Future-proofing an iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by junkmail202, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. junkmail202 macrumors newbie

    Nov 2, 2009
    So I really like the iMac all in one integrated design (I'm a longtime PC users that's thinking about getting an iMac for my parents to use). The new 27" iMac looks amazing and wireless keyboard and magic mouse is aesthetically amazing.

    My concern is that with a goregous 27" screen in 5 years when the processor/RAM/drive space becomes outdated/insufficient... does that mean I'll have to throw away a great 27" screen? Why would anyone want to do that? Is it better off to get a mac mini and a 24" led cinema display so that after 5 years, all I have to do is buy a new mac mini box.

    Is there anyway to upgrade an iMac??? (replace motherboard, processor, harddrive, dvd to bluray drive) or will it be cost prohibited?

    I know that the 27" iMac has a display port that accepts input, but I read around that it won't take HDMI, DVI, etc. signals from other devices... i.e. you can't hook up a blu ray player to it...
  2. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    The motherboards are Apple specific and not industry standard, so you can't replace them. Processors don't really upgrade easily if at all. Hard drive can be upgraded. DVD can be replaced, but there's no blu-ray support in OSx at the moment and there might never be. Usually you are limited to memory and the HD for upgrades. Future proofing for 5 years ahead is all but impossible.

    A mac mini is even less upgradeable.
  3. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    Upgrading the processor is not really realistic. Upgrading ram and the hard drive is. I'd still get the iMac is the Mini doesn't fit your needs. Future-proofing is really subjective, but the only machine that really allows for it would be a Mac Pro. Financially speaking, it's probably cheaper to go the route of replacing machines more frequently.
  4. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    You can't really upgrade iMac other than its RAM. Upgrading something else requires taking off the display etc so it's quite hard and risky. 5 years is long time in technology so then 24" LED screen can be bought for 100$.

    I would get iMac because it's just amazing and after 5 years, you can buy a new one make the old one secondary computer
  5. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    I bought a really nice 19" monitor a few years ago for only £360. Today, I can't sell it on eBay for 20". In five years time, you won't worry about the cost of a new display.
  6. AlanShutko macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2008
    No. The 27" iMac has a new feature: it can be used as a display for any computer that has DisplayPort. The 27" actually has a DisplayPort input so that it can be a monitor for a different computer.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The 27" iMac has a "video in" jack. So it can be used as a display for another computer.

    Other then that, the iMac is about as upgradable as a typical notebook PC. In others words users can add RAM and with effort replace a disk drive.
  8. orangezorki macrumors 6502a

    Aug 30, 2006
    I completely agree: In three to five years time, anything you buy today will be worth a tiny fraction of what you paid for it, when it comes to computers. Get what you want today, and as long as you can afford it and have a use for it, it's worth the money.

  9. fruitpunch.ben macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2008
    Surrey, BC
    Yes but the iFixit teardown shows that the computer actually has to be running for the screen to work as an external moniter. So if it dies after 3 years you will still have to throw away the whole computer
  10. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2009
    Among the starlings
    You just need an adapter, which in many of these cases is not just a cable but something that converts the signal as well. Not necessarily cheap, but certainly less expensive than a new monitor when you're ready to move on from using your iMac as an actual computer.
  11. fruitpunch.ben macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2008
    Surrey, BC
    In terms of future proofing my iMac as much as possible, I will be getting an i7 with 4GB RAM and 2TB HDD.
    Then I will grab 4GB RAM from a 3rd party for $90 to help with my HD video editing, and in 11 months time buy Apple Care.

    I am sure all that will mean I will have many years of use out of this computer. I bought this PowerBook G4 5 years ago, my brother bought the same computer at the same time, and my Dad bought an iMac G5 at the same time, and they are all going strong, the iMac especially since it as a bit faster.
    So I'm expecting a minimum of 5 years from my new iMac.
  12. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Who knows if DisplayPort will be commonplace 5 years from now.
  13. Little HZ macrumors regular

    Little HZ

    Nov 15, 2008
    New Mexico
    But one could get a new mini to use with the existing screen, right ... ?
  14. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    ...you'll probably want what ever's new by then, it would be a great kids machine or donate it to another less fortunate family member if you decide it isn't meeting your needs...
  15. junkmail202 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 2, 2009
    Well, it doesn't look like it's so simple. There is talk that it won't be able to take in DVI, HDMI signals to display port... at least without using an expensive converter box... This is from the "Apple Insider" article.

    "The iMac's Mini DisplayPort supports output of all three, but can only input and display DisplayPort video. Unlike moving from DVI to HDMI, converting a DVI signal to DisplayPort requires more than a cheap physical dongle; it would necessitate a relatively expensive converter box to process the signal into a completely new format and possibly also a scaler to match the output device to the 27" iMac's enormous resolution of 2560x1440.

    This prevents the new iMac from serving as an HDTV-style output source for older DVI-based computers or HDMI-output devices such as the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Apple TV, or standard DVD and Blu-Ray players. Future devices that support the DisplayPort standard will work, of course."


  16. junkmail202 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 2, 2009
    Yeah, but NO bluray, No USB 3.0, No SSD drives..... will it really last 5 year???


  17. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Apple designs their computers to be obsolete. If you want to buy into the world of Apple, you'll have to accept this. This is why the iPod and iPhone don't have SD cards, or replaceable batteries... They are not meant to be upgraded. They are meant to be thrown out and replaced.
  18. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    are your parents pro video editors?

    why would they need BR, USB 3 or an SSD drive today, tomorrow or even 5 years from now?

    IMHO you are over thinking it... I doubt if you parents would notice the difference between the 27" iMac, the 21" iMac or a 4 year old white iMac?

    Ive got a 20" white 2.13 that i bought almost exactly 3 years ago -- it feels just as speedy as my 24" 2.4 AL iMac.

    And for basic web surfing, email, Word, neither of them feel faster than my wifes 43 month old Macbook Core Duo or for that fact, any faster than my 7 year old Dual 1.25 G4 MDDs. In fact, I dont expect to have to replace my wifes MB for a really, really, really, long time.

    Sure, toss some big Photoshop files, or InDesign or Quark or even iMovie files at them and they will start to show their age, but for the basics, forget it.
  19. emozolik macrumors newbie

    May 2, 2007
    Milwaukee, WI
    I completely agree. I have a 2007 iMac (first aluminum model) and LOVE it. Over two years later its STILL faster than the HP Slimline PC I purchased over the summer for use as a HTPC. I upped the ram to 4GB and that baby flies! "newer, faster, and better" computers are always around the corner. Buy now, and worry about it 5 years from now.
  20. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    In 5 years you'll think you've got your money's worth and justify buying the latest and greatest at that point in time.

    If you get 5 years out of ANY PC these days, you've got yourself a winner.
  21. wackymacky macrumors 68000


    Sep 20, 2007
    38°39′20″N 27°13′10″W
    Is there a reason you need the 27" over the 21.5" apart from the wow factor?

    Anyway any computer be it iMac or Mac Pro or a PC after 5 years you would need to be happy to write if off from the point of view of being able to upgrade it.

    This aside the current iMacs with 4g RAM are likely to all your parents need (ie watching video, email, internet etc, and that wont change in 5 years, except for DVD disks becoming less common vs. blue ray.)

    In my experience an apple computer/OS continues to run smoothly in the long run than PC's, if your parents what a trouble free experience.
  22. appleguy123 macrumors 604


    Apr 1, 2009
    15 minutes in the future
    I think his issue is that the mac mini is easily "replaceable" so he can buy a $599 mac mini and use his acd, but with the imac he would have to replace the whole thing. I pose this solution for the op. Buy the iMac and when it is outdated buy a new mac mini and use the mini display port to drive the imac screen.
  23. jouster macrumors 65816

    Jan 21, 2002
    I feel that five years is an acceptable time for a computer to be "competitive." It's kinda the nature of the beast in this industry.

    Then again, I'm typing these words on a nine year-old G4 Cube.
  24. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    If you're a geek like me you'll be looking for excuses to buy a new machine before 5 years are up.
  25. skye12 macrumors 65816


    Nov 11, 2006
    Austin, Tx
    Its more like future delaying. No computer will look that great 5 years down the road. But it will certainly last that long and do pretty well.

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