight so the ability to make things bigger is a huge help to me.

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