Need a new 27" iMac - not happy about current choices available

OldCorpse

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So I have a late 2009 top of the line (at the time) 27" iMac. It is showing its age - I can no longer upgrade the OS beyond the High Sierra it's on. At some point not too long from now, Apple will stop issuing updates for this computer.

The time is near when I will have to upgrade to a brand new one. But I'm super unhappy about the available choices. Here's what I don't like:

1) No re-design since 2012
2) Screens appear really prone to issues - ghosting, burn-ins, short lifespan etc.
3) Large and affordable SSDs are not standard - Apple still has not figured out how to incorporate top of the line large affordable SSDs into its lineup
4) As traditional for Apple desktops GPU choices are a struggle
5) Self-installed RAM - it seems Apple might be moving away from easy user-accessibility here

This is the tip of the iceberg, but I keep thinking Apple will address these issues with the next update of their iMac lineup, but at this point, I don't know if my current computer can last long enough - I mean, when will Apple fix the drawbacks so that it's not a huge compromise yet again - 2020? 2021? 2041?

I wish there was some kind of roadmap, or at least plausible rumors. But I've heard nothing. So I keep working with my old iMac, and I don't know how much longer realistically I can last. I want to be able to edit high data throughput video files without undue hardship, and this is becoming hard on my 2009.

Anyone have any informed speculation as to when we can see the light at the end of this tunnel? TIA!
 

MisterSavage

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Nov 10, 2018
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I don't get the concern with #2. My last iMac I had for seven and a half years. Current one is from 2017. Haven't heard of issues.
 
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wardie

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Aug 18, 2008
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#3 “top of the line” and “affordable” and “large” don’t all add up for SSD. With apple internal SSD you get very fast but expensive storage and up to 2TB. Lots of people will order a small one like 512GB though and plug their own in via Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.1 to roll your own.
#5 is an argument for the current model surely, not against it? If it has a feature now (user accessible RAM) you think will be removed in the future.
 
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Boomer88

macrumors newbie
Sep 21, 2019
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Dated but proven. I just bought a 2019 27" 8gb - 500 SSD and couldn't be happier. I did buy from Apple Refurbish department and used Military/Veteran discount to make the price more palatable.
 

STC1709

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May 27, 2009
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I'm sort of in the same boat as you. Have an early 2009 24in iMac with el capitan. Been wanting to get a new iMac but like you i want a redesign and an ssd standard. Until then i refuse to buy an iMac. I have a mid 2012 macbook pro that i got second hand for $400 3 years ago so if my imac goes i have a back up

i have been toying with the idea of a 2018 mini with the i7 but the struggle to find a monitor that meets the specs of the imac is hard to do.
 

mmomega

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Dec 30, 2009
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1) No re-design since 2012
- definitely real if a person "wants" the asthetic difference

2) Screens appear really prone to issues - ghosting, burn-ins, short lifespan etc.
- have not noticed this, and i have 5 27" iMacs since 2012, still currently using all. The only iMacs I had any form of screen issues with is my 2010 and 2011 have fine dust inside the actual screen.

3) Large and affordable SSDs are not standard - Apple still has not figured out how to incorporate top of the line large affordable SSDs into its lineup
- Apple has NEVER offered decent pricing on SSD upgrades, ever. So for me there's zero reason to expect this. It would be a surprise for me if it ever happened.

4) As traditional for Apple desktops GPU choices are a struggle
- depends on use case but I agree the majority of their offerings are behind what some people want.

5) Self-installed RAM - it seems Apple might be moving away from easy user-accessibility here.
- The only 27" I own out of a dozen that isn't easily changeable is the iMac Pro.

Just my experience.
Also my experience is, when a product has more negatives than positive for a particular person, it is better for that person to find a different product elsewhere. Don't force a negative solution in to your world with expectations of it turning in to a positive. This typically doesn't work out in your favor.
 

redheeler

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Oct 17, 2014
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5) Self-installed RAM - it seems Apple might be moving away from easy user-accessibility here
The current 27" models (non-Pro) still have user-accessible RAM. It's not something I'd rule out for future iMacs as well. Apple has switched from soldered back to socketed RAM on the current Mac mini.
2) Screens appear really prone to issues - ghosting, burn-ins, short lifespan etc.
- have not noticed this, and i have 5 27" iMacs since 2012, still currently using all. The only iMacs I had any form of screen issues with is my 2010 and 2011 have fine dust inside the actual screen.
Ghosting was an issue on the Late 2014 models specifically. That is something I can say with certainty. The current ones maybe less so.
Also my experience is, when a product has more negatives than positive for a particular person, it is better for that person to find a different product elsewhere. Don't force a negative solution in to your world with expectations of it turning in to a positive. This typically doesn't work out in your favor.
Problem is, the iMac has basically no competition. Put simply, there isn't another AIO out there with a 5K display. Or MacOS, which may be a requirement for the OP.
 

gadgetgirl85

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I've been holding out on buying an iMac or a few years now. Every iteration I keep hoping there will be SSD standard. So far, it hasn't happened.
 

Ballis

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May 27, 2008
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I kinda like the current design.
Im still rocking a 2007 with a core 2 duo or whatever. Im upgrading as soon as Apple include wifi 6
 

craigrusse11

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May 24, 2017
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The one thing that confuses and annoys me is why they don’t offer an upgrade to i7 on the 27”, but do on 21”. The only real upgrade option is on the highest 27” offering, that being to an i9, which is overkill. I’d really like to upgrade the i5 to i7 on a 27” as they offer on 21”.
 

newyorksole

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I've been holding out on buying an iMac or a few years now. Every iteration I keep hoping there will be SSD standard. So far, it hasn't happened.
I really think 2020 will be the year. Get rid of that non-Retina 21.5” and give a proper refresh to the other iMacs.

I think the Pro Display XDR could be a good indication of what’s coming to the iMac. Once that happens then Apple’s lineup will pretty much be totally up to date across the board.
 

Falhófnir

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Aug 19, 2017
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Given Apple's current redesign recipe seems to be:
1) Thinner regardless of thermals
2) Remove still useful ports
3) Solder everything down and remove any remaining modularity
4) Whack 20% extra on the price

I'd be hoping for there not to be a redesign any time soon if I was in the market for a desktop 😏
 

newyorksole

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Given Apple's current redesign recipe seems to be:
1) Thinner regardless of thermals
2) Remove still useful ports
3) Solder everything down and remove any remaining modularity
4) Whack 20% extra on the price

I'd be hoping for there not to be a redesign any time soon if I was in the market for a desktop 😏
I feel like removing ports from the iMac isn’t necessary since it’s so large. They can make it thinner and still keep the ports.
 

satchmo

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I've been holding out as well...hoping we'll get an updated design with smaller bezels. Would love it if they could somehow shoehorn the iMac internals into the upcoming Pro Display XDR monitor.
 
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newyorksole

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I've been holding out as well...hoping we'll get an updated design with smaller bezels. Would love it if they could somehow shoehorn the iMac internals into the upcoming Pro Display XDR monitor.
I bought a 2019 27” with baseline processor, 512GB and 16GB RAM with AppleCare+. Brand new and only paid $1500 so I’ll sell it whenever the redesign comes.
 

CWallace

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Aug 17, 2007
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1) No re-design since 2012
And probably not anytime soon - it seems Apple really likes that industrial design


2) Screens appear really prone to issues - ghosting, burn-ins, short lifespan etc.
Since LG is the only supplier, it seems to be hit or miss. I've had three 5K iMacs and never had a panel that had a "noticeable" issue - as in if I just looked at it in daily use, I noticed a defect. I'm sure if I hit it with a calibrator there might very well have been one, but if I cannot see it in daily use... :)


3) Large and affordable SSDs are not standard - Apple still has not figured out how to incorporate top of the line large affordable SSDs into its lineup
Well the prices have been coming down, but there is still a premium to be paid and I don't expect that to end.

4) As traditional for Apple desktops GPU choices are a struggle.
Thermal constraints drive that, unfortunately. Doesn't help Intel and AMD could not get off 14nm for years, though AMD Navi is now at 7nm so the next iMac refresh will see it. Now we wait for Intel to get to 10nm, and who knows when that will happen at the 65-95W end.


5) Self-installed RAM - it seems Apple might be moving away from easy user-accessibility here.
I honestly do not see that happening. The iMac Pro lost it because the more powerful cooling system needed that space. But with AMD now at 7nm and Intel hobbling closer and close to 10nm, that should hopefully reduce the thermal load to allow the existing cooling system to remain, which would allow user-accessible RAM to remain.
 

OldCorpse

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Interesting and valuable feedback folks! Thank you! In any case, I am amazed that the laptops are having some serious revisions, but the iMac is stuck. I'm talking about the new 16" where you have a fairly big re-design. Why not the iMac? And isn't it ridiculous that you can stuff 8TB of storage in a laptop and here we have 27" desktops that are looking quite feeble where the desktop should be top dog? It seems that Apple should be able to do much better with the iMac, given that they seem to be able to do so much more with their laptops. /shrug/
 
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CWallace

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The 16" is not that much of a redesign, to be honest. Same industrial design, just slightly larger in all dimensions and weights, still has bezels, still has a TouchBar, still has 4 USB-C ports.

The main differences from the 2019 15" model is moving to the Magic Keyboard (scissor-switches) and adding a physical Escape button - and these were the #1 and #2 most-requested items for an MBP refresh.

We will likely see higher SSD capacities with the next round of refreshes - I am guessing 4TB for the iMac and 8TB for the iMac Pro. And you can technically put 128GB of RAM into the current iMac, even though Apple doesn't officially support it / offer it. The iMac Pro already goes to 256GB.
 

Icaras

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The 16" is not that much of a redesign, to be honest. Same industrial design, just slightly larger in all dimensions and weights, still has bezels, still has a TouchBar, still has 4 USB-C ports.
Yea I wouldn’t call it a redesign any more than I would call the new 10.2” iPad a redesign.

I believe the MacBook Pro will get a more proper redesign next year alongside the redesigned iMac (hoping), since 2020 would mark the current design’s fourth year in production.
 
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retta283

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I think that the iMac design is the longest lasting in Apple history, it's lasted longer than the PowerMac G5/Mac Pro case. Other than the slim down in 2012 it's the same from 2009. I hope they shake it up soon, as I would be interested in buying again.
 

ayaka19

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Jan 13, 2019
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I really think 2020 will be the year. Get rid of that non-Retina 21.5” and give a proper refresh to the other iMacs.

I think the Pro Display XDR could be a good indication of what’s coming to the iMac. Once that happens then Apple’s lineup will pretty much be totally up to date across the board.
I hope this is the case, however I am not looking forward to them removing all the ports... At least keep them like the current 27" or iMac Pro, that'd be great thank you.
 
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jasnw

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I've got a 2011 27" that's hanging in there and will be facing this same decision. My company recently bought me a 2018 Mini with a 27" Benq monitor. It's got a lot of DoD-type lock-down software on it, and my access as admin is limited (which is a ROYAL pain) but the hardware seems to be OK. This would mitigate your concern about the display going sideways on you a bit, just replace it. The brains are in the box, not in an AIO prison. You can also go crazy with the monitor or go frugal-but-good depending on your budget. I'm seriously considering this option when my personal 2011 iMac dies.
 

newyorksole

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The 16" is not that much of a redesign, to be honest. Same industrial design, just slightly larger in all dimensions and weights, still has bezels, still has a TouchBar, still has 4 USB-C ports.
It’s not a major redesign, but they changed a decent amount. The iMacs haven’t seen much since 2012 besides Retina, Thunderbolt 3 and some improved specs.

I can’t imagine them coming out with a totally redesigned MacBook Pro in 2020 considering this 1 just came out. I think the iMac is up next.
- - Post merged: - -

I hope this is the case, however I am not looking forward to them removing all the ports... At least keep them like the current 27" or iMac Pro, that'd be great thank you.
Yeah there’s really no need to remove the ports from the iMac (Apple’s best computer, IMO). I don’t need any besides Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C, but still.