Is buying a 2012 27" imac a good idea?

hollyb96

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Original poster
Nov 3, 2019
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I have the opportunity to buy a 2012 27" imac with 32gb ram, 1tb sdd memory, 3.4ghz, intel core i7. I know the the specs are good but im worried about buying an older computer. is buying a 2012 imac a good idea or shall i try and buy a newer one with worse specs?
 

honestone33

macrumors regular
It depends upon how current you want/need to be with the Mac OS. Here is a list of Macs that can support Catalina:


Note the entry for "iMac (2012 or newer)". That would seem to imply that for the next version of the Mac OS, that 2012 iMac will not support it. I actually have the same issue with my late 2012 Mac Mini, as Catalina is (most likely) the last OS I can use on it. Fortunately, I've had my Mac Mini for more than 6 years, and it has served me well. I will be looking to purchase a 2018 Mac Mini model soon.

So, that is the question you will need to consider. Most likely, Apple will continue to issue Security Updates for Catalina for 3 to 4 years more. But if you use any third party applications, there is the possibility that any of them which issue Security Updates will no longer do it for as long.
 

hollyb96

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Original poster
Nov 3, 2019
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Thanks for your reply. Ive never had an imac before so i have no clue what catalina is and what mac os is. I will only be using the computer for video editing with final cut pro, no other apps and things will be used. I will be editing videos and uploading them to youtube and thats it. I have a laptop for doing other things (my laptop isnt powerful enough for a video editor). For just video editing will it be ok?
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it also has nvidia geforce gtx 675mx graphics with 1gb gddr5 memory. is that good? i know nothing about computers and im trying to research but i dont really understand anything haha
 

honestone33

macrumors regular
Thanks for your reply. Ive never had an imac before so i have no clue what catalina is and what mac os is. I will only be using the computer for video editing with final cut pro, no other apps and things will be used. I will be editing videos and uploading them to youtube and thats it. I have a laptop for doing other things (my laptop isnt powerful enough for a video editor). For just video editing will it be ok?
I do not do video editing, so I cannot offer any guidance/opinion about that.

Catalina is the latest version of the Mac OS (Operating System). Mojave was the prior version of the Mac OS. Catalina (OS 10.15.0) was initially released in the beginning of October, and there has already been one update (OS 10.15.1).

I do see where Final Cut Pro is an Apple application, so there is a good chance you'll be OK with it regarding future Catalina-related Security Updates. But you need to consider 1) the possibility of using the iMac for other tasks, and 2) if a future version of Final Cut Pro is released that has a feature (or features) you need, but can only be used with future versions of the Mac OS.
 

a2jack

macrumors 6502
Feb 5, 2013
384
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That 2012 loaded iMac will do your job just fine.

With the SSD and Ram already installed you should be ready to go.

Catalina Is the new os just out of Beta. It has some problems but not many for iMac. You may be forced to run it when you crank up your new machine, other wise hold off a while.

Read all the posts here on the 27" iMac. Good luck a2
 

honestone33

macrumors regular
Yes, that iMac sure is loaded, and yes, Catalina is still somewhat buggy (I am actually not having issues with it, in my testing). But for future considerations (some I mentioned above), it is best to think about them. And certainly security concerns are certainly paramount and important, including what I mentioned about Final Cut Pro.
 

hollyb96

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 3, 2019
15
0
the seller sells lots of imacs and has said that it can come with either mojave or high sierra, whichever i prefer. He says that catalina has killed 2 computers that he knows of where the CPU has died and that he will never sell an imac with catalina. What is better mojave or high sierra?
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I also have the option of either 1gb or 2gb of gforce 675mx memory. Is the extra gb better to have if im video editing or would it not make much of a difference?
 

honestone33

macrumors regular
the seller sells lots of imacs and has said that it can come with either mojave or high sierra, whichever i prefer. He says that catalina has killed 2 computers that he knows of where the CPU has died and that he will never sell an imac with catalina. What is better mojave or high sierra?
- - Post merged: - -

I also have the option of either 1gb or 2gb of gforce 675mx memory. Is the extra gb better to have if im video editing or would it not make much of a difference?
Go with Mojave. It is definitely stable. As for Catalina, I am actually not have ANY problems with it. But don't know how an OS can "kill" a computer (and 2 in the seller's case). Issues with a new OS can be any of the following:

1. Improper preparation for the move/upgrade to the new OS. This can include a system which is not very "clean", and is rather cluttered.
2. Third party software that is not compatible with the new OS. I have seen so many folks have that specific issue, and it's their fault for not checking that out. Myself I already have a list of such applications, with quite a few of them being critical. To date, I have only 2 critical ones that need upgrades: SuperDuper!, and TechTool Pro.
3. Incompatible hardware. That can be a myriad of things, from old drivers to unsupported devices. One such device category that typically rears its ugly head is printers. Fortunately, I have no issues with any of my peripherals.
4. Rush to the new OS, again without proper preparation.
5. Issues with the OS itself. This is especially prevalent with the initial release, and it typically takes at least 2 subsequent upgrades to get rid of all the bugs. OS 10.15.1 has already arrived, but folks are still having issues. Apple is working on the next release, OS 10.15.2, as I write this.

Finally, in regards to memory, more is always good. As it is, according to what you initially stated, it has 32 gig of RAM. If you can afford it, go with more gforce 675mx memory.
 

Strangedream

macrumors 6502
Sep 15, 2019
399
263
Singapore
Depends at what price and for what usage. For video editing, the old GTX 675 might be a bottleneck to watch out. Use this website to compare the GPU with newer chipsets: http://gpuboss.com/compare-gpus.
Also as impressive as 32GB of RAM sounds, you're talking about a slower 1600MHz DDR3. If you go for a 2017 model you get much better RAM speed with 2400MHz DDR4 buses.

Usually Apple makes computers that last, my late 2006 iMac still runs like a charm for simple tasks like web browsing with a few tweaks to overcome software limitations.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,442
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Newer is better.
2012 is getting to be "a little too old" now.
IF that's all you can afford, then get it.
But I'd suggest looking a 2017 Apple refurbished iMacs in the online store.
 
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dz5b609

macrumors member
Mar 22, 2019
93
136
Without knowing a price nobody can really help you here, because it all depends on the price. But

Specs aren't what I would call good though, compared to 2019 imacs you talk about low budget/entry-level performance, probably even a bit worse, like 10-20% worse for normal tasks and much worse/unusable for graphic tasks and with a much lesser screen compared to the new iMacs.

32GB of DDR3 is pretty pointless and it's slow memory, old SATA SSD which is slow, old quad-core processor with bad clock speed and only 4 cores, Video Cards that are useless, worse than the new intel integrated graphics and even too bad for use for video editing. Old IO with useless Thunderbolt-I ports and bad WIFI performance.

All in all time hasn't been kind for those iMacs. And while the improvements in computer performances in the last few years have been quite stagnant compared to 2012 they've made some quite big leaps.

You really shouldn't pay more than 6-700 for it. But even for that money I wouldn't get it, it's just not very good and outdated anno 2019 and you can get better Windows machines + 1440p ips monitor for the same money and much better refurb iMacs for a bit more money.

My advice would be if you really want an iMac to start looking at the 2014-2015 models, those are still good and use 'modern' technologies.
 
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a2jack

macrumors 6502
Feb 5, 2013
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The other posters are right, it is a price thing. If you are in that magic 6 to $700 buck range, and you don't need that extra 10 to 20 % speed, you win.

That 27" 2012 iMac is still a fine machine. Vendors price here would be interesting. LOL. a2
 

hollyb96

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Original poster
Nov 3, 2019
15
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Im getting it for £850 (imacs are more expensive to buy here in the UK). Here is the description of the imac with everything it will have:
The iMac 27-inch Core i7 3.4GHz (Late 2012) was the configure-to-order model for the Late 2012 range, with the range topping 22nm, 3rd generation quad core "Ivy Bridge" Core i7 (3770) 3.4GHz processor. This model utilises the GeForce GTX 680MX with 2GB of dedicated memory for graphics processing, allowing for up to two external monitors, each with a maximum resolution of 2560 by 1600.

  • 27-inch LED-backlit display with IPS technology (2560x1440 resolution)
  • Intel Core i7 (3770) 3.4GHz quad-core "Ivy Bridge" processor (with Turbo Boost 2.0 to 3.9GHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX Graphics with 2GB GDDR5 memory
  • 1TB SSD
  • 32GB DDR3 RAM
  • FaceTime HD Camera
  • Four USB 3.0, two Thunderbolt, Gigabit Ethernet and SDXC card slot
  • Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0
  • macOS 10.13 High Sierra
  • Genuine Apple Wired Keyboard and Mighty Mouse
I asked what ssd he installs in them and he said the brand "crucial" which when i looked up online seems to be really good. I originally was going to get a windows computer and buy adobe premier pro but decided to go with an imac so that i could use final cut pro because its an easier video editor to use. I originally only wanted to spend about £400 on a computer but imacs are more expensive to get a good one and im willing to pay the £850 if this is a good one to buy. With all the specs above, what are all your opinions? I literally know nothing about computers, hence why i started this thread, so your opinions would really help. Thanks!
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He can also customise the imacs i think so if you have suggestions on better options i could ask him if he could add different RAM etc
 

a2jack

macrumors 6502
Feb 5, 2013
384
227
The build is fine. Those are high quality components. The price of $1,094 US seems high, but if that is the going rate for that machine in the UK, (check prices on line before you buy), then the Widows stuff must be high as well.

Your choice. Good luck. a2
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,185
1,855
Between the coasts
You have to consider how many years of usage you plan to get from the Mac. I wouldn't budget more than two years of productive use for a 2012, so take your purchase price, divide by two, and ask yourself if you'd be OK with that annualized cost. (I have a 27" 2013, and I expect I'll be replacing it in a year or two).

Perhaps macOS Catalina (version 10.15.x, introduced September 2019) will be the last new version of the OS available for this model, or maybe next year's OS (10.16.x) will be the last. Your ability to upgrade FinalCut Pro will be restricted to the version of macOS your iMac can run. Once you aren't able to upgrade macOS you won't be able to upgrade FinalCut Pro to the latest version.

My biggest concern for video editing is the display (the CPU, graphics card, and SSD seem fine). iMac displays are much better these days than they were in 2012 (although they were quite good based on what was available in 2012). 5K Retina displays were introduced in the 27" 2014 iMacs. If you move from YouTube to 4K video, you'll want a newer iMac.
 
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dz5b609

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Mar 22, 2019
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Im getting it for £850 (imacs are more expensive to buy here in the UK). Here is the description of the imac with everything it will have:

The iMac 27-inch Core i7 3.4GHz (Late 2012) was the configure-to-order model for the Late 2012 range, with the range topping 22nm, 3rd generation quad core "Ivy Bridge" Core i7 (3770) 3.4GHz processor. This model utilises the GeForce GTX 680MX with 2GB of dedicated memory for graphics processing, allowing for up to two external monitors, each with a maximum resolution of 2560 by 1600.

  • 27-inch LED-backlit display with IPS technology (2560x1440 resolution)
  • Intel Core i7 (3770) 3.4GHz quad-core "Ivy Bridge" processor (with Turbo Boost 2.0 to 3.9GHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX Graphics with 2GB GDDR5 memory
  • 1TB SSD
  • 32GB DDR3 RAM
  • FaceTime HD Camera
  • Four USB 3.0, two Thunderbolt, Gigabit Ethernet and SDXC card slot
  • Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0
  • macOS 10.13 High Sierra
  • Genuine Apple Wired Keyboard and Mighty Mouse
I asked what ssd he installs in them and he said the brand "crucial" which when i looked up online seems to be really good. I originally was going to get a windows computer and buy adobe premier pro but decided to go with an imac so that i could use final cut pro because its an easier video editor to use. I originally only wanted to spend about £400 on a computer but imacs are more expensive to get a good one and im willing to pay the £850 if this is a good one to buy. With all the specs above, what are all your opinions? I literally know nothing about computers, hence why i started this thread, so your opinions would really help. Thanks!





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He can also customise the imacs i think so if you have suggestions on better options i could ask him if he could add different RAM etc
This machine is really not suitable for Final Cut Pro in a professional or semi-professional capacity. Maybe if you only want to use final cut pro for some basic 1080p videos and just want to do some basic stuff with it and don't care about hours long render times but everything more than that and your processor and especially your GPU will bottleneck you in a massive way. 4K is even just not possible with those specs.

Like I said already it really isn't a very good computer by 2019 standards, you're talking about the equivalent of a 4-500 dollar windows pc with a much worse GPU and a bit worse CPU (which really are the 2 parts that really count in terms of performance).

Also a quick FYI the brand of an SSD really doesn't matter that much, you basically have 2 factories where all of the brands get their parts from. More important is wether it's an NVME or an SATA drive and in the 2012 iMAC's are SATA drives which are a lot slower than the newer NVME drives (which the 2012 iMAC's don't support).
 
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hollyb96

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 3, 2019
15
0
If i buy a newer 2017 model, the specs are pretty much 8gb ram, 1tb hdd and cost about £1300-£1600 here in the UK (which i cant afford). We do have black friday here in the UK but it only really just started happening here in the UK in the last couple of years and the discounts arent massive, i could probably save about £200 on a brand new imac but i couldnt afford that.
If the GPU and CPU are bad on the 2012 imac would i be able to ask the seller to put in better or will it not be possible for the 2012 version? Do you think it would be better to not get an imac and get a windows computer instead and just learn how to use adobe premiere pro? These were the computers i was looking at before looking at imacs: https://www.amazon.co.uk/CyberpowerPC-Wyvern-1660Ti-Gaming-PC/dp/B079YWK948/ref=sr_1_22?keywords=computer+windows+10+16gb&qid=1567024146&s=gateway&sr=8-22
 

vertical smile

macrumors 601
Sep 23, 2014
4,018
5,215
That spec iMac is the same that I am using, except I am using a 1TB Fusion Drive instead of just a SSD, although, there are inconsistencies in what you are posting:
it also has nvidia geforce gtx 675mx graphics with 1gb gddr5 memory. is that good?
This model utilises the GeForce GTX 680MX with 2GB of dedicated memory for graphics processing,
Which one is it?

My iMac has the 680MX with the 2GB VRAM, and it is the best GPU that you can get for the iMac for that year, but if the one you are getting has the 675MX, then that could change things.

My iMac is a beast. I thought that I would have replaced it by now, but there is no need at this point. I don't play WoW anymore, but when I did, I was able to play it with most of the graphic settings on max. I do play WoW classic, and I play that with all the graphic settings to the max.

While I do not do too much video editing anymore, when I did it seem to perform well. It encodes video pretty quickly too.

A side note, I am still on macOS 10.13 and probably will be parked here for a while, although it is capable of having the lasted OS, at least for now.

Another good thing about this model is that it is able to do Target Display Mode, which turns your iMac into an external display for other Macs. This is something that newer iMac cannot do.

Overall, I would highly recommend someone getting a high-end Late 2012 iMac if they are trying to save some money, but still want a decent Mac.


But.........

Im getting it for £850
This seems a little high for it. I understand that people might look at that price and then say try to get something newer, but I don't know what the Mac market is like where you live, so maybe that price is decent.

Maybe look around before jumping on the deal you found, because it is a 7 year old Mac.

But, then again, I wouldn't sell mine for less than $1,000 based off of what it can still do for me. I doubt I would be able to find a buyer quickly, but I wouldn't let it go for any less.
 
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hollyb96

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 3, 2019
15
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Hi, so originally i was going to get one with the: GeForce GTX 680MX with 2GB of dedicated memory for graphics processing but then that imac was sold so then the next one he had for sale was the geforce gtx 675mx graphics with 1gb gddr5 memory so i was going to buy that but then after talking to him and realising that he makes them himself, he told me that he can add the better one in if i wanted it so i would probably go for the 680mx because reviews online say its better.
The price is the cheapest in my area. Everything else with ssd memory has only like 180gb or 250gb and over £1000. The newer models for the most basic stuff is like £1500. It seems as though imacs are a lot cheaper in america. You guys can buy a new imac for $1800 whereas here ours are £1700 which is $2172 so naturally even the older models are more expensive than what you would pay.
I was super surprised seeing an imac with 1tb ssd for only £850 (it was actually £1000 but i managed to get the price down). All the others werent as powerful and about the same price.
Is seems as though the big factor involved with everyones opinions is the price but if we took the price out of the equation, is it a good computer? Is there anything that could do with being improved that i could ask the seller for? I could ask for less RAM if people think that would slow it down? Thanks for all your help:)
 

MRrainer

macrumors 65816
Aug 8, 2008
1,172
629
Zurich, Switzerland
The price is a decisive factor.

If this is what you can afford - well, I guess that is it.
Hopefully, it will not break down for as long as you use it.

Imagine buying an old, high-end car (like a Mercedes AMG) just at the top of your affordability, with no warranty.

And then it breaking down, you not having any money left for repairs.

It's already been declared "vintage", i.e. Apple will not even repair it for money, nor can an AASP buy parts for it.

I don't want to talk you out of it, but you should be aware of what you're buying.
 

hollyb96

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 3, 2019
15
0
The imac comes with a 6 month warranty from the seller. I know its not much but its better than nothing. The main thing i care about right now is whether or not the actual computer is good. If the specs are good. Ive had a lot of mixed opinions through this thread so im not really sure whether to buy it or not. Once i know if the actual computer is good then i will decide whether or not i want to take the risk buying an older computer. Would i be better buying this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01IPH2700/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza?tag=macr0e-21&th=1
 

WilliamDu

macrumors regular
May 22, 2012
146
45
the seller sells lots of imacs and has said that it can come with either mojave or high sierra, whichever i prefer. He says that catalina has killed 2 computers that he knows of where the CPU has died and that he will never sell an imac with catalina. What is better mojave or high sierra?
- - Post merged: - -

I also have the option of either 1gb or 2gb of gforce 675mx memory. Is the extra gb better to have if im video editing or would it not make much of a difference?
Stick with Mojave. Catalina is a regression, not an upgrade at present. See lots of Catalina forum threads.
Your loaded 2012 sounds like a good buy depending on price. No reason to go past Mojave for your stated needs.