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paulwgraber

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 13, 2013
121
1
Looking at getting a used mac for my wife. What are the primary differences between late 2013-late 2015 models? Trying to stay just under 1K if I can. I have heard the late 2013 are almost as fast as the newest models? Which older model from 2013 and up is a good match for price/performance? Which older ones still keep up with today somewhat? Mostly light graphic art stuff and maybe some light gaming.
Thx in advance.
 

kwikdeth

macrumors 65816
Feb 25, 2003
1,139
1,709
Tempe, AZ
any imac made in the last five years is going to be perfectly capable of handling those tasks. the only thing you need to keep in mind is the age of the machine, in relation to how much longer it will be supported by Mac OS X. 2013 is certainly closer to that cut-off than a machine made in 2015, even though they're likely both perfectly capable. to that end however, its always good to look for machines with dedicated graphics rather than integrated CPU-based graphics, as those are always the first to get dropped in newer OSX releases.
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68020
Oct 14, 2018
2,238
665
The Sillie Con Valley
21.5"or 27"?

27" Only:

Late 2012 — non-Retina display, Busses SATA III + SATA III

Late 2013 — non-Retina display, Busses PCIe 2 + SATA III

Late 2014 — Retina display, Busses: PCIe 2 + SATA III

Late 2015 — Retina display, Busses: PCIe 3x4 (but with the slower NVMe PCIe 2 blade on the SSD and Fusion models) + SATA III

Late 2017 — Retina display, Busses: PCIe 3x4 + SATA III
[doublepost=1540516405][/doublepost]
its always good to look for machines with dedicated graphics rather than integrated CPU-based graphics,
This is an issue for the 21.5" iMacs only. For example, the early 2013 i3 Education iMac is this type and has other issues. It's a bargain only if someone gives it to you.

You can get a run down on every iMac made (so far) here:
https://everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/index-imac.html
 
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mikehalloran

macrumors 68020
Oct 14, 2018
2,238
665
The Sillie Con Valley
SSD is faster and more reliable. Max size from Apple is 1T (but can be upgraded to 2T with readily available components).

Fusion has an HDD (spinning hard drive). These wear out, generate heat which cooks all components from the inside.

If there's a real need for speed, get a 2015 and replace the guts with a blade. Otherwise, you can do the same but install a SATA SSD. Not as fast as the blade but still cool and reliable.

What you need depends on the use. Both my wife and I make our livings behind our iMacs.

My wife edits books and teaches school. She doesn't have much music or many photos on her machine. An i5 with a 512G SSD is all the iMac she is likely to ever need. Doesn't matter if SATA or PCIe because nothing she does requires speed except booting in the morning. I like reliability and hate fan noise so the spinner was pulled from her iMac years ago (when that was a lot more expensive than it is now). She has a 2011 that meets all her needs but wants a Retina — working on it...

I work in the music industry and take care of Macs for clients. I need a minimum of 2T for my boot drive and hate to wait for projects to load. A 2015 i7 with a 2T NVMe PCIe 3x4 blade is the slowest iMac that meets my needs and I need another 4T drive for my streaming VIs (virtual instruments) as 2T isn't big enough. I also have external SSDs that I use to test applications, compatibility, OS and beta etc.
 
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paulwgraber

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 13, 2013
121
1
SSD is faster and more reliable. Max size from Apple is 1T (but can be upgraded to 2T with readily available components).

Fusion has an HHD (spinning hard drive). These wear out, generate heat which cooks all components from the inside.

If there's a real need for speed, get a 2015 and replace the guts with a blade. Otherwise, you can do the same but install a SATA SSD. Not as fast as the blade but still cool and reliable.

What you need depends on the use. Both my wife and I make our livings behind our iMacs.

My wife edits books and teaches school. She doesn't have much music or many photos on her machine. An i5 with a 512G SSD is all the iMac she is likely to ever need. Doesn't matter if SATA or PCIe because nothing she does requires speed except booting in the morning. I like reliability and hate fan noise so the spinner was pulled from her iMac years ago (when that was a lot more expensive than it is now). She has a 2011 that meets all her needs but wants a Retina — working on it...

I work in the music industry and take care of Macs for clients. I need a minimum of 2T for my boot drive and hate to wait for projects to load. A 2015 i7 with a 2T NVMe PCIe 3x4 blade is the slowest iMac that meets my needs and I need another 4T drive for my streaming VIs (virtual instruments) as 2T isn't big enough. I also have external SSDs that I use to test applications, compatibility, OS and beta etc.
 

CoastalOR

macrumors 68040
Jan 19, 2015
3,021
1,147
Oregon, USA
SSD is faster and more reliable. Max size from Apple is 1T (but can be upgraded to 2T with readily available components).
Fusion has an HHD (spinning hard drive). These wear out, generate heat which cooks all components from the inside.
You are continuing to provide misinformation. The fusion drive does not have a HHD (Hybrid Hard Drive - normally referred to as SSHD) as part of the fusion. The Apple fusion drive is 2 separate drives combined via software (SSD & HDD (Hard Disk Drive - spinner)). To continue using the wrong abbreviation can be confusing and a disservice to people needing help.
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68020
Oct 14, 2018
2,238
665
The Sillie Con Valley
You are continuing to provide misinformation. The fusion drive does not have a HHD (Hybrid Hard Drive - normally referred to as SSHD) as part of the fusion. The Apple fusion drive is 2 separate drives combined via software (SSD & HDD (Hard Disk Drive - spinner)). To continue using the wrong abbreviation can be confusing and a disservice to people needing help.


I mistyped—if you read the context, you know that I meant HDD, a Hard Disk Drive.
 
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CoastalOR

macrumors 68040
Jan 19, 2015
3,021
1,147
Oregon, USA
Aren't you silly?
I mistyped—if you read the context, you know that I meant HDD, a Hard Disk Drive.
I do not believe is was a mistype. The mistype has occurred in 15 different threads that you have responded. I thought it was a typo at first, but with so much repetition I thought you would want to know. I mentioned the error in 2 different threads so you could make a correction. Instead of fixing the error you comment on my manners. My mistake.

You can give good advice and seem to be very knowledgeable.I was trying to help you. I see I wasted my time and effort.
 
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EugW

macrumors G5
Jun 18, 2017
13,738
11,431
Basically you want:

SSD
27” Retina screen
Thunderbolt
USB 3

If you must get a Fusion drive, you need at least a 128 SSD portion (meaning 2 TB or larger Fusion drive).
 
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