Looking for a used imac for home office

Discussion in 'iMac' started by leftcoastal, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. leftcoastal macrumors newbie


    Mar 29, 2017
    I've got a mid 2012 Mac Air that I enjoy using for most things, but the small screen just isn't cutting it for work.

    I run a small internet business from home and mainly need this computer to act as a shipping and tax station. Most of my packages ship online with usps.com and my taxes are done with quickbooks software. My vision is good but a 24" or 27" screen would make things much easier/faster.

    Few things I'm in a pickle about. Having gotten used to the fast speed of an SSD HD do I get an older '09-'11 Core Duo imac with a bigger 24"-27" screen or possibly get a mid '11 that has the i5 sandy bridge chipset, more expandable ram and bigger hd? From what I can tell the '11 are not expandable in the HD dept? My gut tells me an older imac with an SSD HD would be a more productive machine.

    Found quite a few imacs locally. Never considered buying a used computer but all my macs have been near bullet proof over the years. Budget is around $300-500.

    Appreciate any insight you guys can offer.
  2. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    An older iMac with an SSD does actually feel faster than a newer one without for basic tasks. That being said, the Mid 2011 iMac is not harder to upgrade with an SSD than a Mid 2010, but both those models require a special temperature sensor when you replace the original drive to prevent the fans from running at full speed. It's also worth noting the Mid 2011 has a faster SATA III bus.

    The Late 2012 is when adding an SSD internally got harder, but for the 2011/2012 you also have the option of adding one externally using Thunderbolt that would be just as fast as adding one internally. Mid 2010 and earlier have the older FireWire 800 standard which is slower, but shouldn't make a huge difference in day-to-day usage.
  3. leftcoastal thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 29, 2017
    Thanks for the reply. Is that right? That would be great if so. I was reading a blurb about not being able to swap out the mid 2011 HD this morning. Not sure if I read it right here's the link.

    These are the two computers I'm contemplating on getting. Seems like decent deals.

    Leaning on getting this i5 2.5G with the 12g of ram. Was hoping this one would be expandable. Little over budget after the SSD but should be more than I need for awhile

    This one is very affordable and has the extra storage.

    This 27"er Core Duo is hard to not look at. Seems like a great price.
  4. leftcoastal thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 29, 2017
  5. danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

    Mar 12, 2005
    The i5 will be significantly faster than the Core 2 Duo.

    OWC has a pretty good selection of old iMacs for sale.

    Probably be a little more money, but less risk because they are being sold by a well respected retailer.
  6. leftcoastal thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 29, 2017
    Thanks I'll check them out.

    Do you know if that mid 2011 can be upgraded to a SSD?
  7. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000


    Oct 19, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    They can all be upgraded to SSDs, but is not not the easiest job in the world. AND since late 2009, replacing the hard drive, one needs a heat sensor kit from OWC to overcome problems with internal fans roaring. Will edit this and put a link up.

    For mine as you are going to use it for business, I would look for a 2012 model with an SSD alredy installed, they did come new with that option. The 2012 model has one huge advantage, USB3 ports And the 27" model is the way to go if you access craiglist, eBay etc.

  8. danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

    Mar 12, 2005
    OWC also offers an upgrade service to install SSDs in iMacs. It used to be called their turn key service. I'll bet if you called them they would upgrade one of their used models to an SSD for you for a very reasonable price.

    I've got a 27" 2009 i7, with two SSDs (one in place of the optical). It still runs circles around my much newer MBA for processor heavy loads.

    I agree though I'd look for a 2012 or newer. The thermal management was vastly improved among other things.
  9. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Dec 20, 2013
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    if the only limit on your current setup is screen size, why not just get a monitor for the Air? I use a 27" monitor with a 2012 Air all the time.
  10. leftcoastal thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 29, 2017
    Appreciate the responses guys...

    I think I've gotta go with the 27". That being said the '11 and '10 are the only ones in my budget. I've narrowed it down to two that have been minimally used locally. I've been so hung up on boot times I forgot that my comp will mainly be in "sleep mode" so it's not a huge factor.

    I did do some research on the '11 and older imacs running hot. Seems like the common problem is the thermal paste degrading over time. Hoping if I get either of these I won't have to do this maintenance for a bit. Am I overlooking any other reason for overheating?

    Wish I could use my MacAir but the point of getting this comp is to not have to lug around my power cords and hook up stuff every other day.
  11. leftcoastal thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 29, 2017
    Is the 2011 quad core that much faster than the 2010 dual core i3?

    I plan on updating the HD to an SSD and upping the ram of the 2010, but I could spend $200 more and get the 2011 quad core 27" locally for $200 more.
  12. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2014
    It's faster; higher instructions per clock plus the two extra cores. It's a little hard to quantify the real world improvement but it will likely be at most 50% faster and probably not that much. It's hard to answer whether it's worth $200 to you, not knowing your money and time budgets. I'd cautiously advise the 2011, you'll get a little more speed and it's a year newer. There was an Apple replacement program for mid-2011's with 3.1 Ghz i5 or 3.4 Ghz i7 and the HD 6970M GPU, make sure that your candidate either doesn't have those specs or already had the replacement done. I doubt that the program is still running (don't really know though).

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11 March 29, 2017