Upgrade current iMac or buy new harware

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Bar10, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. Bar10 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2014
    #1
    Hi there,

    I run a web development company with 1 colleague and a 1 day a week intern. Currently my colleague and I work on a "21.5-inch, Mid 2011 2,5 GHz i5 iMac" with an external Dell monitor. My iMac has been upgraded last year with 4Gb giving me a total of 8Gb.

    The last year we've been having very slow startup times. I think this has to do with the age of the HDD and the upgrades of Mac OS increasing the needed CPU power. It takes me about 6 minutes after powering on to getting started.

    Right now we are looking into:
    A: Upgrading our iMacs with SDD disks and some extra Gb of Ram
    B: Buying new hardware (with fusion or SDD disks) to ensure working at a proper workstation for the next 3-5 years.

    The new iMacs with retina are awesome and a good deal, but we don't need the retina. The non-retina models haven't been updated for a while so normally we would wait a few months for a possible upgrade of the non retina models and buy them later. The problem is that we want to do the spending by the end of the year for tax purposes.

    I've been looking to different setups ranging from MacBook Pro's with an additional screen (for a total of 3 screens) to mac mini's with an additional screen.

    The things we want for sure are:
    - Buy in 2014
    - SSD / Fusion drive
    - 8 Gb ram

    Optional:
    - An additional third screen (right now its 2 iMac + Dell)

    Software we use that is usually running at the same time:
    - Photoshop
    - Coda
    - Email client
    - Multiple different browsers with multiple tabs
    - Open Office / Google Docs
    - Spotify
    - Calendar
    - Skype

    Buying new hardware gives us the advantage of using the old iMac's as a workstation for our intern or an additional intern or at home usage.

    Upgrading the hardware is an option we would like to pursue if buying new hardware at this point is a bad plan.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. vkd macrumors 6502a

    vkd

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
  3. cawesjmu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    #3
    What's your budget? If it's $500, you have to go the upgrade route, but if it's $3k, you can get a new bells and whistles 27in iMac (non retina). Do you have external drives currently? If so, you can get the 1TB fusion drive, save some money and use it for more RAM in the new machine. So give the Macrumors community an idea of your wallet size and they can help more.
     
  4. Spink10 macrumors 601

    Spink10

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #4
    Wait for next generation iMac unless the tax break is good enough to justified lower spec'd iMac.
     
  5. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #5
    Upgrade what you have.

    The processor difference is hardly night and day, and if it is taking 6 minutes to boot that's a big warning sign that the hard drive is failing.
     
  6. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #6
    Stop turning your computer off

    Why are you turning your computer off every day?

    Just put it to sleep.

    Saved you over a grand!
     
  7. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #7
    It's possible that the hard drive is on its way out. Have either of you ever opened an iMac to do that kind of surgery? It's annoying and not for an inexperienced tech. Furthermore, enabling TRIM (which is a must for any aftermarket SSD) in Yosemite is an ordeal all its own (not in terms of difficulty, but in terms of what's required to make it work).

    Given this, I'd sell that machine and then find the iMac that most closely fits your needs on the Apple Certified Refurbished Mac section of the Apple Online Store as their prices and timeframe for existing in that section of the store is different from brand new models (and thusly you won't feel quite so silly buying one at this point in the release cycle.
     
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #8
    6 minutes is a very long boot time but why are you turning off the Mac? Let it sleep. It uses very little power when sleeping.

    I'd replace the disk drive. Something is causing it to run slow. Is it nearly full?

    A new iMac will not be much faster than the old one except that the new iMac could have SSD inside. So why not just upgrade the old disk to a new SSD. Get the biggest one you can afford.

    8Gb is the minimum RAM I would recommend for what you do. 16GB is better but do the SSD upgrade first as that will have the greatest effect. I doubt a Fsion drive would help you much if you have lot of data.

    You may need a large external disk drive as those SSDs don't hold much
     
  9. Bar10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2014
    #9
    There is no budget. We could buy the retina iMacs, however I don't need retina, which would be a waste of resources. I'm really looking for the best fit in hardware.

    ----------

    We're working in an office environment (not from home) and keeping it on feels like a waste of energy + it feels safer just turning it off when I'm not in the office. Furthermore, I've tried keeping it on standby, but that will eventually build up to a slow running system (especially the one with 4Gb ram)

    ----------

    Thanks for bringing up an additional option we haven't thought about yet! This might indeed remove the awkwardly buying at this point in the release cycle issue. I will look into this.

    ----------

    Not really. I think it's mostly Dropbox syncing and Sophos anti-virus taking their time and the normal 3,5 year HDD wearout from being used 40+ hours a week.

    We're planning om moving to Google docs for current project files and having a local NAS for older project files so that all the files won't clutter the HDD as much. Especially if it is a 256Gb or 128Gb SSD.
     
  10. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #10
    3 years seems about right

    I would say get new hardware 3 years seems about right to change for buisness use. Why not go with 27 inch screens and mitigate the need for second monitors with more space...

    Fusion drive or SSD a must whatever you do for speed in booting and app opening.
     
  11. Bar10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2014
    #11
    I think having two 21 inch screens is actually more efficient in stead of one 27 inch. Where even thinking about adding a third monitor.

    1. Code
    2. Result
    3. Development tools / briefing / design example
     
  12. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #12
    My two suggestions are to get a SSD and get rid of Sophos. It reduces your security since it runs at root level. I put a SSD In my wife's 2011 iMac and she has been very happy with the performance. I consider 8 gb to be the minimum amount of memory with 16 needed if you run virtual machines.
     
  13. poiihy macrumors 68020

    poiihy

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2014
    #13
    I think you should upgrade what you have. It`s still a good machine; the only problem is probably a failing HD. Install an SSD and it would be nearly as fast as a brand new one.
     
  14. Bar10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2014
    #14
    Are there other anti-virus programs you would advice to use instead of Sophos? And how does it reduce my security if it runs a root level. Wouldn't that be the same argument for it to increase my security?
     
  15. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #15
    If the Sophos program gets comprised then an attacker has complete control of your machine. If it runs as a user task it requires a password for any significant access.

    I have never found the need for an anti-virus program on OS X. if you're required to by an employer or such then check out ClamXV.
     
  16. Bar10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2014
    #16
    Thanks for your advice. I'm my own employer so the choice is up to me.
     
  17. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #17
    RAM will help "a little".
    SSD's will help "A LOT".

    So even if you get new hardware, make sure that the drives are either straight SSD's or at the very least, fusion.

    Booting Mavericks and Yosemite from an HDD can be a slow experience...
     
  18. RedCroissant Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #18

    I would go to macsales.com for your hardware upgrades. You could upgrade both machines with 16GB RAM and a 480GB SSD for less than 1k. Then, get an external docking station and continue to use your current HDDs as well for extra storage.

    That gets both of your machine sever up to date with good compensation for a "slightly older CPU" and it makes it so you still keep and use what you already own.
     
  19. MkVsTheWorld macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Location:
    Baltimore
    #19
    +1. You can also get OWC products on Amazon too. Since Apple has made enabling TRIM on 3rd party SSDs difficult, it's easier to just put in an SSD with a Sandforce controller. That way, you don't have to worry about future slowdowns with SSDs.
     

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