Used iMac purchase

MattLightfoot81

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 1, 2019
2
0
Birmingham, UK
Hi all

Is there anyone out there that could give me some technical advice on purchasing a used iMac? I'm a photographer, I'll be running LR and PS with a graphics tab. I only use a Windows based laptop at the minute and it took 5 hours to export 102 photos in LR yesterday. I've had enough.

I'm quite experienced with Windows pc's but Apple is a new venture for me. So, as a new user I have some queries and hoping there is someone in here more experienced than I am.

I have a limited budget and so far that has pushed me to around a 2011 model 27" i7 machine with 24gb RAM and 1gb graphics card. Is a 2011 model too old? By that I mean screen resolution not being 4/5k only 1080p and heard they sometimes run hot? Is it worth waiting and upping my budget or looking for a different model. I'm quite happy to upgrade as I go but way that I may be purchasing a machine that's outdated before I've even got used to it.

On the plus side, I get the presumption that even a 2011 imac would blow me away after what I've been putting up with.

Is there anything I should look out for/avoid?

Thanks
 

Khaleal

macrumors regular
Aug 24, 2013
170
67
Don't get anything older than 2012 (or maybe 2013). While the CPUs still kick ass, the GPUs in older iMacs are very underpowered and lack the VRAM, and can't even drive the OS GUI smoothly.
 
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ScreenSavers

macrumors 6502a
Feb 26, 2016
661
449
Bloomingdale, GA
I'd go for the 4K or even better 27" 5K if you can afford it. I have the late 2015 5K iMac and it's a beast of a machine. Those AMD processors like the one you're coming from are dreadfully slow so you'd notice a difference immediately. And an SSD is a must have!
 

Zdigital2015

macrumors 68000
Jul 14, 2015
1,721
1,770
East Coast, United States
Hi all

Is there anyone out there that could give me some technical advice on purchasing a used iMac? I'm a photographer, I'll be running LR and PS with a graphics tab. I only use a Windows based laptop at the minute and it took 5 hours to export 102 photos in LR yesterday. I've had enough.

I'm quite experienced with Windows pc's but Apple is a new venture for me. So, as a new user I have some queries and hoping there is someone in here more experienced than I am.

I have a limited budget and so far that has pushed me to around a 2011 model 27" i7 machine with 24gb RAM and 1gb graphics card. Is a 2011 model too old? By that I mean screen resolution not being 4/5k only 1080p and heard they sometimes run hot? Is it worth waiting and upping my budget or looking for a different model. I'm quite happy to upgrade as I go but way that I may be purchasing a machine that's outdated before I've even got used to it.

On the plus side, I get the presumption that even a 2011 imac would blow me away after what I've been putting up with.

Is there anything I should look out for/avoid?

Thanks
You need a 2012 or later iMac to run macOS Mojave or the upcoming macOS Catalina coming the Fall. A Late 2012 with the NVIDIA GTX680M 2GB GPU and Core i7 is your best bet. Like another poster mentioned, don’t go older than the 2012 model. You’ll want the Thunderbolt 1 and USB 3 ports. I have a Late 2013 iMac which works just fine. I have 32GB DRAM, 4GB GTX780M GPU and a 3.5GHz i7. The only downside is the 3TB Fusion Drive.

If you want a Retina 5K display, you’ll have to get a Late 2014 model, which is still a 4th Gen Core i7 (Core i7-4970K) at 4.0GHz, but the AMD GPUs can run pretty hot, especially the Radeon M295X 4GB GPU.

If you can swing the 27” 2015 iMac, then you get Skylake and a faster SSD.

Again, I would avoid the Late 2011 iMacs at all costs. Good luck!
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,604
1,187
Georgia
Cheers for the reply

Specs are in the photo

Based in the UK, the 2011 model above I found for £500
You can find 2013 27" iMacs on eBay in the £500 to £550 range pretty easily. I would look at a 4K or 5K iMac if you can afford it though. The screens are much nicer with Photoshop. Also Mojave changed font rendering. Non-retina models look somewhat blurry.
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
390
The Sillie Con Valley
I have a 2011 iMac 27”. Great machine. There are no GPU issues if the HDD was removed and replaced with an SSD. I’ve done the same with over a hundred others at schools — same thing. Perfect for editing books, word processing, all sorts of tasks.

If your complaint is that your Win PC takes too long rendering photos, you don’t want an iMac that old. Even if someone gave it to you for free.

The oldest you should consider is a 2017 with an SSD.

A 2015 where the drive has been replaced with a fast NVMe SSD like a 970 EVO is nearly as good. If you can pick up a 2015 cheaply enough to have that done, that would be a good buy.

Consider the task.