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thealphabeta

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 20, 2020
2
0
Hi All

New to the forum. I have been looking to buy an iMac and was somewhat bewildered by the choices on offer and instead of spending hours down a rabbit hole I thought I would see the advice of those in the know so here I am :)

I have been looking at 21 and 27 inch iMacs and am unsure whether to buy new or used and save some money on an older model.

I only use the computer for web development, browsing, music etc, nothing taxing so to speak. I don't watch movies on it or anything like that. So, my usage is relatively run of the mill I suspect. So there is in lies the question - do I really need a new iMac with all the bells and whistles when really I am looking for the convenience of an all in one solution that I can set up in my office just to complete these average tasks.

I would prefer the monitor to be slim so I am unsure when that started being the case and whilst I don't use a huge amount of storage I also don't want to be relying on 100GB.

I have a work laptop that I use on my monitor vie HDMI so having the option to use it as a display as well as a standalone iMac would be a plus.

Also, I do have a Macbook 12" which I like to use on the go. The other alternative is that I just get a good monitor and a dock and connect that way, save buying another machine I suppose? I guess that also give me flexibility of working on the go

Any guidance greatly appreciated
 
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0128672

Cancelled
Apr 16, 2020
5,962
4,783
Welcome to MacRumors! You would probably be fine with a 21.5" iMac except you may want to upgrade the hard drive to the 256GB SSD ($200 USD). There are lots of threads here about avoiding the spinning hard drives (and the fusion drives as well, although some users like them). Another money-saving option is to keep an eye on iMacs stock in the Apple Refurb Store (https://www.apple.com/shop/refurbished/mac). That's a great way to get a like new machine, get a one-way warranty and ability to buy Applecare for it. The stock changes often so if you see what you want there, you may want to grab it.
 

Fernandez21

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2010
4,839
3,177
If you MacBook is sufficient enough to handle your workload, you can get a nice monitor and and simply dock to it, works great with my MacBook (I have a 24" Dell ultra sharp monitor that I use with mine, cost around $300).

If you really want an iMac, I would do a 27" model because because it's a significantly different experience with the monitor size, you can also use iCloud to keep everything in sync. A 2017 with 2tb fusion would be the lowest speced I'd get, it has current io with 2 thunderbolt 3 ports (usb-c compatible) and the 2tb fusion uses 128gb SSD so you get alot of the benefits of the SSD in everyday use. I was able to get one for $1,500 on Amazon.

I would also try to get one with an upgraded GPU, not just for future proofing just in case you decide you want to try a game or some editing, but because the retina screen you need more power to run the OS smoothly. This is also why I wouldn't recommend the 2014 or 2015 5k iMacs, too underpowered to properly run at that resolution. If you go with an older machine than the 2017, I would get a non retina model if you don't care about that.

If your going to get a new one, try to wait until WWDC, just in case they do end up releasing a new model, and even if you don't get it, you could end up getting a better deal on the older iMacs.
 

thealphabeta

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 20, 2020
2
0
Yes my Macbook is sufficient I think, I just get frustrated plugging things in and out and the lack of connections. What dock are you using with yours out of interest? The 24" screen sounds like a good idea! Definitely a lot cheaper as a route to go down and I suspect that for my needs my Macbook could suffice for many more years yet assuming it doesn't break or anything.

Great shout on the 2017 iMac as well, that sounds sensible.

I am not fussed about a new one really. I rather get value for money and something that suits my needs but is not overkill. That's all really.

Appreciate your help

If you MacBook is sufficient enough to handle your workload, you can get a nice monitor and and simply dock to it, works great with my MacBook (I have a 24" Dell ultra sharp monitor that I use with mine, cost around $300).

If you really want an iMac, I would do a 27" model because because it's a significantly different experience with the monitor size, you can also use iCloud to keep everything in sync. A 2017 with 2tb fusion would be the lowest speced I'd get, it has current io with 2 thunderbolt 3 ports (usb-c compatible) and the 2tb fusion uses 128gb SSD so you get alot of the benefits of the SSD in everyday use. I was able to get one for $1,500 on Amazon.

I would also try to get one with an upgraded GPU, not just for future proofing just in case you decide you want to try a game or some editing, but because the retina screen you need more power to run the OS smoothly. This is also why I wouldn't recommend the 2014 or 2015 5k iMacs, too underpowered to properly run at that resolution. If you go with an older machine than the 2017, I would get a non retina model if you don't care about that.

If your going to get a new one, try to wait until WWDC, just in case they do end up releasing a new model, and even if you don't get it, you could end up getting a better deal on the older iMacs.
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Thanks for the welcome. Yes I had been reading some of those thread and indeed that makes sense. Much faster experience too.

Also thanks for the shout on refurb, I will keep an eye on the UK site :)

Welcome to MacRumors! You would probably be fine with a 21.5" iMac except you may want to upgrade the hard drive to the 256GB SSD ($200 USD). There are lots of threads here about avoiding the spinning hard drives (and the fusion drives as well, although some users like them). Another money-saving option is to keep an eye on iMacs stock in the Apple Refurb Store (https://www.apple.com/shop/refurbished/mac). That's a great way to get a like new machine, get a one-way warranty and ability to buy Applecare for it. The stock changes often so if you see what you want there, you may want to grab it.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,148
12,305
I recommend a 27" iMac. You'll NEVER regret paying extra for the larger display.
Also, the 27" model allows you to add RAM easily if you need to (NOT easy with a 21"). So get just 8gb to begin with, and add more later on your own if necessary.

Also, if you want to save $$$, you could buy an Apple-refurbished model -- they come with the same 1-year warranty and for all practical purposes will be indistinguishable "from new".

I believe Apple is still selling refurbished 2017 version iMacs -- very close to the performance of the current (2019) design, and save a little more.

One thing, and it's important:
I would recommend that ANY iMac you get have an SSD inside (not a fusion drive or platter-based hard drive).
It will run faster and better, for longer.
Even a 256gb SSD will do the job (you can plug in a USB3 drive for more storage).
512gb SSD seems to be "the sweet spot" right now for size v. pricing.

If you buy new, you have to special-order the SSD through Apple's online build-to-order pages.
Apple refurbs are available with SSDs pre-installed.
 
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mj_

macrumors 68000
May 18, 2017
1,616
1,281
Austin, TX
+1 for keeping your current MacBook and hooking it up to an external display. Depending on what model you have you might even be able to run 4K@60Hz (2017 models) but I would not recommend that due to the MacBook's slow iGPU. Running a HiDPI display off a MacBook is pretty taxing and will result in fairly high internal temperatures and, eventually, thermal throttling. However, running a LowDPI display will work just fine.

There are displays out there that not only connect to your MacBook via USB-C but will also charge your MacBook while doing so. All you will need is a single cable going from your display to your MacBook, that's it. Some displays even have built-in USB hubs as well so you could connect external peripherals such as hard drives or thumb drives to your MacBook via your display. Throw in a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and you have a brilliant and efficient setup at the fraction of the cost of a brand-new or even refurbished iMac.
 

Bradley Street

macrumors newbie
May 21, 2020
18
3
Definitely don’t buy one with a spinning drive. Just bought the new A2116. Decent specs, but it runs like a turtle new out of the box. Will spend 10 seconds waiting on safari to load up. Awful awful awful. I’m very disappointed in apples new iMacs. Having to bring it in this weekend for an SSD upgrade and ram upgrade.
Also, don’t expect to do an upgrade yourself unless you’re fully prepared to cut the front screen off to access the guts and swap out all that stuff. There’s kits for it online, but you run a high risk of cracking the display when removing the screen.
 
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Fernandez21

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2010
4,839
3,177
Yes my Macbook is sufficient I think, I just get frustrated plugging things in and out and the lack of connections. What dock are you using with yours out of interest? The 24" screen sounds like a good idea! Definitely a lot cheaper as a route to go down and I suspect that for my needs my Macbook could suffice for many more years yet assuming it doesn't break or anything.

Great shout on the 2017 iMac as well, that sounds sensible.

I am not fussed about a new one really. I rather get value for money and something that suits my needs but is not overkill. That's all really.

Appreciate your help


[automerge]1590052551[/automerge]
Thanks for the welcome. Yes I had been reading some of those thread and indeed that makes sense. Much faster experience too.

Also thanks for the shout on refurb, I will keep an eye on the UK site :)
I'm using a 24" Dell ultra sharp monitor from 2012, it has a built-in USB hub and works fine. Also using a USB C dongle I got on Amazon to hook everything up.

But you should be able to get a more modern monitor that does everything through USB C, including charging your MacBook.
 

krazzix

macrumors 6502
Jun 15, 2010
266
362
Netherlands
Whatever you do I would wait until WWDC, on June 22. Big chance they'll reveal a new iMac then.
 
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majaca

macrumors member
Oct 1, 2013
55
4
Whatever you do I would wait until WWDC, on June 22. Big chance they'll reveal a new iMac then.
Isn't it highly likely tho that the upgrade will be to the iMac Pro, and not the regular version?
 
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