Mac Hardware forum


Which Refurbished 21.5" iMac to buy

by CiaoAndThanks / April 24, 2013 1:15 PM PDT

I am new to Macs and am considering buying a refurbished 21.5 inch iMac. From what I've been told by Mac they are not made with an internal cd/dvd drive anymore. There are a couple refurbished models available with the internal and they have 4 GB memory rather than 8GB. They also come with an AMD video card as opposed to a NVIDIA video card. <div>

So my questions are, is it better to get an internal dvd drive or an external, and what the reason might be for not having them anymore - have the built in caused any problems? I am puzzled for wouldn't it be better to have them built in if possible? And, is either of the video cards offered better than the other or are they of the same quality?

I will be using the computer for both personal and business reasons, I have an e-commerce website so will be uploading many photos as well as running the business with many documents etc.

I appreciate any help or feedback you might have, Thank you very much!


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All Answers

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I rarely use optical drives today.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 24, 2013 2:18 PM PDT

It's 30 or 40 bucks for most USB DVDRW drives if the need arises. But my main concern is that you maintain your backups.

As to RAM, I like to max it out as it's cheap today. As to the AMD question? I have little preference as both work nicely here.

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Just had a thought,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 24, 2013 10:01 PM PDT

the 21.5" iMac which was released in October 2012 does NOT have any way to increase the RAM size.

What you see is what you get.

The only current model that allows the end user to add RAM is the 27" model


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Agree with Bob,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 24, 2013 10:00 PM PDT
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Advantages or Disadvantages?
by CiaoAndThanks / April 25, 2013 4:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Agree with Bob,

Thank you everyone for your help. I am already backing up with an external hard drive, and I do like the option to burn dvds and cds.

Are there any advantages or disadvantages of looking for an internal drive if I can find an 8 GB machine, or would it be better to let go of that?

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None today for me.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 25, 2013 5:47 AM PDT

The only downside to internal opticals is they usually fail in a few years and I'm finding today's computer users to not want to replace such things. Combine that with the declining use and it's like the old floppy drive. Why have it? Why not let it be the 20/30 buck external that you pull out for the occasional use and fix the replacement issue too?

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By all means look for an internal optical drive, but,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 25, 2013 8:31 AM PDT

be aware that you will NOT be able to put it into either of the iMac's that have been referenced in this thread.

The case was not designed to take an internal optical drive, there is no room inside the case for one and there is no slot in the side of the case.

Your ONLY option is an external Optical Drive, probably USB.

It's not hard to find an 8GB machine, I provided you with a link to one


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Thank You Again
by CiaoAndThanks / April 25, 2013 2:34 PM PDT

It sounds like an external drive has the winning vote. Thank you again, I had meant if I were to buy an 8GB machine with an internal already built in, but I don't know that I would even find one. I see from the link that it will be easy to find an 8GB with an external - It seems that it could work best to go with the external.

Thank you!

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