Why modern iMacs are stupid

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jji7skyline, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. jji7skyline macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2011
    I have the mid 2011 base model iMac. For those who are not familiar with the history of the iMac line, here's the specs.

    • Sandy Core i5 @ 2.5Ghz QUAD
      4GB DDR3@1333 RAM
      AMD Radeon HD 6750
      500GB 7200RPM HDD
      1080p 21.5" Display

      Cost: $1299 in Australia

    Now the current base model iMac is new. Yet it's actually more expensive, and slower than my 3 year old iMac.

    • Haswell Core i5 @ 1.4Ghz DUAL
      8GB DDR3@1600
      Intel HD Graphics 5000
      500GB 5400RPM HDD
      1080p 21.5" Display
      Thunderbolt 2
      USB 3.0

      Cost $1349 in Australia

    From the comparison, it's clear to see that the new iMac is not only more expensive, but slower in the following areas: CPU, GPU, HDD.

    It also lacks a superdrive, which contrary to popular opinion, I still use regularly.

    The only thing it truly beats the old model in is RAM, which I've upgraded to 12GB on mine anyway for less than $100 (which brings it close to the latest model's price).


    The next step up from the modern base model is still only marginally faster. Here's the breakdown.

    $1599 price

    0.2Ghz faster CPU, good thing it's a quad, and of course haswell is more efficient than sandy meaning it's probably around x1.25 faster.

    Same 8GB RAM as base model, cannot be upgraded easily

    1TB HDD - yet still 5400RPM, so it's slower than my proper 7200RPM drive

    Iris Pro graphics actually performs similarly to 6750M in my iMac (correct me on this if I'm wrong, because there's not much info on the Iris Pro graphics. my research lead me to believe that they perform similarly though).


  2. Headrush69 macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2007
    It's worse than you think.
    Check out: http://barefeats.com/imac2014.html

    It's obvious Apple isn't trying to design the most powerful computers.
    They are designing and catering to the market they think buy these machines and maximizing their profits at the same time.

    To them, low end iMacs are "family" types that surf, email, youtube, etc.
    As long as they can have the fancy UI features and it feels fast for those tasks, those groups tend to be happy.
  3. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2012
    *slow clap*

    The base model iMac is not designed for you.

    So, how does your 2011 compare to the next model - the one without the ULV haswell.

    Interesting how you've decided that all modern iMacs are "stupid" based on the base model.
  4. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    That model is build for low power consumption, but not performance.
  5. yangchewren macrumors regular

    Dec 1, 2012
    Good thread that puts value into perspective, the only thing better that the baseline mac and iris pro mac have is power consumption and an IPS panel...

    Which isn't much considering that the imac is meant primarily as a consumer device. Additionally, it uses a desktop chassis - there's no thermal throttling, so why worry about power consumption/heat output*?

    *Ceteris paribus
  6. h9826790, Sep 21, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014

    h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Um... I think even though the iMac sell as a desktop, it's thermal characteristic is actually more like a laptop. There are quite a few guys report that their iMac suffer from thermal throttling, even though it already use mobile hardware.

    If Apple really use desktop hardware in the current iMac, most likely the iMac will overheat and shut itself down.
  7. neilford, Sep 21, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014

    neilford macrumors member

    Jun 13, 2007
    los angeles
    I would add to this: why is a Macbook Pro, a pro machine? In the latest line up of macbook pros, the only machine that remotely qualifies as a pro machine is the top of the line. There is nothing professional about any of the other machines, not processor, not graphics, not ports, not drive.
  8. yangchewren macrumors regular

    Dec 1, 2012
    While gpus have been mobile variants, most CPUs aren't. The cooling capacity of the 21.5" imac is overkill for its ulv mobile processor.

    Hooray, we can finally see the 15w i5 4260 run at its maximum...
  9. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    That's Funny
  10. antonis macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2011
    It makes me wonder why almost everyone in this thread fails badly to understand what the OP said. It's not about if he needs the base model or not, or if the base model is good only for surfing and mail. The OP points an oddity here:

    The current base model is more expensive but less powerful than the 2011 one.

    So, you have 2 machines from the same manufacturer; machine A and machine B. Machine A is less powerful than machine B, but the manufacturer sells it for higher price, while the machine B is out of sale. Isn't that odd ?
  11. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    Did you actually mean "Is buying a modern iMac, stupid" ?
  12. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    899 was the pre-release guesstimate, but Apple didn't go there. They also never budge on 200% ram costs, cheap OEM optical drives(in the past) & HDs, etc etc so I guess it's SOS from our perspective. The new iPhone's skip from 16 to 64 or NOT giving up 32 entry ram? Yep, same Ol'

    Not sayin' I like it, but it didn't raise an eyebrow here.
  13. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2012
    He's also ignoring any changes in the value of the Australian dollar vs the US dollar, and any inflation that occurred between 2011 and now.

    What's the adjusted cost of that base 2011 iMac in current Australian dollars?

    What was the price of the 2011 and 2014 in US dollars (the currency that Apple uses to set the base price).
  14. antipodean macrumors member

    May 2, 2014
    As far as I can tell from Everymac, the base price in US$ is actually a little lower for the 2014 iMac vs. the 2011 one (by about a hundred). Looks like movement in the Aussie dollar has a role to play in the OP's example.

    It is true that at a given level in the iMac line-up progress is somewhat modest over a 3-4 year period. There is a positive spin that can be put on this: buy an iMac without worrying about obsolescence kicking in too quickly. My BTO top-end model (i7, 32GB, 1TB SSD, 780M) should be reasonably competitive in 3 years' time, albeit not the fastest.

    TL;DR - it's a mature market.
  15. jji7skyline thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2011
    I guess that's what Apple was going for. Steve Jobs would have never allowed it though.

    I actually mentioned the next level 2.7Ghz iMac in my post. Please re-read.

    Which is weird, considering it's a desktop. TBH I'm fine with the idea of a low cost, low power usage, easy to use iMac. What I'm not fine with is the ridiculous price.

    I'm not sure what you meant there. All the iMacs I mentioned have IPS panels, and I'm sure that the 1.4Ghz iMac uses less power than mine.

    I've never had cooling issues with my iMac, but then again my iMac isn't super slim.

    I guess that comes from the super-slim form. But you should also consider that the higher-end iMacs with desktop CPUs and discrete graphics also use the same chassis. Of course they'll never put desktop class graphics in it though.

    To be fair, the Macbook Pro is good value for the following reasons.

    Good quad core CPUs.
    Retina Displays.
    mPCI-E SSDs (this is actually a big deal).
    Loads of RAM.
    Build quality.

    Maybe the cooling is overkill, but the price is also overkill.

    My point exactly. Some people in this topic sound like they haven't even read my topic post.


    It does look like the ULV iMac is $100 cheaper than mine was in the USA.

    Makes you wonder why Australian prices have gone up when the Australian dollar has actually stayed the same, if not risen.
  16. Altis macrumors 68030

    Sep 10, 2013
    That is a good point. Here in Canada, Apple just put the prices up on the new iPhones. They don't miss a beat.

    Still, a very interesting observation. I don't find the iMacs of today very much outperform the ones of recent years. Mind you, the demand of computing power is flattening out these days, and you don't need to replace/upgrade as frequently as you used to.
  17. antonis macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2011
    Both very good points and relevant to the OP. Regardless, comparing these 2 machines, it does look like a step back for iMac. I mean it's not very often to own a 2011 machine and be much better with it, than what you'd get if you bought the 2014 equivalent.
  18. jji7skyline thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2011
    USA prices: current base iMac is $100 cheaper than the 2011 base iMac. Still overpriced imho.

    If the 2.7Ghz iMac had been priced $1300, it would still be overpriced, considering it's only marginally better than the 2011 model, and actually has a slower HDD.
  19. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    Perhaps, but the entry "equivalent" machine is the middle of the line now. Before (and most years I think) there were 2 starting points with options as usual, not 3.

    Assuming any new "Entry" model must be better than years before is ignoring the pitch of a lower model. It's been a while since they offered something like this.

    I think we all agree, it stinks.
  20. jimmirehman macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2012
    i guess i'll hold on to my 2.8 i7 BTO 27" iMac a bit longer until they get off this low-low end kick.
  21. jji7skyline thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2011
    Basically yes, but the prices has increased by $200. Seems hardly fair, since the RAM is no longer upgradeable, there is no optical drive, and the HDD is slower.

    Yes it does stink.
  22. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    You're forgetting something basic here.


    Apple adjusts pricing in other countries based on the exchange rate. The AUD is worth far less than it was 3/4 years ago, therefore prices will have gone up.

    The base 21" is designed more for students, and is for all intents and purposes a MacBook Air inside an iMac casing.

    Here in the UK, the base model 27" iMac in 2011 was (I think) £1399.

    2.5GHz Core i5 (quad)
    4GB RAM
    1TB HDD
    6770M 512MB

    Current iMac is £1449

    3.2GHz Core i5 (quad) - performs much better than the old i5 in the 2011
    8GB RAM (double 2011)
    1TB HDD (same as 2011)
    755M 1GB (much much better than 2011)

    You lose the ODD, but gain a much slimmer design, a much better screen (no horrible glass/gap in front of the LCD). You get Bluetooth 4.0 and wireless-ac too.
  23. jjhoekstra macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2009
    Taking into account a devaluation of the Aus$ compared to the US$ of about 15% in the mentioned timeframe and overall inflation in Australia of about 7.5%, the base model price should have been 1605 Aus$. In reality it is 1349 Aus$ which is 16% cheaper. So it only sucks a bit, or not at all depending on your mindset.
  24. Lankyman macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2011
    I have the exact model the OP talks about i.e. the mid-2011 model, and while I would still purchase that iMac today (were it available) I would not purchase today's base or the next one up for that matter.

    I think the ethos at Apple has changed to a degree. When I bought my iMac the saying was - you pay a lot but then you're getting a lot. I think now it's a case of - you pay a lot, but you'll need to pay a lot more to get a lot.
  25. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    The range of 21 and 27s prices has been pretty much the same up or down 100 bucks for years. The value of the iMac hasn't changed. This new penny pinch model is targeted at people who could care less about the specs. In a sense, they deserve it if they buy it and most of these buyers will never notice the performance either. They don't see 1.4ghz and think. It's a pretty New iMac, so that's enough. It has the mic and speakers, the OS. What's not to love ;)

    Anyone stunned that Apple would act like some sleazy shyster and sell an outdated product is asleep. The old crowd that bought many a tower through the X000 to G series knew the first thing to do was gut the cheap internals and replace with performance HD's & Opticals. Over the years, those options have been systematically closed and the money for performance redirected back to Apple.

    When these 1.4ghz clunkers finally hit the used market, watch the very savvy auction buyers drive the price way down to where it should be. Likely 600-650 at 1 year old. About where it should be if the retail was 899.00
    It's very hard to cheat the used/auction market IMO.

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