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To buy and upgrade an iMac Retina 2019 or buy an iMac Retina 2013?

Hello,

I am hesitating between these two systems:

  1. Buying a iMac 21.5" (Early 2019) 3.6 GHz Core i3 - 1 TB HDD - 8 GB RAM and upgrade to 512 GB SSD and 16 GB RAM,
  2. Buying an iMac 21.5 " (End of 2013) 3.1 GHz Core i7 - 512 GB SSD - 16 GB RAM and have nothing to modify.

The two computers, in second hand, are worth exactly the same price.

I’ve already tinkered with MacBook Retina a bit through iFixIt tutorials. I prefer, of course, to have nothing to tinker with on such expensive devices. Is the upgrade of an iMac 2019 complicated? Are there really big differences between the 2019 model and the 2013 model ?

Thank you in advance for your answers.

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The 2019 model HDD interface is SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) so the SSD upgrade would be another SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) drive. The 2013 system has a PCIe 2.0 x2 blade SSD which is a much faster I/O channel than the SATA III.

The 2019 system, can’t support the addition of the PCIe SSD as the connector and support logic is not present on the logic board. In the case of the 2013 model the SATA connector is still present! So you could add a second drive (HDD or SSD).

Here’s the full specs for both systems:

Block Image

Review this breakdown between the two.

There are enough Pro’s and Con’s for either! It all depends on what you are planing on doing. If you are doing photo or video work you’ll want the 4K display, while the i3 is a low end CPU the performance different is not that much as the year to year improvement over the 2013 is quite large.

The biggest negative is the lack of high speed internal drive support in the 2019 model (no PCIe support) But, it does offer a very high speed USB-C interface so one could setup an external drive which can be even faster than the internal PCIe interface!

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Hi Dan,

Thanks a lot for your answer.

I reviewed the breakdown between the two but still hesitating.

I need this iMac mostly for video and picture work. I’m not sure I absolutely need a 4K display. A retina screen is enough I think.

The most important to me is performance : I need speed and stability.

In the past, I had bought an iMac 21" 2017 Core i5-7400 3,0 GHz - HDD 1 To RAM 8 .

It was horribly low, much lower than my MacBook Retina 2013 (!)

I had to send it back.

But I’m afraid a 2013 model, even with SSD storage drive, be way too old, especially for the OS. I feel my two MacBooks (2013 and 2015) are getting slower as I upgrade their MacOS.

Maybe the best thing is to wait! With Apples move to its own silicon, you might be able to get a better deal this fall.

Both image & video apps leverage lots of CPU threads, and lots of RAM, as well as high speed storage on the boot drive which is also large enough hold your apps and active work.

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