Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

bostich

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 4, 2012
33
2
I am about to buy a 21.5" iMac for audio production. When I compared different models I realised that some older models actually seem to be more powerful than the latest one. Right now I am specifically looking at the 2012 and 2013 i7 3.1 GHz Quad. They have significantly higher Geekbench 2 scores than the latest i5 2.8 GHz Quad.

Is there any reason why I should buy a new one rather than one of those two, given that I get an older model for half the price?

Is there any difference between the two models mentioned in terms of configurability? Can I have the fusion drive replaced should it ever brake?

And ... is there another used model I should take a look at?
 

varian55zx

macrumors 6502a
May 10, 2012
748
260
San Francisco
The new 21.5s are not so good, especially the non-retina ones.

You'll want to get a computer with an SSD, but there are many 2013 ones out there have better performance than some of the lower end '15 ones.

Also, the older ones have discreet GPUs, which makes for a big difference, the newer ones now have iGPUs. I don't know when that change occurred so you'll want to make sure that yours has:

1) an SSD
2) faster processor than what is available in the 2015 models
3) discreet gpu
 
Last edited:

tubeexperience

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2016
3,192
3,895
The new 21.5s are not so good, especially the non-retina ones.

You'll want to get a computer with an SSD, but there are many 2013 ones out there have better performance than some of the lower end '15 ones.

Also, the older ones have discreet GPUs, which makes for a big difference, the newer ones now have iGPUs. I don't know when that change occurred so you'll want to make sure that yours has:

1) an SSD
2) faster processor than what is available in the 2015 models
3) discreet gpu

^ This.

The 2013 and earlier also have upgradable memory. The 2014 and later have soldered non-upgradable memory.

SSDs are relatively cheap now (compare to then) so you might considered upgrading your 2013 iMac with an SSD if it doesn't already comes with one.
 

bostich

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 4, 2012
33
2
There is currently a 2012 3.1 GHz on an auction platform in my area. It has a fusion drive. Only the 2013 3.1 GHz had an optional SSD. I've seen videos on how to upgrade a 2012 imac with an SSD, but how can I be sure my model has the right connectors for an SSD? Plus, the process seems quite tricky.
 
Last edited:

varian55zx

macrumors 6502a
May 10, 2012
748
260
San Francisco
It's slower, but what is more important than how much worse it is than a pure SSD, is how much faster it is than a regular spinning disk.

It is sooo much faster than a regular spinning disk.

So that would still be a good buy. The fusion works well.

I personally split mine in terminal and now I do have SSD speeds.
 

inhalexhale1

macrumors 65816
Jul 17, 2011
1,087
731
PA
I think unless you're really wanting 4k, picking up an older one is a good idea if the $ difference is worthwhile.
 

tubeexperience

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2016
3,192
3,895
There is currently a 2012 3.1 GHz on an auction platform in my area. It has a fusion drive. Only the 2013 3.1 GHz had an optional SSD. I've seen videos on how to upgrade a 2012 imac with an SSD, but how can I be sure my model has the right connectors for an SSD? Plus, the process seems quite tricky.

The SSD only model iMac might be missing the hard driver cable, but you can buy one if necessary.

The Fusion iMac and hard drive only iMac will have everything ready for an upgrade with a 2.5" SSD.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.