iMac 2011 (top CPU) vs iMac 2015

Is the upgrade worth it?

  • Yes

    Votes: 8 25.0%
  • Yes, but add a 2TB Fusion Drive!

    Votes: 9 28.1%
  • Only if I add a i7

    Votes: 2 6.3%
  • Only if I get a R9 M395X

    Votes: 3 9.4%
  • No, keep the old one

    Votes: 10 31.3%

  • Total voters
    32

vanil

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 30, 2009
8
0
Italy
Hi everyone,
I have an iMac (mid-2011) with the following specs:
CPU: i7 3.4 Ghz
GPU: AMD 6970M (1GB VRAM)
RAM: 8GB
HD: 1TB 7200 rpm

I'm thinking about selling it and buying a 2015 iMac, I would go for the following one:
CPU: i5 3.2 Ghz
GPU: AMD R9 M390 (2GB VRAM)
RAM: 8GB
HD: 1TB Fusion Drive

If I get enough money from my old one, I could upgrade the Fusion Drive to 2TB but that's it.
My typical use is light gaming (I could also use Bootcamp), light FCPX editing.

I have read some benchmarks and I think that the new i5 should perform slightly better than my old i7, I also think that the new GPU should be better than my old one (I should tune down the resolution for gaming though).

What do you think? Is the upgrade worth it?

Thanks everyone,
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
5,065
4,349
Denmark
I do not think it is worth it. Use your money on adding an SSD to your current system instead. The i7 in your current machine is very capable (I have the same one).

Also, never get the 1TB Fusion drive, as it only has a 24GB SSD.
 

Lankyman

macrumors 68000
May 14, 2011
1,927
711
U.K.
Surely you've missed the main reason for upgrading? The retina screen!

Once you use one, the old ones look so pixellated!
Thank goodness for maturity of vision then as I find my mid-2011 IPS screen more than adequate for my needs.

I'm quite sure Apple could sell sand to the Arabs. I upgraded my mid-2011 i5 iMac - RAM now 20gig with a EVO 850 SSD and kept the HDD too. I'm still waiting after some 4 years for this machine to break sweat.

Do the upgrade and smile all the way to the bank. The new iMac's are totally stuffed as far as consumer upgrades are concerned. I will be looking at going back to a PC when upgrade time finally comes around. I will be more than content to use Windows 10 rather than have Apple rip me off.
 
Last edited:

AlexisV

macrumors 68000
Mar 12, 2007
1,602
95
Manchester, UK
Thank goodness for maturity of vision then as I find my mid-2011 IPS screen more than adequate for my needs.

I quite sure Apple could sell sand to the Arabs. I upgraded my mid-2011 i5 iMac - RAM now 20gig with a EVO 850 SSD and kept the HDD too. I'm still waiting after some 4 years for this machine to break sweat.

Do the upgrade and smile all the way to the bank. The new iMac's are totally stuffed as far as consumer upgrades are concerned. I will be looking at going back to a PC when upgrade time finally comes around. I will be more than content to use Windows 10 rather than have Apple rip me off.
Man goes mental over ordinary post pointing out how nice the retina screens are.

World looks bemused.
 

Kappsi

macrumors newbie
Oct 16, 2015
27
4
For gaming, the retina screen won't really help much considering you can't game at 5k anyways.
 
  • Like
Reactions: vkd

majestice

macrumors member
Oct 16, 2015
69
32
Hi everyone,
I have an iMac (mid-2011) with the following specs:
CPU: i7 3.4 Ghz
GPU: AMD 6970M (1GB VRAM)
RAM: 8GB
HD: 1TB 7200 rpm
That is not top of the line. I have 2011 with i7 3.4, 6970 2GB, 16GB RAM (bought elsewhere) , 256GB SSD + 2TB HDD
I am upgrading now to the top of the line i7 4.0, 395X 4GB, 1TB SSD and 32GB RAM (bought elsewhere)
If you want to survive with the new computer as long as you have with the old one, I'd say top everything that you can't top yourself later. If SSD is too expensive for you then get the biggest fusion drive. Top out processor and GPU. RAM you can always add later without having to take the machine apart. Lower spec i5 processors won't be much faster than the old top of the line i7. My true top of the line 2011 benchmarks almost the same score in geekbench with last year Retina i5 3.5GHz. The difference is last year's mid spec Retina is 2-3% faster than top 2011.
 

majestice

macrumors member
Oct 16, 2015
69
32
Here's two new iMac 5Ks i5 with 8gb of RAM vs top of the line iMac 2011:
http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/compare/3885176?baseline=412700
http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/compare/3885162?baseline=412700
So changing the top of the line 2011 for new i5 wouldn't be much of an upgrade. Of course the screen will be much better and this test doesn't really take the GPU performance in to the consideration which is likely to be 1.5 to 3 times faster on new iMac depending which GPU you go with
 
Last edited:

vkd

macrumors 6502a
Sep 10, 2012
870
275
Thank goodness for maturity of vision then as I find my mid-2011 IPS screen more than adequate for my needs.

I quite sure Apple could sell sand to the Arabs. I upgraded my mid-2011 i5 iMac - RAM now 20gig with a EVO 850 SSD and kept the HDD too. I'm still waiting after some 4 years for this machine to break sweat.

Do the upgrade and smile all the way to the bank. The new iMac's are totally stuffed as far as consumer upgrades are concerned. I will be looking at going back to a PC when upgrade time finally comes around. I will be more than content to use Windows 10 rather than have Apple rip me off.

I too have a 2011 iMac and agree with your post apart from the last part where you mention Windows. You lost it there (in my opinion).
 

vkd

macrumors 6502a
Sep 10, 2012
870
275
That is not top of the line. I have 2011 with i7 3.4, 6970 2GB, 16GB RAM (bought elsewhere) , 256GB SSD + 2TB HDD
I am upgrading now to the top of the line i7 4.0, 395X 4GB, 1TB SSD and 32GB RAM (bought elsewhere)
If you want to survive with the new computer as long as you have with the old one, I'd say top everything that you can't top yourself later. If SSD is too expensive for you then get the biggest fusion drive. Top out processor and GPU. RAM you can always add later without having to take the machine apart. Lower spec i5 processors won't be much faster than the old top of the line i7. My true top of the line 2011 benchmarks almost the same score in geekbench with last year Retina i5 3.5GHz. The difference is last year's mid spec Retina is 2-3% faster than top 2011.
Now try saying that without using the word "top". :)
 

majestice

macrumors member
Oct 16, 2015
69
32
Now try saying that without using the word "top". :)
I'm saying it because there is HUGE difference between the top and mid range each year. Now please take a look at the topic title:
iMac 2011 (top) vs iMac 2015
 

vanil

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 30, 2009
8
0
Italy
I'm saying it because there is HUGE difference between the top and mid range each year. Now please take a look at the topic title:
iMac 2011 (top) vs iMac 2015

You're right, I just edited the title to correct my mistake :)
Your comparison is just what I was looking for, an i5 is probably not going to be enough of an upgrade for FCPX.

Depending on how much money I can raise with my old one I will try and get as many upgrades as I can in order to get at least an i7 and a 2TB Fusion Drive.

Thanks everyone!
 

Lankyman

macrumors 68000
May 14, 2011
1,927
711
U.K.
I too have a 2011 iMac and agree with your post apart from the last part where you mention Windows. You lost it there (in my opinion).
I use OS X and Windows 10 most days and have nothing but praise for W10 - MS are right back on form with this OS. I'm always prepared to offer praise where it's due.

I don't own Apple goggles.
 
Last edited:

twilexia

macrumors 6502
Oct 16, 2015
282
57
Here's two new iMac 5Ks i5 with 8gb of RAM vs top of the line iMac 2011:
http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/compare/3885176?baseline=412700
http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/compare/3885162?baseline=412700
So changing the top of the line 2011 for new i5 wouldn't be much of an upgrade. Of course the screen will be much better and this test doesn't really take the GPU performance in to the consideration which is likely to be 1.5 to 3 times faster on new iMac depending which GPU you go with
In this one you compared the 8GB i5 to 16 GB i7 though.... what about 16GB i5?
 

majestice

macrumors member
Oct 16, 2015
69
32
In this one you compared the 8GB i5 to 16 GB i7 though.... what about 16GB i5?
Those tests are public so why don't you go through the website and find the comparison you'd like to see. I just picked the couple of the newest ones I saw... and the OP was planning to buy a comp with 8gb. So feel free to find ANY available benchmark yourself
 

RageDaddy

macrumors member
Jan 7, 2015
53
14
Hi everyone,
I have an iMac (mid-2011) with the following specs:
CPU: i7 3.4 Ghz
GPU: AMD 6970M (1GB VRAM)
RAM: 8GB
HD: 1TB 7200 rpm

I'm thinking about selling it and buying a 2015 iMac, I would go for the following one:
CPU: i5 3.2 Ghz
GPU: AMD R9 M390 (2GB VRAM)
RAM: 8GB
HD: 1TB Fusion Drive

If I get enough money from my old one, I could upgrade the Fusion Drive to 2TB but that's it.
My typical use is light gaming (I could also use Bootcamp), light FCPX editing.

I have read some benchmarks and I think that the new i5 should perform slightly better than my old i7, I also think that the new GPU should be better than my old one (I should tune down the resolution for gaming though).

What do you think? Is the upgrade worth it?

Thanks everyone,
Just rip the 2011 open, buy 512GB SSD and throw that HDD away. You wont see any difference in normal use (other than the resolution and better display quality), but if you are proffesional and get paid for image/videostuff then you should get the new 5k for sure..
 

vanil

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 30, 2009
8
0
Italy
Just rip the 2011 open, buy 512GB SSD and throw that HDD away. You wont see any difference in normal use (other than the resolution and better display quality), but if you are proffesional and get paid for image/videostuff then you should get the new 5k for sure..
Unfortunately I'm not a professional :)
Anyway, is the HD swap done at an Apple Store or do I have to go the DIY route? If the latter, what kind of model/size do I have to look for?
 

RageDaddy

macrumors member
Jan 7, 2015
53
14
Unfortunately I'm not a professional :)
Anyway, is the HD swap done at an Apple Store or do I have to go the DIY route? If the latter, what kind of model/size do I have to look for?

Crucial BX100 SSD, 250GB or 500GB. DIY is really easy, but if you're not DIY kind of person (cars, PC´s etc) let someone else do it....
 

Lankyman

macrumors 68000
May 14, 2011
1,927
711
U.K.
Unfortunately I'm not a professional :)
Anyway, is the HD swap done at an Apple Store or do I have to go the DIY route? If the latter, what kind of model/size do I have to look for?
I used the Samsung EVO 850 500gig. However, I also kept the original HD in there so increased the storage at a stroke. I keep the OS, apps and often used programmes on the SSD whilst photos films music etc. live on the HDD.

If you are going to discard the HDD in favour of SSD only then do buy the thermal sensor cable for the new drive. If you don't you will have the fans roaring full blast all the time. You will get lots of advice that it's ok to use fan control software but the sensible money is on the thermal sensor cable. If you go for the SSD/HDD combo then you don't need the sensor but will need that proprietary sata cable.

Before you even buy the drive etc. do watch the OWC videos on how to swap the drives to ascertain if this is within your comfort zone of expertise.
 

RageDaddy

macrumors member
Jan 7, 2015
53
14
I used the Samsung EVO 850 500gig. However, I also kept the original HD in there so increased the storage at a stroke. I keep the OS, apps and often used programmes on the SSD whilst photos films music etc. live on the HDD.

If you are going to discard the HDD in favour of SSD only then do buy the thermal sensor cable for the new drive. If you don't you will have the fans roaring full blast all the time. You will get lots of advice that it's ok to use fan control software but the sensible money is on the thermal sensor cable. If you go for the SSD/HDD combo then you don't need the sensor but will need that proprietary sata cable.

Before you even buy the drive etc. do watch the OWC videos on how to swap the drives to ascertain if this is within your comfort zone of expertise.
Sensor is not needed. Just install Mac's Fan Control and let it start with the mac.

http://www.crystalidea.com/macs-fan-control