Upgrade or Replace Mid 2010 iMac?

phillymacuser

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 5, 2008
111
11
I have a Mid-2010 iMac with the original 4gb of ram that I am debating if I should upgrade or replace. I am a very mild user and typically just do web surfing and word processing. However I do have a ton a family photos on the machine as well. I have only used 250gb(mostly photos) of the hard drive in the time I have had the machine.

It has begun to slow down somewhat and that is why I am at this junction. I also recently picked up a 27" Thunderbolt Display with the intention of buying a Mac Mini as a replacement to my current iMac. However it looks like from the comments on the forums that it will not be any faster than the machine I already own, especially if I upgrade the iMac.

So I thought why not max out my ram in my current machine to 16gb and install a 500gb SSD to boot! Then I would spend roughly the amount of a Mac Mini but now have two screens. My dilemma is that this is a 7 year old machine.

Does this seem like a good use of funds? Is my money better spent getting a Mac Mini? Or waiting until later this year to see if Apple offers a new Mac Mini? Suggestions? Thoughts? Much appreciation in advance.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,160
5,520
Probably not worth spending the money on a 7-year-old Mac.

IF it's still running acceptably well, WAIT until the new iMacs are announced later this year.
THEN, either buy a 2017, or you might even consider the current (mid 2015) model if the price is right.
I've seen Apple-refurbished 27" 5k iMacs (8gb/2tb fusion drive) selling in the $1,700 range on eBay.

There MIGHT be a new Mini at the end of this year, that is unknown right now.
IF it's well-done, it could become a contender.

My own late-2012 Mini still runs fine, no plans to replace it (unless the 2017 Mini offers "a deal I can't refuse"!)
 

MadDane

macrumors 6502a
Apr 5, 2015
595
226
What are the specifications of your current machine, other than the RAM and HDD? Also, is it a 21" og 27"?

I have a late 2009 27" iMac with the 2.8 GHz i7 processor, 20GB RAM (officially the max for this machine is 16GB of it can use up to 32GB) and 128GB SSD + 2TB HDD still running. I have planned on upgrading it to a newer machine endless of times but I somehow keep hanging on to this one. Now I am starting to think it will celebrate its 10th birthday on my desk, unless Apple (or Microsoft) comes out with (for me) the right product for the right price.
 

tyche

macrumors 6502
Jul 30, 2010
411
61
I have a 2010 21.5" i5 3.5Ghz with 16gb and 256gb SSD I installed about 5 years ago. I do Xcode development, vpn to my work windows host and the usual web stuff all at once and I have no complaints. Honestly makes it hard to convince myself I need a new one except to get a 27" but the costs here are getting ridiculous.

I think getting at least 8gb in that iMac would help it out and the cost would be small and it's an easy upgrade. Adding an SSD could be several hundred and I'd only recommend if you plan to keep it. The speeds are nice, if you use your iMac daily for any length of time, you can appreciate the difference.
 

verdejt

macrumors 6502
Jul 19, 2011
358
96
Central Florida
I have a mid 2010 27" core i7 at 2.93 Ghz. Other than handoff and airdrop and the other cool wifi Bluetooth stuff the machine is very fast. I'm going to keep this one until it dies. Unlike Windows machines it's easy to get at least 7 - 10 years out of most Apple computers. I was thinking about the OSXWIFI Bluetooth wifi upgrade for older iMacs. Anyone try this.
 

Zobrien

macrumors member
Feb 4, 2017
70
37
Tennessee
I like how the OP talks about web surfing and word processing, and people come out trying to get you to spend $1000+ on an iMac when what you do is not nearly intense enough to justify spending that kind of money. Let's be real here, if you are a MILD user a 2012ish iMac should suffice. It doesn't need to be the crazy, because in the end, with your work flow, it probably is not worth it to spend that kind of money for photo storage, web surfing, and word processing. I would not spend over $600 with your habits, much less $1700. I would spend roughly as much as I stated, if your budget allows, and then invest the extra money somewhere else.
 

BrianBaughn

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2011
6,344
933
Baltimore, Maryland
You will probably see smoother operation with 8GB of RAM. Going from 8 to 16 GB probably won't be noticeable with the type of use you describe.

The Mid-2010 iMacs will run Sierra or anything back to Snow Leopard. The bus speed for storage is 3GB/s. You will notice an improvement in response with an SSD as access time is much faster than spinning platter disks.

The gamble of putting money into the RAM is that something else on the iMac could die due to age. An SSD can always be handy so there would be no loss there.

If it were mine, I'd do the upgrades but would consider just 8GB.
 
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phillymacuser

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 5, 2008
111
11
What are the specifications of your current machine, other than the RAM and HDD? Also, is it a 21" og 27"?

I have a late 2009 27" iMac with the 2.8 GHz i7 processor, 20GB RAM (officially the max for this machine is 16GB of it can use up to 32GB) and 128GB SSD + 2TB HDD still running. I have planned on upgrading it to a newer machine endless of times but I somehow keep hanging on to this one. Now I am starting to think it will celebrate its 10th birthday on my desk, unless Apple (or Microsoft) comes out with (for me) the right product for the right price.
It is a Core i3 with 500gb hardrive, 21" inch.
 

nambuccaheadsau

macrumors 68000
Oct 19, 2007
1,739
409
Nambucca Heads Australia
The i3 would resolve the issue for me phillymacuser.

The options are either to wait for the next model about September/October, buy a current model, and should you go that way remember Apple Refurbs come with the current OS, 12 month warranty with the option of taking out AppleCare for another two years.

Consider a 27" model as you can update the memory yourself and with either an SSD or 2TB Fusion.


https://www.apple.com/shop/browse/home/specialdeals/mac/imac/27
 

Booch21

macrumors regular
Oct 13, 2010
174
68
I have the same machine, 2.93 i7. It is running great. Other than not having Thunderbolt to try new audio interfaces, I'm functioning fine with it. I do audio and video editing and last year, I finally bit the bullet and changed the RAM out from 8GB to 16GB. I have 3 external drives for storage and backup. I sense no slowing down of the machine. If it works fine for you, save your money. As a light user, you could get another several years out of it, but I do feel that the mid-2010 machines may be on the next group of units that will "no longer be supported" by Mac OS. Just a sneaking suspicion is all.
 

kschendel

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
1,026
322
I'm with BrianBaughn on this one. Up the ram to 8 Gb and put in a relatively inexpensive 500 gb SSD into it. There are many entirely satisfactory SSD's in this size class available for $150-ish: SanDisk, Mushkin, Kingston, Toshiba, Crucial, the list goes on. For under $250 you can probably get another 2-3 years out of the machine, and by then used 2015's should be fairly affordable. (Don't spend extra on fancy high-speed SSD like the latest Samsungs, since your machine can't drive them at max speed anyway.) Do the RAM upgrade first before buying an SSD, since getting into that machine isn't as simple as some of the older ones, and the RAM upgrade might possibly satisfy you. (probably not but it's cheap and easy.)

Don't forget to put some money into backups. If you aren't backing up, start. If you are but your backup drive is more than a couple years old, replace it. Don't be one of those woeful stories "I lost thousands of irreplaceable family photos..."!
 

Tee Dubya

macrumors newbie
Nov 8, 2011
4
0
Melbourne
I have the same machine, 2.93 i7. It is running great. Other than not having Thunderbolt to try new audio interfaces, I'm functioning fine with it. I do audio and video editing and last year, I finally bit the bullet and changed the RAM out from 8GB to 16GB. I have 3 external drives for storage and backup. I sense no slowing down of the machine. If it works fine for you, save your money. As a light user, you could get another several years out of it, but I do feel that the mid-2010 machines may be on the next group of units that will "no longer be supported" by Mac OS. Just a sneaking suspicion is all.
I have the same machine with 32GB RAM and an SSD installed - it still runs like a dream! Can I ask what OS you're running? I'm still on Mavericks but looking to upgrade to Sierra as I want to run the latest versions of Logic X and Live.
 

Booch21

macrumors regular
Oct 13, 2010
174
68
I have the same machine with 32GB RAM and an SSD installed - it still runs like a dream! Can I ask what OS you're running? I'm still on Mavericks but looking to upgrade to Sierra as I want to run the latest versions of Logic X and Live.
I'm on Sierra. I don't hesitate to stay current, although I may wait a few hours to see if anyone has major issues.