Help me rationalise my set-up

What choice for set-up?

  • 27' 2010 iMac (but very reflective display)

    Votes: 2 25.0%
  • 27' 2012-later iMac (but hard to put in SSD, and no SuperDrive)

    Votes: 5 62.5%
  • 2012 Mac Mini + matte ACD (but still need webcam, speakers, SD)

    Votes: 1 12.5%

  • Total voters
    8

r6mile

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 3, 2010
437
92
London, UK
Hi,
I currently have a 2010 i3-8GB 21.5' iMac (850 EVO SSD) that I use as my primary computer for music, streaming, internet browsing, and occasionally light gaming. It also serves as a Plex and Time Machine server, with the data stored on a FW800 2TB drive. I also have it plugged-in to a 20' alu ACD display (matte) which I initially bought just because I found it cheap, but I've actually now got used to having so much screen real estate.

The other day, I managed to get a great deal on eBay on a i5 27' 2010 iMac (with the upgraded GPU and 16GB of RAM) that is only missing a hard drive. So I thought I would keep that and put in an SSD, and just sell the 21.5 iMac and the 20' display and actually make a little profit. But now I'm having some reservations - one of the annoyances about the 2010 iMac is just how reflective the screen is - my desk is just by the window, and when there is a bit of sun the screen is hardly visible without closing the curtain. Meanwhile, the ACD display next to the iMac looks great with its matte display.

So I've been considering a number of alternatives to the 27' 2010 iMac (Option 1)

Instead of just having a 27' iMac, I could just sell that as well and replace it with a 2012 and onwards 27' iMac, which I understand have a much less reflective display. The problem with this option is that few of those second-hand iMacs come with a SSD or Fusion Drive (which I consider essential), and installing it is very tricky in the tapered-edge iMacs. They also don't have a SuperDrive, which is not a dealbreaker but I sometimes find handy (Option 2)

Another alternative is to just sell both iMacs and the 20' matte ACD, and get a 2012 Mac Mini and a 23' matte ACD. The advantage of this is that it has a matte display, and also lower power consumption. The disadvantage is that it is a lot less 'neat' - I still need a SuperDrive, a webcam, and speakers, so there'll be a lot of wires on the desk, etc. (Option 3). I'm quite keen to stick with Apple displays.

Any thoughts?
 

stuartak

macrumors member
Feb 21, 2016
50
3
Hi,
I currently have a 2010 i3-8GB 21.5' iMac (850 EVO SSD) that I use as my primary computer for music, streaming, internet browsing, and occasionally light gaming. It also serves as a Plex and Time Machine server, with the data stored on a FW800 2TB drive. I also have it plugged-in to a 20' alu ACD display (matte) which I initially bought just because I found it cheap, but I've actually now got used to having so much screen real estate.

The other day, I managed to get a great deal on eBay on a i5 27' 2010 iMac (with the upgraded GPU and 16GB of RAM) that is only missing a hard drive. So I thought I would keep that and put in an SSD, and just sell the 21.5 iMac and the 20' display and actually make a little profit. But now I'm having some reservations - one of the annoyances about the 2010 iMac is just how reflective the screen is - my desk is just by the window, and when there is a bit of sun the screen is hardly visible without closing the curtain. Meanwhile, the ACD display next to the iMac looks great with its matte display.

So I've been considering a number of alternatives to the 27' 2010 iMac (Option 1)

Instead of just having a 27' iMac, I could just sell that as well and replace it with a 2012 and onwards 27' iMac, which I understand have a much less reflective display. The problem with this option is that few of those second-hand iMacs come with a SSD or Fusion Drive (which I consider essential), and installing it is very tricky in the tapered-edge iMacs. They also don't have a SuperDrive, which is not a dealbreaker but I sometimes find handy (Option 2)

Another alternative is to just sell both iMacs and the 20' matte ACD, and get a 2012 Mac Mini and a 23' matte ACD. The advantage of this is that it has a matte display, and also lower power consumption. The disadvantage is that it is a lot less 'neat' - I still need a SuperDrive, a webcam, and speakers, so there'll be a lot of wires on the desk, etc. (Option 3). I'm quite keen to stick with Apple displays.

Any thoughts?
Mac mini's are pretty lame in terms of performance and not particularly cheap , I had one for a while. The best thing about the 27" Imac is the display which even at 2560X1440 is pretty good and I guess you will have paid less than the price of a monitor of that ability for your used Imac. Have you ever considered something like this to cut down the reflection.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/atFoliX-Screen-Protector-2009-2011-Protection/dp/B01BHGKW9E/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1462299136&sr=8-3&keywords=imac+27+screen+protector
I have no idea if they are any good might be worth asking round.
The thing I like about the 27" Imac (up to 2011) is you can tinker with it , you can upgrade the HDD put in an SSD , even put in the new Bluetooth 4 wifi card with an adapter to replace the existing one and get all the latest Handoffs and stuff the new models have. The slim models are not tinker friendly they are glued together and not for the faint hearted to take to bits , plus everything bar the RAM is soldered into the board , plus used ones you see around for sale with "I was just upgrading the HDD and I must have broken a connector , as now I have this band down the screen" are to be avoided as it is the display that is faulty , which costs mega bucks to replace. I have a collection of Imacs up to 2011 which I have upgraded and passed on to family members , you cant beat OSX as an operating system . If you are not wed to buying Apple you could always consider the "Dark Side " and build yourself a Hackintosh mini , check this out
 
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cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,303
1,695
Mac mini's are pretty lame in terms of performance and not particularly cheap , I had one for a while. The best thing about the 27" Imac is the display which even at 2560X1440 is pretty good and I guess you will have paid less than the price of a monitor of that ability for your used Imac. Have you ever considered something like this to cut down the reflection.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/atFoliX-Screen-Protector-2009-2011-Protection/dp/B01BHGKW9E/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1462299136&sr=8-3&keywords=imac+27+screen+protector
I have no idea if they are any good might be worth asking round.
The thing I like about the 27" Imac (up to 2011) is you can tinker with it , you can upgrade the HDD put in an SSD , even put in the new Bluetooth 4 wifi card with an adapter to replace the existing one and get all the latest Handoffs and stuff the new models have. The slim models are not tinker friendly they are glued together and not for the faint hearted to take to bits , plus everything bar the RAM is soldered into the board , plus used ones you see around for sale with "I was just upgrading the HDD and I must have broken a connector , as now I have this band down the screen" are to be avoided as it is the display that is faulty , which costs mega bucks to replace. I have a collection of Imacs up to 2011 which I have upgraded and passed on to family members , you cant beat OSX as an operating system . If you are not wed to buying Apple you could always consider the "Dark Side " and build yourself a Hackintosh mini , check this out
I saw that video yesterday. That is a VERY tempting build.
 

roadkill401

macrumors 6502
Jan 11, 2015
403
77
what scares me with the link is the YouTube video paints a glorious picture. When you read the comments on the TonyMacX86 web site, the video doesn't work, networks cards don't work, sporadic kernel pannic.

But the cost is about the level i'd like to pay with when it works right gives the performance i'd want.
 
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MacRazySwe

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2007
813
501
I had a 2011 iMac 21.5" and upgraded last spring to the late 2013 iMac 27".

A few points worth mentioning:

- The thinner iMac is incredibly silent compared to my older thicker unit. Big difference actually.

- The laminated display is better and less reflective, as you say.

- I haven't missed the SuperDrive once.

- While the old 2011 model had started to feel a little slow from time to time, my current one feels a lot faster. It's a beast, really. Old one was the 2.5GHz i5 (Quad), new one is 3.2GHz i5 (Quad).

I'm spoilt by SSD drives ever since getting my first MBA in 2012, but I'm not as bothered with the HDD in the iMac as I thought I'd be. It's obviously slow at times, so I will probably upgrade it whenever I find a good solution. I don't want to deal with external drives.
 

throAU

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2012
5,284
2,276
Perth, Western Australia
Without knowing your actual use case, i'd wait for the new Mac Mini, buy a monitor you like, and replace the Mac mini more regularly as upgrades are required.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,851
30,365
Boston
When you read the comments on the TonyMacX86 web site, the video doesn't work, networks cards don't work, sporadic kernel pannic.
I've built a hackintosh before and it can be a daunting prospect, especially if you don't choose the correct motherboard, GPU and other components. Even if you choose a compatible one, it may still be a pain to to load OS X.

It wasn't all bad, but I did have trouble, but once I got mine going, it was stable. The only issue was that by the time the next version of OS X came out, I couldn't upgrade because the method I used, was not compatible for the newer version of OS X.
 

stuartak

macrumors member
Feb 21, 2016
50
3
I've built a hackintosh before and it can be a daunting prospect, especially if you don't choose the correct motherboard, GPU and other components. Even if you choose a compatible one, it may still be a pain to to load OS X.

It wasn't all bad, but I did have trouble, but once I got mine going, it was stable. The only issue was that by the time the next version of OS X came out, I couldn't upgrade because the method I used, was not compatible for the newer version of OS X.
I agree having flirted with Hackintoshes , the biggest problem is you need to use as near the exact hardware that Apple use in their models , obviously the one thing you cannot use are the various firmware patches , notably in the graphics cards etc . So you are relying on some gifted , hackers to write the patches . Whilst I don't think the Hackintoshes will come close to the IMac on aesthetics , the same is not true of the Mac mini which at best is a somewhat overpriced and underperforming unit , which is why I was impressed by the Skylake mini Hackintosh.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,851
30,365
Boston
And ALL of my hardware was on the compatibility list as recommended components.
What I found out after the fact is that there seems to be varying levels of compatibility, so while it may function, the work entailed to get it to work could be sizable.

I think in the long run, its best to just bite the bullet and get a Mac Mini, used iMac/MBP is you really want to run OS X.