moving from (2011) 27" to new 4k 21.5"- anyone done it and regretted it or not?

madeirabhoy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 26, 2012
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with my 27" likely dead, see other threads, ive had a look and I'm about €1400 for a 21.5" 3ghz with a 2 gb graphics card, or €2050 for a 27" 3.4ghz with a 4gb card. since the only gaming I do is Civ VI and football manager I think the extra speed and card improvements would be nice but not immense, and if I can wait for them ordering I could pay a wee bit more for a 21.5" with the same power.


I'm trying to persuade myself that the 21.5" since it has more pixels and a better screen will actually be as good if not better, but I'm hesitant to jump in and find its 'too small'. on the other hand, that €600 would be better used elsewhere, I don't actually want to buy a new mac but I don't think my old one is going to be fixable.
 

Guy Clark

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Nov 28, 2013
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I have a late 2015 21.5" 4k iMac and its a fine machine. There are things to bear mind prior to purchasing though. Be sure to go for the Fusion Drive option as the standard 1TB 5400rpm option is a painful experience much improved now that I upgraded to a Seagate Solid State Hybrid Drive SSHD
https://www.seagate.com/gb/en/solutions/solid-state-hybrid/

Also bear in mind Fusion Drives are not currently compatible with APFS although I understand this will change in macOS 10.14 though Apple should have sorted compatibility in macOS High Sierra prior to release.

Furthermore if you have older peripherals you are best going with the late 2015 model as the 2017 has USB-C/ Thunderbolt 3 although if you are looking to run an eGPU then the 2017 model is your only option as Thunderbolt 2 does not support eGPU's, yet more planned obsolescence from Apple.

Although you get a lot more bang for your buck with the 21.5" 4k iMac it will be a considerable amount of lost screen estate in comparison 27" 5k iMac. Now I am not saying you cannot do a lot with the 21.5" 4k iMac quite the contrary. I can get a lot more done compared to my mid 2011 21.5" secondary iMac.

The modern slimline iMacs are difficult to carry out work on yourself and bear in mind your need to pre order the amount of RAM on the 21.5" 4k iMac as it requires removing the Logic Board to do so. The 27" 5k is easy by opening a hatch at the back just above the power cable. I am uncertain if the same applies to the 2017 model
https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+27-Inch+Retina+5K+Display+RAM+Replacement/30533

There is much to consider and take in to account if it is economically viable to repair your current machine. If you are able to diagnose the issue there is also the option of carrying out the repair yourself as the 2011 iMacs are relatively straightforward to work on
https://www.ifixit.com/Device/iMac_Intel_27"_EMC_2429
 
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nambuccaheadsau

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Oct 19, 2007
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Give the 5400rpm and Fusion drives a big miss and spend a little more on an SSD model. The day of Fusions and Hybrids, whilst never that good, are way behind us. Remember you cannot upgrade the memory without disassembling the machine.

And consider the 27" model.
 

Guy Clark

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Give the 5400rpm and Fusion drives a big miss and spend a little more on an SSD model. The day of Fusions and Hybrids, whilst never that good, are way behind us. Remember you cannot upgrade the memory without disassembling the machine.

And consider the 27" model.
I swear by Solid State Hybrid Drives and have them inside both of my iMacs. Hybrid Drives offer improved performance without loss of capacity at a lower cost. Even High Performance Mechanical Drives such as Western Digital Black available up to 6TB capacity which come with a 5 year manufacturer guarantee should not be discounted
https://www.wdc.com/products/internal-storage/wd-black-desktop.html
 

Guy Clark

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Only if you want a molasses speed hard drive. Go SSD or com[lain about it for the next five or six years. OP go through the forum and look for folks complaining about slow platter drives.

If you have the need for a speedy computer, go SSD. Have a read of this link explaining some differences:-


https://www.techlila.com/fusion-drive-vs-flash-drive/
I do not deny that SSD is the fastest solution however neither are they the be all and end all. Hybrid Drives offer much in the way of performance enhancement as do High Performance Mechanical drives both at a fraction of the cost with much larger capacity options available.
 

colodane

macrumors 6502a
Nov 11, 2012
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Colorado
While I throughly enjoy my 27 inch 5K iMac, the 21.5 does have a valid place in the lineup. When properly spaced, it is a fine machine if your work habits can fit on the screen size. Case in point, my wife just upgraded her old iMac and ended up purchasing a 21.5 inch 4K. She is very happy with it. I advised her to get the highest spec i5 processor, 512K of SSD and 32 GB of RAM. 16 GB would probably work, but it was a business purchase and she tends to have lots of things running at the same time. End result is only about $200 less than my 27 inch, but for her purposes (very small office and desk) it was a good choice. Seems to be a very fast and quiet machine with a great display.
 
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Fishrrman

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Feb 20, 2009
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My opinion only, but you're not going to like going from the 27" display to the 21"...
 

mreg376

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Mar 23, 2008
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My opinion only, but you're not going to like going from the 27" display to the 21"...
Agreed. Once you go big you can't go back...

If you're putting the machine in the same place, doing the same things you did on the 27", you won't be happy. I looked at the 21.5 to replace my 24" and it seemed like a miniMac.
 

madeirabhoy

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Oct 26, 2012
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Agreed. Once you go big you can't go back...

If you're putting the machine in the same place, doing the same things you did on the 27", you won't be happy. I looked at the 21.5 to replace my 24" and it seemed like a miniMac.
I couldn't do it. even when the first shop I went to only had 1 21.5 in stock, I went to the other side of the city and bought a machine higher than I wanted, the middle 3.5 ghz one, because I couldn't downsize.
 

Guy Clark

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Seagate Hybrid spells flop! Fusion are not much better. Go the through the forum and see trouble folks are having trying to diagnose which hard drive has failed!


https://www.reddit.com/r/Dell/comments/4pndp4/high_sshd_failure_rates/
I respectfully disagree. I have found Seagate Hybrid Drives to be very solid and reliable.

Furthermore the issues would appear specific to Dell machines therefore do not reflect an overall picture of the reliability of Hybrid Drives.
 
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