Sorry...another "what should I buy?" thread

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mac nutt, Dec 27, 2014.

  1. mac nutt macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2014
    As the title says, I am looking at buying a 21.5" iMac soon. This will be my first ever Mac (first Apple product actually). My daily use involves the web, email, light MS Office work, light photo and video editing, and ripping of CDs/DVDs/Blu-Rays. I hope to keep this Mac for a good while (5 yrs min) before upgrading. For example, I am still on an old Dell laptop that I bought back in 2007.

    After reading the posts here, I have an idea in my mind what I would like to purchase. I would prefer to hear others' opinions based on my use to see if I am on the right track.

    FYI, I do not see a need, nor have the space, for a 27".
  2. AR86 macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2014
    Given you plan to keep it for a while ofcourse there are certain steps you'd probably have to take to give it the best chance of lasting longer, primarily the hard drive which i'd probably make sure was a 256/512gb SSD (you don't want to run the risk of a standard mechanical hard drive going poof on you) also go for the model that has the GT750 graphics card in it and i'd probably get the i7 processor also, basically if I was you and wanted something to last long and stay relevant in terms of what it can run and how i'd go for the top model with pretty much everything maxed out.
  3. mac nutt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2014
    Thanks for the tips. I was leaning towards the 2.9, but am still debating the processor upgrade. I also can't seem to make up my mind about storage. I was thinking the fusion drive for size and simplicity, but I see lots of recommendations for SSD. I think I just need to figure how I want to manage my data and backups. Like I said, I want simple.
  4. twingo macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2009
    It's 2015. This is not the time to spend big money for outdated low resolution hardware.
  5. tyche macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2010
    I would look at getting the 2.9ghz with 1tb fusion drive. Go to the refurbished store and pick on up there and save money.
  6. mac nutt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2014
    What exactly are you referring to and what do you recommend then?
  7. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Consider a laptop. In some senses, there isn't much difference except size; laptops are competitive in terms of speed and available peripherals these days.

    So compare and contrast with the 21" 2.9 at $1700 new, since you really really should get Fusion or SSD. And more RAM, so $1900. If a refurb (no memory upgrade, $1439). That's a 1920x1080 screen.

    For $1439 you could get a retina 15" with quad core i7, and a 2880x1800 screen; that's a bunch more real estate at max resolution, though at "best for display" it's 1440x900 for interface elements, but still pretty big and MUCH MUCH sharper. Like the refurb above, however, only 8GB RAM.

    For $2100 though there's a refurb retina 15" MBP with 16GB, 2.5GHz i7 quad core, and 512 flash storage. It's faster, with a better screen, better processor, and more flash storage than the 2.9GHz iMac, for only $200 more. Way more future-proof and a much better buy IMHO.
  8. tyche macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2010
    Apple is the master of incremental upgrade choices. You always start with your choice and then it's, just a little more for cpu boost, just a little more for memory boost, just a little more for a hd boost. Then you look at the cost and see you could buy another tier product for the same price. But then just a little more for ... Suddenly your $1500 turned into $2500. Now you're 'future proofing' an extra $1,000 which isn't really doing that since tech changes radically in 3-5 years.

    Anyway it's always easier spending others people's money.
  9. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    8GB/256 SSD. The base i5 CPU would be fine for everything, except... if you're a regular ripper of BRs, and you encode them (e.g. Handbrake), you'll really appreciate the fastest CPU you can get. How much money you want to spend to reduce a 3 hour encode down to 2 hours, only you can answer. If it's the kind of thing where you can just let a couple go overnight, and there's no rush, then it probably doesn't matter as much.
  10. mac nutt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2014
    I really don't need the portability, but something to consider.

    This is exactly what I was thinking about, but with 16GB RAM.

    Maybe I over-estimated what I need. I would classify myself as a typical, casual user. I hope to keep this purchase for awhile, and the lack of upgradability down the road has me looking at upgrades at purchase.
  11. mac nutt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2014
    I have been reconsidering this purchase a bit. I am now thinking of buying a 2.9 GHz/8 GB/1T FD refurb.

    How long do you think 8 GB of RAM will be useful? Is it going to be a bottleneck in the near future? As I mentioned previously, I hope to keep this computer for a good while. If a similar refurb with 16 GB would pop up, I would be all over it.
  12. Ledgem macrumors 65816


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    Whether 8 GB will be useful and how long it will last largely depends on what you're doing. If you're doing a lot of graphical work ("light photo and video editing" doesn't make it clear to me exactly what you're doing), work with a lot of virtual machines, or are the type of person who loves to have practically every program on their computer open at the same time (complete with trying to have every page on the internet open in a tab in Safari), then you'd stand to benefit from more RAM. For the standard user, 8 GB is more than enough. We can't predict the future, but it should be more than enough for many years to come.

    More importantly, you can upgrade it in the future if you find that 8 GB isn't enough and/or if you happen upon a good deal on RAM. I wouldn't hold off on the purchase because you're hoping for a refurbished model with 16 GB to pop up.
  13. Catholic13 macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2011
    Do NOT buy anything yet!
    The current models are beyond dated so you won't be getting the best bang for your buck. ...unless you purchase the 27" Retina Display version.
    The cheapest/entry model is apparently using a GPU that was first introduced in 2013! 2013!!! It's the lowest of low.
    Even the previous model had a superior graphics card.

    I'm currently looking to buy a new iMac but I rather hold out until the 2015 model shows up because I do not what regret purchasing an date iMac.
  14. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    That's great advice if you want to wait eight months. :rolleyes:
  15. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Anything you purchase will handily do what you are looking for and will continue to do those task for quite sometime.

    With long term ownership in mind I would consider a "better then base" model but even the base model will likely feel like a rocket ship compared to your current setup. And for me thats what its all about, if something needs to be carefully benchmarked to show its better then its likely not going to effect me in real life. However coming from a 8-10 year old computer the differences in performance are very obvious in real world usage.

    There are still plenty of people using iMacs from 5 years ago and even much longer that still claim they perform the task you are looking for even now.

    Nothing wrong with waiting but you could become a perpetual waiter. Why wait for the new 2015 model because the 2016 will be better, and the 2017 will be better then that? I've yet to be impressed with a 1 year incremental update. Couple upgrades here and there is about it, its not until a few years that all those 1 year incremental updates add up to be something worth upgrading too. Sometimes even a let down vs the pervious models. I waited over a year for a new Mac Mini to find out the new model doesn't perform as well as the old model in the main task I need (multicore task, namely Handbrake). I didnt actually wait a year, I wasted a year.

    Just get what you feel is good for your task and be happy. If you don't like it you can always return it and get something better.
  16. mac nutt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2014
    I actually do not do much work beyond basic stuff now (web, email). I want to rip and transcode my DVD/Bluray library for streaming purposes. I have two small kids and a large photo/video library. Those files are straight off the digital editing. I want to do some basic editing like cropping, reformatting, etc. That is the extent of what I plan to use the computer for. I do not plan on running Windows or VMs.

    I do not want to wait. I am ready to purchase. I am pretty set on the 21.5" size, so upgrades down the road are not an option. I am pretty set on the 2.9GHz version with a 1TB FD. Bottom line...should I buy a refurb with 8GB RAM for $1439 or buy a new one with 16GB RAM for $1759 (gov't discount)?
  17. dogslobber macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2014
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    Buy a 21.5" 2011 iMac from eBay. You can pick them up for between 600-700$. Then you can easily upgrade to 32gb of memory, and popping a SSD in there is much simpler than today's glued iMacs.

    Probably the best bang for the buck and future proof too!
  18. mac nutt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2014
    Saw a late 2012 iMac with 16 GB pop up. The only differences I can see between the 2012 and 2013 is different generations of processor and graphic card. Would I notice much of a difference between the two?
  19. ixxx69 macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2009
    United States
    No, not a huge difference. The Haswell CPU is maybe 10% faster than the Ivy Bridge CPU clock for clock. Ivy Bridge is still a great CPU, so presently, certainly no big deal. However, keep in mind that it's already 3 years old, and with Broadwell upon us, and Skylake later this year, Ivy Bridge will soon be three generations behind... and that does start to add up. Two years from now, your relatively "new" computer will be really old.

    But if you get a great price on it, maybe you can upgrade a lot sooner than you otherwise would.

    Also note that the 2012 iMac doesn't have wireless ac if that matters to you.
  20. AlifTheUnseen macrumors member


    May 17, 2014
    As written in the other current advice thread (, the current Apple desktop offerings are 'disappointing' across the board:
    - Mac Pro: getting older, pricey, server/reliability hardware overkill for most use cases - excellent computer for a narrow application spectrum
    - Mac mini: well, this was a step BACKWARD from the previous edition
    - iMac 2013: 2 years old, tech reaching 3 years, still relatively pricey
    - RiMac: gorgeous screen, but GPU disappointing: too much heat (and thus, noise) for the form factor. But you REALLY NEED 5 mm thin edges for the screen, don't you?

    --> so this gives you the following options - all or most of them already noted in this thread by other posters
    0) Wait for Apple to give some love to the desktop Mac… (could be 8-12 months, tho)
    1) Consider a laptop (they're excellent, really!), but you trade performance for mobility (that you probably don't need)
    2) Refurb store or EBay (saves you money for almost same performance)
    3) Hackintosh (just to complete the list, I don't think this is your best option)
    4) xMac!!! [Alas, rule no.1: You don't speak about xMac!]

    What I read from you, go for 2. I wouldn't buy an iMac now.

    And, take caution: MS Office for Mac is just total crap last time I checked (incredibly un-snappy and sluggish in general)… might not be latest version tho...

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