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Just after some advice

 

I have been offered an Apple iMac "Core i3" 3.06 21.5-Inch mid 2010 computer for £150.00. I have looked at expanding the ram,  8GB would cost £87.00,  and a SSD around $120.00.  Currently i am using a 6 year old Compaq laptop which is showing it's age.

 

Mainly i need it for Photoshop CC,  Lightroom and Microsoft works

 

I was wondering if it was worth buying and upgrading or whether I am better off waiting and saving for a brand new model.

 

Thanks 

Chris

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A new computer is always better than one that's 7 years old. At that age, you'll be lucky to get two more years out of it. By the time you do the upgrades, you'll be about half way to the cost of a new iMac. I think you'll need to upgrade the system to Yosemite, at least, and I would recommend 16gb ram to run PhotoShop  and Lightroom. Or you could get older versions of both which may run better on an older Mac.

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Oh I should add, upgrading the drive in an old iMac isn't easy. Most older models have a little door in the bottom to upgrade ram, but the drive is behind the display. You'll have to remove the screen with a pair of large suction cups. You might prefer to have that done by an Apple Authorized Repair shop.

 

 

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I agree with fotoDogue. Save up and buy a new modern machine or you will be creating pain for yourself. 

 

Not only do Photoshop CC and Lightroom need plenty of RAM, they need a decent graphics card in recent versions to run well and you are unlikely to have that in such an old 21 inch iMac. Furthermore, Macs of that age have USB2 and not USB3 as far as I know and are, thererfore, really slow if you want to back up anything on an external USB drive. You also mention Microsoft Works - this doesn't exist for Macs. You are either looking at Office for Mac or Apple's own Pages and Numbers which are not too bad and come free with more recent Macs but I'm not sure they would come with that machine so you are probably looking at further spend.

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Many thanks for your replies.  Much appreciated.

 

My plan was to get 12 months out of the iMac by which time I should be able to afford a new computer.  I was using a 2012 version over Christmas and,  compared to my laptop,  the difference was incredible.

 

Thank you fotoDogue for your replies.  I had no idea how hard it was to change the hard drive so no chance of that.  From what you're saying about changing the operating system and the cost of the RAM it sounds like a lot of hassle and expense for 12 months use.

 

Thank you MDM.  As you can probably tell my knowledge of computers is limited to say the least and I didn't even consider the graphics card or know about Microstock Office.

 

Thank you geogphotos.  I appreciate your post.  If you don't mind me asking,  is the 2015 version still OK or will you have to upgrade soon.

 

I have decided not to bother and to use the money for a new computer.  Hopefully my laptop will last!!!

 

Once again thanks for your replies and I wish you all a Happy New Year and the very best for 2018.

 

 

 

 

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One way to save money is to buy one of Apple's Refurbished computers. They're usually 15% to 20% off the usual price and come with the same one year warranty. The only downside is that you can't order it with extra RAM but they usually offer several configurations, including  SSD drives and varying amounts of RAM.

 

Just scroll down to the bottom of the main Apple page to see what they currently have to offer. Check back often because their stock of refurbished items can change several times a week.

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Crucial RAM is just fine. Don't ever buy your RAM upgrade from Apple, they charge far too much. I took my 27 inch from 8 to 20 for less than £100. It's easier to upgrade RAM on a 27 inch than a 21inch' Refurb Macs are OK I've had a couple without problems

 

There are quite  few old 21 inch iMacs on the second hand market, you might find a younger one with higher specs at a similar price but the Hard drive has done a lot of spinning. Our Mac specialist did install a SSD drive on my wife's 27 inch model. It works OK but I sure wouldn't even consider doing it myself. So as suggested, you might spend quite a lot upgrading such an old model.

 

There are good finance packages on new machines which might be a better option. I wouldn't often suggest buying on credit but that might be better than spending rather a lot for a one year fix. If you are used to Microsoft works, there are migration options to Mac. Jane has Pages on her upgraded system and it drives her nuts. Her Mac guru thinks it's wonderful but he would say that!

Edited by Robert M Estall

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Thanks again fotoDogue.  I have looked at refurbished on Amazon but I didn't know whether or not to trust them.  I didn't realize that Apple sold refurbished through their site,  I will look whats available when it comes to buying.

 

Thank you Robert for the information.  I have looked at Crucial and they seem to be very highly recommended so thank you.  Unfortunately,  due to issues I don't want to discuss on a photography forum,  credit is not an option.  I have tried recently but got refused.  The migration option for Microsoft Works sounds perfect,  I will find out more about it when the time comes to change.

 

One things for certain,  I'll make sure the SSD is fitted when I buy,  there's no chance I am going to do it myself.

 

I really appreciate all your replies and the information you have given,  I feel a lot more confident about what to get in the future.

 

 

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10 hours ago, Robert M Estall said:

Crucial RAM is just fine. Don't ever buy your RAM upgrade from Apple, they charge far too much. I took my 27 inch from 8 to 20 for less than £100. It's easier to upgrade RAM on a 27 inch than a 21inch' Refurb Macs are OK I've had a couple without problems

 

 

Not all iMacs have user upgradable RAM. Better to check before you order.

Edited by fotoDogue

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If I were in the market for a reasonably specified/priced computer I don't think anything by Apple would be my first choice...

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All this iMac talk is making me nervous. I bought my 21.5" iMac in 2010. Will it still work tomorrow? 

 

If and when I buy a new iMac, should I get a Retina screen or not? 

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4 hours ago, Ed Rooney said:

All this iMac talk is making me nervous. I bought my 21.5" iMac in 2010. Will it still work tomorrow? 

 

If and when I buy a new iMac, should I get a Retina screen or not? 

 

Calm the nerves Ed :). Anything I said above was based on the idea of the OP buying an old Mac as an "upgrade" from a slightly newer laptop with no real idea of what his requirements are in general. This would seem a particularly bad idea to me, especially given that he would have to put quite a bit of extra money into it. In addition, he is clearly not a technophile and was not aware of the potential problems in moving from Windows to Mac. 

 

Of course if your 2010 iMac is working at a reasonable speed and does everything you need it to do, then there is no problem. I tend to upgrade when the technology reaches a point where it surpasses what my current computer is capable of doing. This could be software where, for example, an important program (MacOS, Photoshop or Lightroom for me) won't run or run well on my exisiting computer. Or it could be that my current camera is producing images that need a faster computer - my last computer upgrade was because I use D800 series cameras and the files were too large (36MP) causing my old MacPro to creak at the seams. When I upgraded the speed improvements were massive and very significant in terms of my productivity so it was definitely worth it.

 

As far as a Retina screen is concerned, you will probably have no choice when you next buy as the only non-Retina iMac now is at the very low end of the range and might not represent a significant upgrade in any case. But the 4K and 5K Retina screens are not ideal for stills photography as they are too high resolution as well as being glossy, making it very difficult to discern sharpness or even see noise in an image. At that resolution on a 27inch monitor, it is very difficult to see if an image is sharp. Everything looks good with the high res and glossy screen, like viewing images on an iPhone or iPad. Somebody will undoubtedly say to view images at 200% to see if they are sharp but this is not the same as viewing at 100%. Furthermore, these screens are not great for viewing highlight detail which tends to get washed out. 

 

The solution here is to have a second monitor, ideally a wide gamut, matte monitor specifically designed for stills photography. These have come way down in price in the last few years - the BenQ ones are particularly good value. 27 inch is the sweet spot but at around 2800 pixels, not 4000 or 5000. The wide gamut refers to the ability to display a much wider range of colours. This allows for much better color management with hardware calibration. This is more important if preparing images for printing, particularly if doing one's own printing, or providing images directly to clients rather than submitting to Alamy. 

 

Of course none of this is actually essential - I'm just pointing out the reasons why Retina monitors are not ideal for stills photography. 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, MDM said:

 

Calm the nerves Ed :). Anything I said above was based on the idea of the OP buying an old Mac as an "upgrade" from a slightly newer laptop with no real idea of what his requirements are in general. This would seem a particularly bad idea to me, especially given that he would have to put quite a bit of extra money into it. In addition, he is clearly not a technophile and was not aware of the potential problems in moving from Windows to Mac. 

 

Of course if your 2010 iMac is working at a reasonable speed and does everything you need it to do, then there is no problem. I tend to upgrade when the technology reaches a point where it surpasses what my current computer is capable of doing. This could be software where, for example, an important program (MacOS, Photoshop or Lightroom for me) won't run or run well on my exisiting computer. Or it could be that my current camera is producing images that need a faster computer - my last computer upgrade was because I use D800 series cameras and the files were too large (36MP) causing my old MacPro to creak at the seams. When I upgraded the speed improvements were massive and very significant in terms of my productivity so it was definitely worth it.

 

As far as a Retina screen is concerned, you will probably have no choice when you next buy as the only non-Retina iMac now is at the very low end of the range and might not represent a significant upgrade in any case. But the 4K and 5K Retina screens are not ideal for stills photography as they are too high resolution as well as being glossy, making it very difficult to discern sharpness or even see noise in an image. At that resolution on a 27inch monitor, it is very difficult to see if an image is sharp. Everything looks good with the high res and glossy screen, like viewing images on an iPhone or iPad. Somebody will undoubtedly say to view images at 200% to see if they are sharp but this is not the same as viewing at 100%. Furthermore, these screens are not great for viewing highlight detail which tends to get washed out. 

 

The solution here is to have a second monitor, ideally a wide gamut, matte monitor specifically designed for stills photography. These have come way down in price in the last few years - the BenQ ones are particularly good value. 27 inch is the sweet spot but at around 2800 pixels, not 4000 or 5000. The wide gamut refers to the ability to display a much wider range of colours. This allows for much better color management with hardware calibration. This is more important if preparing images for printing, particularly if doing one's own printing, or providing images directly to clients rather than submitting to Alamy. 

 

Of course none of this is actually essential - I'm just pointing out the reasons why Retina monitors are not ideal for stills photography. 

 

 

 

 

 

22 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

 

 

I certainly have noticed this since moving to my 27 in iMac. Viewing at 100% doesn't seem like 100% and it confused me. I suppose that i have just got used to it.

 

This might make your life easier. 

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4 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

 

I'm sure it would.

 

I wonder how many Alamy contributors who have an iMac then buy an expensive second monitor?

 

I don't know. But that's not expensive for a wide gamut monitor. That is a bargain. I guess it all comes down to what you want from your photography. Oh no, not that again. Now I can see where this is going. Time for a freshly ground organic coffee. Yum.

Edited by MDM

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3 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

If an iMac is not suitable then I'd guess that a lot of people are wasting their money buying one and should be looking at the BenQ instead.

 

I was specifically talking about 4-5K Retina 27 inch screens which are not ideal at all for stills photography for the reasons stated above but buying a BenQ instead is not a solution as it is just a monitor. The problem is Apple have moved away from the MacPro which comes without a monitor. They were reasonably priced back in 2009 when I got back into Mac after a long spell on the other side. However, MacPros are now very expensive and do not appear to be a priority for Apple in terms of updating. MacBooks are generally not ideal as they have limited RAM capacity. Apple are now producing iMac pros but these are incredibly expensive and appear to be aimed at the professional video rather than stills market. 

 

So the only realistic option if you want lots of RAM and a half-decent graphics card is a classic iMac and they now mostly only come with very high res Retina screens. If people are happy to work on 4-5K glossy monitors for stills work, then that is fine and their choice but I can't do it. Hence the BenQ recommendation. Eizo is a lot better but almost 3 times the price for equivalent specs. 

 

EDIT: Just to be clear, I'm saying that I consider an extra monitor essential in addition to these 4-5K Retina monitors but it doesn't have to be a wide gamut monitor. However, a wide gamut monitor is ideal and they have become a lot more affordable in the last few years.

Edited by MDM
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Thank you for the information and suggestions, Michael. There was an earlier discussion in this forum about retina problems, which is why I asked. 

 

However, I won't be taking any of your suggestions. They all come under the general heading: throw money at the problem. I won't be taking that path. Also, I have no room for two monitors in my work space, and the 27 " won't work here.  I have the 21.5" iMac running MacOS Sierra. 

 

Apple does offer a new iMac without Retina, but since my current iMac is still working, I won't have to make a discussion about Retina right now. My guess is that I'll buy the cheapest iMac with Retina and work things out from there.  Like Ian, "I want to be able to produce salable stock images." And Frankly, I'm sure that most of the stock photographers who have a Mac with Retina are doing that.

 

Edo

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some will be keeping their eyes on what a 2018 Mac Mini might offer which might be a good option with a 27 inch Benq, but my 27 iMac with a 3.4 GHz 4-core i7 processor and 20 GB RAM and Firewire is still no slouch. It would probably be worth installing a good sized SSD as the original 1TB hard drive is getting a bit long in the tooth. There is the option of doing without the DVD drive and putting a second drive there instead. Just about never use the DVD/CD anyway. Or a 21 inch iMac with an extra Benq monitor might be attractive for stills work.

 

Chris Rigsby might get a years worth out of the second hand offer without tweaking it and just rely on a good external back-up as security in case the internal drive fails. 8 GB RAM is going to be OK as long as he doesn't run layers & such demanding aspects of Photoshop and all kind of applications at the same time. Somehow I suspect he's not really a power-user from what he has revealed. I'm not quite sure what Microsoft might do for him as a migration deal.

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4 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

There is always something supposedly better, more expensive and so-called 'essential' in order to do things properly..

 

But stock photography is a business and while there are some things that you just can't do without there are many other things that are not strictly essential.

 

As somebody with little interest in technology I hate the whole buying process and stay with what I have as long as it is doing the job.

 

 

 

That is my point. Can you do the job efficiently and comfortably with such a high res monitor. Some people can but I can't. I can't tell if the image is really sharp and I get eye strain. 

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2 hours ago, Robert M Estall said:

some will be keeping their eyes on what a 2018 Mac Mini might offer which might be a good option with a 27 inch Benq, but my 27 iMac with a 3.4 GHz 4-core i7 processor and 20 GB RAM and Firewire is still no slouch. It would probably be worth installing a good sized SSD as the original 1TB hard drive is getting a bit long in the tooth. There is the option of doing without the DVD drive and putting a second drive there instead. Just about never use the DVD/CD anyway. Or a 21 inch iMac with an extra Benq monitor might be attractive for stills work.

 

 

The problem with the Mac Mini is that it has limited RAM capacity (16 max) and it does not have a separate graphics card which is far more important nowadays for running LR and PS than it used to be. I would think it would not be an upgrade for you considering what you are currently running. Same with the new 21 inch iMac - 16GB of RAM max and on-board graphics.

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27 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

 

Not sure of your problem here. 

 

Same here. I wonder what problem you mean.  I don't actually have a problem in fact as I don't have a 5K monitor.  I have a wide gamut 27 inch monitor in fact.

 

I was just answering Ed's questions on Retina screens when you said "I certainly have noticed this since moving to my 27 in iMac. Viewing at 100% doesn't seem like 100% and it confused me. I suppose that i have just got used to it."

 

So at that point I suggested you might like to investigate the BenQ 27 inch wide gamut monitor. That was intended as a genuinely helpful comment. You seem to have misinterpreted my statements and intent if you think I have a problem here. I should have known better I guess (from prior experience). 

Edited by MDM

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