iMac longevity

Discussion in 'iMac' started by vojislavsh, Aug 19, 2018.

  1. Guy Clark Suspended

    Guy Clark

    Nov 28, 2013
    London United Kingdom.
    I have a mid 2011 2.7GHz 21.5" iMac and a late 2015 3.1GHz 21.5" 4k iMac.

    Both have 8GB RAM and the 2011 iMac out performs the newer iMac particularly when running virtual environments using Parallels Desktop.

    Its a mystery as on paper it should be the other way around.
  2. Lioness~ macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2017
    I have a 2013 iMac 27" 3,2GHz i5 1TB fd that I upgraded to 32GM memory from start. Nothing is slow in it this far. Will keep it as long as it is upgradeable with the newest systems. Or maybe if it's still beneficial to sell it while it is. Will decide 2019 or 2020. Still great.
  3. TVreporter macrumors 6502


    Mar 11, 2012
    Near Toronto
    My 2011 iMac had its graphics card die a few months ago (and that piece had a recall) The hard drive and other parts are still fine.

    Most people I know get 7-8 solid years out of their iMac. But who knows with newer models.
  4. Guy Clark, Aug 19, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018

    Guy Clark Suspended

    Guy Clark

    Nov 28, 2013
    London United Kingdom.
    The mid 2011 iMacs are the sweet spot in past iMac releases.

    They are powerful with the exceptional Intel i5/i7 (Sandy Bridge) Quad Core CPU, Dedicated Graphics and most of all completely user serviceable.
    There is USB 2.0 which some may consider a disadvantage but for many USB 2.0 transfer rates are acceptable for such tasks as Time Machine backups. Included is Thunderbolt 2 which more than compensates for performance that USB 2.0 lacks.
    A major plus is the inclusion of Firewire 800 which can be daisy chained so it is possible to create a massive amounts of capacity for data storage and the inclusion of a integrated SuperDrive.
    A mid 2011 iMac will run OS X Snow Leopard (10.6.8 with tweaking), OS X Lion, OS X Mountain Lion, OS X Mavericks, OS X Yosemite, OS X El Capitan, macOS Sierra and macOS High Sierra eight releases of the platform which makes them incredibly versatile and although macOS Mojave is listed as not being compatible with the mid 2011 iMacs it is unlikely to be a major issue.

    As said many times before Older Macs are Better.
  5. AlexMaximus, Aug 20, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018

    AlexMaximus macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2006
    A400M Base
    I used to have the old G4 MDD for 5+ years, and now I have the MP5.1 for 5+ years. Having said that, I did not have an iMac so far. My good old MacBook Pro is 8 years old now and as a good as new on its first day.
    My dad has a Mac mini from 2009, reaching the full decade next year.
    In retrospect, I think Apple hardware used to be solid. However, proper cooling and heat is always important to watch. If you game the hell out of it on a consumer mac, your hardware will die a lot sooner for sure. Also, Apple hardware changes a lot the last decade. Today almost no computer can be upgraded any more.

    If this computer is a long-term item that you want to keep, you need to ask yourself the following question: How tough will you tax your system for how long and how important is it to you to have the latest and greatest hardware.

    The iMac targets semi-pro individuals and consumers that are willing to use the system for about 5 years and then replace it like an old electrical shaving device. An iMac is an appliance with a designed live cycle in mind. Chances are high that electrical components will die soon after a projected age. Often because of heat, dust and the inability to upgrade. Buying an appliance, "they" already took away any possibility to upgrade the product to force that renew-cycle on you. It needs to be sexy otherwise you would not buy it, but it will die on you. In the Product live cycle Management classes, they call it programmed product obsolescence to ensure a constant stream of cash flow for the company.

    If not, you need to look for a system that can be expanded and upgraded over time. A system that keeps its value for a very long time. One, that has a very well thought out thermodynamic design that will last for decades or longer. Apple care is complete nonsense because it only covers Apple's Six Sigma failures/problems in the first couple years, but it will not really help you to prolong you systems live cycle. (Apple care package for the 7. 8. & 10. year of usage- anyone :) ??!!) of course not...

    My recommendation:
    The new iMac will hit the floor very soon, that means prices or current and slightly used computers will drop!
    Wait till the new iMac has been introduced and watch prices drops. There will be news on the new Mac Pro 7.1 as well.
    Do not buy any new/used computer before November. Unfortunately, it is too late for the golden cMP 5.1 game at this time. The MP 6.1 would have been so-so, but very expensive, bad heat design, failing Apple GPU's, no GPU upgrades and last but not least a
    "from Apple gimped/deleted eGPU support" that will make you furious like hell. Can't innovate anymore my ass, - Thank you Phill for this non-upgradable BS... but hey .. it looks nice.

    If you are a real professional in the way that you need to make money from your investment, go for HP800Z or a good Render Monster machine like the MacRumors member Tesselator. Pro is not always pro. If you just do some light photoshop, Adobe stuff without big existential pressure and your computer is not part of a tricked out Tax deduction game inside your legal entity, you might be fine with an iMac, otherwise, wait for the new Mac Pro 7.1. This, and a good airconditioning fed by solar panels, subsidized by your state tax dollars...
  6. ivanwi11iams Contributor


    Nov 30, 2014
    Kennesaw, GA
    I have a 2015 iMac 27", and the fusion drive (the one with 128GB SSD).
    So far, so good...
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    A friend just replaced a 2008 24" iMac with a 2017 27".
    Of course, the new one is very fine, but the old one still boots up and runs. The main reason he bought a replacement is because the OS on it can only be upgraded to a certain point, and he was having problems opening certain sites with Safari, problems with email, etc.

    I have a 2006 vintage white Intel iMac that boots and runs ok, although I don't use it often any more. But it can still perform the tasks I ask of it.

    I would expect a 2017 iMac -- PROVIDED IT HAS AN SSD IN IT -- to keep performing well at least 7-8 years. The SSD will make all the difference.
  8. Guy Clark, Aug 20, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018

    Guy Clark Suspended

    Guy Clark

    Nov 28, 2013
    London United Kingdom.
    There is one thing that bothers me with modern iMacs. They are almost entirely non-user serviceable with components such as GPU, CPU and RAM soldered to the Logic Board.

    I have two iMacs a late 2015 4k and a mid 2011.

    The mid 2011 iMac can be accessed easily for repair or upgrade by the user where the late 2015 4k iMac can present a monumental task and then once you are inside a lot less can be done.

    mid 2011 21.5" iMac (repairability score 7/10)"_EMC_2428

    late 2015 21.5" 4k iMac (repairability score 1/10)"_Retina_4K_Display_(2015)

    Supporting Right To Repair.


    Just sold the late 2015 21.5" 4k Retina iMac
  9. jeniferkey macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2008
    At home I have a 2008 that is still a workhorse. It's my main computer and our plex and channels video server. Just recently I've been looking at getting a replacement, since the most recent Adobe software won't install. But the older software still works, so I might wait. I did replace the hard drive at one point to upgrade to a Fusion 2 TB. It was a refurb purchase originally, and I never expected it to hold out this long.
    At work I'm on a mid 2010 Mac Pro. This was a recent upgrade from a 2007 Mac Pro that was having issues with browsers due to the lack of upgrades. That computer has now moved to the server room and is still chugging along with a different OS.
  10. Guy Clark Suspended

    Guy Clark

    Nov 28, 2013
    London United Kingdom.
    Never found an issue with running older releases of software. It is possible to run Snow Leopard even now using older software without problems.
  11. vojislavsh thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 5, 2018
    Podgorica, Montenegro
    Bought iMac 5k 2017, couldn't wait anymore. I got it with a discount and I'm very happy now. Thank guys for all your advices, it was really helpful. Cheers.
  12. bbnck macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2009
    Couldn't, or wouldn't wait any longer? ;)
  13. Dc2006ster macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2011
    Alberta, Canada
    I would highly recommend getting Apple Care if you have not already done so. I think it can be purchased within the 1 year initial warranty period.

    My 2017 27” 5k iMac is currently at Apple for a logic board and ssd replacement. This is just 2 weeks after the 1 year warranty expired. I have Apple Care and so will not be charged but otherwise I would be facing a charge of near 50% of the initial purchase price.
  14. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Not in the EU.
  15. vojislavsh thread starter macrumors member


    Aug 5, 2018
    Podgorica, Montenegro
    I’m going to ask about apple care. Thanks for advice.
  16. bbnck, Aug 26, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018

    bbnck macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2009
    Not necessary within the EU. Apple are required to continue providing free repairs for manufacturer defects beyond the Apple Limited Warranty (which is up to one year), and in some EU countries, beyond the AppleCare Protection Plan (which is up to three years).

    @vojislavsh Montenegro is not yet a member of the EU so you may want to consider purchasing the AppleCare Protection Plan if local consumer protection law in Montenegro is either limited or difficult to enforce on retailers.
  17. dogslobber macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2014
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    The 2011 iMac keeps going, for sure. It's a pity Apple doesn't support Mojave on it but I have El Cap running on mine and never saw the motivation to run anything later on it permanently. The 21.5" model can take 32GB of memory so it's really an all round supreme system. I agree that its design and serviceability are the pinnacle of Apple hardware engineering. They just suck the life out of you with their aggressive stance on non-upgradable successor iMacs.
  18. pwm86, Aug 27, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2018

    pwm86 macrumors newbie


    Oct 23, 2016
    I use an early 2009 24' iMac among others, 8GB RAM, and I will install a 1TB SSD in it today instead of the DVD reader.
    No problems so far, but very slow at startup. Runs El Capitan.

    Installation went well. Now it runs Mojave und is fast enough that I will continue to use it in the office.
  19. oVerboost macrumors 6502a


    Sep 17, 2013
    United Kingdom
    I have been using a mid 2011 21.5" iMac for the past 7 years without any issues. I upgraded the RAM myself on it a few years back and it worked fine until recently when I noticed it starting to take longer to boot up, longer to load programs I use daily such as Photoshop etc. I did consider changing the hard drive for an SSD replacement but after thinking it through it made sense to buy a new iMac which is what I did today; bought myself a 27" iMac which should serve me well for the next 7 years. The old iMac had also reached it's OS upgrade lifespan, so it wouldn't have been able to use Mojave when that became available, and as sad as it may seem dark mode is something I have wanted in a Mac for years, so wanted a system that could use that for evening/night working.

    I'm not one who needs the latest and greatest computer, as long as it does what I need it to without any trouble and is reliable which my old iMac has been, in fact it's not caused me a single issue since I bought it, and it is now being given to my parents who can still make good use of it as all they really do is browse the internet, send emails and watch youtube.

    I think thats the difference between Mac's and PC's - try using a 7 year old Windows PC and running the latest programs without any issues other than slow boot ups etc, many won't even load up new programs, the systems become laggy and crashy and an all round horrible experience. Any Mac will serve you well for 10+ years if looked after, and the older iMac's are great as they give you the option to upgrade the memory yourself (the reason I opted for the new 27" over the 21" as you can't upgrade anything on that easily).
  20. Dc2006ster, Aug 27, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018

    Dc2006ster macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2011
    Alberta, Canada
    I read in an earlier post that you are considering using an external SSD. I have an internal SSD for the OS and apps and use an external SSD for my images and videos for editing. I also have a backup of my internal on another external SSD. It is possible to boot from an external SSD.

    Initially I used a USB 3 port for the SSD but once I realized that the port (5 Gbs max) is slower than the SSD (6 Gbs max) I purchased a USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbs max) enclosure and now use a Thunderbolt port. This gives me 20-25% faster read/write speeds than using the USB 3 port.

    Some externals e.g Samsung T5, SSDs come with the USB 3.1 Gen2.
  21. Matz Contributor


    Apr 25, 2015
    Rural Southern Virginia
    My mid-2010 27" i7 iMac continues to surprise me as to how well it runs. I upgraded to a 512GB SSD, and have 24GB of RAM. I may go to 32GB, but so far, haven't needed it.

    But the SSD is what made the larger difference in performance - night and day.

    It does everything I need it to do (mostly writing, spreadsheets, some photo editing, some windows programs via a VM) so far. And the screen still looks very very good.

    And eight years after I bought it, it is only now reaching the point where it won't take the upcoming OSX (Mojave). A pretty good run, I'd say.

    We'll see how long I can get by with High Sierra. A good while, I suspect.

    I just installed Parallels 14, and it runs swimmingly. And makes an already great machine even more versatile.

    As others have suggested, buy the best you can afford now, and consider an external SSD if you find yourself dissatisfied with the fusion drive. I'd expect you'll be happy with an iMac for quite a few years.
  22. wysinawyg macrumors member

    Aug 3, 2009
    We're still running a "late 2009" 27" iMac bought in early 2010.

    The HDD quit on us 2 or 3 years ago. That meant cracking it open and installing a 1TB SSD (and adding some RAM) which gave it a whole new lease of life. As someone above has said with the newer models you could just run off a TB3 SSD - probably a speed improvement vs the Fusion drive (though not vs the NVME SSDs they now have internally).

    The house got hit by lightning a couple of years back. Fried a bunch of networked devices - the iMac survived just with losing ethernet so now we're down to a wifi only connection.

    Can't use the DVD drive. I accidentally stuck an SD card in it that I couldn't get out. I did replace it when I put in the SSD but managed to miss a screw which fell down to get in the way - and I've never got round to cracking it open for that again (we have an external Blu Ray from when it had the SD card in it). And of course that is not a potential problem any more being you don't get them to start with.

    All in all its been a great purchase - but it is the main computer my wife uses for her (not remotely computationally intensive) work so its about time we thought about upgrading as its at the stage of just getting nervous about the longevity of electronics. I do want to wait for the new revision though having come this far.
  23. roadkill401 macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2015
    It depends on what you definition of still going is. I would say from my experiance it's about 3 years when you Apple Care runs out. Now I am not saying that my iMac doesn't work, just it doesn't work right and if you are willing to put up with the bugs and a defective screen that has retention issues, then you might be OK.
  24. jaduff46 macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2010
    Second star on the right....
    Late 2010 i5 27” still runs fine after 8 years, although haven’t really pounded it a lot since retiring three years ago.
  25. meddow macrumors member


    Nov 18, 2017
    Im still rocking the 27" Late 2009 iMac :-D still going strong with the HDD that came with it and 16gb RAM :-D

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