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Old Nov 14, 2012, 01:44 PM   #1
madrag
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I'm very inclined to go for the mac mini over the iMac

I have been waiting for the iMac since Nov 2011, and after the long wait, I found the update very disappointing because (for the iMac 21"):

- No firewire (I wouldn't mind FW 800 only, but nothing?), I don't want another adapter
- No audio input (why??)
- Sub-par HDD (5400rpm, why?), the SSD is too small, and fusion doesn't convince me and it is more expensive than a standard 7200 HDD and an extra SSD
- Not user upgradeable (so no chance to save some more and in the future upgrade by myself the RAM and HDD or add an extra SSD). This is one of the main points for my upcoming decision, I'm not going to pay almost 4 times what I can get at Crucial, or changing the HDD in the future isn't possible.
- All in one, the screen could get damaged and the all unit has to be sent for repair, or the opposite, the motherboard could die and the screen could be rendered useless.

Looking at all these, and I never even payed much attention to the mac mini, I started to look at it and what I really like:

- user upgradeable (I can get 16GB of RAM for about 80 EUR, and at Apple they charge 300 EUR and don't even give me the original 4 GB); I can change the HDD, or even swap it with another HDD or SSD.
- I can add another HDD or SSD!
- it has firewire
- it has an audio input
- comes with the adapter for a DVI monitor, I can plug it already to my monitor
- cheaper

I'm inclined to ditch the iMac purchase and go for the mac mini (i7 2.6GHz), the only doubt is if it will perform as well as the iMac, the advantages of the iMac for me are:

- nice screen (I do have a nice one already and will probably buy another one, but nothing compared to the one on the iMac)
- dedicated graphics card
- more powerful (?)

Will the mac mini perform as well? User upgradeability is important for me, and also the silence and temperature, I don't know if the mac mini is silent or warm/hot...

Is this a good idea? I mean, Apple could listen to the consumer (cough, cough) and maybe release an updated iMac with a proper HDD and user upgradeable RAM, chance to add an extra HDD or SSD (let me dream, ok?)

Your input will be helpful, thanks!
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 01:47 PM   #2
diazj3
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IMO it's a GREAT idea. Despite the integrated display, the Mini is a better value purchase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by madrag View Post
Will the mac mini perform as well? User upgradeability is important for me, and also the silence and temperature, I don't know if the mac mini is silent or warm/hot...
Yes, for most of tasks. Perhaps some heavy games and GPU heavy software will see a lag.

Quote:
Originally Posted by madrag View Post
... I mean, Apple could listen to the consumer (cough, cough) and maybe release an updated iMac with a proper HDD and user upgradeable RAM, chance to add an extra HDD or SSD (let me dream, ok?)
That wont happen. Apple does not back down on these issues. They see the iMac (and almost all their products nowdays) as a non-user upgradeable system for consumers. Apple prefers consumers that just buy whatever they sell, and shut up. Want a better system? more RAM? More storage? pay the premium price of a custom order, or buy a new computer... or shut up and live with it. That's their philosophy now: it's more profitable and less of a headache to take away upgradeability from users... and the iMac is the poster boy of this idea.

Last edited by diazj3; Nov 14, 2012 at 01:59 PM.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 02:00 PM   #3
Siderz
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Depends what you're using it for really.

Focusing on the graphics, the Intel HD 4000 will suffice for many people, but if you're doing video editing or gaming, you'd be much better off getting a computer with a dedicated card, like the iMac.

The points you listed are agreeable, but bear in mind that the iMac has two Thunderbolt ports over a FireWire and Thunderbolt port, and you can get an adapter for FireWire to Thunderbolt. I know you said you don't want to fiddle with another adapter, but the one from Apple is very short, it's not a big deal. I bought one and it's perfectly adequate.

I think the headphone port doubles as audio in...at least it should do...bit stupid to leave it out.

Go for what you feel is best, if you need a dedicated graphics card, go for the iMac. At the end of the day, I think the Mac mini is going to be cheaper, but you're not going to have as good specs.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 06:07 PM   #4
triweaver2
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I was looking at doing this myself but want the good and lightweight screen that comes with the iMac. It will cost less to get the that i7 2.6, with fusion and 16 gig of RAM (especially if you do that yourself) than the 21.5 iMac that allows fusion. For me the iMac seems to be winning. I am going to wait for the teardown to make a final decision. Now that my mid 2007 (running Snow Leopard) has 4gig of ram, I can hold off a bit.

If you have not been following the threads over in the mini section, you might want to take a look. There are apparently known issues with the HD4000 graphics. Apparently Intel is having trouble fixing.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 04:39 AM   #5
madrag
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diazj3 View Post
IMO it's a GREAT idea. Despite the integrated display, the Mini is a better value purchase.
Yes, for most of tasks. Perhaps some heavy games and GPU heavy software will see a lag.
Thanks, I am still using a PowerMac G5 2x2GHz, and it's almost 8 years old, and I would rather be in the Mac Pro thread asking about the Mac Pro, but the budget is very tight and unfortunately I have to go for an iMac or Mac Mini because of the price

Quote:
Originally Posted by Siderz View Post
Depends what you're using it for really.
My work is web developement, and graphic design, so the graphic intensive could be an issue with the mac mini?

Quote:
Originally Posted by triweaver2 View Post
If you have not been following the threads over in the mini section, you might want to take a look. There are apparently known issues with the HD4000 graphics. Apparently Intel is having trouble fixing.
I saw that and that also worries me.

What really makes me go away from the iMac is the fact that if I want to upgrade it, it should be done at the time of purchase, and I will have to pay premium. Also the HDD or Fusion option (nevermind the small SDD), I really would prefer a HDD and a separate SSD, if they removed the ODD why not use the space?

And the price, that is the most important here, the iMac became more expensive and its much more expensive than the Mac Mini (I do have a monitor, so that could be a plus for the Mini).

Aditionaly, the lack of FW, not such a big deal, but that means I would have to spend more money on an adapter (all my backups are done on external FW drives).

The audio input I doubt the single connection on the iMac serves both ways, really strange move from Apple, I wonder why they did that? That isn't a big deal, but it will make have to get another adapter, more money, more rubish on the desk.

Finally, the time of purchase, I would like to take advantage of the black friday discounts (not from Apple apparently, but other vendors can discount the Mac Mini), and finally the release of the iMac, because if it rocks I may consider getting it. Decisions, I wish I had more money to spend on the Mac.

I think the main concern for me is to know if the graphic card will stand for the work I do with it. I believe I can return it if I don't like it, correct?

EDIT: I just read the iMac may be delayed to the start of 2013, that is a big weight on anyones' decision, you can't buy something that isn't available.

Last edited by madrag; Nov 15, 2012 at 04:44 AM.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 04:49 AM   #6
thekev
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madrag View Post

My work is web developement, and graphic design, so the graphic intensive could be an issue with the mac mini?
Highly unlikely. If you're dealing with a lot of heavy motion graphics work it's a possibility. Someone else on here was having minor lag with the 2012, but they were using a 27" display (same resolution as the thunderbolt display) combined with enormous raster data and many layers. I do the same, and it's fine on a 2011 macbook pro, which displaced the use of a mac pro 1,1. If you're worried, buy directly from Apple for the return policy in case you need it. It just shouldn't be a big deal, especially with maxed ram. If you're on a G5, you're probably on Creative Suite 3 or 4. Those lose upgrade eligibility at the end of this year, so you should jump on CS6 immediately. Most of those individual applications recommend 8GB of ram. I'd go 16 and not worry about how many are open or if it'll choke on large files. For your uses, the performance gained per dollar greatly outpace an ssd. I don't see this as something where a few seconds off reboot time or application launches are a big deal compared to the responsiveness of little swap use.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 05:23 AM   #7
madrag
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekev View Post
Highly unlikely. If you're dealing with a lot of heavy motion graphics work it's a possibility. Someone else on here was having minor lag with the 2012, but they were using a 27" display (...)
Nice one!

I use two monitors, 1280x1024 (4x3 ratio), so I will have to get an adapter for the second monitor, I suppose the Mini will stand both monitors without much lag?

For the software I do have CS4 but will have to go for open source or cheaper, money is really an issue right now, that's why the Mini feels like the better purchase right now. And if the iMac gets delayed as rumoured, this may suffice.

I plan to get the 16GB of RAM very soon after the purchase I know it will make a nice diference, and add an extra SSD along the way (not right now), the 5400rpm is sad, (not that slow, because I've used a 5400 on a MBP, but still not as fast as a 7200rpm HDD). A SSD is never a bad drive to have, I think most will agree, I just can't stand the idea of an SSD only setup (unless it would be one of those 700MB ultra-expensive drive).

Indeed I will probably buy at Apple or somewhere where they accept returns, either for the iMac or the Mac Mini.

Is the Mini silent and not very hot?
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 08:31 PM   #8
timcullis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madrag View Post
...The audio input I doubt the single connection on the iMac serves both ways...
It certainly is possible on some Macs, see http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3625
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 11:57 PM   #9
tears2040
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It seems like NO ONE is paying attention to my countless posts of lack of a GPU in the Mac Mini......


To put things in perspective the GPu in the base model 2011 iMac is 3x faster..... 3x faster, do you have any idea how much that is?

I bought a 2012 Mac mini with 2.6 i7 and 16gb Ram and I couldn't use it for Hd video editing and effects. Also the stock 5400rpm hard drive was slower then the stock 7200rpm hard drive in my iMac.

Yes you can upgrade the hard drive so that would be better but as far as I know, there is simply no way to add a gpu to the Mac mini.

A processor is not everything.......
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 06:20 AM   #10
Kev.LoveMac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madrag View Post
I have been waiting for the iMac since Nov 2011, and after the long wait, I found the update very disappointing because (for the iMac 21"):

- No firewire (I wouldn't mind FW 800 only, but nothing?), I don't want another adapter
- No audio input (why??)
- Sub-par HDD (5400rpm, why?), the SSD is too small, and fusion doesn't convince me and it is more expensive than a standard 7200 HDD and an extra SSD
- Not user upgradeable (so no chance to save some more and in the future upgrade by myself the RAM and HDD or add an extra SSD). This is one of the main points for my upcoming decision, I'm not going to pay almost 4 times what I can get at Crucial, or changing the HDD in the future isn't possible.
- All in one, the screen could get damaged and the all unit has to be sent for repair, or the opposite, the motherboard could die and the screen could be rendered useless.

Looking at all these, and I never even payed much attention to the mac mini, I started to look at it and what I really like:

- user upgradeable (I can get 16GB of RAM for about 80 EUR, and at Apple they charge 300 EUR and don't even give me the original 4 GB); I can change the HDD, or even swap it with another HDD or SSD.
- I can add another HDD or SSD!
- it has firewire
- it has an audio input
- comes with the adapter for a DVI monitor, I can plug it already to my monitor
- cheaper

I'm inclined to ditch the iMac purchase and go for the mac mini (i7 2.6GHz), the only doubt is if it will perform as well as the iMac, the advantages of the iMac for me are:

- nice screen (I do have a nice one already and will probably buy another one, but nothing compared to the one on the iMac)
- dedicated graphics card
- more powerful (?)

Will the mac mini perform as well? User upgradeability is important for me, and also the silence and temperature, I don't know if the mac mini is silent or warm/hot...

Is this a good idea? I mean, Apple could listen to the consumer (cough, cough) and maybe release an updated iMac with a proper HDD and user upgradeable RAM, chance to add an extra HDD or SSD (let me dream, ok?)

Your input will be helpful, thanks!
First, Mac mini is a very good product, I bought for my parents and they love it.
Second, w.r.t. what you mentioned, I think thunderbolt and USB3.0 are enough for any kind of input. USB3.0 can be used as an audio input. The real trick component I think is the Fusion Drive. It is a good way to bypass the expensive pure SSD and the low-speed HDD. It has convinced me as a good option for large and fast storage, even though it will cost around extra $250.

The idea 'all in one' itself is very attractive to me, since it helps me to get a power desktop and me to maintain a clean, simple and beautiful working room.

I would not compare any Mac product with PC. If your wish is a power game center, the PC, Xbox, etc., are all better options. Mac is rather a personal addiction which maintains the pursue of simple and nice computer culture.
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 07:03 AM   #11
Scrapula
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madrag View Post

Will the mac mini perform as well? User upgradeability is important for me, and also the silence and temperature, I don't know if the mac mini is silent or warm/hot...
I have a late 2009 Mac Mini. I never shut it off, except when I move. It does not get hot and it is very quiet. I cannot hear a thing. Originally it was located in hot and humid Florida, then it drove 3,000 with me to Seattle. Nothing has ever gone wrong with it. The GPU is an NVIDIA 9400M. I use a single 22" monitor (Hewlett-Packard). I don't do much graphics wise, but it can play a movie through the optical drive or streaming without any problems. It is not good for any type of gaming.

I also have a 2007 Mac Mini. I was looking at Apple TV to use as a music server, but thought the Mac Mini would do a better job. That Mini is still going strong and has not had a single problem, either. It is hooked up to a 50" plasma through a VGA port. We can use the included remote to select songs through iTunes and use it as a jukebox.

I've been waiting for the iMac to get the nice display and do a little bit of gaming, but I am a little worried about quality at this point. I don't really need a new computer.
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Old Nov 20, 2012, 06:05 AM   #12
Woyzeck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tears2040 View Post
Yeah, hdmi connection works with pretty much any monitor. Problem is though most monitors are not really Apple quality. You will easily spend $500+ on any decent monitor and more for a good one.

Those $200-$300 monitors will work fine, but compared to an iMac screen there is a big difference in quality.
A monitor with a similiar, somehow even higher quality level than the Thunderbolt Display would be Dell's U2711 at a cost of approx. 550 Euros.
Doesn't look as nice as Apples screen, but at least it's non-glossy.
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Old Nov 20, 2012, 06:20 AM   #13
Scrapula
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ASUS VS239H-P 23-Inch Full-HD LED IPS Monitor - $174.99

All the reviews that I read said it has a flimsy stand, but no dead pixels. Price is good.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 09:36 AM   #14
madrag
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Today I decided in favour of the Mac Mini, i7 2.6GHz, ordered 16GB of RAM from Crucial yesterday (68 EUR with tax, I got 10% discount yesterday!).

Just placed my order and am waiting for my Mini to arrive (ETA 13th of Dec.).

What weighted more was user upgradeability.

As for the performance, as I can see compared to the iMac, it isn't much lesser, so I'm happy

SSD is next.

If you decide for the iMac, good for you!, for me the wait is (almost) over
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