Which iMac Should I Get?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ax19, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. ax19 macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2014
    Hi. I am about to get a new iMac, but am not sure which one to get. I want to get the best iMac I can for my $2000 budget. I will use the mac for basic things as well as coding, light video editing, and causal gaming (Simcity). Here are my 3 choices:

    2013 iMac 27 Inch
    3.4GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz
    8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2X4GB
    256GB Flash Storage
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M 2GB GDDR5

    2013 iMac 21.5 Inch
    3.1GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2X8GB
    256GB Flash Storage

    2012 Imac 27 Inch
    Refurbished 27-inch iMac 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
    Originally released October 2012
    27-inch LED-backlit display with IPS technology
    8GB memory
    1TB Fusion Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX with 2GB
    Built-in FaceTime HD camera

    Which do you think would be best for my needs. I need it to last me a good 4-5 years. Would the 27 be to big or would I get used to it. I went to the apple store and the 27 appeared to big and the 21.5 appeared to small. What do you think I should do? Thank you for the help.
  2. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    Hi Ax19,

    First of all, I would highly recommend a 27" iMac. As long as you can fit it on your desk, I would strongly recommend it. This is not only because of the gorgeous display. The RAM is user upgradeable, and all of the components are much more powerful for the price.

    I would also recommend getting a refurbished iMac. You can find some really good deals, and the stock shifts around quite a bit. If you wait for a week, you will probably see an array of 27" 2013 models with Fusion/SSD pop up. The 2012 refurb model you are looking at is great, and if you cannot wait a week or two, I am between that one and the 2013 775m model. The 2012 model has better processing power, but if you can't think of a professional program that you are using right now, the 2013 model is the one to get. I would wait for the 2013 model to go on the refurb store, or one similar to it if you are a consumer. The 2012 and the 2013 models are not much different, except for PCIE flash and AC wifi. Other than that, you get about equal performance per dollar on the refurb store. I wouldn't recommend buying new, considering you can get a refurb one cheaper.

    The only reason to get a 21" is because you don't have the space or the money for a 27". Otherwise, everything about the 27" is better.

  3. thetechfixer macrumors 6502


    Apr 21, 2010
    Either 27" iMac would be more than enough, although if you can, get one with a Fusion Drive
  4. ax19, Aug 12, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014

    ax19 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2014
    Okay, thanks for the help.

    I have been looking at computers come and go from the refurbished store for a weeks or so now... Does anyone know if apple sells a refirbished 27 with only the fusion drive and i7 upgrades?
  5. ax19 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2014
    ^ I have been looking on the refurbished store for a couple weeks and have not see one yet. Should I keep waiting? Thanks

  6. ApfelKuchen, Aug 13, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014

    ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Waiting vs. buy now is basically a matter of your needs and priorities. Same with buying refurb vs. buying new. You'll get greater value from a refurb, but you may have to wait until what you want becomes available. If you need a new computer right away, you may have to pay a bit more (or get a bit less).

    The i7 iMacs are in smaller demand (hence, lower supply) than the i5. You don't see that when buying new - you see what's on display, not how many are in the back room. But it's easy to see that in the refurb store - they'll naturally come up less frequently.

    For your uses, I question the need for an i7. I do favor a larger Fusion drive over a smaller Flash-only configuration, so my advise is to look for a refurb 27" with i5 and Fusion - they should be easier to come by than the i7s.

    I have a 27" (Late 2013) with i5 and Fusion - it flies, compared to my old 2008 iMac, and it's made a substantial improvement in my productivity. I often need to have a web browser and either InDesign or a word processor open alongside it - that's easy with a 27", not so easy with a 21" - shrink those windows down to a size that fits on the smaller monitor, and I have a much harder time seeing what I'm doing (and reading). Bigger desktop can also mean more stuff can be visible, reducing the need to manage what's visible when working with multiple apps/documents.
  7. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    You will only find models that people have returned, and barely anyone upgrades the CPU/storage without a GPU upgrade. There have been some i7/SSD models in the last few weeks, they typically cost $2000-$2200 though. I personally prefer pure SSD with external HDD because I don't like the Fusion Drive choosing which files go where.


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