Whats the best year for 27" iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by gpspad, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. gpspad macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2014
    My current setup is a 2012 mac mini with an i7 and 16GB of memory. It has an apple fusion drive and I have a 27" thunderbolt monitor. I have been doing basic video editing and web surfing on it. It was my first mac, now with handoff and my iphone I can't imagine not having a mac.

    It does bogs down once in a while, but the mac mini is fast enough, but the thunderbolt monitor has started making random high pitch noises and its getting annoying. I like that the thunderbolt monitor has everything like the face time camera built in, but I'm looking at about $500-600 for a new one.

    I think it might be time to look for a new, refurb, or used 27" iMac. I am thinking an SSD is a must and would like to be able to at least upgrade the memory, but not sure what years models allowed that.

    Any suggestions for what specs and year get you the best value for an iMac for someone that doesn't know a lot about iMacs?
  2. zipur macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2011
    The great state of Texas
    2018 is the best. With electronics the next big this is always the best.
  3. gpspad thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2014
    Thanks, I am not sure thats in the budget to get the best no matter the cost...

    I was thinking more like what year SSD drives became an option to look for....

    What year the new the graphic processors made a big jump...

    What years haver hardware issues....

    What years are non upgradable....

    Things like that, I can comfortably tell someone a 2012 mac mini is the sweet spot for value, just not sure what that sweet spot is for iMacs....
  4. ignatius345 macrumors 68020

    Aug 20, 2015
    Well, minis sort of maxed out in 2012 but the iMac is (I think) much better-spec'ed with each year's revision.

    I'm personally finding the late 2014 5K model is feeling great for everything I do. I got the 1TB fusion drive and find it quite zippy. And the screen is, of course, just gorgeous to look at. I believe the screens and graphics cards are better on the current versions.
  5. padams35 macrumors regular

    Nov 10, 2016
    27" iMacs don't really have a sweat spot.

    2011 was the last year with a magnetically attached screen instead of adhesive, but that year also had GPU issues in the 27" and is probably a little old for video editing.

    2012-2013 iMacs used nvidea gpus, so that could be a plus or minus. Those are also the last non-retina and might offer better value if a Retina display isn't important and you aren't doing 4K/5K editing... or may be a worse value if you think retina is a nice to have.

    SSDs have been a build-to-order option since at least 2012.

    2014 maxed-out top-end models have had some thermal/screen retention complaints.

    The entry 2015 M380 was somewhat underpowered for a 5K and may be insufficient for 4K/5K editing.

    2015->2017 had the largest model-to-model GPU jump, but I'm not sure if it was much larger than say 2012->2014.

    Currently all 27" iMacs support user replaceable memory.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Get a 2017 iMac if you can afford it.

    Get the 27".

    Get either the "base model", or, spend $200 more for the "midrange" (has a 7600 CPU instead of 7500, and better graphics). That's worth the money.

    Get either a 256gb SSD ($100 more) or a 512gb SSD ($300 more). These are "build to order" items.

    Or -- keep a very close eye on the Apple refurbished store, and wait until the configuration of your choice becomes available. But you have to act fast when it does!
  7. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    You give us no idea what you are using the computer for so suggesting a configuration and trade off between new tech and cost is impossible.

    For example if you game a lot then the 2017 with the 8gb graphics card is your best bet no matter the other specs.
  8. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2014
    Avoid 2011's with the 6970 graphics card, they have a massive failure rate.

    I'm not aware that there is anything direly wrong with the 2014 retina versions, but as noted above, the 2015's had some improvements for better thermals and less screen image retention.

    If you are or will be doing lots of video you want to be as current as possible. If you're just doing email, web browsing (light on the video) and writing the occasional document or spreadsheet, you can easily get by on an early 2009 with added memory and SSD. Not that I'm necessarily advocating the latter, just that you need to align your purchase with what your needs are. From a practical standpoint, I wouldn't buy earlier than the late 2012 models because that's when USB 3 came in.
  9. Georgio macrumors 6502


    Apr 30, 2008
    Essex, UK
    2012 27" had the option of the 6800 NVidia GPU's, I bought one of these then and it's going strong five years later. The move to AMD GPU's after this was a mistake imo.
    Adding an SSD to one of these isn't a problem as all the wiring is already in place, you just need to take the time to do it properly.

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8 October 11, 2017