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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 8, 2012
Hello everyone!

My family is currently sporting a late 2009 iMac (yup). It's nearing the end of its road. It's been a brave warrior, but after many years, I need to look into a replacement machine for family use, including some typical home/office use and occasional light engineering work (larger spreadsheets, maybe matlab, potentially some CAD). These are all tasks ol' Bessie has handled fine, albeit a little slower in more recent years. not to mention more and more of my software isn't upgradeable/supported anymore.

So...I'm looking for community suggestions for what y'all think is the best way to upgrade from a value perspective. Im definitely looking at refurbished or used. Requirements include:lots of storage (currently have a 2TB drive) mainly for photos, no older than 2018 (though prefer to get a 2019 or newer) so as to keep from being outdated too soon.

Interpret "value" how you will...I can see the arguments for both lower-performance, less expensive and high-end, more expensive.

Configs I'm considering:
- iMac
- MacBook (Pro?) w/ dock, monitor, etc.
- Mac Mini w/ monitor, etc. [Less of a fan of this, due to performance, but price may be compelling]
- iPad pro w/ peripherals. [Wildcard option, this has more unknowns for me, particularly for storage, but something to think about...]

I'd welcome any thoughts the community has, particularly on how to handle the large storage needs well. Thanks! :)


macrumors 604
Feb 19, 2008
The Finger Lakes Region
I would get the Mac Mini with a mid/high chip inside because of 4 TB 3 ports on it and with plethora of TB3 audio devices coming out it would be perfect!


macrumors 65816
Aug 4, 2010
Depends on if you need or would value portability. If you would, I’d pick the 16” MacBook Pro, but you’d have to look into the issues with external monitors. I think the refurbished pricing has a lot of value with what you’re getting.


macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
You're going to pay through the nose for 2tb of SSD storage on ANY new Mac you buy. Even refurbished, too.

My suggestion:
Get a Mac with a smaller internal SSD (512gb or 1tb), and store your photo libraries on an EXTERNAL SSD connected via USB3. Makes the photo drive easier to back up, too.

For an iMac, I'd suggest a 2019 27" model.
Get 8gb of RAM (easy to add more yourself)
512gb or 1tb SSD
I'd suggest the "midrange" model rather than "upper-end".
Consider buying from Apple's refurbished pages.

i7. GPU is the same on all of them, so get the best CPU.
8gb or 16gb of RAM -- get this from the factory.
If you want 32gb or more, might be better to buy 8gb and add more yourself (although it's some work on the 2018 Mini).
Again, 512gb or 1tb SSD.
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