Was buying a refurbished 2011 iMac a good choice?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by THX2008, May 3, 2013.

  1. THX2008 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2007
    #1
    My refurbished 2011 iMac just arrived a couple of days ago. This is my first Apple Desktop. I've been using a Core Duo MBP as my main machine since 2006, so this is a welcome upgrade.

    When deciding on what to buy, I narrowed my choices down between a 2011 21.5 iMac with a Core i7 2.8 GHz processor for $1259 and the entry level 2012 Core i5 21.5 iMac. In the end I went with the refurbished 2011 model because of its greater repairability, upgradability and optical drive. I know digital media seems to be the wave of the future but I still enjoy watching DVD movies. After looking at iFixit's breakdown of the 2012 iMacs, they seem to be taking a step backwards in several areas (why a 5400 rpm laptop HD?).

    The refurbished iMac came with a 2TB 7200 rpm hard drive and 8GB of memory. Both are more than what was advertised. Overall, I'm very happy. When I compare specs between the two, it seems like I'm really only missing out on USB 3.0 and a slightly better GPU. Was this a good purchase choice?
     
  2. iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    #2
    I had a bad experience with 2011 iMac, the screen had been defected too many times. Smudge/dirty screen problem was a PITA for me. That plus I have my GPU and HDD replaced too.

    So it was a bitter experience with the old machine.

    I'm not saying that it's going to happen to you. Overall it was a great machine indeed, when it works.

    2012 iMac runs not only slightly faster, but it's also much much cooler even under loads. That something you should consider.
    Maybe return the machine and get refurbed 2012 could be another alternative?
     
  3. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #3
    Because everything but the screen in the iMac is essentially laptop hardware. I agree that they should have shot for a 7200rpm disk, but since almost everybody will be upgrading to an SSD these days, I can understand the idea.. And of course there's the big question about thickness.

    I love my 2011 iMac, and have not regretted it a single second. Haven't had a single problem, it is screaming fast (Even more when I get an SSD into it!), and doesn't run very hot even under high loads.

    Unless you want to have intercourse with the skinny design of the 2012 model, I see absolutely no reason not to save $$$ and buy the 2011 model, which in most cases are just as fast as a 2012 model. And for the average user, the speed is way more than needed anyway. And again, an SSD upgrade will give it 5 years more.
     
  4. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #4
    Cpus remain desktop class, for now;).
     
  5. nizmoz macrumors 65816

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    Jul 7, 2008
    #5
    2012 is much faster than 2011 especially with the 680. It can actually game well now.
     
  6. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #6
    But it won't matter for anyone but gamers.. And so far my R6970m has handled everything I've thrown at it, so I'm quite content.
    Oh yeah, that is true! Although it won't make much of a difference for most users. :)
     
  7. iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    #7
    Considering Intel will release H series Haswell chips specified for all in one, I'm afraid Apple would go for that option. Especially if it can make the new iMac ... thinner :p
     
  8. thekev, May 4, 2013
    Last edited: May 4, 2013

    thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #8
    Yes.. it will grow.... thinner..

    [​IMG]

    The guy from that movie does kind of look like he could be Tim Cook's grandfather.

    Apple uses some notebook cpus that are much more expensive in terms of recommended customer pricing than those used in both the imac and mac pro machines at comparable retail price points, so the lower specs don't make much of a difference. They're pretty much in line with the notebooks outside of benchmarks, but it varies somewhat from generation to generation.

    Note lowest imac cpu and $800 mini cpu. It's always possible that they get a higher volume discount on the one shared with notebook products, but it wouldn't bridge that gap. The cpus in the 15" macbook pros also cost more than those used in imacs of comparable price points. It's just how they structure the line. Top performers are basically restricted to the $2k+ price range.
     
  9. THX2008 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2007
    #9
    Thanks for the feedback guys. I've gotta say, I'm in love after using the machine for a few days. This is seriously the best desktop experience ever and a big step up from my MBP running Snow Leopard.

    I'll probably stick with this model and sell my old MBP on eBay. I'm not much of a gamer and the games I do play are old, so heat issues and inferior GPU performance of the 2011 model are not a problem. Had the 2012 model came with an SSD as a standard configuration or even kept the optical drive I might have sprung for it instead. Oh well. :p
     
  10. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000

    MultiFinder17

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    #10
    I bought a base 21.5" 2011 iMac off Craigslist a few weeks ago to replace a 2009 mini, and it has been absolutely wonderful. I really only play WoW, and it runs that game beautifully. The overall performance of this machine is shockingly wonderful - plus, I can bump up its RAM to 32GB with a screwdriver and a minute of my time (I already have 18GB in it) :) It has an optical drive, which I still use on occasion, as well as room inside for a 2.5" SSD in addition to the HDD.

    I'm quite happy with my new iMac :)
     
  11. toddzrx macrumors 6502a

    toddzrx

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    #11
    Funny: looks like we are in the same "upgrade" cycle.

    I had a 2006 17" MBP (first gen, so it was a Core Duo as well). I breathed new life into it when I installed an SSD (instead of replacing it) in late 2010, and then went on to add an external monitor, mouse, and keyboard when the screen crapped out, essentially turning it into a desktop (which was fine; I didn't need the mobility anymore).

    After waiting for the 2012 iMacs to be released, and being disappointed, I went and found a used 2010 21.5" iMac (with the 3.2 Core i3) for $750. It was a pretty good deal, and it screams with the SSD in there (that came out of the old MBP).

    I opted for the 2010 iMac because of the SATA 2 connection of my SSD; your 2011 model uses SATA 3, so between that and the Sandy Bridge processor, it'll really scream. SSD's, especially for this iMac design, bring not only speed advantages, but also help the machine run quite a bit cooler. I know it's anecdotal, but I never see my processor temp go above 100 degrees (unlike the old Core Duo which usually was up around 120 or 130 under normal use). I put the original 1TB HD in an external enclosure, and now use if for Time Machine backups, and it gets warm! So I think a lot of the temp complaints about this model of iMac were coming from the HD, not just the processor.

    Anyway, doing the surgery is not that bad, so I highly recommend installing an SSD. Just be prepared to never use an internal HD again; you won't want to go back! :)
     
  12. Arfdog macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2013
    #12
    So why would having a mobile CPU matter to most users (per your statement) when having a desktop CPU won't matter to most users?
     
  13. macthefork macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2013
    #13
    Happy with my 2011 27" base model. It was fairly easy to open and install the SSD, and it's now a screamer. Certainly fast enough for any of my needs. I use the internal DVD quite often, and also the SD slot on the side is convenient, since I take infrared night pictures every night of wildlife around the area, and simply place the SD card into the slot every morning to check the pics.
     
  14. TallManNY macrumors 601

    TallManNY

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #14
    I like my 2011. The DVD integrated is still useful for a few more years. And it runs all current games in boot camp fine. I think you made the right call to save some bucks.
     
  15. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Denmark
    #15
    I'm not sure I made that specific statement? (English is not my native language). I believe I only argued that the GPU may be important, and that for gamers?
     
  16. Brian Y macrumors 68040

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    Oct 21, 2012
    #16
    If you find you need an i7 you can upgrade to it ;)
     
  17. AppleNewton macrumors 68000

    AppleNewton

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    #17
    I have a love/hate relationship with the 2011 iMacs. Theyre stellar machines and perfectly capable powerhouse machines.
    The only problems ive had with mine were the 3 LCD replacements.
    they would get discoloration/smudges/some form of display defect. it happened on each replacement display and currently occurring on the one I own now.

    I'm tempted to sell it and pick up an SSD only 2012 iMac...I have my Pegasus set-up and the all SSD option is highly attractive, quiet rig.
    The only issue is the current Image Retention issue on some machines..one at work has it badly.
    But the newer ones definitely seem the way to go. less mechanical parts, cooler, not as bulky.

    I dont think you made a bad choice at all..there are few hardware problems that seem to be consistent with the 2011 models.
     
  18. jji7skyline macrumors 6502

    jji7skyline

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    #18
    I have the same model, but with 500GB HDD and 12GB RAM and I must say it's the best desktop I've ever used. It's very capable as anything you could ever want, I currently use it as a web server, a photography station, web programming, and also for my schoolwork.

    The DVD drive is important to me for different reasons, (mostly linux related and server related), so I wouldn't consider upgrading to the new one.

    I also think the 5400rpm drives a downgrade, so I'd have to get a hybrid drive which would rocket the price :p

    I also have the wired keyboard which is perfect.
     
  19. THX2008 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2007
    #19
    Wow, three times? I heard about this issue but I didn't realize it was that common. How widespread is this defect? I thought Apple resolved the screen smudging problem by switching to a different LCD manufacturer.

    Is there anything that can be done to prevent this? I've noticed one dead pixel near the bottom-center of the screen but so far the display seems fine.
     
  20. iAppl3Fan macrumors 6502a

    iAppl3Fan

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    Sep 8, 2011
    #20
    How do you deal with that sensor cable on the hdd. When the SSD is installed, doesn't the fan go crazy?
     
  21. AppleNewton macrumors 68000

    AppleNewton

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    #21
    I'm not sure the reasoning for this, could be the panels. Even the ones you get repaired from Apple at an Apple store or authorized provider are sometimes refurbished panels, sometimes new..now real way to tell 100%

    This unit has been great sans the LCD issue. However I'm quite tempted for the mechanical less 2012 iMac


    Some install a firmware to adjust the fan speeds. but yeah with out an HDD and a power jumper theyll go on full blast
     

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