Is this product stuck in a rut?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Lankyman, Feb 16, 2015.

  1. Lankyman macrumors 68000

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    #1
    I have a mid-2011 iMac base i5 2.5ghz 500g HD with RAM increased to 20gigs. As it's coming up to 4 years old I started to think about the future i.e. maybe a replacement.

    However, when I look at the like for like replacement at the Apple store I see not that much has changed in the intervening 4 years. I really don't want a 27" screen and so have come to the conclusion that although my current model may not be quite as nimble as she once was a replacement wouldn't offer me much more than I already have.

    Is it lack of innovation by Apple or is the technology simply not moving forward a pace anymore? Normally the price of computers tends to stay the same but four years on you get a lot more bangs for your buck.
     
  2. cynics macrumors G4

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    #2
    Depending on how you set it up you can build an iMac that is MUCH faster then your current iMac.

    3.1ghz i7 Haswell is twice as fast in certain Geekbench benchmarks.
    Wifi AC 5x-10x faster
    USB 3 5x-10x faster
    SSD again no comparison
    Thunderbolt connection (not sure if yours has that or not)
    Not sure what graphics card you have either but its likely slower (just saying).

    I think there is a noticeable upgrade to be had.
     
  3. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #3
    The 3.1GHz i7 is way faster than the 2.5GHz i5 in your iMac, and throw in an SSD into the new one and it'll be magnitudes faster. I'm talking about 9-second boot times and instant app launching.

    The GT 750M is also way more powerful than the 6750M in your current iMac. Plus, there's USB 3.

    I've a late-2013 21.5" with i7/16GB RAM/256GB SSD/750M and it absolutely flies.
     
  4. Natzoo macrumors 65816

    Natzoo

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    #4
    yeah but the GT 750 m is a 2 yr old graphics card. And lenovo note books have the GT 860m with 4gb.
     
  5. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #5
    So? What difference does that make besides gaming?

    Besides, it's not like it's going to affect the OP in his case that much anyway.
     
  6. Natzoo macrumors 65816

    Natzoo

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    #6
    Yeah i agree. So we are talking about the 21inch mac for him?
     
  7. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #7
    Yes.
     
  8. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    #8
    The OP should wait for the 21.5" 4K. That will also bring an updated GPU.
     
  9. Lankyman thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #9
    Hey guys! please don't think I'm being rude. However, the responses to date are I think missing the point.

    We have all seen and experienced the scenario with the car dealerships. No model change so the dealers/manufacturers add a little pep to the engine, a bit classier interior and finish it off with 'go faster stripes'.

    However, it is still basically the same model and that's really the point I make here. Yes you can pep up the 21.5" model with some 'go faster stripes'. Would the customer really notice much of a difference in everyday real world use from my present 4 year old i5? Do I actually need a better 0 to 60 mph time?

    The real issue as I see it is that seen from the front there is no visual difference between my present iMac and the one in the Apple store. If you take away the BTO option and go on a like for like basis then it could be argued the model has gone backwards with the slower HDD.

    My point is that four years on the customer would be expecting either a completely new design or an evolution of the existing design. I'm not sure we have either.
     
  10. yjchua95, Feb 17, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015

    yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #10
    They did go for a completely new design compared to yours.

    Yours is the bulky one. The current ones are the anorexically thin ones.

    Yours has a Radeon 6750M. The new one has a far-faster Iris Pro 5200.

    Yours came with 4GB of RAM. The new ones come with 8GB of RAM.

    Yours only has USB 2. The new ones have USB 3.

    Your doesn't have an IPS display. The new ones have IPS.

    Your Sandy Bridge i5 is much slower compared to the current Haswell i5.

    How has Apple not gone forward? I'm not sure whether you're trolling or not.

    The form factor of your current one has been around since October 2009 and was only replaced with the anorexic ones in late-2012. The current design is already good enough as it is, I don't see how it can be improved any further aside from the bezels. The current design does NOT need any updating. It does not look dated.

    Take the unibody MBPs for instance. They've been around since 2008, and they're still around today without looking dated. The rMBP's design was also based on the same design sans SuperDrive and thinner.

    The base 21.5" iMac quad-core (late-2013) is way faster than the base 21.5" iMac quad-core (mid-2011) in almost every way possible (CPU, double the RAM, way better iGPU, USB 3 support, Wireless-AC).

    You might not want us to think you're being rude, but you sure give the impression that you're ill-informed in Apple hardware progression.
     
  11. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

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    #11
    If you're looking for an all-new design and care little for the internals, I'd agree. I happen to like the thin-edge design compared to the previous (for looks, since I do see mine from the side as well as front), but that's not enough of a reason to upgrade.

    However, your zero-to-sixty analogy is misplaced for some components. When it comes the microprocessor and graphics cards - maybe you'd notice an improvement, maybe not. It depends on what you do with them. BUT, either SSD or Fusion Drive will deliver a dramatic improvement in speed for nearly everything you do. We're not talking about momentary acceleration, we're talking about sustained driving speed. Take one for a test drive, and you'll see.

    When you go beyond the externals and look inside any Intel-based PC, nothing fundamental has changed for a very long time. It's all evolutionary improvements. But then, a Model T Ford and today's cars are fundamentally the same, too - internal combustion engine, transmission and drive train, steering wheel.... It's not a crime to have a stable architecture. Boring? Maybe, but the real measure of a tool is what you do with it.
     
  12. thundersteele macrumors 68030

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    #12
    I am surprised that in the end you are mostly after a visual change. I don't consider this relevant provided the current design is already good.

    Now on the technology side I see where you are coming from. On the surface nothing seems to have changed dramatically. The probably biggest difference would be if you compare your machine to a SSD equipped iMac, because this is dramatic.
    Everything else depends on your usage. If what you do is not very demanding on the hardware, a faster CPU or similar improvements won't do much for you. In the end 4 years of evolution didn't do that much to PCs. There are smaller things that were vastly improved, like USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, faster WiFi, etc. Those things are notable, but only if you actually use them.

    Overall I don't think you should buy a 21'' iMac right now. The main reason is that the current model appeared in 2013. Furthermore there is a good chance that we will see 21'' retina iMacs this year, and that is a significant improvement!
     
  13. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

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    #13
    Lankyman,

    There has been a lot of technology improvements since your model was released. If you will not be able to notice the vast improvements, then you're not pushing your existing model to the edge and your needs do not require an upgrade.

    The physical casing/design is today's models is excellent and doesn't require an update. It's already made out of solid aluminum and glass, not plastic like other computers.

    As far as Apple goes, they've done things that no other computer manufacturer has ever done. They engineered and produced a 5K display. Granted, it doesn't exist yet for the 21" model you desire, but if you don't want to step up to the amazing 27" display, then you should wait until later this year when you will likely be able to get a retina 21" display. If you haven't used a 5K display, you have no idea what you're missing.

    Bryan
     
  14. Lankyman thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #14
    I know the iMac got a new rear shell a couple of years back but I only ever really see mine from the front as that's the productive end.

    I can never understand why consumers are so hooked up on specs when the differences in real world use for most is not such an issue. My iMac gets the following use - Office work 75%, browsing 20% photos the remaining 5%.

    I have never played a computer game in my life and don't plan to start now (coming up to retirement next few years) so all this talk about high end graphics and SSD is of little interest or use to me.

    I have actually tried out the latest and greatest in the Apple store and TBH MS Word didn't appear any quicker (or slower) on those machines than they do on mine.

    I do think you're right when you say not much as changed in the PC market either. What was noticeable was the lack of PC Towers, most are now AIO like the iMac.

    It may well be the market has matured and from now on changes in design and technology will be incremental. I think I will likely as not simply extend the warranty for another year and stick with this old gal.
     
  15. driftless macrumors 65816

    driftless

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    #15
    Given how you use your iMac and your replies to the posts pointing out changes in the iMac line, why don't you just keep the one you have? Or, look at the rMBA line.
     
  16. cynics macrumors G4

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    #16
    Thats kind of how things work if you restrict yourself to a certain model.

    A computer with a 21" screen will always look like a computer with a 21" screen. Apple used premium materials in the construction so don't expect much change there. And aside from making it thinner it still needs a 21" screen on it so thats about all they can do.

    Maybe a different stand or something but what they have now works well and looks nice.

    Changing merely for the sake of change isn't typically a good thing.

    Its up to the consumer to say "I want change" and you buy something different like a Mac Pro, Mac Mini, 27" iMac or a totally different computer.
     
  17. thundersteele macrumors 68030

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    #17
    I don't think you can extend the warranty, unless this is some kind of third party (Non-Applecare) warranty.

    Since many years desktop PCs have been sufficiently fast for general office work. These days even smartphones are fast enough.
    In my opinion the most notable advances for average users are SSD storage and retina screens. In both cases not having the feature is not an issue, but going back from a device with that feature to one without is somewhat painful.

    Keeping your current machine for another year or two is an excellent decision.
     
  18. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

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    #18
    Lankyman,

    Just trying to help you out. The good news is that you have absolutely no need to upgrade to a new machine. Yours is already more powerful than you need. Upgrading to the current 21" model will provide no tangible benefits for you.

    I used to think the same as you in that I could care less how thin the iMac was because I only view the front of it. Well, after upgrading from a mid-2010 27" iMac to the new 5K iMac, I can tell you that the thinner iMac is nice and more noticeable than you think. It looks better from the side, even if you can only see the side just a little bit. But the biggest difference is when you grad the side to adjust the viewing angle or move your iMac. The thinness really shines at that point and has a pleasing feel. It's also perfectly balanced and much easier to swivel. Sounds silly, but it makes a difference.

    Down the road, when you eventually upgrade, I would absolutely get an SSD. Having an SSD is not about gaming. It's about speed, lack of moving parts, lack of heat, and it's very quiet. You really don't have a need to upgrade for probably another 2 years (just an estimate) and by then, SSDs will be dramatically cheaper than now.

    The next compelling reason to eventually upgrade is the retina display. Yes, it's that good. Yes, they will eventually have it in the 21" model, although I would suggest giving the 27" some serious consideration as having a bigger display is really nice no matter what you use your computer for.

    I would not buy a third-party warranty for your 2011 iMac. It's just a waste of money if you do so. If your iMac dies (unlikely), then you can simply upgrade at that time.

    Hope this helps,
    Bryan
     
  19. Lankyman thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #19
    I would never consider a Laptop whatever the marque, I love Desktop computers. I used to have a Mini and may well go back to that next time around, unless of course Apple haven't killed it off by then. :eek:

    ----------

    It is a well respected UK retailers warranty that is every bit as good as Applecare. £65 GBP to extend for a further year. My first 2 years were free.
     
  20. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    #20
    I think you are blaming Apple for an industry issue as a whole. There isn't much incentive to upgrade right now. I upgraded from a 2011 MBA to a 2013 MBA a year and a half ago and that was only because I needed 8GB of RAM to comfortably run VM's and I generally upgrade about every 2 years. I started to think about the fact that we are now in 2015 and it would be a good year to upgrade. However, really there isn't much on the horizon to really make me feel like I need to. My 2013 is just as fast today as it was 20 months ago when I ordered it. Maybe 2016 will be the year I upgrade? Maybe after the 12" rMBA is on it's second model I will upgrade....

    Who knows. Moral of the story, there haven't been many earth shattering upgrades in the last 5 years. It has all been incremental upgrades: USB 2.0 -> USB 3.0. Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt 2. Basic processor speed bumps as well as GPU spec/speed bumps. SATA to PCIE storage.

    Then again, how much of the above has always been true? Isn't that what every generation of PC has been since the dawn of the PC? Yearly spec bumps with the occasional new architecture thrown in?
     
  21. Lankyman thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #21
    Brian on the subject of SSD what do you go for i.e. the hybrid Fusion drive or just an SSD? Surely an SSD on it's own won't provide enough storage? I run a NAS now but with an SSD i.e. a balance between price and size I would definitely need my NAS even more.

    ----------

    Much of what you say is spot on. Actually I too run a Windows 8.1 VM via Parallels. It was running this more than anything that made me look at possible upgrades. Even though I have 20 gigs of RAM and devote 6 of it to the VM I have found Parallels to be a dog since upgrading to Yosemite. It is the latest version of Parallels too and despite getting the initial bugs sorted out (there was a driver issue with mid-2011 iMacs and Parallels) it is still slower than it was with Mavericks.
     
  22. Lankyman thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #22
    Your logic is lost on me. If we follow that argument to its logical conclusion then a 27" computer will always be a 27" computer and all your other observations that flow from that.
     
  23. crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    To go back to the original question, I think the iMac is overdue for a major redesign, the current one is an evolution of the G5 iMac from almost 11 years ago (despite the tons of refinements, it's still the same form factor).

    Technologically, there are some things that came out in recent years that could move the product forward.
     
  24. thundersteele macrumors 68030

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    #24
    Like what? Just curious...

    I only see touch screens as a dramatic new feature, and personally it is not something I would like or use.
     
  25. driftless macrumors 65816

    driftless

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    #25
    + 1
     

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