iMac: Late 2015 base model vs base model 2017

snillemikke

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 1, 2019
7
2
Hi guys,

Long story short. After good guidance from this forum, I cancelled my top specced 2019 iMac and opted for a 2nd hand iMac Pro base model. Consequences has it the iMac Pro was cancelled by the seller, and I was left with nothing. But reading it all over again made me think I was buying for tech I wouldn't need. Therefore I have trawled the 2nd hand market in my town, and now have narrowed down the following two options (among others).

iMac 2017 base model: 3.4GHz i5 7. gen, 8GB 2400 DDR4 ram, 1TB Fusion. Price: USD 1,630
iMac 2015 base model: 3.2GHz i5 (unknown gen), 8GB 1867 DDR3 ram, 1TB sata. USD 1,495
There may be another USD100 to go on the price if bargaining, but no guarantee.

Background:
I have absolutely no experience with comparing computer components or reading performance tests. Further, I am by no means a creative pro, nor is my usual work based on Mac. I am a guy who mostly works in excel and powerpoint on Windows. I use a MBP 2008 for writing and recording songs for my band in Logic; guitars and vocal tracks, some midi drums and VSt, but seldom more than 20 tracks. The MBP is 70% sufficient if closing down all other apps, but it is slow and I can't do anything else on it. Reason for buying an iMac now is to transfer all L9 files over to Lx and continue writing music, and also to convert from Adobe Premiere to FCP for the occasional video editing of family holidays. I was hoping for a design change in the iMac 2019, but was disappointed this didn't happen. However, as we're approaching album deadline with the band, I want a machine to work with in the mean time. Now I'm thinking I may buy a "cheap" old model that will give me a wee bit better performance than my MBP'08 which I eventually can try to resell or use as backup once the new design comes out and I have enough cash on hand to buy it.

Question for discusion:
1. Design aside. For my use, what specs would I need? Say I have 2-4 years perspective before I can upgrade again - then either to a new design, to a newer 2nd hand iMac.
2. For those with experience from the 2nd hand markets - what should I expect to pay for such a machine? I assume here there is little price difference between regions - I am in Northern Europe.
3. Are the iMacs listed above decent choices, and eventually how does the pricing look?

Thanks a lot!
 

mj_

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2017
572
290
Austin, TX
Does Apple have an official refurbished store in your country? If so that's usually the best bet given that these machines are practically new and come with a full year of warranty.
 
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joema2

macrumors 68000
Sep 3, 2013
1,580
789
...After good guidance from this forum, I cancelled my top specced 2019 iMac and opted for a 2nd hand iMac Pro base model. Consequences has it the iMac Pro was cancelled by the seller, and I was left with nothing. But reading it all over again made me think I was buying for tech I wouldn't need. Therefore I have trawled the 2nd hand market in my town, and now have narrowed down the following two options (among others).

iMac 2017 base model: 3.4GHz i5 7. gen, 8GB 2400 DDR4 ram, 1TB Fusion. Price: USD 1,630
iMac 2015 base model: 3.2GHz i5 (unknown gen), 8GB 1867 DDR3 ram, 1TB sata. USD 1,495
There may be another USD100 to go on the price if bargaining, but no guarantee

....Reason for buying an iMac now is to transfer all L9 files over to Lx and continue writing music, and also to convert from Adobe Premiere to FCP for the occasional video editing of family holidays...Now I'm thinking I may buy a "cheap" old model that will give me a wee bit better performance than my MBP'08 which I eventually can try to resell or use as backup once the new design comes out and I have enough cash on hand to buy it...
I have a 10-core Vega64 iMac Pro and top-spec 2017 and 2015 iMac 27s. I'd definitely suggest the 2017 over the 2015 if you ever plan on editing H264 video with FCPX. The Kaby Lake version of Quick Sync in the 2017 is about 2x faster.

1TB Fusion is not a good choice but it would be faster than your 2008 MBP. For temporary use you could probably install macOS and boot off an external SSD like the Samsung T5.

The 2017 i5 is quieter than the i7 so that helps. The 2017 i7 is not quiet under high load.

Given your original choices I'd probably recommend the 2019 i9 iMac. Here is a recent review by Max Yuryev between that and the iMac Pro. This is for video editing but it has broader application as well:

 

snillemikke

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 1, 2019
7
2
I ended up ordering the high model iMac 2019 with 512 GB SSD. I went back and forth on the i9 vs i5, but found that for my use I will likely be indifferent, so to make sure I will not struggle with thermal heating I opted for the i5. I've been tracking the 2nd hand market closely for some time now, and it also seems there's a ceiling for how much you can charge for a used machine, no matter what specs upgraded to. My theory is that I possibly may be able to sell this at an almost similar price 3 years down should I then be hungry for a hopefully newly designed iMac.

Of course I forgot to add Apple Care, so need to purchase that later on. It seems everyone here is recommending this? Anyone know if purchasing post-sale is more expensive? If so, I would cancel and reorder.