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Is iMac 21.5 2013 worth $400 (Specs below)


macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 4, 2009
I need an iMac but would like to wait until the silicone versions come out to invest in a new one. I’m not doing any incredibly heavy work flows. I have the new iPad Pro 12.9 I use as well w/MK for many things but I need some sort of desktop for certain things and considering I’d like to upgrade when Apple release the new processors, I don’t really want to spend more than $400 on a Mac Mini and that will only get me the 2014 model insofar as I’ve researched.

Someone offered to sell me the iMac they have because they are upgrading. It is in good physical condition but I know I won’t be able to upgrade to Big Sur with this and I read some posters here talking about 12/13 iMacs running very slowly.

So I was just wondering if anyone might be able to advise as to whether this his would be worth $400 with the following specs and then including keyboard and magic mouse. Or is it going to be super slow and not worth it?

Late 2013
2.7ghz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
Memory: 16 GB 1600 MhzDDR3 Ram w
Graphics: Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB
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macrumors newbie
Jan 10, 2020
2013 won't run Big Sur, so its days are numbered. After about 2 more years Catalina 10.15 probably won't have any more security updates. So, would I buy a 2013 now, yes if it is cheap enough, but I would choose a config that runs Catalina 10.15 well today and would run Windows well later. For the former, that means either an SSD or a Fusion Drive. The 1TB Fusion in 2013 was the good variety because it was paired with 128G SSD, not the too-small 24GB/32GB+1T from 2015 onwards.

My understanding is that you can hold out on Mojave 10.14 on HFS+ but you will run out of security updates sooner, or have Catalina 10.15 force you to convert to the APFS file system. The latter practically rules out pure spinning HDDs. The speed is a joke to run APFS on a pure spinning disk. You need at least a Fusion Drive for that, even if you are not picky.


macrumors 68020
Jun 8, 2018
Victoria, British Columbia
If you look at this thread again, I would say no. It most likely has a spinner hard drive which makes it bog down horribly on newer OSes. I am of the opinion though that even with an SSD that model is not worth $400, but it depends on how willing you are to look elsewhere for a deal. You may be able to score a 2013 27" for a similar price if you look hard enough, much better machine overall and if you want the bigger screen you won't regret that part.


macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2016
That's a fair price. Not a great deal, but fair.

100% - referb 2019/2020 quad-core: ~$1275 with 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM
80% - used 2017: ~$1020 with 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM
60% - used 2015: ~$770 with 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM
40% - used 2012/2013: ~$500 with 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM. (-$100 to buy a USB 3 SSD = ~$400 for an HDD iMac)
20% - used 2010/2011: ~$250 with 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM.
0% - 2009 and older. Junk. Only take if free.

Note: If "Have Apple support while running Big Sur" is one of the desktop things you need then a 2013 won't work.
Note2: I consider the SSD mandatory for running 10.11 or newer. 5400rpm with a modern MacOS is just beachballs.
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