Newbie questions on Quad-Core and Refurb

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Kauai, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. Kauai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2010
    Hey everyone, my first post here! :p I've lurked for some time but I'm now getting ready to take my first ever plunge into the world of Macs. I've been dreaming of a Mac for years while settling for PCs so here's hoping I won't be disappointed. (Don't expect to be.) My first two questions are simple really.

    For someone like me who wouldn't really call myself a power user, should I even consider a Quad-Core iMac? I will be going to college in one or two years, and could start using some more processor intensive applications then though. I'm also thinking that opting for Quad Core now would "future-proof" my iMac for a few more years and increase resale value...Someone did have a good analogy between the G4 and Intel iMacs and how what may have seemed decent back then between the two would be rubbish now. Would I see a significant improvement in performance while I'm not doing anything too intensive?

    My second question, what are your experiences with refurbish systems? There's a good 500 bucks to be saved by going refurb, sometimes more, and I'm just wondering if the risks are too high or if it's a good deal. I definitely don't want to end up getting a yellow screen refurb or some of the big problems I've been hearing about. Also, the refurb I'm looking at is top of the line in everything but ram (which can be added more cheaply afterward anyway) but it only has a SSD. While I've heard they are fast, how difficult would it be (if possible in the first place) to add a HDD? Honestly I think the 256gb is more than enough for me -- I rarely fill up more on my computers, and the speed would be nice, but that could change if I decide to get an Apple TV and use my iMac as a multimedia streaming center for my TVs. EDIT; Would getting an older Apple TV with a built in HDD be an option here?

    I suppose an external HDD could be an option if an internal one isn't possible, but what are the downsides?

    Last question and then I promise to shut up: ;) I can get Applecare for refurb systems, correct? I think I read that somewhere but just double checking.

  2. SebZen macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2009
    Yellowing is probably LESS common in refurb because they might replace the screen when refurbishing.

    I just went through 3 brand new iMacs and all three had yellow screens. It's complete BS.

    As for Quad Core vs Dual Core - if you aren't doing photoshop or video editing you won't notice ANY difference and it will not provide a speed boost in the near future for day to day tasks such as surfing the web. It won't launch programs faster, you won't get more frames per second in 90% of games, etc. Not worth the money unless you know you need it. If you need to ask, then you don't.

    And hate to burst your bubble but unless you REALLY want an iMac, I'd stay away from it if you're a perfectionist/OCD. This yellowing is driving me nuts but I need a desktop and don't have a monitor already, and don't like Windows. So I'm stuck. If you have a choice, go something else
  3. Kauai thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2010
    Hey, thanks for the quick response! :D

    That's honestly what I thought, I was just considering it because a refurbed Quad-Core is about as much as a new dual-core. But considering the most graphic intensive game I play is the Sims I may not need it. (Still open to opinion saying it would future-proof my mac though, which I'm still considering. At this price I obviously want it to last a good few years.)

    Honestly, that's one of the things that has been worrying me. But I'm still pretty sold on Macs, still. I've had nothing but good experiences with my iPods, iPhones, etcs. And I've been wanting a Mac computer forever. On the other hand I've had nothing but trouble, frustration and malware with PCs as cheap as they are. Tried Linux for a while, didn't like that either.

    I guess I'll just have to cross my fingers and hope I don't have the screen problem.
  4. SebZen macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2009
    Then if I were you I would put in some extra money and buy it from an Apple Store. Then if you were to get a yellow screen, you could exchange it on the spot (for another yellow screen, lol) instead of waiting 3 weeks to have it repaired (and from everything I read, they never fix the yellow screen). Take a look at the yellow tinge thread here in the iMac section. Look at the pics and assume that your screen is going to look mighty similar. If you think you can live with that, go ahead and get a refurb. If not and you still want an iMac, you should probably get it at the store and have a chance to exchange it as many times as they let you
  5. hoopster macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2010
    I think if you are planning on keeping it through collage I would get the quad core this way you will still have a decent computer 5 years out. As for the SSD I think that with a desktop you could just get a firewire external hard drive if you needed the extra storage and then you could still get the benefits of a SSD. As for a refurb I've never gotten a refurb computer but I have got a refurb ipod touch from apple and don't notice a difference between it and a new one.
  6. George Knighton macrumors 65816

    George Knighton

    Oct 13, 2010
    Both of the systems in my signature were refurbs.

    No problems with either of them, and with the 27" I have no monitor whine issue or yellow tint issue.


    Good luck with your purchase!
  7. jim.lynch macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2008
    Ditto, just got a quad core i5 27" iMac from the refurb store - it's perfect, no issues at all.
  8. tc3jg macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2010
    i5 quad core for me first one had problems second one is just about perfect no tint issues.
  9. Mother'sDay macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2010
    Are you going to live in a dorm for college? For my daughter, who will be in a similar situation in a couple years, I'm thinking laptop. For you, an imac now and laptop (maybe even an air) in a couple years makes a lot of sense. You don't even need the tower, and you might not want the bulk.

    I originally ordered a refurb 27" with the ssd from apple, like you're thinking. I'm sending it back and having ordered a refurb 27" with 1T hd that I'm sending to OWC. For the same price or less as apple's ssd I can have the faster ssd from OWC. I'm trading out the 1T hd for 2T, just so I don't have to fiddle with firewire as my main storage for everyday stuff for a while. Once I get a new digital camera with higher mp, that 2T drive may fill up fast! Anyways, the 1T I'm having put in a case to use along with another drive I have for back-up.

    As you say, the imac with just the ssd, nothing else, really leaves you hanging. I haven't figured out what apple was thinking. Now they do the new ones with BOTH an ssd and hd, which makes a lot more sense.

    I'm happy with the set-up I've ordered, so we'll see how it turns out. Hopefully I don't have any yellow screen issues, mercy. I plan to do a lot of digital media, scrapbooking, delve into aperature, etc. Seems like what I've ordered will be plenty of machine for it.
  10. Kauai thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2010
    Most likely not but it's always a possibility. I had only heard about OWC in passing before but now that I just looked them up, a good service to know about for sure. Especially for me. Does that invalidate Applecare though? Or should I say, make it plainly obvious that the computer has been worked on?

    Another question: Most applications these days can't even utilize the full capacity of Quad-Core CPUs, correct? Therefor wouldn't a 3.60ghz dual-core CPU be faster on these applications over a 2.66ghz quad-core for instance or is there something else going on there? Assuming equal cpus (i3, i5, i7) and capabilities, etc.

    But I've definitely decided to at least go refurb since it seems like a way to get more bang for your buck. Not to mention all the research I've done says the vast majority of refurbs are returned for non-hardware issues.
  11. Thermonuclear macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2009
    My 2.66 GHz quad core (two CPUs, two cores each) Mac Pro has been going strong for four years. Having 16 GB RAM is quite helpful, as are the four disk drive bays.

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