iMac Upgrade late 2012 MacMini 2.6 Ghz 1.1TB Fusion Drive to iMac


Dec 10, 2009
Clarksburg, WV
OK, so have 3076 (core, tax for my area brings total to 3291) Apple store credit.
The mrs wants the Adobe CC Photography suite and will be getting Apple Care+ so iMac budget is 2786.
Was thinking its time to put on the big boy pants and upgrade our trusty late 2012 MacMini, custom configured w/ 2.6 Ghz processor & 8 GB RAM with a 1.1Tb Fusion Drive.
This setup has served us well, even after recently undergoing the apple juice intrusion documented here:

Not really experiencing any issues in our light daily usesgae, and have about 650GB available HD space after a recent 3 hour cleanup session / OS reinstall.

Just figure its about time to replace it before it does suffer a catastrophic failure that we won't be able to recover from, while the funds are available.....

Looking at current 27" 2017 base 3.8 Ghz iMac that has

Retina 5K Display
3.8GHz Processor
2TB Storage

  • 3.8GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz
  • 8GB 2400MHz memory, configurable up to 64GB
  • 2TB Fusion Drive (128GB is SSD)
  • Radeon Pro 580 with 8GB video memory
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Retina 5K 5120-by-2880 P3 display

For some reason, can't get away from wanting 32GB of RAM, but that upgrade alone puts us over budget by 113 bucks.

Thinking the more sensible config is:

  • 4.2GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
  • 16GB 2400MHz DDR4
  • 2TB Fusion Drive

That puts us under, and would actually allow an upgrade of 3TB Fusion for 13 out of pocket.

Then there is the option of 2015 refurbs, with top available fitting in budget being:

  • 4.0Ghz quad-core i7 (unsure this is 7th gen as the 2017 models)
  • 16GB RAM listed, unsure if DDR3 or the faster R4 version
  • 1TB SSD (which by research is slower than the current SSD)

There was a 32GB RAM model about 10 days ago, but thats gone.
Could potentially wait for another to populate.

How much difference is the 2 year old retina display and all the configurable hardware vs 2017 models?

Looking for opinions, given that we mostly just use basic functions, web browsing, some word processing and light website management, if my obsession for wanting to config w/ 32GB RAM is justified, or that I would likely be happy with 16, (knowing that it can be upgraded, but funds tend to get earmarked elsewhere, and likely would not happen), also given the knowledge that the mrs is starting to enjoy using DSLR photography and processing RAW files.

Also, some guidance on the hard drive. I understand most of the immediate use (like the photo editing) is managed via processor and RAM, but would there be any daily usage benefits of complete SSD drive over Fusion Drive?

Thanks in advance, now off to search for the keynote detailing the 2017 iMac line and its upgrades vs the 2015's.