Performance comparison: new versus old iMacs

Discussion in 'iMac' started by msa6, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. msa6 macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2007
    It's time to upgrade the iMac that has been sitting in the kitchen for six years. I'm thinking about either getting a refurb low end 21.5" ($979) or a low end new Mac ($1,299). I don't feel compelled to max out on this machine, and absolute dollars matter to me. That said, I will use the new iMac for work in Aperture and iMovie, and I want to be sure that I'll have a computer that will make this work easy and enjoyable (obviously iMovie is the bigger concern). The smaller drive in the refurb doesn't concern me, but I would expect to upgrade the RAM in the refurb to 8gb; looks like that will add about $50 to the $979 cost, so the comparison is $1,029 versus $1,299.

    As I said, I'd rather spend less than more, and we have had the same iMac for six years...staying at the front of the curve isn't important. But a computer that will give me nice performance on iMovie is important. Refurb or new iMac?
  2. k.alexander macrumors regular


    Jul 14, 2010
    Let me tell you that I've been trying to decide b/w a 2011 Refurb iMac and a 2012 Mini (mid-range) and to some extent the base 2012 iMac for the last week or so. Check out some of my posts. Although I dont have an answer to your question, I too am interested in an answer b/c my use-case is almost identical to yours: Aperture/PS with probably a lot less iMovie.

    One comment, if you get a refurb iMac, I recommend picking up 2x4GB or even 2x8GB of Ram to add to the 2x2GB chips that are already in there. I picked up a Mini to test last night and the 4GB of ram it comes with is barely enough to load up the OS and one or two small apps. With the '11 iMac you can leverage the 4GB that already in there and add another 8 or 16GB--this will future-proof you going forward for maybe another $30-50 tops.
  3. Razorhog macrumors 65816


    Sep 16, 2006
    For that little of a price difference, I'd get the new model.
  4. k.alexander macrumors regular


    Jul 14, 2010
    Problem is the new iMac runs a slower HD (5400), and has user-INaccessible RAM. So it's not all flowers on the 2012 iMac side.
  5. taylord22 macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2012
    I thought the 27" model's RAM was user upgradeable to 32GB of RAM?
  6. tuccillo macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2012
    I was faced with the same issue. I ordered, and just received, a refurbed 2011 21.5" for $979 (+tax). I just installed an additional 8 GB of memory (Crucial) for a total of 12GBs ($38 from Amazon). The system is for my wife and she needs a DVD. If I had ordered an 2012 model, it would have cost $400 more when adding an external DVD drive. The 500 GB HD is plenty for her. The system came with Mountain Lion and appears to be in perfect shape. From the serial number, it appears that it was manufactured either in Aug or Oct.

  7. mjoshi123 macrumors 6502


    Apr 14, 2010
    +1 - you will be able to get to 32GB RAM on 2011 imac but you wont be able to get same on 2012.


    he is talking about 21.5" not 27".
  8. msa6 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2007
    So I can do a self upgrade on the old iMac up to 16gb and the HDD is faster tan on the new iMac (albeit smaller). Guessing that taking the new 21.5 iMac to 16 gb is going to be expensive. So, how does the old 2.5 iMac do on iMovie with 12 or 16 gb of ram compared with what the new iMac will do with the standard 8 gb?
  9. glitch44 macrumors 65816

    Feb 28, 2006
    No has a new iMac yet, so no one can answer that question.
  10. smoking monkey macrumors 65816

    smoking monkey

    Mar 5, 2008
    You Only Live Twice
    Can somebody correct me if i'm wrong, but I hardly think imovie will overly tax either of the machines you are looking at.

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