What to replace my iMac?


(Peter Danckwerts) #41

@TINO Like you I certainly don’t want to go for windows! My wife bought a new Windows 10 laptop and has still not managed (with the help of me and others) to transfer her old contact list or messages from her previous Windows 10 laptop. Nothing works as it should in Windows.


(Doug Bennett) #42

One big thing anyone needing/considering a new Mac is the latest generation of most models can’t be upgraded. Even memory is not an easy or in some cases, not a possible end-user upgrade.

  • The latest Mac mini - soldered memory
  • Latest 21 inch iMac - split case and remove display to access memory
  • All new iMac Pro - split case and remove display to access memory

I don’t know if splitting the case and remove display to access memory voids the AppleCare or not, but most users won’t want to take on an upgrade like that on there own. So I guess just make sure you order your new Mac with as much memory as you think you may ever need.


(Jonathan Spencer) #43

Once upon a time adding memory was a sure fire way of speeding up your Mac. Today with most models coming with 8GB or more and having a fast SSD the majority of users don’t need to ever upgrade. If you are a pro user then yes, you need to make sure you have a full loaded Mac from the word go!

Since Rapidweaver and its plugins only ever make proper use of one core I would buy the fastest performing iMac. My 8 core Xeon Mac Pro is slower than my 2012 MacBook Pro when using RW7, something that constantly peeves me!


(Bill Fleming) #44

I been following this thread because I was provided a iMac at work about six months ago. That was one the reason I switched over to RW.

Now I like the iMac at work that I wanted to get one at home. I was going to go buy one of Mac Probook and hook it to a keyboard with external monitor. But after reading this thread, I am starting to think that I should go with one of the mini instead

If I go with a mini, I should be looking for a 2012 models off Ebay? What the max memory mini can hold? I think my iMac5 at work is 32G of memory if I recall correctly.


(Dylan Banks) #45

If you can wait, I would really hold off until they release the new revamps in the next coming months. The mini’s at the moment are really due an upgrade :sunglasses:


(David Jones) #46

Four iMacs in our family and only one failure - a hard drive. The oldest must be 9 or 10 years now, and is the only one to have developed a problem when the hard drive failed at around 5 years in.

Criticise Apple for the right things - their upgrade prices over the base models are indeed extortionate. The base models though are not bad value; perhaps not great, but the superb screens go some way to justifying what you have to pay. Over-specified for some needs of course.

I have stuck with the 27" model because upgrading RAM is easy.

I have also been running my late 2013 iMac off an external SSD for some time now. You could use Thunderbolt if you need the bandwidth, but I find USB 3 works really well. Buy an Inateck external enclosure, fit a Samsung SSD and format the drive for High Sierra. It works for me, and will hopefully extend the life of the machine as I made the mistake of buying one with a mechanical hard drive.

What I do agree with is that the Mac Mini concept has been neglected. It would be so easy to put the guts of an iMac in a box and call it a Super Mini and sell it with one of the LG Ultrafine displays. This is obviously too easy. So we wait for the modular Mac Pro that will cost who knows how much.


(Gary) #47

Let’s not forget that the current iMac base models use 5400rpm 25 year old technology spinning drives, which is an utter travesty IMHO. Even the 1Tb Fusion drives use 5400rpm HHD drives and have a reduced measly 32GB of SSD. SSD drives are no longer expensive so there is no excuse for this other that what appears to be manufacturing cost cutting. Apple must be the only manufacturer still installing 5400 HHDs.

Apple will charge you $200 to upgrade to a 256Gb SSD, but the really sad thing about this is that some other poor soul will end up with the bloody 1Tb HHD.

An iMac of any age fitted with an SSD compared to an iMac with a 5400 HHD, is a very different beast.


(Stuart Marshall) #48

Very true. I was ready to bin my 21.5" 2013 iMac as it was slow beyond belief but swapped out the HHD for an SSD about 6 months ago and it’s been like a totally new machine.


(David Jones) #49

I agree about the 5,400 rpm dead weight and I should have worded my reply more carefully. I would not now buy a computer with a mechanical drive. I would rather have a tiny SSD and use an external drive for data. Luckily we have decent broadband and I use the cloud too.

I am not defending all aspects of the iMacs, but I do not recognise the overheating problem. Ours just keep going, and the displays - even at pre-5K - are excellent.

I have described the SSD workaround I use with my current machine. I was surprised how easy it was to set up, and by the improved performance I get even using a USB 3 enclosure. Thunderbolt would be even better, but I could not justify the big jump in enclosure cost.


(Gary) #50

Too many Mac buyers are focused on adding the perceived advantage of adding more Ram when it is the HD they need to address. To build web sites you don’t need lots of Ram but I would say you need at least a 256Gb SSD and ideally at least a 512Gb SSD. Apple don’t appear to even offer a 500Gb SSD on the base iMac and charge $400 for a 500Gb SSD upgrade on the Retina iMac (according to apple.com today).

End users can but a bare 500Gb SSD for about $150. Remember those IDE external slots that some PC’s used to have? Just slide the HHD out like a big memory card, and slide in another one. Now that is a Pro feature! Imagine if you could do that with SSDs.


(steve bee) #51

Let me see, in the last ten years about a dozen iMacs must have passed thru my hands. At the moment five are still working. All the others are dead on a shelf in my storage unit, all died from overheating. These were used in various different locations so it’s not a location issue. Of the five that are working, two had to have new parts installed, as they too died but were too young to scrap. Again, rightly or wrongly heat was blamed.

So, I do recognise the overheating problem :slight_smile:

All of these machines were 20-24in models. I have only ever owned one 27in, it’s my work machine, it’s a 2010 model and a total workhorse. Never let me down and never gets turned off or sleeps, as it runs some processes that are 24/7.

So, my guess is it’s all about internal space and air flow. The smaller screened models are so compact they have rubbish airflow, so over heat.

The model I’m looking to replace is the 27in one, because although it has been super reliable I’m a realist, it must be getting near end of life.


(David Jones) #52

That might be the difference. We went for the larger screen models, 27" most recently for my late 2013 iMac. That is the one that is running off an external boot SSD. With the internal, mechanical HD spun down that should reduce internal heat generation over the standard configuration. Sadly a 2010 iMac will not have USB 3 which I suspect is the minimum acceptable interface standard for this way of working.


(Stuart Marshall) #53

Yep - I got a 512GB SSD for £130 to replace the 1TB HHD. I then put the removed HHD in a £10 enclosure and it is connected (via usb) as an external drive (partitioned for storage and time machine). Fairly easy job too. Half hour max. £140 and it felt like I had a brand new machine.


(Gary) #54

Luckily it is just a 30 min job to replace any old spinning SATA HD with a new SSD in an older iMac or MacBook. The MacMini takes a bit longer but still not too difficult. You will need some shoolboy ingenuity or a cheap tray mount to mount the SSD in the bigger SSD space in an iMac but it is a job well worth doing.

Mechanical HHDs are a big source of heat and I have often wondered if that’s why Apple don’t use the “hotter” normal 7200rpm drives. .


(Doug Bennett) #55

Not on ANY of the current models. I mentioned memory above because it used to be a simple change, any end users could easily perform.

Depending on what else you might want to run, and how many applications you keep open, memory can make a significant and cheap difference in performance.
But if memory upgrades aren’t easy, take a look at how much more difficult if not impossible swapping a hard drive is on the newer models. Ifixit can be used give you an idea of how difficult Apple is making upgrades.

The current (late 2013) Mac Pro (not the iMac Pro) was designed for expansion, as a pro model should be. Unfortunately, Apple is long overdue for an upgrade on these models, and they’re using 4-year-old technology with an extremely high price. Its design did gamble on the multi-core architecture taking off; unfortunately, few applications have taken advantage of this.

SSD drives for most users will give you the most bang for your buck as far as performance goes, but upgrading that yourself might be out of your comfort zone. I would rate memory a second place for most users,
and on older models was an easy to do project.
The problem you might find with buying older used models would be things like usb, and thunderbolt versions, warranties and graphics support.


(Gary) #56

According to Ifixit, the latest spinning HD iMacs are still upgradable to standard SATA SSDs. However, the use of adhesive all-around the screen will indicate you have been inside it to Apple. You can usually get away with it on the older iMacs and if they are outside warranty then it’s a no brainer.

It is still a 30 minute job if you know what you are doing.


(Greg Schneck) #57

Just a word of warning. If anyone tries this - some models (Late 2013 27" for example) have wires running virtually right up to the edge of where the glass/display is glued to the frame. You can easily damage and even sever these wires when “dis-assembling”. A replacement display is very very expensive!

Yes, It can be done rather easily if you are absolutely sure you know what to do. And removing the display from an iMac is very much model specific (some glued, some not) so be SURE you are using instructions for your model. Caution! Caution!

However, I put SSD’s in my late 2013 iMac and my Late 2011 MBP and I couldn’t be happier. Even added a second 27" display to my iMac. I picked it up on eBay dirt cheap because it had a dent in the back.


(Dave Farrants) #58

Just done exactly the same last week with my ageing MacPro Quad, fitted a 512Gb SSD from Amazon for £109. I used Blackmagic’s disk speed test before and after - 75 read before 250 read after, it’s like I’ve got a new Mac!


(Greg Schneck) #59

For some reason I use right click “open with” a lot. Without the SSD it often took seconds and seconds for the “open with” menu to display (searching through apps on hard disk to build the menu.) With the SSD the menu appears instantly. That is just one small example of the difference an SSD makes and how it speeds up your actual work pace. Everything just happens so much faster.


(Doug Bennett) #60

Ifixit rates most HDD upgrades as “moderate” for the latest iMacs and time of 1 to 2 hours.
I think most Mac users probably aren’t going to have a lot of experience in splitting the case and performing upgrades.