There's a piece in Ars Technica that speculates on how long Apple will continue to support intel based Macs with OS updates and security updates.

Timely, because I just ordered 128GB of RAM for my 2019 iMac this morning. It wasn't cheap, but let's just say it was "affordable."

I bought this iMac just as we moved into Saul Hall. Until then, I'd been using a late-2012 13" MacBook Pro Retina, which I'd pretty much max'ed out when I purchased it. I don't recall if there was a 16GB option, but if there was that's the one thing I regret not ordering. I got the i7 processor and 768GB SSD along with 8GB of RAM, and it was a pretty serviceable system for most of the time I owned it. The one glaring weakness it had was the limited RAM. Toward the end, it was spinning pinwheels of infinite futility anytime I had more than a few tabs open in Safari.

I ordered this iMac with the 8-core i9 processor and the Radeon Pro Vega 48 with 8GB of VRAM, 32GB of installed RAM and 1TB SSD. I upgraded the RAM to 64GB in November of 2020.

At the moment, I have 106 tabs open in Safari and 49 apps running. It remains responsive and Activity Monitor is showing Memory Pressure as low, but I'm using 978MB of swap on the SSD. (That's by no means "normal." I've been looking stuff up. But fifty or more isn't out of the ordinary.)

The idea when I bought this machine was that I'd use it for at least as long as the 13" MacBook Pro Retina, about 7 years. I did hope to get a few years more out of it, but I never anticipated the switch to the M-series SOCs. This machine cost me $4147 with tax, which probably sounds outrageous, but the MacBook Pro was $3200 back in 2012, and I bought a 27" Thunderbolt Display to connect it to, so that was over $5K back in 2012.

I don't know exactly how long I'll be able to keep this iMac up-to-date in terms of security. Maybe another four, based on the Ars piece. I went back and forth on upgrading the RAM, given the relatively short lifetime of "safe" operation. But I decided I wanted to go ahead and do it now, to try and get the most performance out of this machine. If I'm hitting the SSD for swap, that's kind of a waste of SSD write-cycles, so I guess I need more RAM.

Frankly, the whole thing is kind of absurd. There is no real justification for why I need this much compute power. It's just a function of my privilege and (relative) wealth that I can feel as though this is something reasonable to do.

I'll have to revisit this internal debate when Vision Pro debuts.

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 11:30 Monday, 17 July 2023