Humbly Asking For Advice Re: New iMac Purchase

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Highway61, Oct 17, 2015.


Is a new iMac a definite must-buy for me?

  1. Yes, the purchase would be well-advised.

    15 vote(s)
  2. Yes, but you needn't buy the top-tier 27".

    12 vote(s)
  3. No, there... [well, I'm not sure what would go here, but I'd appreciate insights

    3 vote(s)
  1. Highway61 macrumors regular

    Mar 30, 2008
    I'm using a (gasp) mid-2007 iMac and sense that it would be a huge mistake to not purchase (before it's too late) a new iMac. In addition to Logic Pro overload messages being almost impossible to avoid these days, I'm worried that the system will just completely fail someday.
    In the past, by necessity, I always purchased the base unit. (The maxed out memory of my current iMac is maxed out because I added third party memory a couple of years ago. The unit came with half of what it has now.)
    I'm thinking that I should go to the other extreme this time: 27" because it has the current state of the art chips, fastest processor, max memory available from Apple, et cetera.
    Is this rational or irrational thinking?
    I've been reading as much as I can about the new iMacs, am aware of the misgivings and disappointments many people here have expressed, am reading less-than-enthusiastic reviews from journalists (who I suspect would be less guarded, less diplomatic, less generous if Apple wasn't a significant contributor to their respective employer's advertising revenue).
    So, I ask, humbly, for your advice. Is this a definite buy for me?

  2. lnikj macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2012
    Well done for keeping it going that long. None of my previous MBPs have lasted that long. I'm on a 2011 MBP now but have been sitting and watching both the iMac and nMP for the last couple of years with a view to buying my first desktop since abandoning Windows/Linux in 2002.

    I'm probably going to pull the plug on a maxed out iMac this time round precisely because I feel that this is going to be the last of this design. A new design will appear next Autumn I reckon, but experience tells me that its first generation will have problems, so if it is not this iMac then it will likely be one in 2017 for me, which is too long. Definitely too long for you I reckon :)

    I am amazed you can still use Logic at all. My audio hobby is the main driver in getting the fastest machine I can, even though I have to rationalise it in terms of the money I make from photography and web design (though my 2011 is still good enough for those.)

    So, in terms of your question, and trying to convince myself, I think this IS the definite buy, short of the next generation of nMPs (if your wallet is very deep indeed).

    Don't get your RAM from Apple though.
  3. Highway61 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 30, 2008
    Thank you for your excellent reply.
    If I might take the risk of taking advantage of your willingness to share your situation and advise me in regard to mine, which of the following options would you advise upgrading? (I've already taken note of your advice re: buying extra memory from someone else (Is Crucial still the "go to"?), but in regard to processor, should I max that? And what are your thoughts about Flash vs Fusion?)

    Hoping I haven't made myself a nuisance...

  4. Butchie-T macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2014
    I have implemented a 7 year computer refresh in our household. That seems to be a reasonable refresh range for any computer imho. Not to mention the fact that our last two PC's started needing nip and tuck repairs right arount that timerange. So yes, it's fair to believe that it is time for a computer refresh for yourself.
  5. lnikj macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2012
    Personally, I would swap the mouse for a trackpad, but then I am a long time trackpad user.

    I would go all SSD too, your big data - photos, music, videos etc will be fine on a USB3 drive. My 2011 MBP has a 512gb SSD in that I fitted myself, and it's full. I have to keep managing it. I want my photo catalogues, last year's worth of photos, and Kontakt, Omnisphere, Alchemy etc libraries on it, which is pushing it a bit, so I think I'm going to have to go for the horrendously expensive 1Tb option this time. I know though that I won't regret it long term and it will add a year for more to the lifetime of the machine for me.

    I'm going for the 4GHz processor too. Kaleidoscope, B2 and Kaivo are just more than my current machine can take, though Diva and Lush-101 are fine.

    On the memory, Crucial and Kingston are fine, but there is a good thread on this with people who know more than me about it.

    All very expensive I know but unfortunately you are pretty much stuck with what you buy at the start these days. The screens never fail in my experience, and it is a great screen, so I will be wanting this to do 5-6 years for me, rather than my usual 3.5 years.

    HTH :)
  6. Highway61 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 30, 2008
    Thank you. I appreciate your response very much.
  7. Highway61 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 30, 2008
    Thank you, again, very much!
  8. Highway61 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 30, 2008
    Uh-oh, I thought of something else ::ducks::. My thinking has always been that one should never buy the extra warranty protection a vendor offers when one buys their product, that it's just a way for a vendor to maximize profits.
    But the Apple Protection Plan...should I think of it differently? Should I avail myself to this particular exploitation for the peace of mind it might offer?
  9. eoren1 macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2007
    Two schools of thought:
    1. Find a credit card that doubles your warranty and get two years 'free'
    2. AppleCare

    My issue with #1 is that I'm not sure where any warranty service would then take place
    I had/have AppleCare on my 2011 iMac and have had the screen replaced in the first year and the internal hard drive replaced just shy of the end of the 3rd year. Those two swaps easily made up for the cost of AppleCare. The latter is a very good reason to never get a spinning drive in an All in One device by the way.
    I think your choices above are fine but I would swap that 2TB fusion for the 512gb SSD.
  10. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014
    I would go with one the following configuration, purchase aftermarket ram to bump it to 16 GB or 24 GB and use external storage

    27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display - $2,299.00
    • 3.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
    • 8GB 1867MHz DDR3 SDRAM - two 4GB
    • 256GB Flash Storage
    • AMD Radeon R9 M395 with 2GB video memory
  11. Highway61 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 30, 2008
    I've said this before, but I must say it again: This is a great forum.

    fathergil, you wouldn't up the processor speed?
  12. ryannel2003 macrumors 68000


    Jan 30, 2005
    Greenville, NC
    These computers are damn near impossible to work on without special tools and even then, getting inside is tricky. For the first time in 11 years of owning a Mac... I purchased AppleCare for my iMac. Better safe than sorry.
  13. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014

    To this day i've never purchased a warranty on any electronics and i've been lucky. My Apple Care was free with my 27" retina iMac because I got it throw in for free when I waited for a sale on it. It's tough to get that with custom order iMacs so thats one of the reasons I have a fusion drive over an SSD.

    It's a tough call but I would purchase Apple Care.
  14. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014

    I wouldn't unless you have a specific need for it. If your doing a lot of video editing for example then you will want it. Majority of people will not need the upgrade. If you have the money to burn then go for it.

    That configuration I listed should run very cool and last a long time(unless Apple changed something on the new GPU I'm not aware of)
  15. Floris macrumors 68020


    Sep 7, 2007
    We are almost in the same boat, and I am saving up for a new 27" iMac, but my machine still works - so not really in a rush just yet.

    I think spending that much money to max it out, nah .. I rather save up the money and get another one in a couple of years, and use part of it for Apple Care.

    You can consider going for at least SSD, perhaps up the storage a little, consider if investing in a GPU is worth over the CPU and if you really want to invest in a cpu. You get usb-3 and thunderbolt, adding external drives for documents, media and backup will not be slow(ing you down much). And you can expand memory by getting 2x 8gb when you can afford it, and then replace 2x4 with another 2x8 another time after that.
  16. Squirkytunkle macrumors member

    Dec 1, 2014
    Using Logic on any iMac from the last few years is going to be a BIG jump for you! I had a 2008 macbook Pro, which i replaced in 2010 with a 2009 i7 iMac, and the difference was dramatic to say the least. With the Core 2 duo MBP i was using. i was constantly getting system overloads in Logic sessions, which had not too much going on. I had to bounce down things all the time, and my creative flows were constantly stumped. The switch to the i7 iMac back then ended these limits on the computer side of things.

    I'd say definitely get the i7. Logic will make good use of those virtual cores. As Eoren 1 suggested above, skip the fusion drive and get the 512gb SSD. He also pointed me in a great direction yesterday in regards to using an external USB hub enclosure to hold an ssd. You could put your samples and/or sessions on there (which is what i plan to do myself when i get my new iMac) and you should get excellent performance.

    To be honest, even my 2009 iMac still gets pretty amazing performance, considering it's age and how many fairly new plug-ins i use. It's only a coupe of specific fairly recent power hungry AU's which cripple the CPU completely (those like Izotope Iris and Omnisphere 2 in granular mode). I'd imagine any of the newer iMacs should really not have any such problems. I'm going to give me a machine a work over with these few specific power hungry plug-ins next week and see how it goes.

    For music production, as far as i see it, the lack of thunderbolt 3 and the new usb connection is potentially not much of an issue (depending on the individual of course). My Focusrite firewire 800 audio interface still performs great, with little latency when the buffer is set low in Logic. There are so many highly rated audio interfaces which are only USB 2, never mind USB 3- like the Apogee Duet. Even Focusrite's most popular interfaces are USB 2 as well- and as far as I've hared, they can still give great performance with regards to latency and general performance. Others will no doubt completely disagree with me on this issue.

    That's just my two cents, anywho. But yeah, you should be getting a serious jump in performance whatever way you go. Good luck!
  17. Macmamamac, Oct 17, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2015

    Macmamamac macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2015

    I wouldn't say its a definite buy. I was in the same situation as you in late 2013 with my mid 2007 iMac. It was crawling to halt in virtually everything i did. But after changing the hard drive to a SSD manually it became like a new machine and to this day its still really quick in all the basic tasks.

    I have mail, safari (playing youtube videos in the BG) and photoshop open for my normal workflow and it never slows down. I don't even think i brought the top spec model in 2007 either.

    Even if you decide to buy a new machine, its still worth trying to replace the SSD yourself as you have nothing to lose if it goes wrong.

    You can find detailed instructions how to install a new SSD on your model over at One bonus with the 2007 models is that the screen is attached with magnets so its really easy to get off.
  18. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    The first thing I would say is stay away from "extremes"... the absolute base model iMacs are a relatively poor value when you can get a lot more performance for just a little more money... and the maxed out models are often a relatively poor value because that extra 10% performance comes at quite a bit of cost. Same goes for how long you keep it... users here are always reporting about how they dragged their 8 year old computer across the "finish line" on the verge of falling apart, and want their new one to do the same... like this performance roller-coaster is something that is desirable.

    Second, the new 4K iMacs have been getting excellent reviews with the caveat for the base model's lack of SSD and/or the gimped 1TB Fusion Drive. This is where I think Apple has jumped the shark on penny-pinching moves, and now it's finally costing them bad press and a public perception that the new iMac sucks.

    You don't say much about what you really do with your iMac other than a mention of Logic, but if you're still using a failing mid-2007, then I gather you're not a power user and money is tight. You are considering the 27", so you must have an idea of your budget. So based on that, I'd suggest the base model 5K 27" (3.2GHz i5/M380) with either SSD upgrade (with external HDD for data) or 2TB/3TB fusion drive. The CPU is fast enough, you don't need high-end GPU, and you can stick with 8GB RAM until you're sure you need more. Instead of overspending now and trying to get 8 years out of it, spend less now and upgrade again sooner. It levels out the performance roller-coaster I was talking about.
  19. Highway61 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 30, 2008
    OMG, these are great, well-reasoned replies.
    Your " they dragged their 8 year old computer across the "finish line" on the verge of falling apart, and want their new one to do the same... like this performance roller-coaster is something that is desirable" is great--and kind of sums up (I'm admitting) that which has been operating in the undercurrents as I approach this new purchase.
    I do see more clearly now the folly in that thinking.
    Thank you.
  20. dark_skies macrumors newbie


    Oct 17, 2015
    Champaign-Urbana, IL
    I have found, unfortunately, that AppleCare is well worth it (and I, like Consumer Reports, generally avoid extended warranties as a waste of time and profit-maker for the manufacturer). For the mac, I would consider it a must-buy. I have owned Macs for decades (really), and my 2012 iMac at work recently needed service (one thunderbolt port failed) and I have occasionally needed service on mac laptops over the years as well. The peace of mind is worth it. I'll attach the caveat that I tend to keep hardware forever (my 2005 PowerMac G5 is still going strong, but I'm going to sell/give it away here someday). Keeping hardware for a long time is a luxury that Mac owners have more than many PC owners, at least in my experience and stories I have heard.
  21. dark_skies macrumors newbie


    Oct 17, 2015
    Champaign-Urbana, IL
    iMacs are great machines. Really heavy users (big time video editors) ran into problems with overheating on the prior generation, but that was for fully loaded, highest-end gpu machines running flat out for a long time. The new generation just released should (?) be cooler with Skylake than with the last generation. The gpu may or may not be cooler - no one has said (yet), but the machines are new. Don't buy the 5400 rpm hard drive under any circumstances (Apple should be ashamed; this is a short-sighted policy in my opinion, and they deserve all the bad press they get). I personally avoid Fusion drives because anything rotating will fail eventually, so flash-only is my only option, but I can afford it. I would buy the largest flash drive you can reasonably afford and buy external disk drives for more storage.

    I didn't see the start of this thread but if you don't need to have the latest greatest, the prior iMac 5K might be a reasonable alternative, again with flash-only, applecare and using non-Apple memory.

    Best wishes for your purchase and experiences.
  22. Highway61 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 30, 2008
  23. AlifTheUnseen macrumors member


    May 17, 2014
    Listen to the man/woman. I have a mid-2010 iMac and I will soon buy the late-2015 iMac. Spend less now and upgrade again sooner is one strategy, a good one, including the 'stay away from extremes'…

    You may not experience it in your 'local second-hand market' - but where I live, iMacs have a great resale value, especially if they still have some coverage of Apple Care. So, my current plan is to buy the new one (a maxed-out 27", not following the 'stay-away from the extremes'-strategy), together with Apple Care (I know, it's a pile of cash), but in 2 years, I will most probably sell it again for a (hopefully) good price and buy a 2017 iMac (or so…). You can check with your local ebay and see or estimate how that works...
  24. Highway61, Oct 17, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2015

    Highway61 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 30, 2008

    There seems to be consensus that AppleCare, for one reason or another, is a necessary evil. Therefore, I'm adding AppleCare to the "shopping bag."

    Also, because it seems to be generally agreed upon that Fusion is not the way to go, I am going Flash. I am tempted, however, to go 256, since I already own a Lacie external drive. How wrongheaded would that be?

    In terms of memory, I'm 99.99999% convinced to stay with the recommend eight. The remaining fraction of a per cent is because of this: Does anyone know if the method for installing additional RAM has changed in the current iteration of iMac? Installing add'l RAM in the 2007 was extremely easy, and it might still be as easy as it once was. But, in that people who tore apart the new 21" were surprised to find the memory is soldered in, is there any chance that installing additional RAM has been made more difficult so as to discourage DIYers? (Probably not, but I would love to hear that it hasn't been made more difficult from those of you who have been contributing to this thread.

    I'm not opting for increased graphics capability and video memory.

    No one seems to be emphatic about not going full-tilt on the processor. My sense is that it's about 50/50 in regard to recommendations for the fastest processor, so this is what it's looking like right now:


    Anybody feel compelled to throw themselves into my path so as to block the above from transpiring?
  25. scottish macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2011

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