Ready to order a 21.5" iMac - Am I really better off waiting?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Celli, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. Celli, Mar 7, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012

    Celli macrumors newbie

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    Roanoke, Virginia
    #1
    Hey Everyone,

    So here's my deal... I decided 2 years ago I'm officially done with Windows. Forever. I still have 2 Windows machines. I'll keep them around as long as they're working, but that's it. No more. I bought my wife an iPad2 and also a couple iPhone 4S's last fall. I've been wanting to add a 21.5" iMac to my desk for 2 years now. Now I'm ready to order right near the end of a product cycle.

    What am I really gaining by waiting? The current specs sound awesome to me compared to my 2.8 GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 5600+ I'm pretty much a low end user. I want to organize & back-up our constantly growing collection of pics, iWork, messages on iMac sounds cool, internet access, and apps to organize my life like iCal, etc.

    I'm not really convinced I would benefit from a refreshed iMac with better specs. So the million dollar question... Should I just go for it so I can start working? Or is that just dumb right before a refresh? I still have my Windows machine. I'm just so sick of it. I used to be pretty good at Macs, but the last time I had my hands on one was 1994. I'm sure not much has changed, right? LOL!

    To order the following now or to wait?
    21.5" base model iMac
    2 TB Time Capsule
    iWork
     
  2. Spike88, Mar 7, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012

    Spike88 macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    For the typical home user and "no games", the low end iMac 21.5" iMac is a great choice.

    re:
    21.5-inch: 2.5GHz
    2.5GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
    1920 x 1080 resolution
    Include 4GB (2 x 2GB) memory
    500GB hard drive1 -> I'd bump this up to a minimum 1 TB internal drive.
    AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 512MB

    For typical home users (and NO gaming), one won't notice better GPU or better CPU. Even my mid 2010 - i3 CPU iMac is only running at 20% CPU usage (when I push it really hard).

    Only additional upgrade I'd recommend is installing more 3rd party RAM. For example, install 2 x 4 GB RAM (to make total of 12 GBs). Buy 3rd party simms at 1/3 to 1/2 lower price - compared to buying 12 GB RAM from Apple store.

    Only benefit a future 2012 iMac "might" have for typical home user is USB 3.0 port(s). But with large internal 1 TB drive (or larger 2 TB drive), the existing USB 2.0 ports for external drive connectivity is fine.

    For typical home user and NO games, I'd buy now. Better yet, I'd buy a 2012 reburbished unit. Thus, getting lower price on today's current standards.

    Hope this helps...
     
  3. Celli thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Thanks, that does help. I was looking at the refurbished models since they're about 11% cheaper. The only problem is they always come with the standard wireless keyboard. I really need the keyboard with the numeric keypad to do a lot off numeric data entry. I guess I could buy it seperately but then I'm not really saving much anymore. I think I'll probably buy this week or next. Thanks for the input.
     
  4. Spike88, Mar 7, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012

    Spike88 macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Also forgot to mention...

    To "play it say", many folks wait 1-2 months AFTER new product is released. They watch forums and notice any bad patterns. If too many bad patterns, they wait for fixes or quality control to become better. If the refresh iMac comes out in May 2012, then perhaps one might want to rally buy in late June / or July. Possibly July - when bad patterns near zero.

    If wondering, mid-2010 iMac had patterns of bad screens and low contrast control. Approx 1.5 months later, a fix came out. Thus, I bought my iMac in early Sept 2010.

    If you like "playing it safe", then add 2 months to one's best guess - when the new 2012 iMacs will be released.

    Hope this realistic timeline (to wait or NOT wait longer) helps as well..
     
  5. Celli thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    That's a good point, too. Really I just want to start learning OS X and get to work. I feel like I'm wasting time waiting for a better 2012 model I don't really need. I guess my new decision now is buy refurbished and add a numeric keyboard, or a new one.

    The base model hard drive only comes with 500 GB. The 1TB model only comes with the iMac with the upgraded processor and adds about $300. Couldn't I just plug in an external hard drive if I run out of space? Or is that a bad idea you think?
     
  6. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    I have an external 1 TB WD drive connected to my iMac via Firewire 800 port. It works great. Super fast - for my typical home user needs. If you do attach an external HDD, do investigate the cost of Firewire 800 connected drives. And, compare against USB 2.0 connected HDD drives. Perhaps Thunderbolt drives will be affordable - when you need an external drive as well? So yes, external connected HDD for "typical" home user tasks works great as well... In future years (when you need 1TB or 2 TB internal storage), a few local computer stores might have affordable install pricess as well.
     
  7. Celli thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Sounds good. Thanks for the tips. Very helpful.
     
  8. Kendo macrumors 68000

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    #8
    I don't quite understand why of all the times a person wants to buy a Mac, they would do it when the current model is clearly at the end of its life cycle. I see it all the time on these forums. Is there something appealing about getting a model that is about to be replaced with a newer one?
     
  9. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Some folks are driven to "keep up with the Jones's". re: Whether it be houes, vehicles, power tools are computers, some folks always "need" (in their minds) the fastest, always the newest, always the "state of the art" model. If their item is 6 months old, they are emotionally driven to trade up - for something better.

    Others folks are driven by "need it how" timer. If they need it now, they buy it now - even it a new model is 4 months away. This holds true for businesses - where time is money as well. And, will that future model "benefit" their needs? Is it really worth waiting? Valid questions. Especaily for "time is money / time does matter" folks.

    For others, they use an item until it breaks (or no longer functions within acceptable limits). For my mid 2010 iMac i3 CPU, it works great for "home user" tasks. And, I'll keep it until it breaks or no longer performs in acceptable range. And when it does break, I'll buy "then". Cannot wait 4-6 months for next release. Especially for my home user tasks...

    Bottom line.... Each to their own....
     
  10. Kendo macrumors 68000

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    Apr 4, 2011
    #10
    Wanting to buy the latest and greatest I understand. Needing to buy something when it breaks I understand. Buying an Apple product at the end of its cycle because they can't wait any longer and just want one I don't understand especially when the current model has been out for 310 days and the average update is after 273 days.

    I'm simply providing constructive criticism and warning. I don't know the OP and it won't affect me if he buys something or not considering this is the Internet and I won't even remember the OP the next time we're on the forums. Just wanted to give him some warning.
     
  11. aComicBookFan macrumors member

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    Feb 26, 2012
    #11
    I am a similar position here in that I am also looking to buy a new iMac here. My computational needs turn out to be very minimal and any new machine will suit me well enough. Do I need to have the latest upcoming machine that is even more powerful than today's model? Probably not. I could probably even get a 2-3 year used Intel iMac and be happy. Waiting for a new machine will only help me get a lower price on the current generation of iMac. Coming from a PPC G5, I have to ask myself how much is it worth to me to still keep waiting. I tend to keep things for a very long time. By the time I am ready to upgrade again I am sure that the current iMac the upcoming iMac will both be obsoleted.

    I am leaning toward buying the current iMac soon.

    -=- Boris
     
  12. RNB macrumors newbie

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    Jan 3, 2007
    #12
    Don't go overboard

    On the recommended 1 TB internal drive? I've been using a 360 GB for years and never filled it up. Just got a refurbed 2011 Mac mini with 500 GB. Got it with 2 GB RAM and bought upgrade to 8. It really flies.

    My 2 cents: Don't buy more HD than you realistically need. The unused space doesn't help you now--it just sits there, and you can always upgrade later IF you need it, for a LOWER price, for a LARGER drive. However, with RAM, you benefit from the speed bump right now. So, go for the RAM (from Crucial or another 3rd party) and get the benefit now; wait on the HD space.

    The only reason I might upgrade the HD is to get a 7200 RPM model. That made a huge difference in perceived speed on my original white MacBook when I replaced the 5400 RPM factory drive. But I have to say, the Mac mini with the 5400 RPM factory drive is pretty speedy--enough for me.
     
  13. PsyDocTms macrumors newbie

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    Location:
    Davis, CA
    #13
    I tend to agree with Kendo but can see the upside to the view to minimize costs. From what I have seen, most of the new or refreshed computers come in at very similar price points to the outgoing or outdated platforms. So from the perspective of bang for the buck, it feels to me Kendo is on target -- why not wait a month or two to get more computing power for the same amount of money?

    I am in the hunt for a new iMac too, which led me to this thread. I have an older alum MacBook which I carry back and forth to work; my wife has a MacBook Pro and does the same, and we have a large Time Capsule at home for the wireless and effortless backups (otherwise she wouldn't).

    I am looking for the higher end iMac -- the 27" screen, the maxed out speed, lots of ram, the better video card, since my application is digital photography. I am often running Lightroomn 3 (soon to be 4) and Photoshop CS5 at the same time, and putting photos (in RAW format) onto an external 2 TB hard drive. For me it's the larger screen size for photo editing that's the draw. When I pull the trigger, I'll also start using Dropbox for continuity of files between work and home.

    But like Kendo, I don't see value in purchasing now. It doesn't have to be the best or brightest, but why spend money now when in a month or two I can get more bang for the same buck?
     
  14. MacVibe macrumors regular

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    Dec 21, 2009
    #14
    Most rumors point to Apple jumping on the USB 3 bandwagon with the refresh. This might be a stronger reason for you to wait than any cpu/gpu bump since organizing all those things, and backing them up, will be faster on an external drive with USB 3. These are very cheap compared with any current thunderbolt solution.
     
  15. NextGenApple macrumors regular

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    Oct 10, 2011
    #15
    Value depends on person purchasing, You could purchase next gen and have a lot of problems, meaning work will not get done back and forth to apple, which trust me is annoying. Or you could by tried and trusted/fixed sandy bridge iMac, get work done and be happy.

    Any pro person will us TB so usb 3 will mean nothing, apart from backing up i hardly use the usb slots on iMac anyway,some people will so might be an advantage. All in all you cant ply waiting game forever, if work needs to be done i'm sure professional will buy now.
     
  16. coolspot18 macrumors 65816

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    Canada
    #16
    Windows 7 is pretty good, Windows 8 is about to be released.

    I'm not all that impressed with Lion. After using both Windows and OSX, I say both have their own quirks.

    I say you wait; iMac refresh should be in ~2 months. Might even get a free upgrade to Mountain Lion if it's released by then.
     
  17. Celli thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Roanoke, Virginia
    #17
    Well... That's why I like these forums. Everyone has a different perspective. I like getting other people's point of view.

    Why buy an iMac now near the end of the end of a product cycle?

    For one, waiting another month or 2 would be great if we knew for sure a refresh will be availble in a month or 2. If Apple said we're planning on releasing 2012 iMac May 1st... then sure I'd wait. But we don't. What if it's not til July or August? Things never get delayed, right? That's a lot of wasted time for me, especially since the current iMac model is way more than enough to do what I need to do.

    Second, I just don't care about the latest and greatest. Every iMac is going to be outdated in about a year anyway. The new 2012 iMac is going to be outdated in 2013 also. I need an iMac to do what I need to do. Current model more than does the job for me. So if I wait... I'll gain about 10-12 months of useful life out of it. But at the expense of not having an OS X machine at all for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 more months? Not worth it to me.

    Personally, my opinion is... people upgrade their technology way too often.
     
  18. bawbac macrumors 65816

    bawbac

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    Seattle, WA
    #18
    Also keep in mind that being a 1st adopter of new technology(refresh) has its drawbacks, like unforeseen issues that are resolved several months down the line.

    As for price drops, apple usually only takes off about a $100 off the current prices. So, if you looking to buy the current iMac & are waiting for a price drop, you might just want to look at the current sales that are taking about a $100 off the MSRP.

    The price on refurbs usually don't drop though.
     
  19. Spike88, Mar 8, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012

    Spike88 macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    I've got 460 GBs of DATA on my iMac's internal 1 TB HDD. And, we don't store much stuff. Although, we do have lots of downloaded movies, iTunes and pictures - since our kids were little babies.

    For TimeMachine backup, I'd recommend taking one's internal DATA collection and triple sizing it. For example, 400 GBs of data = 1.2 TB Backup drive. Or, better yet, 2 TB drive - if one wants multiple roll-back versions of the same files. When selling price of external HDDs come down (like they were before), I'll be getting an external 2 TB external drive (to replace my existing 1 TB drive) - for my internal drive's data collection... My external 1 TB drive will be used as offline storage - when my iMac's internal HDD gets too full....

    .
     
  20. Celli thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #20
    Yup. I went through that with my iPhone 4S which I pre-ordered the day it came out. Great phone, but I couldn't make a phone call with it for the first 3 weeks until they came out with the first bug fix.

    I'm equally amazed at how many people find it so critical to wait and wait... and wait for the lastest product to come out. I'll agree on the USB 3.0 thing. That would be cool. Is that enough though?
     
  21. bawbac macrumors 65816

    bawbac

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    #21
    USB3 will only benefit you if you are doing a lot of file transfer of large files ot have a device that requires USB3 speed.
    It's also nice when doing backups of your entire internal HDD to an external HDD.

    I mainly want it for the speed to use an external HDD to record all my live music feeds from Pro tools.

    If you don't need the file transfer speed, USB2 or Firewire will be adequate.

    [​IMG]
     
  22. Celli thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #22
    Thanks. Well, enough said on both sides. I'm buying now. Everyone has their reasons to buy, or not to buy. This will be my first Mac since 1994 when I was using them with Pagemaker as editor of my high schoold news paper. Really excited to ge getting a Mac back on my desk
     
  23. pvq macrumors newbie

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    Mar 11, 2012
    #23
    I just ordered a refurb base model iMac, along with 16 MB of factory original ram (from OWC) and a Newertech Guardian Maximus Mini.Delivery of everything is expected 3/16.

    I went through the same analysis...but there is always something better around the corner with electronics.

    Buy it when you WANT to!
     
  24. Celli thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #24
    Awesome. The current model is a great computer from what I saw trying it out at an Apple Store. I won't have any buyer's remorse either. The new model probably won't have anything I need that the current model doesn't.

    I was just looking at the refurbished models. I would go that route if I could swap the wireless keyboard with the wired numeric keyboard. You said you're putting 12 GB after market memory into the 21.5" base model? I thought it only supports 8? Is it really 12? The specs say 8?

    ----------

    Wait... you said 16 GB? Ok, I'm confused now. Will it take four 4GB modules?
     
  25. jchase2057 macrumors regular

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    #25

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