6 votes

When should I upgrade my iMac desktop?

I have a late 2015 model.
Processor: 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
Memory: 8 GB 1867 MHz DDR3
Graphics: Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 1536 MB

To give an example of some frustration:

The time it takes to log out of my account, log in to my child's account, and to start something like Minecraft takes 15 minutes. This seems to be an incredibly long time to do this, does it not?

15 comments

  1. whbboyd
    Link
    Replace your hard drive with an SSD. To answer your question, yes, that is a very long time. However, newer Macs are not really that much faster than yours… except for coming with an SSD, which...

    Replace your hard drive with an SSD.

    To answer your question, yes, that is a very long time. However, newer Macs are not really that much faster than yours… except for coming with an SSD, which can easily be an order of magnitude faster than a hard drive in realistic scenarios. (My highly nonscientific impression is also that newer versions of Mac OS do an extremely poor job of optimizing drive access patterns for hard drive performance characteristics, making the performance hit even worse than it really ought to be.) You may also find some benefit in starting over from a fresh Mac OS install; Windows is of course infamous for needing that sort of treatment, but resource fragmentation and accumulation of cruft are universal.

    9 votes
  2. [6]
    stu2b50
    (edited )
    Link
    If that's a 21 inch iMac, well, you're in luck; the replacement has just been announced. Now 24'', with the M1, in some neat new colors. With an NVME SSD and the M1, for everyday use (like this...

    If that's a 21 inch iMac, well, you're in luck; the replacement has just been announced. Now 24'', with the M1, in some neat new colors. With an NVME SSD and the M1, for everyday use (like this one sounds like it's going to be used for), it's going to absolutely crush anything you'd want to do (including run Minecraft).

    https://www.apple.com/imac-24/

    If it's a 27'', I would recommend waiting until the 27'' Apple Silicon model is announced. If nothing else, it'll trigger a fire sale of the older iMacs on the aftermarket.

    edit: For reference, the i5-5575R (which is what the 2015 iMac had) has a Geekbench score of 81 and 225 (single and multicore), whereas the M1 has a Geekbench score of 1650 and 6745. They're not on the same plane of existence.

    The M1 is 20x faster on single core performance and 30x faster in multicore.

    8 votes
    1. [4]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      So, I have a 6 TB external hardrive that I've been using for backups and for future iMac desktop upgrades. The problem with the new iMac 24 inch is that it doesn't have a USB port. So, if I wanted...

      So, I have a 6 TB external hardrive that I've been using for backups and for future iMac desktop upgrades. The problem with the new iMac 24 inch is that it doesn't have a USB port. So, if I wanted that new iMac, then how would I use the external hardrive to migrate?

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        stu2b50
        Link Parent
        It does have USB ports - but I assume you mean USB-A (the shape of the port - the new iMacs have USB-C, the new shape). That's not a particularly difficult issue, though - just get an USB-A to...

        It does have USB ports - but I assume you mean USB-A (the shape of the port - the new iMacs have USB-C, the new shape). That's not a particularly difficult issue, though - just get an USB-A to USB-C adapter. Or just an USB-A to USB-C cable (assuming that your external hard drive has a USB-A connector - replace X in "<X> to USB-C" with micro-usb or micro-b if it uses that instead).

        For the most part, USB-C is a superset of USB-A - it does everything it does, including backwards compatibility, but better. Especially since the two USB-C ports are Thunderbolt/USB-4 on the base iMac config.

        There's also a variety of ways to migrate now; you can migrate wirelessly, or migrate with a connection from the old mac to the new one, etc.

        6 votes
        1. suspended
          Link Parent
          OK. Thanks so much for the info!

          OK. Thanks so much for the info!

      2. NaraVara
        Link Parent
        Honestly if your hard drive is more than 8 years old it’s coming up on time to replace it anyway. After that you’re at high risk of hard drive failure. When you do that you can get a USB-C one. In...

        Honestly if your hard drive is more than 8 years old it’s coming up on time to replace it anyway. After that you’re at high risk of hard drive failure. When you do that you can get a USB-C one. In the meantime you can get by with a USB-A to USB-C adapter or a multi-port dock.

        2 votes
    2. boltsky
      Link Parent
      EveryMac says it gets 844/2903, so still much faster, but not that much.

      For reference, the i5-5575R (which is what the 2015 iMac had) has a Geekbench score of 81 and 225 (single and multicore)

      EveryMac says it gets 844/2903, so still much faster, but not that much.

  3. Akir
    Link
    It looks like your system supports Big Sur, so it'll run the latest programs just fine. But I'm painfully aware of how bad MacOS runs on mechanical hard drives, and that's what you're running with...

    It looks like your system supports Big Sur, so it'll run the latest programs just fine. But I'm painfully aware of how bad MacOS runs on mechanical hard drives, and that's what you're running with right now.

    I think that the newly announced iMac is a really great offering, to the point that I would personally probably just make the jump right now. But if you want to wait a bit to get the most of your original purchase, you could upgrade your current mac with an SSD, which will help speed up your whole system. That being said, I don't know if Apple will make their next version of MacOS support that model and it might be a while until the next iMac comes out.

    8 votes
  4. [3]
    joplin
    Link
    I'll be frank: if your computer is taking 15 minutes to switch between users, that's probably an indication that something is broken or about to break, or that you've acquired some malware. My...

    I'll be frank: if your computer is taking 15 minutes to switch between users, that's probably an indication that something is broken or about to break, or that you've acquired some malware. My first guess would be the hard drive since those generally are made to last about 3-5 years. I have a machine from, I think 2016, and while it's slow compared to the newer machines I have, it's nowhere near that slow. Logging out as one user and logging back in as another takes maybe 30 seconds to a minute. Granted it has an SSD, but that would likely only about double the speed not make it 15 times faster.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      It's definitely weird, but this isn't something we can diagnose at a distance. One possibility is that it's doing a lot of swapping due to programs using more than 8GB of memory. (This sort of...

      It's definitely weird, but this isn't something we can diagnose at a distance.

      One possibility is that it's doing a lot of swapping due to programs using more than 8GB of memory. (This sort of thing used to be more common in the old days when computers had a lot less memory.)

      2 votes
      1. joplin
        Link Parent
        To be clear, I'm not trying to diagnose it, just letting them know that they may want to make a decision sooner rather than later. They've got backups, though, so they should be fine if the...

        To be clear, I'm not trying to diagnose it, just letting them know that they may want to make a decision sooner rather than later. They've got backups, though, so they should be fine if the machine fails.

        2 votes
  5. skybrian
    (edited )
    Link
    8GB isn't very much memory these days. I agree that an SSD would help. I don't have one, but instead I upgraded my 10-year-old iMac to the maximum amount of memory (20GB) a long time ago and it's...

    8GB isn't very much memory these days. I agree that an SSD would help. I don't have one, but instead I upgraded my 10-year-old iMac to the maximum amount of memory (20GB) a long time ago and it's quite fast except when booting.

    If you're not doing it already, you could probably use fast user switching to switch between your account and your child's account more easily. I would guess that more memory would help quite a bit with making that quicker.

    (I plan to wait until there's a new 27-inch iMac before upgrading.)

    3 votes
  6. randulo
    Link
    Did anyone mention reinstalling the same MacOS to clean things up? It may make a difference. My iMac is a 2011 21" with 16GB, which I consider the minimum now. I added an SSD a few years ago. I...

    Did anyone mention reinstalling the same MacOS to clean things up? It may make a difference. My iMac is a 2011 21" with 16GB, which I consider the minimum now. I added an SSD a few years ago. I don't use it for music or video production, but it runs fine for general stuff. I still haven't updated to Big Sur on my newer Mini.

    3 votes
  7. petrichor
    Link
    Like others have said, now is about the right time. The "big" jumps in iMac technology since 2015 are basically solid-state drives and Apple's in-house silicon.

    Like others have said, now is about the right time.

    The "big" jumps in iMac technology since 2015 are basically solid-state drives and Apple's in-house silicon.

    2 votes
  8. wycy
    Link
    You could probably replace the hard drive with an SSD and upgrade the RAM to 24 GB and get by without replacing it for a long time. I have a 2012 iMac with upgraded SSD and 24 GB of RAM and it...

    You could probably replace the hard drive with an SSD and upgrade the RAM to 24 GB and get by without replacing it for a long time. I have a 2012 iMac with upgraded SSD and 24 GB of RAM and it still screams. I really want to replace it, but it's hard to justify because it's still just so capable.

    2 votes