Why shouldn't I order the base 2014 iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by BA Baracus, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. BA Baracus macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Location:
    Scotland
    #1
    Evening all from balmy Scotland and the Commonwealth Games.

    Let me set the scene. I'm still chugging along with my 2005 G5 iMac and it is still pretty good at the stuff I look for it to do, Microsoft Office, acting as a thin client into work, storing photos, e-mail and basic web browsing. In its day it performed well with iMovie etc.

    However, it is getting clunky now and web browsing is slow, painful and anything with video and sound is now starting to struggle. Forget HD (or any quality setting) video on youtube!!!

    It has been a good workhorse and has served me well all these 9 years - so time for a replacement (although its not broken!).

    I am very interested in the base model iMac. I'm fully aware of the hardware 'downgrades' but am sure the 1.4 i5 and integrated graphics will be good enough. The cheaper price is very appealing and while I appreciate the mid iMac is the sweet spot and offers best 'bang for buck' it is an extra £150 - money I would like to spend on other stuff.

    I will not play games nor run advanced/pro software on it and do not see the requirement for massive amounts of RAM. I want an excellent and complete surfing experience and be able to know that it handles all the consumer software from Apple e.g. pages, iMovie, iTunes etc etc very well.

    I know the performance of the mid model is say double that of the base model - but I don't think I need or require the extra power. Plus, going forward, any iMac will no doubt creek and look poor (components wise) in comparison to the base model in say 5 years time.

    I'm struggling to find hands on/real life reports of the base iMac but what I see is quite encouraging.

    Can I get away with the base iMac? Thoughts?

    Many thanks.

    PS I don't feel the need to have bragging rights about buying the best of the best, indeed I'm the kind of guy to brag if I find the base iMac a scoop and a more than capable machine.
     
  2. r.harris1 macrumors 6502a

    r.harris1

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    Feb 20, 2012
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    Denver, Colorado, USA
    #2
    Greetings from the center of the US in Denver, CO. My wife just picked up one of these and she loves it completely and if you are going to be using it as you describe, you should definitely be good. If you outgrow 500mb, you can throw an external drive on. 8GB RAM is a little on the low side and I'd worry slightly (and I do mean slightly) about long term performance (apps or OS X becoming more RAM hungry over the years).

    I'd say go for it!
     
  3. firedept macrumors 603

    firedept

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    #3
    Have to agree. From what you stated your uses will be, this would certainly fit your needs. No sense in paying for something more that you will never use. Go for it, as it looks like a perfect fit for you.
     
  4. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    Location:
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    #4
    Here's why you should NOT order the new low-end iMac. Plain and simple, it is a terrible buy. Would it be an upgrade? Yes. Would you like using it? Probably. However, for $200 more, you get a machine that is SUBSTANTIALLY more capable. Two extra processing cores, plus a clock speed difference of 1.3GHz is huge. Similarly, spending $200 on top of that model only gets you slightly faster processing power and discrete graphics (which compared to Iris Pro isn't all that much if you're not a gamer or a video editor anyway).

    Similarly, while the lowest-end model would suit you fine for today, you'd get a SUBSTANTIALLY longer lifespan out of the 2.7GHz Core i5 model versus the 1.4GHz Core i5 model; I'd wager an additional 2-3 years. For $200 to add that much time between purchase and discontinuation of use is HUGE.

    Just remember to add the maximum amount of RAM and pick the storage option you want at the time of purchase (because you are definitely not changing that later).
     
  5. Muldert macrumors member

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    Apr 1, 2012
    #5
    Although you seem to be a perfect match for the base model; don't. If 1€ buys you a can of soda, 1,10€ would buy you 4 cans, and 1,50 buys you five. How much cans would you buy?

    Buy the midrange; itll last MUCH longer.
     
  6. BA Baracus thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 28, 2009
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    Scotland
    #6
    I know exactly where you are coming from and the solid argument you are presenting, but if you only want and need one can is it not a waste to buy any more, no matter what the average price/best value proposition is?
     
  7. Muldert macrumors member

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    Apr 1, 2012
    #7
    I rather spend the extra 10ct as insurance in case I get thirsty later on ;-)
     
  8. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #8
    The base model is probably perfect for your current needs. What about 4 years time? Will it last you 9 years as the G5 did? Unlikely - it will be creaking at the seams.

    The extra £150 for the additional performance of the mid-range iMac will give you years of extra useful life at a good performance level.
     
  9. Mcdevidr macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 27, 2013
    #9
    I don't understand all the spend as much as you can comments. "Hey why not go for the 27 inch it will last you longer for web browsing".

    The base model should last you a while browsing and what not, when it no longer works for you sell it and get a newer one. Buy the thing with as many coupons and discounts as you can get and that's it.
     
  10. scaredpoet, Jul 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014

    scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    Apr 6, 2007
    #10
    Here's a reason why: You can buy the upgraded quad-core, non-base model for £20 less than the base model, if you get it refurbished.

    http://store.apple.com/uk/product/FE086B/A/refurbished-215-inch-imac-27ghz-quad-core-Intel-Core-i5

    That's two more cores of a faster processor and double the hard drive space, for £20 less.

    Apple is known for their refurbished products being just as good, and practically indistinguishable, from their new products. The only difference is that the refurb has to be ordered online (can't just walk into a store to buy one, though you might be able to get it delivered there after ordering online), and that it comes in a plain white box instead of the regular retail box. Otherwise, it comes with he same warranty, and works and looks just as well as a brand new one.

    And even if you DON'T buy refurbished, I would have no doubt arguing that paying the extra cash to get the non-base quad-core model would ensure that it lasts you as long as your G5 has lasted you.

    The base model iMac I would say, might last 1/2 to 3/4 as long. To me that's worth £150 spent now, and not having to spend another £1,049.00 sooner than you might have to otherwise.

    That said, if you absolutely can't/don't want to get a refurb, and you absolutely can't/don't want to spend the extra cash, then getting a base model iMac is still better than what you have now, and certainly better than no Mac at all.
     
  11. Muldert macrumors member

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    Apr 1, 2012
    #11
    This guy just said it all! Let us know when and what you decide!
     
  12. octothorpe8 macrumors 6502

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    Feb 27, 2014
    #12
    I've ONLY ever bought refurbished Macs. They're perfect. Once you toss that plain white box aside, there's abolutely no way to distinguish from "new", right down to the AppleCare warranty. Just keep an eye on that refurbs page until you see what you want.

    And if you *really* want the experience of physically buying it from the Apple Store, order a few days in advance and get it for pickup at your local shop :)
     
  13. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #13
    The low-end iMac really is poor value. Much better to get a refurb mid-range, as noted. I only ever buy refurb Macs now.

    While the low-end may serve your immediate needs, you don't know what you might need in the future or what might be required by new OS upgrades in the future. Given the current situation, its cheap insurance in my mind to buy the slightly more expensive machine (or even better ot get it on refurb).
     
  14. Dirtyharry50, Jul 27, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014

    Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

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    May 17, 2012
    #14
    Well, there is something to be said for the arguments to spend now for greater useful life I guess. However, this needs to be considered strictly within the realm of the OP's historical and intended use of the machine. I mean, one could continue that argument right up to the Mac Pro as a means to try and avoid obsolescence for as long as possible but that would not make a Mac Pro a good buy for everyone.

    This guy was doing fine up until recently with some pretty old hardware and therefore also an old version of OS X. So he does not necessarily care about OS X upgrades down the road nor the RAM, etc. potentially needed by them. Read the OP again. Read what he uses a computer for and wants to continue using one for. How much more demanding is viewing the Web and You Tube videos going to become is a better question to wonder about considering what he said. My guess is, not more than a current low end iMac can handle for a good long time.

    There are issues with security as a system ages and you no longer upgrade the operating system and the browser in particular but realistically the Mac is a low priority target for hackers and the OS by design is very robust. Just as importantly, safe surfing to well known destinations while not perfect protection either, does go a long way towards avoiding problems.

    Thinking about this in terms of buying a low end iMac today and hoping it may well last say 5 to 8 years there are some tradeoffs such as security and speed the older it gets. Then again the system was cheap enough to begin with that replacing it earlier than the last one the OP owned, should it become a desirable thing for them to do, still represents a good deal.

    For his stated uses I do not see him needing more than that computer for years. I don't see him needing the suggested upgrades for years either if at all. I would think he could easily get 5+ years use from a new iMac.

    It is really important when asked a question like this to think about how they use a computer and what they truly need and not what we ourselves would want and what we would do. That isn't really the question at hand.

    Apple created that system for a particular market and they did so after careful consideration without any doubt. There are in fact people who that computer is just right for and I think the OP is one of them. Throwing more computing power at this kind of use is just a waste of money both now and three years from now.

    Sorry to go on so long but those are my thoughts on the matter. So my take BA Baracus is by all means get the computer you want to get. I think you will be just fine and it will be a wonderful upgrade from what you've been using. That is for sure!

    Just one last thing - Buy AppleCare. Do not skimp here. A full three years warranty is worth the money for the peace of mind and support/repairs if you need them. I'd be out over two grand on a previously owned iMac if I hadn't gotten it so that is why I always recommend it.
     
  15. Rud3Bwoy Suspended

    Rud3Bwoy

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    #15
    how long does one have to add applecare to his or her product?
     
  16. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 21, 2013
    #16
    Well, if you plan on never drinking soda after this one, then sure. You are right that the marginal benefit of purchasing does not always outweigh the cost, but we assume that you will want more than one can over the next few years.

    The analogy is that at some point you will need to buy a new computer. If you are planning on dying in the next 2 years, then go for it. However, if you plan on using a computer after 2016, I can almost guarantee that you will need a better computer than the 1.4 GHz iMac.

    Matt
     
  17. Rud3Bwoy Suspended

    Rud3Bwoy

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    Oct 9, 2011
    #17
    ill say this much go with the i7 my desktop had the old i7 940 with an agility 3 and that was built in 2010 and lasted me until this week tho i wanted an i mac that pc was blazing fast and could of easily last me another 2-3 years
     
  18. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

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    May 17, 2012
    #18
    You can purchase AppleCare anytime during the first year of ownership since you purchased a new iMac. I believe this same option applies to refurb units as well.
     
  19. Rud3Bwoy Suspended

    Rud3Bwoy

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    #19
    thanks i got apple gift card going to use it for the imac then ill get the warranty for the mac pro later on
     
  20. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

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    May 17, 2012
    #20
    That is less than two years from now. Look at what the guy does with his computer. I disagree and think he could probably still be doing it on the iMac base model in 5 years. The nine year old Mac he has now isn't broken and while slow actually still does what he wants it to. He is primarily looking for a new machine to do it faster after all that time. This new one certainly will and I'd argue given his intended use will continue to for a good number of years easily justifying the purchase.

    Would I buy one? No. My needs and wants are different. Would I recommend one to my parents? Sure. It is perfect for how they use a computer. More computing power would just be wasted and a waste of money as I said above.

    ----------

    A very wise choice. It can be real nice having the telephone support on both the hardware and Apple software as well. You also get on-site service in many areas. Details on that can be found on the Apple website.
     
  21. SpyderBite macrumors 65816

    SpyderBite

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    #21
    You're computer is always plenty fast until you experience a faster computer hands on. From then on, your computer will always seem dog slow. ;)
     
  22. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #22
  23. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

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    #23


    My response was a little hyperbolic. I think the important point here is that he would gain some benefit from an upgraded iMac, especially considering he used his last one for 9 years. Honestly, a MBA with an external display is his best option. It would provide portability, and he could get a 24" 1080p IPS display for about $120. It would cost about the same, and the SSD alone would increase the feasible lifespan of the computer. We may have different needs and wants, but there are objectively better computers for about the same price. Independent of whether or not he needs or wants it, a better computer at the same price should drive a rational decision maker to buy the better computer.

    I firmly believe that the baseline iMac would last a shorter period of time than a MBA. The baseline iMac could realistically last 6 years, but after 2 years it would start to slow, if only because of the HDD. The components are underpowered, and there is an awkwardly balanced amount of RAM for the CPU/HDD. It is an overpriced, underpowered computer that cannot be justified considering the competing computers within the same price range.

    Matt
     
  24. BA Baracus thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 28, 2009
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    Scotland
    #24
    Many thanks to all for the excellent responses - new hardware not purchased yet!

    I should probably have provided some more background - if budget was no problem then I would get the mid iMac without thinking. But what with iPhones, iPods, MacBook etc littering the house the Apple ecosystem and hardware requirements is getting kinda expensive. Back in 2005 if you wanted a decent surfing experience it had to be done through a desktop - and there wasn't really an alternative. But it is still nice to have an all in one on a desk with a decent keyboard to type up documents or whatever.

    Through my studies I'm also able to get the base model through Apple with an approx 12% discount and applecare thrown in FOC - so while I appreciate a refurb mid model is extremely attractive price wise the discount and warranty extension may be more appealing of the base model.

    To me it just comes back to two major differences:

    - CPU quad core - can't see me ever using it and if I ever get into serious video editing and RAW photos etc I shouldn't really look at any iMac anyway?

    - GPU IRIS pro - much, much better, but again when will I use it?

    I'm well experienced with Macs and I've never come across hardware that couldn't/wouldn't do a task - just takes a bit longer.

    Decisions, decisions...
     
  25. nufanec macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    #25
    The base model will suck in terms of longevity. At the moment you may not need the higher end processor or the better graphics capabilities but in the future as things progress these features will become more and more important.

    Having used the low model I can tell you that it feels slow today. The slower processor is fine in a MacBook Air where it is paired with an SSD that helps make the system more useable, but when it is paired with a 5400 RPM hard drive it makes for very sluggish performance.

    Imaging this in 5 years time - hell, imagine it in 2 years time. The hardware requirements of day to day computing is not stagnating and if you want to keep a usable system for as long as possible (which given you have lasted 9 years on the G5 I can only assume you would), then spending the extra £150 today will mean you will have an iMac that will not be able to comfortably run Mavericks and Yosemite as well as whatever apps you currently use, but will be able to run future upgrades and software.

    At the end of the day though the choice is yours, and your money is yours to spend as you see fit. If it were me I would want to spend my money sensibly though...
     

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