Is a mid-2011 Imac still worth it?

godzillinois

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 18, 2008
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So I have my eye on a used 2011 i5 21.5" Imac. I can get it for around $300 and will install a SSD in addition to the 500GB HD and probably max the RAM, so the computer will cost a total of $500-$600 when all is said and done. I was wondering if an old iMac was still worth getting if I max it out in this way?

I plan on using the iMac strictly for art with programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and Corel Painter with my Wacom Cintiq. I also plan on using it to record and make music with, most likely with Ableton Live or Logic Pro. I have looked a some posts here in the forums and alot of people have been commenting that a 2011 machine wouldn't be worth it just based on the fact that it doesn't have USB 3.0 or Bluetooth 4.0 or the newer Thunderbolt connection.

My question is, since I don't believe any of the audio interfaces I plan on getting or tools I own use USB 3.0 or Bluetooth or Thunderbolt 2.0, would the older iMac be worth getting? Would the SSD and RAM upgrades bring it up to speed? How good/bad is the 21.5" HD screen in comparison to other, newer models of the 21.5" screens? (Non-retinas, non-4Ks.) Is it good enough to see color accuracy for print?

*I currently own a 2012 13" i5 Macbook Pro (upgraded with a SSD and 16GB RAM) that I use for art, deejaying, music recording and web-browsing. My new computer would become the main art/music machine with my Macbook Pro being used for web-browsing, deejaying and the occasional portable art session.
 

kschendel

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
1,061
334
If you get the memory and SSD from vendors like newegg and Data Memory Systems you ought to come in on the low end of that total estimate, depending on how big an SSD you want.

Normally I'd say no, not worth it, but since you don't have a real need for any of the newer interfaces, it might not be a bad purchase. The screen should be pretty nice if it's at all comparable to the 24 inch LCD Display screen a couple years older.
 
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AlanTheBrit

macrumors member
Apr 13, 2007
46
0
Runcorn, Merseyside UK
So I have my eye on a used 2011 i5 21.5" Imac. I can get it for around $300 and will install a SSD in addition to the 500GB HD and probably max the RAM, so the computer will cost a total of $500-$600 when all is said and done. I was wondering if an old iMac was still worth getting if I max it out in this way?

I plan on using the iMac strictly for art with programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and Corel Painter with my Wacom Cintiq. I also plan on using it to record and make music with, most likely with Ableton Live or Logic Pro. I have looked a some posts here in the forums and alot of people have been commenting that a 2011 machine wouldn't be worth it just based on the fact that it doesn't have USB 3.0 or Bluetooth 4.0 or the newer Thunderbolt connection.

My question is, since I don't believe any of the audio interfaces I plan on getting or tools I own use USB 3.0 or Bluetooth or Thunderbolt 2.0, would the older iMac be worth getting? Would the SSD and RAM upgrades bring it up to speed? How good/bad is the 21.5" HD screen in comparison to other, newer models of the 21.5" screens? (Non-retinas, non-4Ks.) Is it good enough to see color accuracy for print?

*I currently own a 2012 13" i5 Macbook Pro (upgraded with a SSD and 16GB RAM) that I use for art, deejaying, music recording and web-browsing. My new computer would become the main art/music machine with my Macbook Pro being used for web-browsing, deejaying and the occasional portable art session.
[doublepost=1491440404][/doublepost]Beware of CPU fan failure, the whole of the guts of this iMac have to be removed to replace it; all other fans running at maximum speed gives the clue - the CPU fan stopping can be intermittent with several hours between the alarming whooshing bouts.
Intermittent is bad, as other components can stop the fan (PSU, connectors etc.)
 

godzillinois

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 18, 2008
23
0
[doublepost=1491440404][/doublepost]Beware of CPU fan failure, the whole of the guts of this iMac have to be removed to replace it; all other fans running at maximum speed gives the clue - the CPU fan stopping can be intermittent with several hours between the alarming whooshing bouts.
Intermittent is bad, as other components can stop the fan (PSU, connectors etc.)
Is this a known issue for this model? How would I test for it?
 

dogslobber

macrumors 68040
Oct 19, 2014
3,872
5,862
Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
So I have my eye on a used 2011 i5 21.5" Imac. I can get it for around $300 and will install a SSD in addition to the 500GB HD and probably max the RAM, so the computer will cost a total of $500-$600 when all is said and done. I was wondering if an old iMac was still worth getting if I max it out in this way?

I plan on using the iMac strictly for art with programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and Corel Painter with my Wacom Cintiq. I also plan on using it to record and make music with, most likely with Ableton Live or Logic Pro. I have looked a some posts here in the forums and alot of people have been commenting that a 2011 machine wouldn't be worth it just based on the fact that it doesn't have USB 3.0 or Bluetooth 4.0 or the newer Thunderbolt connection.

My question is, since I don't believe any of the audio interfaces I plan on getting or tools I own use USB 3.0 or Bluetooth or Thunderbolt 2.0, would the older iMac be worth getting? Would the SSD and RAM upgrades bring it up to speed? How good/bad is the 21.5" HD screen in comparison to other, newer models of the 21.5" screens? (Non-retinas, non-4Ks.) Is it good enough to see color accuracy for print?

*I currently own a 2012 13" i5 Macbook Pro (upgraded with a SSD and 16GB RAM) that I use for art, deejaying, music recording and web-browsing. My new computer would become the main art/music machine with my Macbook Pro being used for web-browsing, deejaying and the occasional portable art session.
We got 2x 2011 21.5" iMacs here with maxed out 32GB of RAM with SSD replaced and they're fabulous machines. The best iMacs Apple ever made in my opinion. The Sandybridge quad core CPUs can handle everything we throw at them. Sure, the GPUs are getting on a bit but who cares? We don't play video games on them. The screen is great IMO. Retina is great marketing term. We've had zero issues with them and they're going on 5yo.
 
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godzillinois

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 18, 2008
23
0
We got 2x 2011 21.5" iMacs here with maxed out 32GB of RAM with SSD replaced and they're fabulous machines. The best iMacs Apple ever made in my opinion. The Sandybridge quad core CPUs can handle everything we throw at them. Sure, the GPUs are getting on a bit but who cares? We don't play video games on them. The screen is great IMO. Retina is great marketing term. We've had zero issues with them and they're going on 5yo.
thank! I never believed any of the retina hype, and after a certain point at that size screen it's hard to see a difference. I think I was just more wondering about the color accuracy of that particular screen and how it compares to the newer 21.5" 1080 screens.
 

dogslobber

macrumors 68040
Oct 19, 2014
3,872
5,862
Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
thank! I never believed any of the retina hype, and after a certain point at that size screen it's hard to see a difference. I think I was just more wondering about the color accuracy of that particular screen and how it compares to the newer 21.5" 1080 screens.
My iMac 2011 21.5" can drive a 4K display (Dell P2715Q) at 30hz similar to other more recent Macs. Technically, it's not supported but that doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't work. YMMV as to whether it works for you.
 

nambuccaheadsau

macrumors 68000
Oct 19, 2007
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Nambucca Heads Australia
If you could get a 2012/13 with an SSD already fitted and say a minimum of 16GB of memory, consider it. Advantage is USB3 for faster backups etc., stronger graphics. On the downside memory is not user upgradeable so suggested 16GB. Have seen these for sale around the $700-800 mark.
 

Easttime

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2015
598
422
I'd be concerned about the age of other components. If a thermal sensor or something goes, repairs can get expensive.
 

paulryp

macrumors regular
Sep 22, 2016
135
133
Nice machine for day to day work as long as you put an SSD in. The GPU is weak so no gaming but it runs Starcraft 2 and hearthstone etc nicely.
 

Velin

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2008
1,596
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Hearst Castle
So I have my eye on a used 2011 i5 21.5" Imac. I can get it for around $300
See if you can find a late 2013 model instead, one that already has an SSD. Also, go for the 27-inch screen. Way better machine, and frankly it should cost around what you are contemplating spending. I'd pass on the 2011.
 

godzillinois

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 18, 2008
23
0
See if you can find a late 2013 model instead, one that already has an SSD. Also, go for the 27-inch screen. Way better machine, and frankly it should cost around what you are contemplating spending. I'd pass on the 2011.
Where are you seeing 27" 2013 Imacs for $600 or less? Lowest I can find is $750 used without an SSD, and new/refurbished are still going for around $1700
[doublepost=1491493256][/doublepost]
I'd be concerned about the age of other components. If a thermal sensor or something goes, repairs can get expensive.
Is there any diagnostic tests I can run?
 

namria

macrumors newbie
Aug 25, 2011
6
0
I've had mid2011 27".

The display is really good. Very nice color balance - could work for hours without my eyes getting tired. QC3.1GHz 8GB Ram was enough for everything and still would be, especially with SSD. I had best experience with OS Mavericks. Everything was so smooth.

BUT

In 4 years GPU and MB burned 3 times! Optical drive died. The screen was spoiled with internal dust.
That's why I wouldn't recommend this model to anyone. I wouldn't ever buy it, if I knew all the problems it will have.
 

AlanTheBrit

macrumors member
Apr 13, 2007
46
0
Runcorn, Merseyside UK
Is this a known issue for this model? How would I test for it?
Can't test for a fault that isn't present. Only way to test an intermittent fan fault is to remove the fan and run it from a separate power source for an extended period - but this means stripping the guts of the iMac to do so.
It would all be infinitely easier if Apple had designed the iMac to be be owner service accessible.
However, CPU fan failure is uncommon with the 2011 iMac.
 
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