is an iMac from 2012 still a good buy in 2015? Or should I just get a modern mac mini?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by vikaplume, Dec 16, 2015.

  1. vikaplume, Dec 16, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015

    vikaplume macrumors newbie


    Dec 16, 2015
    Montréal, Canada

    I am fairly new to mac. In June I purchased an early 2015 macbook air 11inch with a 1.6ghz i5 processor, 4gb of ram and 256gb ssd. I love how light it is and how it enabled me to do my work pretty much anywhere instead of being tied down to my desk (before purchasing this computer I had an iPad and I had a netbook running a stripped down version of vista before that, otherwise only windows desktops). I bought it because I was going back to university and wanted a good portable computer. This has lead my to a new problem though: my tiny, ultra portable laptop is faster and easier to use than my current desktop computer (which is admittedly older and was cheap - it's an acer aspire with a 500gb hard drive, 3gb of ram, and AMD Athlon dual core processor, and Nvidia geforce 6150se graphics, running windows 7; nothing fancy). I teach online as my primary source of income, mostly from home, and so I appreciate having the larger screen of my desktop. But that windows PC feels SLOW in comparison with my macbook air. In addition to word processing, powerpoint, internet, email and Skype (which I use extensively), I play a few games (mostly the sims, civilization and simcity) and I was unable to run Civ 5 and the Sims 4 on my PC (although they do run on my macbook air with the graphics turned down to low). And so, with all of that in mind, I have decided I need a new computer. I think I want to go apple because I like OS X, I like how it sinks automatically with my iPad and iPhone, and my macbook air supported the Russian language natively without hunting down language packs (and apple's french Canadian keyboard layout is much better than the one for PC).

    So, with all of that in mind, the computer I am looking at buying is a second hand iMac from late 2012 with the following specs: 21.5" screen, 2.7 ghz inter i5 core, 8 gb of ram, nvidia geforce 640 with a 1tb fusion drive. That will cost me $900 cad. Is that still a good buy in 2015 and will it work for my needs (be faster than my windows, closer to my air, run Skype well, and run civilization 5)?

    The other option for a mac in my price range would be a new mac mini (I could get top of the line), the very cheapest iMac, or I could save up for the second cheapest current 21.5" iMac (here:

    Opinions and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    Edit: the only other mac besides the air that I have owned was a 1.4 GHz G4 mac mini running OS X 10.5.8 with an 80gb hard drive and 512mb of ram, which is still functional but doesn't handle modern tasks well, such as playing a video on youtube).

    Edit: or maybe this refurb would be better?
  2. MadDane macrumors 6502a

    Apr 5, 2015
    The iMac from 2012 is more than capable of performing the tasks that you need. And since you mention that you like a big screen, it should suit your needs very well. It will also still greatly outperform the cheapest 21.5" iMac currently offered as well as offering you the possibility of adding RAM down the line (the 21.5" iMac has soldered RAM and therefore non-replaceable).

    The 2012 iMac will still outperform the top of the line 2015 Mac Mini. The iMac has a quad-core processer vs. dual-core in the Mini. Furthermore the iMac comes with a dedicated graphics card vs. integrated in the Mini. And finally, the iMac comes with a very capable 27" screen.

    As you can hear, from the options that you list I would definitely get the 2012 iMac. It also seems like a very reasonable price (though I have to say that I am not familiar with the Canadian market).
  3. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    Still a good buy. CPU-wise the quad models are much faster than the newer models.
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    That seems like a good deal on the iMac and it's better specs than either of the new ones you are looking at, it should last you many good years.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Its a decent machine, on a similar note, my 2012 rMBP is going strong, so I think if the price is right you'll get a nice computer :)
  6. AlexisV macrumors 68000


    Mar 12, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    Get a 21.5" Retina iMac if you can stretch to it. I'd rather wait a few months and save up the extra because it's so so worth it. And the Intel Iris GPU in it will be fine for your games.

    The 2012 Mac screen looks like a Commodore 64 screen in comparison. Once you see and use a Retina screen you won't want to go back.
  7. vikaplume thread starter macrumors newbie


    Dec 16, 2015
    Montréal, Canada
    I don't think I need a retina screen. I am pretty far sighted so probably wouldn't notice a difference (the screens on my iPad 2 and my iPad mini 4 seem very similar to me). And even if I did, wouldn't that make my MBA screen look like it was poor quality then?
  8. e93to, Dec 17, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015

    e93to macrumors 6502a


    Jan 23, 2015
    I have the same iMac with the same spec, but with regular hard drive. It is still a powerful and capable computer (I'm still on 10.8.5). I run El Capitan on a partition, and it seems to handle the OS fine although I haven't fully used it with all the softwares on my boot drive. But for Skype, web browsing, email and Office, the late 2012 iMac should be more than enough. During 3 years of ownership, I've never heard the fans spinning above idle (running multiple softwares in multiple desktops, 4K editing/exporting, playing games, etc.)

    As for games, I've played Arkham Knight, Tomb Raider 2013, Bioshock Infinite, Serious Sam 3, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, etc. They ran fine in mid-high settings.

    But I'm not sure about $900...

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