Cost of ownership upgrading every cycle?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by diamond3, May 1, 2019.

  1. diamond3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    #1
    I think I've come to the conclusion with this iMac that I'm going to upgrade every cycle. Does anyone else do this?

    Here's how it worked out for me this time around.

    2017 iMac 27" i7 + 580 + 8gb Ram + 3tb Fusion Drive + Full size keyboard I paid $2449 + ~ $200 for 32gb Ram

    Sold for $2200

    Purchased 2019 iMac 27" i9 + Vega48 2Tb Fusion drive + Full keyboard + 8gb Ram for $2662 + $156 for 32gb of Ram = $2818

    Had I gone for the standard 580x, I'd be sitting around $2400 for a new iMac.

    In my case, it helps that I can buy the iMac at a reduced price without tax through my employer. I'm getting a far superior i9 with 8 cores vs a noisy, heat generating 4 core i7. Another year of warranty and a faster graphics card. It will be interesting to see what happens next time around. It was nice getting almost 2 years out of my 2017 iMac and only 'losing' $450 in value. For someone that is constantly editing video, this is a very small price to pay for the performance benefits. I know everyone likes to talk about the cost of a pc, but if you look at the long run of owning 2-3 pc's vs 2-3 Macs, I think that price difference is erased.
     
  2. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502a

    SecuritySteve

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    #2
    I can relate to this. Most of my hardware gets sold before it is obsolete and replaced with the new cutting edge. It really does lower the cost of ownership.

    Your math is totally sound, and is a model for many of us who need the cutting edge for work.
     
  3. diamond3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 6, 2005
    #3
    Yeah, exactly. I almost feel like holding onto a computer 5 years in my case and losing that additional value makes no difference price compared to upgrading every cycle. Only I always have the fastest computer and am covered more for warranty.

    I will say though, I would question it if I wasn't able to get the deal I got on my current iMac. I can basically say I purchased a $3800 + tax computer for $2800. It gives me a leg up on the next cycle.
     
  4. bpeeps macrumors 68030

    bpeeps

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    #4
    The vast majority of people do not need a new iMac every year or two. And the price is still prohibitive to upgrade that often. I highly doubt the spec bumps you get after two years are anywhere near beneficial when you subtract the time and cost it takes to sell/buy, otherwise you'd see production companies upgrading every cycle to take advantage of the benefits. That's $600 I could invest in other areas of my editing business. But if this model works for you, it works for you. For the vast majority, it's completely unnecessary to have the latest and greatest when they are just minor spec bumps. I'd rather save that extra $500 you're spending every two years and spec out an iMac Pro that will give me much more power than a mid-tier iMac every two years for longer.
     
  5. macduke macrumors G4

    macduke

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    Jun 27, 2007
    Location:
    Central U.S.
    #5
    I would do this if Apple offered it as an upgrade service. But for me it's too much of a pain to deal with random Craigslist no-shows and sketchy people and I'm worried about getting robbed or transporting a large item and having to set it up to prove to them that it's working. Then on eBay you have to deal with the scammers and the fact that eBay is so seller hostile nowadays. In the past when I've looked at online services they don't pay as much as Craigslist or eBay either because they have to then resell it for a similar price. Just seems like a risky headache. The only reason I still get an iPhone every year is because Apple makes it so easy with their upgrade program. Would love a Mac Upgrade Program, even on something like a 3-4 year cycle. The other annoyance is having to set up a new machine that frequently. I don't like to carry over the garbage from my old Mac so I always set up as new and I use lots of specialized utilities and productivity tools so there is a lot of setup work—about a day's worth—to do everything from scratch, and sometimes more if I install Windows and a bunch of games and utilities and gaming hardware drivers for that.

    But yeah, what you're saying is probably a good idea if you don't mind dealing with the various annoyances. I think the math checks out:

    You spent $449 for nearly two years of use. Your machine this year is a higher upgrade, so it cost more. But assuming you sold this new machine for $500 less in 2021 and bought a similar tier higher spec'd machine, and taking into account inflation of about 5% over two years, you're probably spending about $650 every two years, or $375/yr, which isn't bad.

    Let's say you kept the $2800 iMac for six years. That's $467/year. Then you sell it. Doing a quick search around the web from used sites to Craigslist, it seems like you could get a top spec'd 2013 iMac anywhere from $800-1200. Let's call it $1000. That's $167/yr you get back. So if you keep your top-end iMac for six years and sell it, you'll average about $300/year.

    So you lose around $75/yr to have a new iMac every two years vs. upgrading every six. You'll be $450 poorer after six years, but would have potentially had increased productivity from having 3 different machine that keep getting faster each iteration. Depending on your work, this means you could possibly earn extra money during this time if you use it professionally. Alternatively, if you're doing well financially and just like having new things, or this is a sort of enthusiast hobby for you, $450 isn't much over six years.

    Anyway, that's just some quick back of the napkin math. In reality it's not this absolute, but it gives you a general idea. There are also other things which may affect resale in the future, such as the fact that currently more professional users are moving away from the Mac so there may be less of a resale market (hopefully this turns around with the Mac Pro launch), Apple is rumored to be moving to their own CPU designs which means Intel-based Macs may have lower resale value if it seems like the software support is moving in that direction, etc.

    Would love it if someone knew of a hassle free place to sell Macs without getting a huge cut taken out because I might like to do this. The main problem for me is that I've got the even higher tiered machine with the 2TB SSD. I know many years ago when I've resold iOS devices that they typically don't fetch what I expect because I would have the higher storage tiers and many used buyers don't care about having a ton of storage so you lose more money. Same may be true for SSDs in Macs—especially in the coming years since they are massively dropping in price.
     
  6. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    California
    #6
    https://www.apple.com/shop/trade-in

    Like you said, you get more money selling yourself, but it can be a hassle. Apple's trade-in program now accepts Macs, so I used that last time. I used it when I bought my MBP last year and it worked well for me.
     
  7. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    Oct 14, 2018
    Location:
    The Sillie Con Valley
    #7
    Numbers, please! What did you trade in for how much and what was the resulting savings? without that, the web site doesn’t tell us a thing.

    I just bought a 6 month old iMac Pro at a bargain. Although the OP basic math works out, that’s only true if there’s a new Mac to upgrade to every year.

    Otherwise, between depreciation and other tax advantages, it make sense for me to have a five year upgrade cycle and pretty much did so since 1986.

    This time, I pushed it to nine years because my 2010 worked so well. Going to a 2TB SSD a few years ago cost about $1,000 and gave me a few years. Mojave and certain core app updates pushed the issue this year so it was time.

    Will I do one year or push it to five with this? Ask me again in 2020 after the Mac Pro is released, the iMac Pro gets a refresh and anything else much rumored but no one knows. :D
     
  8. macduke macrumors G4

    macduke

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    Jun 27, 2007
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    Central U.S.
    #8
    Too bad it's capped at $1100 because that much for my 2019 maxed out iMac in 2021 would be a crime, lol. By the time six years rolls around I doubt they would give much for it. I'll probably keep this around as a backup or get a zip cover for it and keep it in my workshop when it's time has come. I would say that I could pass it down to my kids, but I doubt they will want much to do with Macs with their iPads and such. And by the time they might need something more than an iPad later in high school or college, the iPad will probably be much more capable than it is now, or there will be some newer computing device that I can't even imagine using AR contact lenses or something ridiculous. I usually give my old Macs to my grandpa but given his age and health I doubt this one will make it to him :(
     
  9. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #9
    Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 2.58.46 PM.png

    Or sorry... here you go. It was a 2016 MBP 13".
     
  10. SecuritySteve macrumors 6502a

    SecuritySteve

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    #10
    I assume the "gift card" in that screenshot was your trade in amount?
     
  11. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    California
    #11
    Yes... exactly. They now take trade ins at the store, but did not (for Macs) last year when I did this. So they told me to just send in the old MBP and when the gift card came they would refund me then credit me the GC and charge me the difference. So a week or so later when the GC came I went in and they took care of it.
     
  12. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

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    Oct 14, 2018
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    #12
    Thanks for the follow-up.
    Yea, I was afraid of something like that.

    Well, it never hurts to ask.
     
  13. mlody macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 11, 2012
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    Windy City
    #13
    Where did you sell it for $2200 if you do not mind asking?

    Personally, I would not want to risk my life to do a cash transaction with a stranger for that kind of amount. I limit my craigslist deals to about $500 and even then I sometimes question myself if the hassle and risks are worth it - too many crazy people out there looking to make a quick buck.
     
  14. diamond3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 6, 2005
    #14
    I sold it through Facebook marketplace and posted it in a couple of local groups.

    I’ll admit, it seemed a little sketchy, but there was a mutual friend in common and he was someone public with a business so I was willing to do it. There was one guy telling me the computer was worth only $1300 and I entertained that conversation way longer than necessary.
     
  15. propower macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #15
    This is KEY! Full price at Apple + RAM is $3463.90 + $180 (32G w/Tax) in Washington state for a total of $3643.90. That is a huge adder for Cost of Ownership/year.

    $3464 - $2200 = $1264 for 2 years.
     
  16. CE3, May 2, 2019
    Last edited: May 2, 2019

    CE3 macrumors 65816

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    Nov 26, 2014
    #16
    I’ve decided to sell my fully loaded mid 2017 model, because I had a promotion for 50% of final value fees and I see pre owned models for sale on eBay with the same or similar specs going for more than what I paid brand new on B&H. Of course I also upgraded the RAM and added AppleCare+. This iMac is still a beast with more than enough power to handle anything I throw at it, but for me it makes more sense to upgrade when resale value is high.

    If I get my asking price, I’ll pay around $730 after tax to go from the i7 512 580 to the i9 512 580X. I paid around $880 for the 2017 iMac after the sale of my mid 2015 MacBook Pro (which I priced too low). If I add the AppleCare & RAM upgrades I will have paid $2350 for two iMacs. And if I keep this new model for another 2.5 years that’s about $460 year.
     
  17. diamond3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 6, 2005
    #17

    That's true. In fact now days, for anyone not doing any video editing, gaming or photo editing and is just using it as a internet browsing machine, these computers will easily last 6+ years.

    The point I'm making is removing the hassle of selling, I think I'm pretty much even between waiting 5-6 years and upgrading every cycle. I easily could have purchased a faster computer with the i9 and stayed with the 580x this time around for $300. Apple Care alone is $170. Not everyone is in this boat, but for me, I think I'd be crazy not to do it each time. I may not get as much back for the added cost of the i9/Vega48 next time, but it will be interesting to see going forward.
     
  18. GumaRodak macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2015
    #18
    With this upgrade plan you are doing exactly what apple wants you to do... purchase every new release and make them profit. If a computer is doing something ok, why to purchase a new one?
    For example, my computer is handling photographs in a same way like it was doing 2 years back, which was awesome.
     
  19. CE3 macrumors 65816

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    Nov 26, 2014
    #19
    Because budgeting $500-1000 for a brand new top-of-the-line desktop every 2-3 years is easier than waiting longer and shelling out closer to 2-3K+ in one go. It’s also easier to sell something that’s newer. And the i9 is very decent upgrade with better performance than the iMac Pro in some areas.

    Maybe it’s exactly what Apple wants me to do, but in this case it’s exactly what I want to do, too.

    The iMac is still a great value regardless.
     

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18 May 1, 2019