Skip navigation

latest and greatest imac or slightly less late and great imac?

863 Views 28 Replies Latest reply: Mar 30, 2013 8:37 PM by MichelPM RSS
1 2 Previous Next
The Bass Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Dec 10, 2012 2:24 PM

It's looking like it's time to upgrade from my '08 22 inch Imac.    Wondering what the real world differences are between the maxxed out mid 2011 (3.4 Ghz i7) and a brand new maxxed out imac, in terms of speed/power, etc.


I'll be using this mainly for video production related tasks - editing video, occasionally burning discs, motion graphics, animation (using Anime Studio), and a few others things.


The places I really see my current machine struggling are rendering times in FCP, or any program, "real time" playback in same (FCP, After Effects, Motion, Anime Studio). Probably related to the same inadequacies.


So given that many things on the Mid 2011s and newest Imacs are about the same/comparable, and then I could likely get a refurb mid 2011 for about $1000 less than a maxed late 2012, how much better in reality is a new one?    What is the deal with the SSD/Fusion Drive/Flash storage--would they be useful to me and make a huge difference?   Any other considerations?


I'm well aware of the missing FW800 and optical drive on the new one which is another reason an older one is somewhat appealing.

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,230 points)

    The Bass wrote:


    ... how much better in reality is a new one?


    About this much:


    If you want to burn discs on occasion, it seems to me this is no contest. Get the refurbished 2011 - if you can find one. The last time I checked Apple's store, the selection was sparse.


    I like the new iMacs and I like Fusion Drive, but the earlier models are more easily repaired. If you need to replace its internal hard disk for example, replacement drives are plentiful and inexpensive. I do not know what one's options are if the Fusion Drive needs to be replaced.


    There is no question the new iMacs are faster, but in my opinion the new ones do not represent a quantum improvement over last year's models. When Apple introduces desktop Macs with MacBook Air - style all-flash storage at a reasonable price, I'll buy.

    MacBooks  iMacs  iPods  AirPorts, OS X Mountain Lion,  27 years Apple!
  • crh24 Level 3 Level 3 (920 points)

    John Galt wrote:



    There is no question the new iMacs are faster, but in my opinion the new ones do not represent a quantum improvement over last year's models. When Apple introduces desktop Macs with MacBook Air - style all-flash storage at a reasonable price, I'll buy.

    I have to totally agree with you, John.  It took me a long time to decide upon upgrading my refurbished mid-2010 27" i7 to the new 27" iMac.  For me the deciding factors were:


    1.  I did not need the CD/DVD drive.  I never use the one in my current iMac. When I need to read/write a CD/DVD--which is only a couple of times a year--I use an external.


    2.  I really don't need the audio line in as I already have an external USB audio input device.


    3.  I really like the idea of the reduced glare and reduced weight in the new 27".


    4.  I wanted the fusion drive and to move up to more local storage space.  With 1TB I need to put most of my data on external drives of the system slows down due to lack of space.


    5.  I wanted to display my video via the Apple TV.


    6.  I wanted to upgrade my Graphics card.


    Most of those would be a non-issue if I had a top of the line 2011 iMac and I would have been hard pressed to come up with a totally valid reason to upgrade.  The decision to upgrade from the mid-2010 refurb wasn't easy but there were enough positive changes for me to upgrade.  OMMV.


    My new 27" shipped yesterday so I'll soon know if I made a good choice.  In the meantime I'll still enjoy my mid-2010 even when the new one arrives.

    mid-2010 27" iMac, 16GB DRAM, OS X Mountain Lion, iPad '4'; ATV3; mid 2012 MBA;
  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,230 points)

    The Geekbench results won't tell the entire story, since much of what you do will seem quicker due to Fusion Drive. The processor-intensive tasks that you require (FCP etc) will be faster than the 2011 models, but probably by the fractional amount that you describe.


    At present there are no refurbished 2011 iMacs available on Apple's website. I think they will be popular.

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,230 points)

    Anyone know how often the site is refreshed?


    Not often enough


    Anyway, what will be/seem faster with the fusion?


    Boot time, and any disk-intensive activity.

  • digibudII Level 2 Level 2 (395 points)

    I just recently got a refurb iMac so I come from that perspective.


    The biggest advantage to SSD is that they are fast. It's an SSD. No moving parts. No spindle. No drive speed. Once you are used to having your system folder and commonly used information residing on an SSD, you'll never want to boot from an HD again.


    I'm particularly glad I did. I don't particularly want a hard drive internally. ESPECIALLY with the new imac design.  Heating gun to get the glass off? And if you want a pure SSD solution, it starts at 756 or something like that. Why??  I don't need to pay for more than a 256 for a boot drive. And someday I may want to move to 750 or maybe a terabyte or more will be afforable in two or three years. I'll be able to open my 2011 iMac and upgrade my SSD. Not simple, but more doable than with a 2012. So the refurb worked for me very well. I even got 8GB RAM and the 2GB vid card on the i7 3.4GHz 27" model in spite of ordering 4GB ram and the 1GB vid card.  All of my storage is firewire currently. Thunderbolt still has not arrived in enclosures that I need.

          The 2GB vid card would be particularly useful for some things like 3D modeling and such. I'll leave a list to others but in general, if you don't know you don't have to worry about it .  (I'm sure 5 min on a web search will give a list of programs and types of programs that the video cards make best of use of )

          If you order the new imac then I'd for sure opt for the hybrid drive unless you can afford the SSD drive.

          For refurbs, check daily. They are often up for a few hours and then gone and they come and go in just a few flavors...21 or 27 with either SSD or Hard Drive. All are quoted with 4GB ram and 1GB vid card but it turns out it's a crap shoot as to whether or not you get a free upgrade. Three different orders recently resulted in three different configurations being delivered. You always get what is advertised or better.

        Uprading to an SSD later if you only get the bare drive will be possible for old and new alike but the new iMacs will be very difficult to deal with from what I've seen. Even the 2011 upgrades are quite a challenge. Doable but not simple.

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,230 points)

    Once you are used to having your system folder and commonly used information residing on an SSD, you'll never want to boot from an HD again.



    what of the rumors that SSD technology is not quite there yet. . .heard those drives were somewhat unstable and prone to failure. 


    I think it is too soon to tell. SSDs have a finite number of write / erase cycles but there is no reason to consider them "unstable".


    Given the fact that HDDs are destined for certain mechanical failure at some point in their lives, I think the two technologies must be compared in that context. If you do that SSDs are almost certain to be superior. Their only disadvantage is higher cost.

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,230 points)

    If you have an SSD it makes sense to load OS X on it. The entire Mac OS and its basic set of apps does not occupy much space anyway (10 GB or so). Since the OS needs to be loaded when you boot your Mac it will boot faster than if it were on a HD. The SSD will also help when it loads additional system components as required, as well as when you run apps that need those components.


    Everything else that does not fit can go on the slower HD. Such files are often very large (movies, music, downloaded files etc) but they are not as frequently accessed, so cheap storage is more important than speed.


    If the SSD is large enough to hold everything then obviously do that.

1 2 Previous Next


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.