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Barryscott59

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 17, 2022
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New York, NY
Thinking of replacing my obsolete iMac from 2013 with either a refurbished iMac Retina 5K 27-inch 3.6GHz Ten-core i9 (Mid 2020). It comes with 32 gb of Ram, 8 TB storage and seems like a very good deal for a little under $1,800. Or a new Mac Mini with 16 gb Ram, 2 TB storage for $1,700. I'd probably purchase a used 27 inch monitor for the Mini. I'd like to learn basic editing with iMovie and perhaps FCP, and have a lot of Hi8, BetaSP and VHS tapes that I hope to digitize and work with. Any advice would be appreciated!
 

Juicy Box

macrumors 604
Sep 23, 2014
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8,193
While the 2020 iMac would be a very nice Mac, there is a question about how long it will be supported. I purchased a 2005 Power Mac G5 right before the Intel switch was announced, and figured it didn't matter as I should get plenty of years out of it, but support didn't last too long. If it was just MacOS support, I wouldn't care, but some developers stopped supporting PPC version of apps earlier than I thought they would.


Thinking of replacing my obsolete iMac from 2013
Is there something wrong with your 2013 iMac, is there SW that no longer works with it, or do you want to replace it because it is now obsolete?

The modern "obsolete" Macs are a lot more capable than obsolete Macs from 15+ years ago (meaning when Apple made them obsolete). Just because Apple doesn't officially support them anymore, doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with them. Most of my daily used Macs range from Mid 2012 to Late 2013.

Depending on what you do with it, the real world performance difference between the 4th gen Intel i-chips and the M1 in the Mac Mini may not be that different. At least when compared to the very drastic difference between a 2013 Mac and 2003 Mac. Even going back 4-5 years from your current iMac, like 2008-2009, there was a huge difference in performance.

Now, if you want to get something new because there is SW that you need, but is no longer supported on your iMac (or just doesn't run well), that is something I understand.

My point is, if you just want to upgrade because you think you should because Apple now considers your Mac "obsolete", I might wait a bit. Apple could be releasing new Mac Minis, or a 27" iMac soon.


Or a new Mac Mini with 16 gb Ram, 2 TB storage for $1,700. I'd probably purchase a used 27 inch monitor for the Mini.
The displays on the iMacs, even the older ones like yours, looks really good compared to a lot of the cheaper and even mid-range options. I would check out some monitors and see what they look like before making any decisions.

Actually, my daughter has a Late 2013 iMac that she mostly use for games, such as WoW. I told her that she can play on my M1 Mac Mini which would perform about 50% better in terms of fps, but she doesn't like to play on it because she says my gaming ultra-wide doesn't look good at all.

She rather play at a lower fps and/or lower graphic settings on her older iMac than the M1 because of the difference in the way the displays look.

Just something to keep in mind when choosing a monitor.
 

wilberforce

macrumors 68030
Aug 15, 2020
2,713
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SF Bay Area
Thinking of replacing my obsolete iMac from 2013 with either a refurbished iMac Retina 5K 27-inch 3.6GHz Ten-core i9 (Mid 2020). It comes with 32 gb of Ram, 8 TB storage and seems like a very good deal for a little under $1,800. Or a new Mac Mini with 16 gb Ram, 2 TB storage for $1,700. I'd probably purchase a used 27 inch monitor for the Mini. I'd like to learn basic editing with iMovie and perhaps FCP, and have a lot of Hi8, BetaSP and VHS tapes that I hope to digitize and work with. Any advice would be appreciated!
That is indeed a very good deal for that configuration of the 2020 iMac. Makes me suspect a deal too good to be true. (On Apple's refurb website a similar config is over $4,000, mainly because of the 8TB SSD.)

I have a 2TB i7 2020 iMac. Some comments:

The i9 is not much faster than the i7 - maybe 10% at most. Do not pay much extra for the i9.

8TB SSD is overkill for most people, and was a very expensive option when new (I think in the order of $2,000).

Do not pay more than $100 for the 32GB RAM. It is cheap and easy to upgrade yourself.

You do not say what GPU the iMac has. The base 5300 is OK, the 5500XT and 5700 are good, and the 5700XT is excellent. This will make some difference for FCP.

The 2020 iMac 27" 5K screen is awesome - only bested (slightly) by the 27" Apple Studio display. It is very difficult to find a screen as good as the 2020 iMac screen AND has retina resolution. So this depends on your standards or needs. There are many 4K screens which are perfectly acceptable for most people, but none of them are quite as good as the 27" 5K iMac screens, unless you start looking at $2,000+ Eizo monitors and such.

I suggest plan on the Intel iMac being supported by Apple for another 3 to 4 years. It may be supported for longer, but don't count on it. The Mini will be supported for 7 years.

The iMac will be faster than the M1 Mini. See the multi-core scores here for reference: https://browser.geekbench.com/mac-benchmarks/
 
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theluggage

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2011
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Thinking of replacing my obsolete iMac from 2013 with either a refurbished iMac Retina 5K 27-inch 3.6GHz Ten-core i9 (Mid 2020). It comes with 32 gb of Ram, 8 TB storage and seems like a very good deal for a little under $1,800.
That does sound like a very good deal (as @wilberforce says, probably worth a fact-check) but mainly because the 8TB internal SSD upgrade would have nearly doubled the original price of the machine to about $5k (even if they got cheap 3rd party RAM). Even the base i9 is over-specified for what you need, and there's no way you're going to justify 8TB of super-fast, super-expensive SSD. In my book, a bargain price on something you don't need isn't such a bargain.

That doesn't mean don't buy it (if it's legit), it means don't feel compelled to buy it for fear of missing a bargain.

The biggest argument for old iMacs in general is that beautiful 5k screen which - today - will cost you at least $1200 (for the LG - if not, $1600 for the studio display) for anything comparable. Still, that's "nice to have" rather than "essential" - especially if you're only editing standard def video.

I'd like to learn basic editing with iMovie and perhaps FCP, and have a lot of Hi8, BetaSP and VHS tapes that I hope to digitize and work with.
That's well within the capabilities of your 2013 iMac (the problem there is that you may be stuck on old versions of FCP and iMovie) - otherwise you're talking standard definition video in the age of 4K, and needing gigabytes of storage in the terabyte era. The base MacBook Air or Mac Mini with no upgrades should do the job, although I'd always get at least 512GB storage and 16GB RAM for running "pro" apps.

The question is, therefore, how much "room to grow" do you want to pay for?

Or a new Mac Mini with 16 gb Ram, 2 TB storage for $1,700. I'd probably purchase a used 27 inch monitor for the Mini.

Should do the job - personally I wouldn't go over 1TB internal storage on a desktop Mac when external storage is so much cheaper (and even USB3 is fast enough for your purposes) - that's more than enough working storage for most purposes and you're going to want external drives or NAS for archive/backup anyway.

Issues with waiting for M2 updates aside, have you thought about the 24" iMac?

My opinion:
(1) I wouldn't "invest" in Intel Macs for personal/hobby use now unless I needed one for a specific job where the software either didn't work on, or wasn't optimised for, Apple Silicon. They won't be "obsoleted" for a few years yet but I suspect that many interesting new developments in the future will require Apple Silicon (we're already seeing "Apple Silicon Only" features in MacOS).

(2) Further, right now I wouldn't "invest" in any M1 Mac unless I had an immediate "professional" need (i.e. old Mac had failed) since most of them - since the M1 is now 2 years old and M2 (or other) replacements are probably due in the next 6 months.

(3) Apple's 5k panels (in Studio Display and old iMacs) are things of beauty, but pixels-per-inch isn't everything and I actually prefer being able to choose from a wide range of displays (the Studio Display is there if you're willing to pay).
 

wilberforce

macrumors 68030
Aug 15, 2020
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SF Bay Area
An m1 Mini isn't going to be "enough".
Get a Mac Studio instead.
That is a broad generalization without any explanation, and "enough" is partly dependent on the specific needs (which are not clear: "basic editing with iMovie and perhaps FCP") and partly subjective. An M1 Mini with 16GB RAM would be a massive improvement from a 2013 iMac.
 
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tstafford

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2022
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OP: The price on that iMac is really incredible.

My general POV is that I wouldn't buy a Mac w/ apple silicon at this point, but in this case I think I might. The reason for me would be the monitor. For all intents and purposes the Retina iMac is the same as an ASD so you're getting what I think is the very best home use Mac monitor and a powerful computer for only $300 more than the ASD alone.

Obviously the issue is that the iMac will lose software support sooner than an apple silicon machine but I think it's worth it in this case.

My wife is clinging to her 2015 27" iMac because there is nothing in the current line-up that makes her happy - and I get it.
 
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theluggage

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2011
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For all intents and purposes the Retina iMac is the same as an ASD so you're getting what I think is the very best home use Mac monitor and a powerful computer for only $300 more than the ASD alone.
Except that “powerful computer” is the Intel one you just said you wouldn’t otherwise buy, and you can‘t easily* use that wonderful display with anything else. If I bought an expensive standalone display I’d anticipate it outliving at least one computer and probably still being useful in 10 years time (even if only as a second display).

Not that it wouldn’t be a very capable computer at a decent price anyway but there’s a danger of being seduced into buying something you dont really want or need because of some hypothetical “saving”.

I think the other issue here is that there are lots of people with 5+ year old Macs that are still getting the job done - and the M1 is actually a bit overpowered for a general purpose computer. Not everybody needs to edit 4K video. Even if your Mac is “obsolete” that shouldn’t be an immediate problem unless its for some mission critical business use (hint: if you’re not paying for 24 hour on-site service you probably shouldn't worry about obsolete hardware, either) - that said, there’s no shame in paying for your 5-yearly fix of “new computer smell” if you can afford it, but make sure you get what you pay for :)

* There’s sidecar/luna display - which have a list of drawbacks and aren’t quite the same as having a directly connected display, more useful if you have 2 macs for other reasons). There’s also the DIY conversion option - if you can source the converter board and you’re happy with ripping the guts out and replacing them that could be economical if You can then flog the old parts as spares…
 
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scottrngr

macrumors regular
Dec 1, 2015
161
224
Thinking of replacing my obsolete iMac from 2013 with either a refurbished iMac Retina 5K 27-inch 3.6GHz Ten-core i9 (Mid 2020). It comes with 32 gb of Ram, 8 TB storage and seems like a very good deal for a little under $1,800. Or a new Mac Mini with 16 gb Ram, 2 TB storage for $1,700. I'd probably purchase a used 27 inch monitor for the Mini. I'd like to learn basic editing with iMovie and perhaps FCP, and have a lot of Hi8, BetaSP and VHS tapes that I hope to digitize and work with. Any advice would be appreciated!
If your goal is to capture video, your current iMac would be fine. You can only capture at 480p. FCP can up res to 1080p, and you'd output to mp4, which doesn't take up that much space. I'd get a refurbed mini with 16 gigs ram, but a smaller ssd, and then get an external ssd to edit from. To make your videos look better, I'd get a program like Topaz Video Enhance to clean up your videos more than FCP can do.
 
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badgerbadgerx2

macrumors newbie
Sep 4, 2019
21
20
another "that price is too good to be true" vote for that iMac. Or its a typo on the storage. 1 TB, sure.

if the screen isnt important, then the iMac loses some of its luster -- its basically a $1300 screen with an imac.

Dont sweat internal storage. Just go external SSD. Plenty of 10 GB/s drives in the 4 TB range for under $300. Still smoking fast.
 
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