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Refurbished iMac: how to get a quality iMac at a great price

Published Aug 18, 2023 - Equipped with top-quality components, iMacs are considered to be very robust and largely trouble-free. Tempted?

Who doesn't know it?

Apple's iMac has achieved cult status. It's an all-in-one computer (the computer and monitor are housed in the same case), is aesthetically pleasing, powerful and delights graphics enthusiasts with its brilliant, colorful display. However, these sought-after features come at a price: a new iMac is expensive, and can quickly add up to several thousand euros. Fortunately, there's more than one way to get the cult computer made by Apple for less.

What is an iMac and why is it so coveted?

Apple first produced an all-in-one computer in the 1980s. With the iMac, the manufacturer is building on this principle once again.

The iMac caused a sensation in the late 1990s with its multicolored design. The colors disappeared, but the iMac remained: it became more angular, slimmer and (even more) stylish. With the 2021 generation, Apple is returning to its roots, and the latest iMacs are back in color.

Apple computers aren't just appreciated for their design. The interior is also very interesting. Powerful chips ensure stable performance. Since 2021, Apple's M1 chip, clocked at up to 3.2 GHz, has been in charge. Brightly colored screens make the iMac attractive for games and graphics applications. Previous generations can also boast Intel Core processors to this day.

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Buying a cheap iMac: what are the options?

An iMac looks good, saves space on your desk and delivers reliable performance. These are just some of the many good reasons to buy one. Then there's the price. For a fully equipped iMac, you'll have to fork out a four-figure sum, but you can get around that smartly.

Here are your options:

  • Make concessions on equipment

  • Buy a used iMac

  • Buy a refurbished iMac

Special attention to components

When you buy a new iMac, you're free to choose from a wide range of options. The "leaner" the equipment, the greater the potential savings. A smaller screen can also reduce the price. For example, you can choose between a 27" iMac and a 21.5" iMac, depending on which best suits your needs and budget.

You can customize these features on an iMac (depending on the year):

  • Random Access Memory (RAM): 4 to 16 GB

  • Storage capacity: 130 GB to 2 TB

  • Graphics card: AMD Radeon RX, NVIDIA GeForce GTX, AMD Radeon HD, NVIDIA GeForce GT

  • Processor speed: 2.6 to 4.2

  • Processor type: M1, Intel (i5, i7, i9, Xeon W)

  • Number of ports: 2 to 5

  • Screen size: 20.5", 21", 24", 27

There are a few drawbacks, however: first of all, it's not always smart to give up performance, especially if you're working with complex, memory-hungry programs. What's more, it's often better to have more for the future: you want to be able to continue working with your iMac in a few years' time, and not be annoyed by a sudden slowness in using new software. Last but not least, even a new, lightly-equipped iMac isn't exactly a bargain.

Old but Gold - it's not always necessary to have the latest model.

That's where buying second-hand comes in. In the case of older iMacs, a typical feature of Apple hardware proves to be a gamechanger: the devices are equipped with first-class components, are considered very robust, largely fail-safe and ready for the future. So why spend money on new equipment that rapidly loses its value shortly after purchase?

Tip: giving older iMac models a chance makes sense, but the computer shouldn't be too old either. The current macOS Monterey system is only supported up to the 2015 iMac generation. Older models will continue to run on older systems quite reliably, but you won't benefit from the latest security updates. In principle, it's advisable to buy a device that's no more than ten years old.

Check beforehand whether the technical equipment meets your requirements. If you work mainly with Office software, you don't need cutting-edge performance and you can get a good deal on an older iMac, such as the 2018 iMac.