Thoughts about buying a new iMac now?

This may be a bad place to put this but there are so many iMac users here. I am looking to get a new computer as my Model T is giving up the ghost. I’m looking at an iMac 21 inch and an iMac 27 inch, obviously the 21 inch will let me get more bells and whistles but I can dream lol.

After reading your comments I’m wondering if I should wait for a new model - if my computer can last that long. Never had an iMac so really looking for your advice. If the question is not appropriate to this discussion I will understand. Thanks.

Just a few weeks after I bought my beloved 9600 Mac it was announced that the much anticipated, soon to be released OS X would only run on Intel Macs. Because it ran on RISC chips, for years I was shut out of upgrades and new applications. This became an even bigger bummer when soon after prices on all RISC Macs began to drop dramatically. As good a machine as it was, and it still has a place of honor near my desk, it became almost obsolete shortly after its birth. Although my very ancient, trusty and much loved MacBook Pro has been slowly but steadily manifesting signs of imminent death and its OS hasn’t been upgradable for years, I’ve been holding out for an A series replacement. My husband is hanging on with his MacBook Pro for the same reasons.

My advice is to stick it out unless you cannot avoid waiting. If you don’t like the A series Macs when they are released, it’s likely you’ll be able to get a better price on a current model.

There’s always the MacRumors Buyers Guide which keeps an eye on typical release cycles.

Current advice on the iMac - Don’t Buy

So likely a new model later this year if you can hold out with your current one and as Marilyn says, you will have the option a deal on the older version when they do get released.

Just in time for an iMac refresh. The new top of the line Core i9-10900K (10 cores, 14 nm) replaces the i9-9900K found as the fastest BTO option on current iMacs.

Thanks to all for your excellent input. Unfortunately my computer has just developed a problem I do not know how to repair. I ran the Disk Utility and it came back saying:

Checking the fsroot Tree
error: inode_val: object (0x3) invalid nchildren (-1)
fsroot tree is invalid
The volume /rev/rdisk 2s1 could not be verified completely
File system check exit code is 0.
Restoring the original state found as mounted
Operation successful.

That doesn’t sound successful. Ran TechTool Pro 12 but it wouldn’t do a check because I did not have it on a thumb drive (it failed to create that disk several times when I had attempted to do so with the latest version)

So my computer is getting really odd in its behavior. Fortunately I have my files on Dropbox! I’m doing a lot of work to support my wife’s work leading a very large feeding program (over 3,000 meals a week now) and she needs what I am doing but I am concerned the computer is going to go in the middle of it.

So appreciate all your good guidance. Right now I’m doing Carbon Copy Cloning to be sure to keep up to date - also Time Machine (which I do not trust). Any idea when the new models will be introduced? The screeching sound you hear is the sound of my fingernails on the lid of my MBP!! Again, thank you all and much appreciate your wisdom! I miss my DiskWarrior lol.

Well the discussion here has been focused on the iMac for which consensus is it will be updated within the next few months. If you’re looking to replace your MBP it depends what kind. The 15" was only recently updated so the new 16" is a solid replacement right now. If you’re more interested in a 13" it’s probably safer to wait another few weeks since an update of this model is expected imminently.

Feeding 3000 meals a week is worth the investment in reliable hardware and backups.

Please remember that Dropbox is a faithful copy of your current machine’s Dropbox folder on your hard drive. It is not a backup. As data is corrupted on your failing hard drive, any corrupted file in your Dropbox will be faithfully copied to Dropbox, replacing older copies.

Time Machine retains older copies of files as long as there is room to keep them. I would recommend putting the current Time Machine drive aside for now and connecting a new drive. Hold the old copy for insurance until your machine is working correctly for some time.

Please make a clone now and set it aside until your machine is repaired. Repeat this to new clones (new drives) as needed. If at all possible borrow or rent another Mac and work from that and unlink Dropbox from your failing machine. – An alternative is to boot from a clone and dismount the internal drive as part of login. A new separate Time Machine drive would be a companion step.

With regard to purchase timing for a replacement, the possible price differential between today’s available model price and some hypothetical future reduced price must be balanced against the data and function loss you risk by waiting.


There’s something you might want to consider before you decide on an iMac. In a busy area, it can be very difficult to get it to and from an Apple Store if you have a problem. In NYC it’s usually a three person job, two or more in the suburbs. After helping out friends and relatives with iMacs, we both said we’d think about a Mini and a screen if portability wasn’t an issue. The new Minis sound really good.

Thank you all for great advice. I had forgotten about the potential issue with DropBox and some good guidance there. I have an old MBP 2008 and an old Mac Air 2010 that both are incredibly slow but could be pressed in service but I’ve found them so slow it is like being back in 1986 when I first started with Apple.

I think the problem may be in my Mail app, which has been really weird acting of late.

I’m also looking at the 13 inch MBP but my eyes are not good and the screen could be a problem.

Again, I really appreciate everybody’s guidance here. Meanwhile it is still chugging along - and the bills keep flowing in lol. And @MMTalker the mini suggestion sounds good, too. Have a friend who is a church administrator who has used one for years and loves it though it is getting a bit slow now.

Thank you all. Much appreciated. This is why this computer wanna-be so loves TidBits! Grateful to all the excellent folk here.

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If your file system has unrecoverable errors and you’re able to make a bootable backup, then I would suggest you make such a backup (maybe two or three copies). Then boot one of your backups, erase the internal drive, and then clone your system back to it.

If you can’t (don’t think you can) make a reliable backup, then your remaining options won’t be as easy. If the volume is HFS+, then Disk Warrior may be able to rebuild the directory (if it’s APFS then DW won’t work).

If you can back up your documents, then you may be able to use Internet Recovery to wipe the internal drive, then reformat it and install macOS. Then you’ll have to reinstall your apps and restore your documents. This may take a long time (especially if you don’t have convenient copies of your application installers).

Having a full bootable backup is far more convenient, but if your drive is already malfunctioning, then it might be too late to create one.

Good luck

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If you save the original packaging, it’s quite trivial for one person to carry an iMac a good distance. The handle on the top of the box makes it quite easy to handle.

Obviously, the box takes space, but it’s well worth it if you need to bring it somewhere, or (in my case), you pass your older one over to family members across town.

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Some sources report that Apple will be moving to ARM processors in the Mac. If true, there’s no telling how that change will affect the programs and tools you use now. Catalina eliminated support for 32bit apps. What will an ARM powered Mac eliminate? Or add, assuming you like ARMs. Of course the iPhone and the iPad run perfectly well on ARM processors and have replaced computers for many people.

If you want to avoid the inevitable trauma of the change-over until the bugs have been worked out, buying an iMac now is a good idea, in my opinion—for what that’s worth.

The 21" iMac is no longer the poor relation of the 27" model. You cam get a suiped-up 21" iMac for two grand or more, depending on what specs you need. You can even get one with a Retina display. Unfortunately, upgrading the RAM is an involved process with the 21" iMac so ordering it with what you expect to need is a good idea. The same goes for the drive. So good luck picking a new iMac.

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@jeff5 thank you for your comment, it is very helpful. My situation with my MBP has been resolved slightly by my having taken @james.cutler comments on DropBox seriously and I removed the sensitive files to a separate hard drive, then providing a backup to those files on another hard drive. I then made sure all those previous files are stored online and not open on my computer. I have also done a Carbon Copy Clone of the MBP on two different external drives, alternating them as I go along. Of course the CCCs indicate an error in the cloning but my hope is that I can limp along a bit longer.

Again, thank you all for your great guidance! These actions above allow me to continue to deal with the multiple bills for the food program (and continue to work on conflict resolutions for a couple of churches lol) while waiting as long as I can. @jeff5 mention of avoiding the difficulties of the ARM processors getting settled in once they are installed is a good caution. I have been looking at a souped up 21" iMac as this will probably be my last Mac - not because I’m leaving them but more because I am getting old and living on a fixed income ha ha. I’ll let you know what I do because I know you are all waiting with baited breath to find out what this brilliant man does NOT :wink:

Just a few weeks after I bought my beloved 9600 Mac it was announced that the much anticipated, soon to be released OS X would only run on Intel Macs

Is it possible you’re confused about the timeline?

The Power Macintosh 9600 was introduced in early 1997, and discontinued before the end of the year.

Apple released, OS X 10.0 in 2001, four years after your 9600 was discontinued. And it only ran on PowerPC Macs. The first Intel version of OS X, 10.4.5,came out in 2006.

Nope. I bought the original beige 9600 that runs an IBM/Motorola 604e chip in the summer of 1997. Apple released the G3 blue & white model a few months later, that could run a few versions of OS X, before the Intel Macs hit the market.

Although I was wrong about the Intel chip, I was still heartbroken about being shut out of OS X by a few weeks. I wouldn’t have bought the beige box if I had known the blue & white would run OS X.

heartbroken about being shut out of OS X by a few weeks

I got my first computer, an Apple ][plus, a week before the Apple //e replaced it.

So I know exactly how you feel!

Well, promised I’d report back. My MBP is really close to giving up the ghost. I ordered an iMac 27" with Retina 5K. I’m very excited about it, especially because I will also help my poor eyes as well as allow me to do a number of things far better than I have been able to of late. Again, thank you all for your excellent guidance! I felt much more comfortable moving ahead. Sort of hoped it would last a few more months but it has been sputtering at me and I have been getting warnings for months that the batteries were causing trouble. Again, I thank you!

Steve Jobs didn’t announce the Intel transition until 2005, which seems more than a “few weeks” after you brought the 9600.

As I mentioned before, I bought the original beige 9600 that runs an IBM/Motorola 604e chip that was released in the summer of 1997. A few weeks after my purchase, Apple released the “Blue & White” 9600 model that had a Power PC G3 chip, and it could run the first few versions of OS X. The G3 chip was also used by the multicolored MacBooks that were released later and also ran OS X:

Although I didn’t correctly recall that it was the newer, more powerful, much speedier G3 IBM/Motorola running in Blue & White Mac, I still was unable to run OS X on a Mac model that was released just a few very few months after I spent a lot of money for what was briefly the most super powered and expensive Mac.

Right, got it.