upgrade 2011 iMac or buy new one?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by HBOC, May 8, 2016.

  1. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #1
    So i thought i had made up my mind (made a thread in the MBP forum), but the longer I wait and more research i do, the more i am unsure.

    I have a mid 2011 iMac base model (2.5 GHZ and 500GB HDD). I upgraded the RAM back in 2011 or 2012 to 16GB of OWC RAM. It has been basically running nonstop since then, and is a WONDERFUL machine.

    Over the last year, i have added 4 external drives (3 have FW 800) since i am running out of room. I have Adobe CC and sometimes it slows down.

    With that said, i could have a $1500 budget to spend on a new machine - I imagine if I pay a local authorized Apple place to install 2 SSD drives (or one SSD and HDD) and spend a total of $400, my machine would run a "bit" faster than it is now, and I could get another 3 years of use.

    Or I could get something that is newer and has USB 3.0 and sell this one. I am not unhappy with this one at all, but it needs a storage upgrade for sure.

    thanks for any help. I have looked at prices for newer iMacs, but it seems that most on eBay are 8GB RAM..
     
  2. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #2
    Upgrade vs new is always a tough decision. You have the same iMac as my wife. We have upgraded her memory and installed a SSD. Local Apple dealer charged $140 to swap the drives - I provided the new drive. She recently needed more local storage so I added an external thunderbolt SSD drive. Great speed but limited to a single drive. On my MBP I add a CalDigit thunderbolt dock that provides USB 3.

    For lots of external space consider a NAS and connect it and your iMac via Ethernet for best speed. Then you don't have to worry about moving the devices to a new computer.
     
  3. brewmonkey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2016
    #3
    All else equal, if this Mac is doing everything you want/need, I would humbly submit that changing from HDD to SSD would be an improvement considerably more than just "a bit faster".

    Also @glenthompson 's suggestion above augmenting your setup with a NAS is also great advice. With the bundle you save from just upgrading to SSD, you could put together a very nice NAS, either off-the-shelf or roll-your-own (or even an array plugged into an AirPort if you like the all-Apple experience).
     
  4. merkinmuffley macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2010
    #4
    I'd by new. 5 years is getting on in years for the components in your system, this stuff doesn't last forever. The big advantage I see in an new IMac is the retina screen, and for me that alone is worth buying new.
     
  5. vkd macrumors 6502a

    vkd

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    #5
    Put an SSD in and make it into a Fusion drive with the HD. I did it with same machine it is great.
     
  6. BenTrovato macrumors 68020

    BenTrovato

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2012
    Location:
    Canada
    #6
    In your situation I would only buy a new iMac if you were getting the retina screen, otherwise I would just upgrade the internals.
     
  7. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #7
    In your situation with the need for external storage in large quantity I would buy new to get thunderbolt 2 and USB 3 for fast transfer speeds to and from those external drives.
     
  8. GoldfishRT macrumors 6502

    GoldfishRT

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Location:
    Somewhere
    #8
    I'm just going to throw out there that putting an SSD in that machine will make it seem brand new. Although I totally understand the appeal if you need external space, to get a new one with faster interfaces.

    1TB SSDs are pretty cheap now (relatively). I think the 850 Evo is like $300. I'd do that and maybe a 2TB HDD for the stuff you don't need quite as fast access to like your iTunes library or w/e.

    Just my personal opinion but I think we get obsessed and convince ourselves we "need" new hardware when a simple upgrade would extend the life of the machine dramatically. You don't fall into that category, s you've said that the thing runs super well for your needs as it is.

    If you've got $1500 to spend on a new computer, I'd take some of it to upgrade this machine, then put the rest away for when you actually need to get a new one.
     
  9. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #9
    At this point, with the computer being 5 years old, I'd opt for new. The 2011 models - at least the 15" ones, have issues with the dGPU failing, so that might be another reason to opt for now. I couldn't tell by the first post which model you have.
     
  10. HBOC thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #10
    I have the very base model mid 2011 21.5. I added in 16GB RAM and has performed wonderfully for what i do.
    However, i am leaning towards a newer machine... hard decision. thanks everyone for the advice thus far
     

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