11 Replies Latest reply: Dec 31, 2009 3:12 PM by Dave Barnes
New2mac222 Level 1 Level 1
Hi, I've never owned a Mac before and was wondering what kind of reasonable life span one would expect from a 27inch 3.06GHz model of iMac. It will mainly be used for basic home computing, editing pictures and movies from my video camera. Maybe a game or 2.

Just wondering if it will need as many hardware upgrades to play the latest game or videos.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.


27-inch: 3.06GHz, new
  • Frodo B Level 1 Level 1

    The new iMac is not hardware upgradeable with the exception of RAM. Other then that it should last a very long time. I have only had one Apple hardware failure and that was the screen on my first Newton 110 MessagePad. And that was a long time ago!
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 8 Level 8
    Mac OS X
    That's very hard to say. Software and hardware seem to play off each other in unexpected ways. Right now, there is a transition from 32-bit to 64-bit, and that is holding things back at bit on the software side. Once developers start to fully exploit the new capability of Snow Leopard and the higher RAM capacities of the current Mac models, progress on the software side may speed up, and hardware may become obsoleted sooner.

    My +Late 2006+ model Intel iMac is 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo with 3GB of RAM (its max). So the design is more than three years old at this point. However, it seems to perform very well with current software, although I'm not a heavy game player. I expect that it will be fine for another two years, at least, for my use. And it cost me $849 as a refurb two years ago, which was an amazing value for a machine that still performs perfectly entering 2010.
  • Randy Pozzi Level 2 Level 2
    Of the 19 or so Apple products I have bought since 1999, only one failed. My 17" iMac G4/700 (2002) was the only casualty with a bad motherboard and graphics card. My wife still uses her G3/600 iBook from 2002 daily. Our original iMac G3/333 from 1999 still works although we do not use it much. My original 10GB scroll wheel iPod (2002) I use daily. I only have replaced the battery once. We have two 17" MacBook Pros which are very good. My first gen iPhone was sold with no issues during ownership. None of the Apple products required warranty issues. I ordered my new i7 iMac built for the next eight years. I hope this gives you some encouragement.

  • Edward Boghosian Level 4 Level 4
    I have a iSight which lasted a little over three years. Repairing it would cost $6-$800. Then I have the first model iMac G5 that is still working which is about 5 years. How long it will last is pot luck.
    If you are a real high power game playing the new 7 is doable. The software I have in mind is X-Plane. Once it's ordered the only thing you can change is RAM. For more flexibility buy the power Mac used by commercial artists and put your own video card in it. Or, if you are able make your own. Buy the mother board which will not be Apple compatible and the most powerful video card you can afford, etc.
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 8 Level 8
    Mac OS X
    Based on the post, with emphasis on upgrading and software used, it seems like the question here is more about how long a new Mac stays useful for daily use as ones primary computer, and not as much about how long a new Macs stays working. I still have a Mac SE from the late 1980's, and if I plugged it in and flipped the switch, it would probably still work fine. But apart from word processing and nostalgia, it would not be very useful. And the fact that my 20+ year old Mac still runs is probably not that useful to the poster...
  • New2mac222 Level 1 Level 1
    Thanks for the input... sounds like for the average user I won't have to upgrade in the next few years.
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 8 Level 8
    Mac OS X
    For my current iMac, it will probably end up being about 5 years. But if the killer app of 2011 requires 4GB of RAM (and my max is 3GB), who knows...
  • Amar501 Level 1 Level 1
    i have just bought an imac i7 with 8gb of memory. i do heavy photo editing using photoshop and do also use the machine to playback hd movies and use it as a media server. from using this machine for around a month now i can see clearly that it will last me at least 2-3 years without the need to upgrade and will eat through most software with ease. you have to take into consideration that a lot of software is not 64 bit and until then you will not see the full potential of this machine. there are exceptions such as handbrake 64bit and you can really see at least 10-20% performance boost.
  • saajrod Level 1 Level 1
    Keep in mind that the C2D 3.06 processor has been around for quite some time - I have it in my 24" imac that I purchased in early 2008. At the time, this was a new processor (for apple) and it was the fastest available on the imac. if you want to keep your imac competitive with other apples in the future, i would recommend stepping up to the quad processor (i7 if possible).

    On the other hand, my macbook with an older generation 2.0 processor is doing just fine and serves it purpose well for most of the tasks i ask of it(web browsing, word processing, etc.).
  • Dave Barnes Level 4 Level 4
    You asked "reasonable life span one would expect from an iMac?"

    I think there are 3 kinds of life-spans:

    1. Hardware. If you buy AppleCare, then you get at least 3 years as all your hardware repairs are covered. After 3 years, you reach the: "this repair is affordable (e.g., replace hard drive) so I will do it versus this repair is way too expensive (e.g., replace logic board or LCD) and I won't do it" point in time. Obviously, this life span can be from 3.1-6+ years.

    2. Software. There is a new application that requires the latest version of the operating system and your iMac can't run the latest version. This life span ranges from 5-8 years.

    3. Ants in your pants. The machine performs well enough, but you really, really want a new one. This life span ranges from 1-6+ years. For example, the 27-inch iMac has caused many of us to arrive at this point.
  • MacMan 71 Level 2 Level 2
    My imac is still up and running after 7 years (2002 imac G4 1GHz, 17" Screen). The internet changes so much it has a hard time catching up now a days (Can't watch HQ YouTube Vids). But it still works for whast I was using it for. Emails, Recording Audio, Photoshop; older verion of course, and watching videos online. As an apple tech and ex-apple salesman, I'd say 8 years seems to the be the total lifespan of a mac before time leaves it behind.