Thoughts on iMac 2009 in 2017

when.moon

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 23, 2017
3
0
London
I found an offer for a 2009 iMac, 24'', 2.4 Ghz, 320 GB, mouse and keyboard included for £200 (~$263). Seller claims it is in perfect condition.

Is it worth it buying it in late 2017?

I need it mainly as a screen extension of my MacBook 12'' early 2016. If I use it as a desktop, I will be mainly using Photoshop, Stata + Excel for data analysis, Metatrader 4 for some trading.

If it's worth buying it, what should I look into when I am testing it upon collection?
 

Trebuin

macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2008
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Central Cali
I found an offer for a 2009 iMac, 24'', 2.4 Ghz, 320 GB, mouse and keyboard included for £200 (~$263). Seller claims it is in perfect condition.

Is it worth it buying it in late 2017?

I need it mainly as a screen extension of my MacBook 12'' early 2016. If I use it as a desktop, I will be mainly using Photoshop, Stata + Excel for data analysis, Metatrader 4 for some trading.

If it's worth buying it, what should I look into when I am testing it upon collection?
It will struggle if you don't update it. You didn't say if it is a 2 or 4 core, which makes a significant difference. Photoshop will be your limit, which means memory and HDD reading speed. you could upgrade it with a SSD and help one of those two, but the memory may be limited. You'll have to look it up on everymac. 263 is not a bad price for an old machine.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,526
2,298
Delaware
Apple did not sell a 2009 iMac with 2.4Ghz processor. Last year for 2.4 Ghz cpu speed in a 24-inch iMac would be mid 2007 .

There's simply no way to connect that iMac to use as an external display for another Mac.
That's a little high priced for a 10-year-old system, even a Mac ;). $150US might still be on the high side.
 

kschendel

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
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If you were going to use it mostly for email, office stuff, and non-video web browsing, AND if the price were under $200, I'd say maybe. You'd still want to swap the hard disk for an SSD. For the unit as it stands, unless you absolutely need something right now at a minimum price and this is the best you can find, I'd say no. It's not a very good choice for anything CPU intensive at this point.

We still get good use out of an early 2009 iMac, but it's been upgraded to max memory, SSD, and it doesn't do anything complicated. I generally advocate inexpensive upgrades to current 2009 owners, but it's harder to make the case for a purchase.
 

rjsounds

macrumors member
Jul 3, 2017
69
26
Let me put in my $0.02 here... everyone is always saying toss in an SSD otherwise it's not worth it, etc. etc., but up until 2 months ago, I was still using a duo core i3 21.5" 2010 iMac with regular hard drive for music production in Logic Pro X, screen capture using Screenflow and editing using Adobe Premiere Pro and Photoshop. It wasn't terribly fast but it wasn't bad at all. It could even handle fairly large projects in Logic Pro X with up to 50+ tracks of software instruments. These old machines can still pack a punch and even without an SSD it was still fine (I guess I was just used to waiting 20-30 seconds for a program to open up?).

Just saying, 2009 or 2010 iMac's if well-maintained and hopefully with a RAM upgrade, should still perform decently, and should be totally fine, especially if all you're doing is regular day-to-day tasks like browsing web, email, youtube, etc.

I am now using a 2017 top spec'd 27" iMac and yes, it's amazing, but I still have my old trusty 2010 as a backup - at least for a little while longer.

Cheers and happy hunting!
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,396
6,965
Apple did not sell a 2009 iMac with 2.4Ghz processor. Last year for 2.4 Ghz cpu speed in a 24-inch iMac would be mid 2007 .
Agreed, looking at Mactracker the hard drive size and processor speed match up perfectly with the Mid 2007 model rather than Early 2009.

@when.moon The 2007 iMac can still be usable, but if it still has the original hard drive, that will make performance slow on OS X El Capitan even with simple tasks like logging in. An SSD upgrade is almost a must for newer versions of OS X.

There's also no easy way to use it as a monitor for a MacBook, as Target Display Mode wasn't introduced until after the 24" models were discontinued, and even on some of the newer iMacs it isn't compatible with a 12" MacBook.

And if it's a 2007 model, the price is not a bargain, but not terribly high for perfect condition either. That being said, a 2007 Mac is a decade old; newer models can be obtained for not much more, and I would recommend going for one of those instead.
 

Trebuin

macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2008
1,491
266
Central Cali
Still running with my 2007 imac with 512GB SSD, 6GB ram, and 2.4Ghz (if I recall the speed correctly) CPU. It got too slow with El Capitan, Yosemite, and Mavericks. If you keep an older OS on it, it will definitely run better.
 

when.moon

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 23, 2017
3
0
London
There's also no easy way to use it as a monitor for a MacBook, as Target Display Mode wasn't introduced until after the 24" models were discontinued, and even on some of the newer iMacs it isn't compatible with a 12" MacBook.
I checked the 2011/13/15 models aren't much more expensive at £300/£500/£600. I don't want get a full price 2017 as I am mostly on the go. Then new MacBooks come with use-c, so Target Display Mode cannot be used.

Thanks for the answers :)
 

EugW

macrumors 604
Jun 18, 2017
7,298
4,683
Let me put in my $0.02 here... everyone is always saying toss in an SSD otherwise it's not worth it, etc. etc., but up until 2 months ago, I was still using a duo core i3 21.5" 2010 iMac with regular hard drive for music production in Logic Pro X, screen capture using Screenflow and editing using Adobe Premiere Pro and Photoshop. It wasn't terribly fast but it wasn't bad at all. It could even handle fairly large projects in Logic Pro X with up to 50+ tracks of software instruments. These old machines can still pack a punch and even without an SSD it was still fine (I guess I was just used to waiting 20-30 seconds for a program to open up?).

Just saying, 2009 or 2010 iMac's if well-maintained and hopefully with a RAM upgrade, should still perform decently, and should be totally fine, especially if all you're doing is regular day-to-day tasks like browsing web, email, youtube, etc.
I have a 2010 iMac with Core i7, 2 TB HD, and 12 GB RAM. IMO, if it doesn't have a SSD, it's too slow.

Ideally you would swap out the internal drive for SSD, but if you are uncomfortable doing so, then the best you can do is to run a Firewire SSD. Firewire SSD is OK but isn't necessarily a super cheap add-on. (USB isn't an option since the 2010 only has USB 2.)


Apple did not sell a 2009 iMac with 2.4Ghz processor. Last year for 2.4 Ghz cpu speed in a 24-inch iMac would be mid 2007 .
There is a 2.4 GHz 2008 20" model (not 24"). There are also 2.x GHz 2009 models, although I believe no 2.4 specifically in 2009.

---

Either way though, I believe none of those machines will be able to run High Sierra. This may not matter for some, but for others it's important because High Sierra is required to understand HEVC and HEIF/HEIC files.

You can modify the installer to install High Sierra on iMac7,1 (2007) and iMac8,1 (2008) but you may have problems such as losing brightness control.
 
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kschendel

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
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322
Skip the 2011's unless price is an overriding concern. 2013 models came with USB 3 which makes it much easier to add outboard drives for expansion, backup, etc. Some of the 2011's with a particular discrete GPU had extremely high failure rates over time; I can't be arsed to look up which one(s) because the 2013 is a better deal overall.
 

EugW

macrumors 604
Jun 18, 2017
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4,683
I need it mainly as a screen extension of my MacBook 12'' early 2016. If I use it as a desktop, I will be mainly using Photoshop, Stata + Excel for data analysis, Metatrader 4 for some trading.
I am using my 2010 27" as a screen extension for my 2017 27" iMac, but that's because I already had the machine. (You need a late 2009 model or later to do this.) In your shoes I would just recommend getting an external monitor instead.
 

slooksterPSV

macrumors 68040
Apr 17, 2004
3,255
116
Nowheresville
I’d say for the price no. I got a MacBook 2009 mid that I have High Sierra running on. Replaced the drive inside but it’s still a bit slow. I do office items on it but nothin else
 

NoBoMac

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 1, 2014
2,456
881
If just looking for a screen extension, you can get a nice display for that price, with the bonus that there are no moving parts (read: hdd) to die.

Upside on the iMac as extension, should the laptop die, at least you have a back-up machine to hold you over. Yes, will be sloooow compare to your laptop, but works (see: my signature [works well enough for me]).