Opinions please regarding breathing new life into a mid '11 27" & 09 24"

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Rmonster, Jun 1, 2017.

  1. Rmonster, Jun 1, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017

    Rmonster macrumors member

    Rmonster

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2015
    Location:
    Havering, UK
    #1
    Hi All

    I have a local repairer with a good reputation and who I have used before, so I have no concerns in that regard.

    I have two iMac as per subject heading that are far from being primary use machines, and although I appreciate that MR forums is not a place to come and get your head examined, for the sake of context and in the interest of getting some honest opinion, advice and feedback, I will have to confess that I do have a bit of a "thing" with regard to the Apple II, Macintosh, iMac range and somewhat of an "extensive" collection of same.

    I also have a bit of a hoarders mentality and hate to see serviceable computers lay in a state of disrepair and I do have a tendency to look after my belongings and they become somewhat treasured.

    There, I've fessed up and please don't judge me too harshly for it.

    So, onto the questions:-

    I have a Mid '11 iMac 27" i5, 1TB spinner on board, RAM upgraded by me which is about the limit of my DIY skills. It used to be my primary machine and then I passed it to my daughter a couple of year ago. I used it regularly but relatively lightly, my daughter used it for 2 years a bit more intensively but not overly so. She uses the Adobe CC apps primarily. Apart from so many finger prints on the screen (why do they do that!) and a bit of dust, it will be in aesthetically mint condition after I clean it up.

    I recently retired the iMac from her use as I got a great deal on a refurbed Late 27" for her as she is in the middle of her A levels and will be off to Uni later this year.

    We retired it because it had displaying the "black screen of death"? from time to time a few weeks back, sometimes only being stable for 30 seconds or so but sometimes being perfectly stable for several hours of use.

    I've read up on MR and understand that the AMD Radeon 6770M 512GB is known and prone to fail and the repair shop spends a lot of time sorting these.

    Although the most expensive solution, their recommendation which I tend to agree with is, is that they replace the chip element with a brand new one.

    Their quote for the part and fitting is £279.

    My thoughts are that if I go down this route then I will be giving myself the best odds of a repair that will last the longest but at some point down the road, the new chip will fail, but that this will hopefully be 5+ years down the line.

    If I go ahead with the repair, although the 1TB spinner has not shown any signs of failure or any issues as all, I know that replacing it with an internal SSD will breathe new life into it and would intend to give the iMac to my youngest daughter who is 12.5 years of age.

    The repairer has suggested that although the caddy replacing the superdrive option is do-able, his own personal preference is to leave the superdrive in replace, remove the spinner and replace directly with a Crucial internal SSD (although he is perfectly happy to use Samsung internal SSD units as well).

    I tend to agree with his recommendation. He can supply and fit a Crucial 525GB SSD for £200 or a 1TB for £325.

    So, if I replace the graphics chip and go for the 525GB it will cost me £479 in all or if I go 1TB then £604.

    Please remember that the computer itself is mint and has all fully working accessories, but please advise if I am insane for contemplating spending on either of these options. If you would do it, which SSD size would you go for given that it will be used by a young girl, so not heavily, and I appreciate that we could add spinner based external storage in addition to an internal SSD relatively cheaply.

    With regard to the 2009 24", I purchased this second hand and complete and it is mint other than a damaged LCD which has the orange/amber hue. The repairer has a replacement LCD which he can test to ensure that it doesn't have the discolouration and if this is the case he has offered to sell and fit it for me for £100.

    This would very much be a machine just to stay in my collection and be used very occasionally so although I appreciate that even if the panel is good, it would be likely to discolour at some point in the future but given very light use, this would hopefully be many years down the line.

    For the sake of £100 I am very much tempted to go with this but, again, advice, opinions, insight etc would be much welcomed.

    Many thanks
    Rich
     
  2. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 65816

    nambuccaheadsau

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    Location:
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    #2
    Well Rich I would not be spending that money on a six year old computer. How much do you think it is worth? And whilst it may be in peak condition, it is still hamstrung by USB2 for any external drives etc you may wish to run on it. $1,200.00 or so would help defray the cost of a later model.

    A lot of discussion on replacing gfx cards is in his thread:-


    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/2011-imac-graphics-card-upgrade.1596614/page-29
     
  3. sboychuck macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2014
    Location:
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    #3
    I had a similar issue with an old 17-inch MacBook Pro and a 24-inch iMac. They were both still operational, but very slow and tired. They already had maxed out RAM, which was not a lot, but old spinning HDD. So, I got a good deal on some Crucial MX300 525GB SSD's and installed them, with El Capitan on them. Compared to what they were before, they are much happier machines, and actually quite usable. My 10-year old daughter got both of them for games and school work. I do not know if I would of spent a lot more money on them if they had needed screens and GPU's, unless I could have got a very good deal on the parts and did my own install to keep costs down. The older Mac's are actually "easy" to work on compared to the new ones, if you have the right tools, and study the online repair guides. I have had both of my computers apart several times to blow them out, replace fans, etc. At the end of the day, it was much cheaper to put SSD's in both of them instead of buying new or refurb's.
     
  4. Rmonster, Jun 1, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017

    Rmonster thread starter macrumors member

    Rmonster

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2015
    Location:
    Havering, UK
    #4
    Thanks for the input guys. With regard to the 2011 27", head says no but heart says yes, so I'm tempted to go for the chip replacement and the 525 SSD as a "compromise" to myself as I do love my old stuff. Am happy for people to be brutally honest as I need that sometimes.

    I'm not being flippant about £100 as I don't have money to throw about but am 99.9% in on the 2009 24" LCD replacement or am I throwing good money after bad?

    Like I said, the machine will be only occasionally used and will really just be in the collection as I have pretty much a working example from nearly every generation, or is the orange screen scenario almost guaranteed at some point on these models?

    Thank again
    Rich
     
  5. sboychuck macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2014
    Location:
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    #5
    My 24-inch screen has a bit of an orange tint, but really not all that noticeable except on white or very light large backgrounds.
     
  6. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #6
    I think it has Firewire 800. You could try buying a Firewire 800 enclosure, put the SSD in that and boot from it. It should work pretty well, and then you still have the internal HDD available for movie files, music, photos etc.

    Firewire 800 enclosures run about $40 for a decent 3.5" enclosure with mains power. You could find a 2.5" enclosure that doesn't need mains power for your SSD.

    I'm not fully clear which iMac you're talking about, but it might also have thunderbolt, in which case thunderbolt enclosures and thunderbolt-to-usb adaptors are - still expensive - but getting cheaper and cheaper.
     
  7. Rmonster thread starter macrumors member

    Rmonster

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2015
    Location:
    Havering, UK
    #7

    Apple iMac 27-inch Desktop (Intel Core i5 Quad-Core 2.7 GHz, 2X2 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 512MB graphics, OS X) - 2011

    Thanks for your input.

    This was the original spec and all I've done is upgrade the RAM. It does have thunderbolt which the repair shop said would be ideal for external additional storage/back up.

    The logic behind internal SSD replacement is that it is optimum in terms of performance being plugged directly to the Logic Board rather than an internal Caddy or external FireWire or TB and that the the 525GB Crucial seems like reasonable value for money and reliable (unless anyone else has had a different experience) and the machine would need to be opened for the GPU chip replacement in any case.


    Any opinion on other brands of internal SSD, eg Samsung, in terms of value & performance against the Crucial brand?

    Cheers
    Rich

     
  8. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #8
    My wife uses an early 2009 24 incher, with the HDD replaced with a 500 Gb SSD (Mushkin), and 8 Gb memory. It's perfectly usable for email, browsing and nontrivial web stuff, and a bit of fiddling around in Word, Acrobat, and the like. To be honest I'd say that that machine might be just fine for your daughter. The SSD upgrade is a must, though, as is the full memory complement. An SSD install on an early 2009 is relatively easy if you have the suction cups, and read through the ifixit instructions *including the comments* before starting. (The HDD thermal sensor on the early 2009 is outboard from the drive and is simple to reattach to the new SSD.) I normally wouldn't advise keeping a machine that old with a bad display, but if your local guy can fix it, great.

    I'm less sure about putting 500 quid into the 2011. If you decide to go that route, don't fuss over the SSD brand; pretty much anything will work fine and will be faster than the SATA controller in that machine can drive. I've used Mushkin and Toshiba, Crucial is fine too. I'm not a huge fan of some of the Sandforce SSD controllers on purist grounds, but for 99% of users it won't matter. I rather imagine that a 500 Gb SSD will be plenty unless your daughter is into HD video, or has 10,000's of photos.
     
  9. ChrisA, Jun 1, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    I have the EXACT same iMac. You got some mis-informed advice here (some good too)

    The machine is still fast enough. I use it for software elopement and documents. I typically run VMWare Fusion and Linux in the VM while I do my text edits and web/email on the Mac. Even the Linux VM is fast enough (but it is only a bunch of thermal windows).

    Here is what you can do:

    1) Max out the RAM. The mid 2011 can hold 32GB (even if the specs say 16GB)
    2) Use the THUNDERBOLT port for a faster disk drive. Place all your apps and all you data on a SSD that is connected to the Thunderbolt port via USB 3.1 dongle. OKyo can open up the iMac and put in a $400 SSD plus labor but why invest money in a 7 year old iMac. And external SSD can be used on a future iMac.
    3) This older iMac can not boot from USB 3.1 Either boot off the internal disk (slow) or add a tiny FW800 SSD to the thunderbolt chain and boot from that. But no one would want to invest in new FW800 products so I use the internal disk and only boot every few months anyways.

    Seriously a Thunderbolt connected SSD is darn fast and you will find the 32GB of ram does wonders
     

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