Is there anything wrong with buying a 2012 iMac now

secretpact

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 24, 2007
271
0
2012 iMacs are cheap on ebay, and I don't need a workhorse. Just something to use Google Docs/Sheets, some photo viewing, web browsing and iMessage. According to my research online, it can still do airdrop which is pretty important to me for sending photos from my phone to the computer. I'm using an iPhone XS at the moment.

What are the disadvantages of getting an old iMac? Will the computer run slow even with a fresh OS install?
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,397
6,965
Since most 2012 iMacs shipped without an SSD, that is the main cause of slowness you're going to run into. Luckily it's possible to add an SSD yourself, either internal SATA or external USB 3 or Thunderbolt (external is easier).
 

Fried Chicken

macrumors 6502a
Jun 11, 2011
565
588
Nothing. I use it as a daily driver, and I want to keep using it another 3 years or so.

In fact, the 2012 iMac benefits from a lack of 5k screen, because the GPU can drive it and there's no UI sluggishness.
I'd recommend sticking dual SSDs in there using this kit:
https://www.maxupgrades.com/istore/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_ID=401

[edit]
Some stuff to add: because Apple has been focusing all their attention on mobile crap, OS and software development to exploit huge processor advancements has been basically stalled.
I also use my iMac to game: CS:GO, Civ V, BF4, X-Plane. I only feel the graphical squeeze on X-Plane, but it's still plenty usable.
 
Last edited:

nambuccaheadsau

macrumors 68000
Oct 19, 2007
1,739
409
Nambucca Heads Australia
Mojave the current operating system is the last for 2012 models. And others have said, unless it has an SSD installed, it is old hat. All platter drives struggle today, and particularly the 21.5" model which has a 5400rpm laptop style drive.
 

mlody

macrumors 6502a
Nov 11, 2012
997
625
Windy City
Few weeks ago I bought a used 2012 27" iMac from Craigslist to replace my 2010 27" iMac which I later sold on Craigslist.

Yes, the iMac came with 1 TB HDD, but I could not pass on the deal. Originally I was skeptical about opening the 2012 iMac, but as it turns out, the job to replace hdd on 2012 iMac was much easier than on 2010 model I had.
 

MacAlien

macrumors 6502
Oct 17, 2012
425
116
Boston
2012 iMacs are cheap on ebay, and I don't need a workhorse. Just something to use Google Docs/Sheets, some photo viewing, web browsing and iMessage. According to my research online, it can still do airdrop which is pretty important to me for sending photos from my phone to the computer. I'm using an iPhone XS at the moment.

What are the disadvantages of getting an old iMac? Will the computer run slow even with a fresh OS install?

Like others said, just replace the hdd with an ssd and you’ll be spiffy and ready to go. Quite easy to do as well surprisingly. Replaced mine with a 2TB ssd and have had zero problems. They’re decent machine and much better than the 2010s were. Still use mine and haven’t much problems, asides Apple refusing to let nvidia release their web driver with latest OS but no biggie since I have a better computer for heavy usage as needed.
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
390
The Sillie Con Valley
The next OS Upgrade will likely be the last one it can support
Really?

Mojave the current operating system is the last for 2012 models...
Which is it?

I've not heard either of these except for guesses on MacRumors where it's preached as gospel (up to the reader to believe either). What's the source of this information — or is it two of the many rumors?

I wouldn't be surprised if either are true — but is it and which?
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,179
5,533
Unless you can get one REALLY cheaply, I wouldn't be buying ANY 2012 Mac now.
6 years old, going on 7, they're all "getting too long in the tooth".

I'd look for at least a 2015 model iMac...
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
390
The Sillie Con Valley
I'd look for at least a 2015 model iMac...
Yes! Absolutely.

The Retina Display and the PCIe buss were both upgraded in 2015. OK, Apple installed the slower PCIe 2 blade SSD (up to 1T) but the buss is PCIe 3x4 (quad) which means you can make it faster and increase the size up to 2T with a simple chip swap.

For under a grand, you can throw in a 2T blade quad SSD and a 2T SATA III SSD including all parts and an hour labor. $300 less for a 1T blade. If all you need is 2T on board, leave the SATA III drive out.

The Samsung 970 EVO costs $89–$579 plus a $6–13 pin out adapter and is PCIe 3x4. There is an Intel blade out there that costs a bit more and will work also.

This mod turns a 2015 into 2017 with TB2 ports, more or less.
 
Last edited: