Refurbished iMac experience? And some questions

Discussion in 'iMac' started by dishwab, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. dishwab macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2008
    I'm looking at making the upgrade to an iMac from my old macbook (purchased in 2006). To save a few bucks I have been checking out the refurbished products on

    Does anyone have experience with these machines? Good or bad? Can you tell much difference between a refurb and new computer?

    Part 2:

    I'm on the fence between the 21.5" and 27" models. The stats for the two computers at the same price are as follows:

    Refurbished iMac 21.5-inch 3.2GHz Intel Core i3 processor

    4GB memory
    1TB hard drive
    ATI Radeon HD 5670 graphics with 512MB memory

    Refurbished iMac 27-inch 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

    4GB memory
    1TB hard drive
    ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics with 256MB memory

    Most of my work on here will involve CS5, specifically indesign, photoshop, and illustrator. Will I benefit more from the extra screen space or the faster processor/ graphics card? I don't do any PC gaming so that isn't a factor. Machine will be for design work + general internet browsing.

    Cheers, Joe
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I have heard a lot of good things about refurbs. Typically the only difference is that it comes in a brown box rather than a white one, and occasionally there will be a couple of extras not listed that get included (albeit rarely). I think which one to get is a matter of preference for the screen size, as they will have relatively similar performance (the 21.5" will be a little faster, but not a ton) Either will run CS5 pretty easily (My MacBook has never complained about any CS4 work I've done), and if you're not gaming, the graphics card really shouldn't make an enormous difference. If you're near an apple store/electronics store, I would take a look at them and find which size you like better. Personally, I don't think I like the sheer size or the 27" that well, but I don't do a lot of work that would benefit from such a large resolution either, but if you don't have a problem with it, then that may be the better choice to make your work a bit easier.
  3. RollTide macrumors 6502


    Mar 9, 2006
    To answer the first part of your question I have had a few refurbs with no problem at all. Great machines and you get same warranty etc. The second part, I would go with the better processor, but that's just me. Check the refurb list often.
  4. dishwab thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2008
    Thanks for the input, of course it is a subjective question so there can be no definitive answer... I realistically dont need the 27" screen, but it would be quite nice for working with high resolution files (posters, vinyls, etc.)

    I guess my question ultimately is how much does the actual performance between the two processors/ video cards differ?
  5. Hermes Monster macrumors 65816

    Hermes Monster

    May 4, 2010
    I'd go with the 21.5 i3, I have it and it's absolutely brilliant (coming from 2.4ghz, windows laptop mind). I was having the same issue as you, and now I don't think I could have coped with staring at the 27" screen - but that's just my setup on smallish desk I guess, you might have a huge space for it ....

    Ps looking at them in the store is a bad idea ;) they seem very small in the store, in all that space!
  6. DJCeeJay macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2010


    I got an i5 iMac earlier this year from the Refurb store and I can honestly say the only difference apart from the plain box it comes in is the lower price. It has the same packaging inside including foils to protect the screen etc. And the same AppleCare . No cosmetic niggles to report either like scratches or dents. So 100% recommended at no risk.

    In terms of what model to go for, the 27" screen is easy to get used to and for graphics I would have thought is the one to go for. More resolution and screen estate. Seeing 2 a4 size pages on screen is a nice luxury. Processor performance is another you talked about. I am sure even the base model works well for your applications. It will also depend on how long you will want to keep it and whether you might need more processor hungry applications in the future. I wanted to keep my iMac for some years and use it for music production so went for the i5 which is never taxed nomatter what I throw atit.

    Regards. Chris.
  7. 87vert macrumors 6502


    Oct 7, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I think the processors are pretty close the i3 is going to be faster but if you are not gaming it wont matter much. Photos will render a bit faster on the i3 but are you really worried about milliseconds?

    Go to the store and spend some time on both and see which size display you like better.

    Also make sure the 27" would fit in the area you want (usually you need to sit further away from it to make it really usable.)
  8. mattpreston11 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2007
    I got the 27 i5 refurb 2 weeks ago and it's superb.looks new,nothing to suggest that it's a refurb except for the non retail packaging.

    I haven't used the 21.5 inch, although my other half has the 27 inch core 2 duo, and for reason it just doesn't feel as good as mine, it's probably just because I know it's slower specs (and the fact I like to wind her up over buying old tech)

    However in your situation I would for the the 27inch,if you can wait a little bit and save for the 27 i5 you get the best of both worlds (and more).
  9. tc3jg macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2010
    I will only buy refurb from now on....I sent mine in but it was for the typical 27in imac issues people have had ...nothing to do with it being a just dont get the big box telling everyone its an imac.
  10. LaMerVipere macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2004
    I'm going to be buying a refurbished iMac as my next computer because I've had such great luck with my past refurbished Macs from Apple! Multiple MacBook Pros later and not a single one has had an issue. I refurbished products might just be more reliable than new since it's already been given another look over. Good luck.

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