The New Media Center iMac is Born!

posted in: Tech, Tinkering
20 inch mid-2009 iMac educational model

Thursday night I ordered a refurbished iMac from Other World Computing. It cost $359 and is the 20 inch mid–2009 iMac education model. I also bought the maximum amount of RAM for this model (8GB), and a 240 GB SSD ($94.88 and $139, respectively). Shipping was free Fed-Ex Ground and quoted at a 4–5 business day delivery time.

Astonishingly, all of the items arrived the next afternoon, Friday, while I was still up in San Jose. Milo naturally offered his opinion regarding the cost of the contents of the giant box marked “iMac” to Charlotte (at least $3,000!), resulting in much panicked texting and hilarity.

After getting home from SJ Friday night and not able to keep from my new tinkering project, the little iMac was fully upgraded and getting its new operating system installed at around 1am.

Saturday morning I noticed that there was no bluetooth hardware listed in the system report. After a bit of research, it turns out that Apple kept that off of the hardware specs for the educational model (other differences include a lower CPU clock speed and half the L2 cache as its standard brother). The absence of bluetooth was going to be an issue as the new computer is replacing our old media center computer (a white plastic 2006 iMac) and must work with the same bluetooth keyboard and trackpad. Amazon had many USB bluetooth dongle adapters to choose from and I selected the well-reviewed GHS bluetooth 4 for $14.95. I get free second day air shipping through Amazon Prime and delivery was quoted as no later than 8pm Monday night.

Migrating the iTunes library turned out to be trivial as it already resided on an external drive and all that was needed was a copy of the old iTunes folder (in the user folder on old iMac) in the corresponding folder on the new iMac. Everything works flawlessly, all of the metadata, playlists, etc. are there, all point to the media files on the external drive.

The dongle arrived today at noon – Sunday no less! By US Mail. Also astonishing.

Now we have a zippy computer that runs Yosemite and feels responsive and modern. All of this for $600 and change, and of course about 3 hours of my time.

What else needs fixin’?