What to replace my iMac?

(steve bee) #1

The time has come to replace my trusty mid 2010 27in iMac. It’s been a workhorse, spending 96% of its time on either capturing CCTV or being used for work. I figured though it’s time to retire it as being a realist, I know sooner or later it’s going to fail, most likely at the least opportune moment.

But what to replace it with?

I use it solely for work: RW stuff, data management, image creation etc. I don’t game and I don’t really do anything intensive. It’s not even used for the CCTV’s now as there is a dedicated machine for that.

The cost of the new iMacs is eye watering, the price pushed up by things I can’t see the value in. I could look at a Macbook hooked to a monitor, but again, Macbooks are now over priced, again loaded with (for me) pointless gimmicks.

What I need is a well powered, not cutting edge, machine, ideally quad core, with expandable ram and either an SSD out of the box or easily upgraded.

I’m thinking a Mac Mini will do the job, but having not had since since the C2D 1.83ghz days, I’ve no idea if they can cut it nowadays.

Budget is (ideally) sub £1500.


(Jannis from inStacks Software) #2

Take a (used) MacBook Pro 15 w/o TouchBar: https://www.apple.com/uk/shop/buy-mac/macbook-pro?product=MJLQ2B/A&step=config#

And a 27 4k Monitor (doesn’t need to have USB-C then) and you will be happy.

If you really don’t need a MacBook, I would wait for a replacement of the Mac mini soon and don’t by an old one.

(steve bee) #3

For my main machines I always go new, so I get a warranty. For secondary machines used is fine, but I like the peace of mind a warranty offers.

(Gary) #4

I have been in this dilemma for years and reckon that the best thing to do is wait until it goes kaput. Each year I look at the current state of Macs and just say no and I have this very likely unrealistic expectation that Apple will actually create a Mac I want. Too many compromises have to be made for wildly overpriced Macs these days.

The remaining £500 eBay i7 Mac Minis are still great buys but they too often appear with replaced motherboards.

I really hope that Apple will one day release a 500Gb SSD Mac mini with upgradeable ram and a decent chipset for reasonable money.

I fired up my old Cube the other day and boy oh boy did Apple know how to make good computers back then. No so much today.

(Jannis from inStacks Software) #5

Then wait for the Mac mini replacement (800-900 pound) and a decent monitor (300-400 pound), and you still have some :beers: left.

(Will Woodgate) #6

Apple UK currently has quite a large choice of ex-demo and refurbished machines: https://www.apple.com/uk/shop/browse/home/specialdeals/mac

Free returns and I think you can still buy extended AppleCare support for them too, if your credit card doesn’t offer some form of 3 year warranty already. But I have heard very mixed reviews - some saying the machine they received was totally different spec to the one advertised and had various obvious defects (like dead pixels or missing hard drives); whereas others said their refurb was an excellent buy and was as good as new. I guess it is somewhat of a gamble as to what Apple sends you and who’s on the quality control line that particular day!

I do think the modular approach of a Mac Mini is a wise route to take. Not only a cost saving, but ability to mix-and-match your own peripherals. It gives you the ability to custom-build a simple rig and just replace what breaks or becomes outdated; instead of having to throw the whole thing away each time.

I think my next Mac will definitely be either a Mac Mini or Mac Pro. I like the small form factor and modular approach.

(steve bee) #7

@willwood Should have mentioned, all my Macs have been from the refurb store, you do get a full warranty and can add Apple Care. In the early days what you got was hit and miss (once got a fully loaded top end MBP for the price of a MB!) but in recent years; 5ish, they’ve sorted that (for me at least).

In my various businesses we started with Minis, then as they got outdated moved to iMacs. I have a shelf unit in the lockup filled with dead iMacs, power supply issues normally, another shelf with Mac Minis (must be about 20 of the things), all working perfectly but with outdated specs that won’t run modern OS’s. These go back to pre-Intel times! Also got one of those huge metal G5 Mac Pros in there. A work of art if ever there was one.

I don’t trust iMacs much, I’m convince they generally run too hot, so don’t last long, so would like to return to the Mini world, which as @instacks has pointed out, might be possible this year. So I think @webdeer is right: Stick with this one til it dies, or get the new Mini as/when it coms out.

Cheers all.

(steve bee) #8

Out of curiosity, does anyone know if it’s possible to use a 27in iMac as a screen only monitor? A la Apple Cinema?

EDIT: Ignore, should have Googled before posting that!

(Gary) #9

The answer is yes but only on a fully working 27" iMac AFAIK. So if the question is, do I have to throw my 2010 iMac in the bin when it goes wrong, then yes you do. Except that it won’t fit in a wheely bin these days.

(steve bee) #10

It’ll fit in once I’ve finished with it, after it dies :wink:

Have to mention here, my printer died over Christmas. It got bucked out the window after failing to print for the millionth time.

(Will Woodgate) #11

I agree. My 2009 iMac was a PITA and had a lot of heat-related issues. I had to have many repairs done on it under warranty and pay for more repairs after the Apple Care expired. In the end, the power supply caught fire. So that was the end of that machine.

I’ve already saved my money and I’m just waiting the Apple to release some new desktop hardware this year. The current lineup is somewhat outdated and pricey when you start to compare the specs with equivalent Windows hardware. Like cars, bikes and washing machines, I hope to get 10 years service from whatever I buy! :wink:

(Gary) #12

Smashing a faulty printer is one of life’s great frequent pleasures.

(steve bee) #13

Have to be honest, it got a few digs on the shelf, then I lost the plot and threw it out the window (first floor, but still a bit rock and roll :wink: )

Going downstairs and smashing it to bits was very stress relieving.

(Dave) #14

I recently purchased a 3.1 GHz MacBook Pro, knowing that I’d no longer be able to use my old 27" iMac as the main screen. But, I’m every bit as happy with the BenQ 27-Inch (2560x1440) Monitor (model GW2765HT) that I picked up from B&H Photo for around $250, with priority shipping included. I see that the price has increased to $300, but perhaps I caught it during a pre-Christmas sale. At my main job, I have the MBP connected to 2 27" monitors - it pushes them both just fine.

(Doug Bennett) #15

Unless Apple changes, with the latest mini (2014), you can’t upgrade the memory yourself. So max it out (at Apple’s prices) when you purchase.

(steve bee) #16

Can you really not change it, as in it’s hard wired, so to speak, or can you officially not change it, cus there is no obvious way to get inside?

(Doug Bennett) #17

My understanding and looking at some upgrade sites:

Unfortunately, the RAM is soldered to the logic board. This means that if you want to upgrade the RAM, you can only do so at time of purchase.
Per this:

(steve bee) #18

Bloody hell, that’s insane. We all know forced obsolescence is a reality, but that’s taking it too far. The old Mac Minis were not the easiest to open, but it was doable with a few palette knives, or a Dremmel as a last resort.



(Doug Bennett) #19

I was looking at a new Mac next year as well. I agree never liked the iMac (all-in-one) design, and prices are ridiculous on all but the mini. The MacPro hasn’t been updated in about four years and is still priced like it’s the latest and greatest chipset.
Maybe time to look at :slight_smile:

(Aaron Marquez) #20

I’ve actually been contemplating this myself. Dan did this and it worked well from what I know.