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  1. #1
    How long will an iMac last me?

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    How long will an iMac last me?
    Thinking about getting the 2011 iMac 21 inch refurbished. It's 4GB ram, 500GB HDD - just the very basic model for $999. I'm trying to find the mac with the best combination of value and longevity; I'd really like to get the most use out of a new computer as I can.

    Should I go for the refurbished iMac, get a brand new 2011 iMac for 200 more (not including $50 off with student pricing), or wait for the 2012 version to come out? Or would some sort of MB be a better bet for long term value? The MBAs refurbished are pretty cheap, but don't know how I feel about them.

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
    How long will an iMac last me?
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    There's really not an accurate way to say how long an iMac will last you (or any new computer).

    Firstly because...everyone's computers demands/tasks/needs can be very very different. On one end a "Power-User" may need to upgrade to a new computer every year...on the other end...a "low-demand" user may get 10 years out of a computer.

    Secondly...to accurately say how long someone will get out of a computer...we need to be able to predict the future (which almost none of us can do)! We do not know where the computer hardware or software industries will be in 2, 3, or 4 years...so it's hard to say what computer hardware requirements will be in the future.

    You basically should buy as much computer as you can afford now...and then just "go with the flow"...like the rest of us!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  3. #3
    How long will an iMac last me?
    MacDude121's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gthomps1 View Post
    Thinking about getting the 2011 iMac 21 inch refurbished. It's 4GB ram, 500GB HDD - just the very basic model for $999. I'm trying to find the mac with the best combination of value and longevity; I'd really like to get the most use out of a new computer as I can.

    Should I go for the refurbished iMac, get a brand new 2011 iMac for 200 more (not including $50 off with student pricing), or wait for the 2012 version to come out? Or would some sort of MB be a better bet for long term value? The MBAs refurbished are pretty cheap, but don't know how I feel about them.

    Thanks!!
    No matter what, you will definitely get a longer usable life span out of an iMac than you will a MBA, as the MBA has no upgradeable parts whatsoever.

    While in the imac you can upgrade the Ram and the Hard Drive and extend the life of your computer.
    -Evan

  4. #4
    How long will an iMac last me?
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacDude121 View Post
    No matter what, you will definitely get a longer usable life span out of an iMac than you will a MBA, as the MBA has no upgradeable parts whatsoever.
    Well said "MacDude". I would agree...of all the Macintosh computers...the MacBook Air probably has the shortest lifespan...primarily due to it's current 4 gig maximum ram limitations. If the MBA could be configured with more ram (with future models)...that would definitely help with it's lifespan.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  5. #5
    How long will an iMac last me?
    MacDude121's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    Well said "MacDude". I would agree...of all the Macintosh computers...the MacBook Air probably has the shortest lifespan...primarily due to it's current 4 gig maximum ram limitations. If the MBA could be configured with more ram (with future models)...that would definitely help with it's lifespan.

    - Nick
    I really think the Air is due for an 8GB option. 4GB is starting to get a bit on the slim side.

    Then Again, it's rumored that Apple is changing it's entire portable lineup soon, so who knows what could be coming out.
    -Evan

  6. #6
    How long will an iMac last me?
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacDude121 View Post
    I really think the Air is due for an 8GB option. 4GB is starting to get a bit on the slim side.
    Especially since OS 10.7 Lion requires a minimum of 2gig of ram.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  7. #7
    How long will an iMac last me?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    Firstly because...everyone's computers demands/tasks/needs can be very very different. On one end a "Power-User" may need to upgrade to a new computer every year...on the other end...a "low-demand" user may get 10 years out of a computer.
    forgot to mention that. definitely not a power user. computer use is general school stuff - word documents, some excel and powerpoint, lots of web browsing, watching tv online, etc. nothing too power-consuming

  8. #8
    How long will an iMac last me?
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gthomps1 View Post
    forgot to mention that. definitely not a power user. computer use is general school stuff - word documents, some excel and powerpoint, lots of web browsing, watching tv online, etc. nothing too power-consuming
    Still kind of hard to say precisely how long a computer will last any individual user...and who says in the future that your computer needs won't change??

    Generally speaking...I would expect the average computer user to get at least 3-4 years out of a computer...before they may start bumping up against hardware or software issues (computer can't run the latest version of programs, can't run the most recent version of the OS, running low on ram, etc.).

    My two "main" computers are a 2008 MacBook Pro...and a 2009 Mac Pro. So 4 years & 3 years old respectively...and I have no reason to think (given my current computer demands)...that I won't get another 3-4 years out of them (unless I upgrade just because I want to...or come across a deal I can't refuse)!

    But sometimes you never what Apple may "throw" at us in the years to come. Apple is a VERY innovative company...and does not shy away from "orphaning" older technology. But even this doesn't happen overnight. So again...you never know what the future may bring.

    If you want predictability & safety...get a Windows computer. Heck...lots of folks still running Windows XP...and using VGA video ports!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  9. #9
    How long will an iMac last me?
    chas_m's Avatar
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    Let's not forget that it's not just Apple contributing to the technological changes. Flash and other web technologies have had a LOT to do with machine machines more than four or five years old "obsolete."

    Broadly speaking a light user will get at least four to five years and quite possibly more barring mechanical failures.

  10. #10
    How long will an iMac last me?
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
    Let's not forget that it's not just Apple contributing to the technological changes. Flash and other web technologies have had a LOT to do with machine machines more than four or five years old "obsolete."
    Very true...especially the older G4 based computers (Powermac G4's, iBook G4's, Powerbook G4's), iMac G5's, and to a lesser degree (at this time) the dual-cpu Powermac G5's.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  11. #11
    How long will an iMac last me?

    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacDude121 View Post
    No matter what, you will definitely get a longer usable life span out of an iMac than you will a MBA, as the MBA has no upgradeable parts whatsoever.

    While in the imac you can upgrade the Ram and the Hard Drive and extend the life of your computer.
    As the MBP is upgradeable, if you had to do an entry level MBP vs. an entry level iMac, which would you guess would be a better bet for long-term value?

  12. #12
    How long will an iMac last me?
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gthomps1 View Post
    As the MBP is upgradeable, if you had to do an entry level MBP vs. an entry level iMac, which would you guess would be a better bet for long-term value?
    This is usually not a very good comparison...since portability is a VERY big consideration when purchasing. An iMac is a desktop computer (not very portable) & a MBP is a laptop computer (very portable).

    If you need portability...then you need a laptop. If portability is not important...then get a desktop. If you want to do a comparison...comparing two laptops models or two desktop models would be a more fair comparison.

    - Nick

    p.s. FYI...in many ways when it comes to upgradeability...today's iMac's are just BIG heavy laptops with a large display.
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  13. #13
    How long will an iMac last me?
    MacDude121's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gthomps1 View Post
    As the MBP is upgradeable, if you had to do an entry level MBP vs. an entry level iMac, which would you guess would be a better bet for long-term value?
    Both can be upgraded quite a bit. But I'd say the iMac would still probably have a longer lifespan than a MacBook Pro. Solely based on the fact that laptops tend to take a lot more damage than a desktop will. With a laptop being moved, bumped, banged, and possibly even dropped a couple of times, the MBP has a much higher chance of dieing than the iMac does.
    -Evan

  14. #14
    How long will an iMac last me?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    This is usually not a very good comparison...since portability is a VERY big consideration when purchasing. An iMac is a desktop computer (not very portable) & a MBP is a laptop computer (very portable).

    If you need portability...then you need a laptop. If portability is not important...then get a desktop. If you want to do a comparison...comparing two laptops models or two desktop models would be a more fair comparison.

    - Nick

    p.s. FYI...in many ways when it comes to upgradeability...today's iMac's are just BIG heavy laptops with a large display.

    If you don't need the portability don't pay for it. All you'll end up with is a battery that will need replacing and a smaller screen.

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