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Old Jul 18, 2013, 01:55 PM   #1
Philgr
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Mini or iMac for new home office

I have finally reclaimed my home office space from being the nursery and i am looking to purchase a new mac set-up

The trouble is i cannot decide between a 27'' iMac or a Mini with a dual Monitor setup.

I dont need lots on machine storage as i have a home server with plenty of space and i would not really class myself as a power user

Thoughts


Thanks in advance

PG
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Old Jul 18, 2013, 01:59 PM   #2
sonicrobby
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Tough one, Id say the mini would suit your needs better. It would be cheaper, but you have to go and get the monitors, keyboard, and mouse separately. Thought, my personal preference is the iMac. It's one very pretty device.

What specifically would you be using it for though?
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Old Jul 18, 2013, 02:38 PM   #3
Philgr
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What specifically would you be using it for though?
I would like to say I would be using it for some high powered task but the most taxing task would be to rip some blue-rays and play a bit of diablo, the majority of its usage will be pretty average office application usage
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Old Jul 18, 2013, 02:43 PM   #4
sonicrobby
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I would like to say I would be using it for some high powered task but the most taxing task would be to rip some blue-rays and play a bit of diablo, the majority of its usage will be pretty average office application usage
Well Ive never done diablo and dont know its graphics requirements, but the mini doesnt have any dedicated graphics, as far as I know just the Intel HD 4000. So the iMac would be a better choice in terms of future-proofing it a bit for graphics. But regarless, I would recommend getting a quad core processor if you go for the mini. That will definitely help with the ripping
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Old Jul 18, 2013, 09:53 PM   #5
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Something else to consider; I have an iMac where the display started showing signs of wear (noticeably darkening area which was also uncharacteristically prone to IR) in the lower left quadrant, 2 years into ownership. Turns out it was caused by excessive heat from the CPU (I do a fair bit of video encoding). Apple took it and tore it apart looking for any hardware issues or other possible causes, they found none, but they replaced the LCD panel under AC.

A year into it with the new panel and I'm already starting to see the same thing happen all over again. I always clean out the iMac and it's constantly in a clean near-dustless environment.

Of course this incident isn't meant to be indicative of a large sample of users but from my experience if you're going to be stressing the CPU I wouldn't want a system where a portion of the LCD panel is often exposed to much higher heat than the rest of the display, causing it to fail prematurely.

Going forward for me it's either the refreshed Mac mini or (price permitting) the new MP. As much as I loved using my iMac, it's off my list for my next desktop purchase.
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Old Jul 19, 2013, 12:31 AM   #6
Micky Do
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Mini

Go with the Mini. it is just the centre of a modular system, parts of which can be chosen and updated to suit your needs. Use the peripherals you (or somebody) has lying around, unused. Or buy decent quality new ones to suit your needs.

I do most of my work (as a teacher) at home. I am on to my second Mini, but am still using the LED monitor and speakers I bought back in early 2005 with the first Mini.
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Old Jul 19, 2013, 12:52 AM   #7
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Go with the Mini. it is just the centre of a modular system, parts of which can be chosen and updated to suit your needs. Use the peripherals you (or somebody) has lying around, unused. Or buy decent quality new ones to suit your needs.

I do most of my work (as a teacher) at home. I am on to my second Mini, but am still using the LED monitor and speakers I bought back in early 2005 with the first Mini.
If the gpu is not an issue, I would go with the same recommendation. What you should do is check out Diablo set ups on Mac and see what others are saying about using the Mini (and iMac).

I on on my second Mini and still have my excellent monitor serving me well from the first Mini (which I gave to a friend of mine to start up her Mac system and she loves it).

My only recommendation is don't get any 5400 rpm drives unless you plan to use 3rd party SSD to replace them. Fusion however is another story and that works well.
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Old Jul 19, 2013, 03:57 AM   #8
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Do you want to watch movies on the computer?
With the iMac is is impossible without judder, with the Mini you can hook up a Dell U2713HM (same panel), but this time with support for movie frame rates.
And all together it is cheaper. If you grab the quad you even have a faster machine (ripping and recoding Blu Ray to MKV is pretty CPU intensive) than the entry 27 inch iMac, and the total price is lower.
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Old Jul 19, 2013, 08:58 AM   #9
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Thanks for the replys guys

I should really have mentioned that i already have a 2009 iMac, which is currently located in the kitchen which the whole family use, the kids watch movies on this (no problems with juddering) and no screen issues with heat - this imac has been in daily use since 09, and has ripped 75% of my dvd collection in this time.

i really like the idea of a dual monitor set-up - and an iMac with another monitor just dose not look right to me.

I am leaning towards a mini and i would max it out on the ram (from crucial) and would prob pull the HD out and stick a SDD in - i have already done this with my iMac and MBP

I guess what i was wanting to know is does a Mini have the capability to handle a duel monitor set-up and still have the performance.

Im not i a massive hurry to purchase and if its on the horizon will wait for the refresh
I am starting to order up the office furniture etc.. and for the time being i will use my MBP

PG
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Old Jul 19, 2013, 09:00 AM   #10
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I am about to move my mac mini to my AV rack for strictly media server duties and get an iMac for the home office. The reason being the "home office" is in a room in the front of the house next to the front door. I am hoping (and expecting) that the iMac with a wireless keyboard and magic mouse will have a cleaner, neater look, than the mac mini with dual monitors, external hard drive, webcam, and all the associated wires everywhere. I am getting a 2009 core 2 duo iMac which is less powerful than my 2011 2.0 i7 mac mini server but it will mostly be used for web browsing as all of my ripping and encoding will still be done on the mac mini.

edit: just replied a little after you, obviously you know about the capabilities of an iMac and the neater look since its in your kitchen. The mac mini will handle dual monitors fine and still be good for ripping/encoding movies. I can't speak to the ability of the graphics when gaming, with either single or dual monitors.
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Old Jul 19, 2013, 09:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philgr View Post
I really like the idea of a duel monitor set-up - and an iMac with another monitor just dose not look right to me.

I guess what i was wanting to know is does a Mini have the capability to handle a duel monitor set-up and still have the performance.
A mini doesn't offer the performance of an iMac. That said, I run dual monitors both at home on an iMac (they don't match, not even the same size -- 20" 4:3 monitor on a 27" iMac, but still functions well) and at work on a Windows machine and frankly don't see any performance drop adding a second monitor.

The older iMacs have a problem in that they have slots on the right for DVD and SD card that get blocked if you put the external monitor on the right, so the external monitor has to go on the left. I like my main monitor on the left, but can't do it! The 2012 iMacs "solve" the problem by not having a DVD drive and putting the SD slot in the back (ugh!).
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Old Jul 19, 2013, 09:40 AM   #12
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The older iMacs have a problem in that they have slots on the right for DVD and SD card that get blocked if you put the external monitor on the right, so the external monitor has to go on the left. I like my main monitor on the left, but can't do it! The 2012 iMacs "solve" the problem by not having a DVD drive and putting the SD slot in the back (ugh!).
I didn't even think about the DVD drive issue. Luckily I like my main monitor on the right and the external on the left. That and I'm 99% sure I'm going to put an SSD in the optical bay of the iMac I'm getting so it shouldn't be an issue for me. Just one that I hadn't considered.
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Old Jul 19, 2013, 11:04 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Philgr View Post

I guess what i was wanting to know is does a Mini have the capability to handle a duel monitor set-up and still have the performance.


PG
I was wondering the same thing because I too would like to move to a dual monitor setup with a mini. After crunching the numbers dual 1920x1080 displays are only 10% more pixels than a single 2560x1440 display, which the mini runs fine. So I'm pretty confident I shouldn't have any problems running dual displays.
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Old Jul 24, 2013, 01:46 AM   #14
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which is currently located in the kitchen which the whole family use, the kids watch movies on this (no problems with juddering)....... and has ripped 75% of my dvd collection in this time.
If you're watching DVD rips you won't have any, but DVD's were crippled versions of movies anyway. In the new BR real 24p content era, you will have problems.
But for kids movies, who cares??? Their movies are probably 60i TV shows originally. The average 24fps 1080p film will look much better on the Dell U2713HM than on the iMac though.

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Quote:
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A mini doesn't offer the performance of an iMac..
Even better, the simplest quad mini that you can grab in any store, outperforms the iMacs available in the same store (unless the store also has BTO i7 iMacs on stock). The i7 Mini is the fastest non BTO machine at the moment (I count 12 core MacPro's as BTO too, they are never on stock) and outperforms all normal i5 iMacs.
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Old Jul 24, 2013, 09:11 AM   #15
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Even better, the simplest quad mini that you can grab in any store, outperforms the iMacs available in the same store (unless the store also has BTO i7 iMacs on stock). The i7 Mini is the fastest non BTO machine at the moment (I count 12 core MacPro's as BTO too, they are never on stock) and outperforms all normal i5 iMacs.
I don't own the latest of either, but our iMacs are faster than our minis even though the iMacs are all older models. And Macworld's Speedmark test (a basket of real-world application benchmarks) puts the 2012 i7 mini at 164 (the i5 is 131) while the base 2012 27" iMac comes in at 224.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 11:27 AM   #16
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Speed Isn't Everything...

If a Mac Mini meets your needs it's a sweet deal. I'm done with iMacs: too many hardware issues over the years. And the lack of any ergonomic adjustments on iMacs/Apple displays other than a little bit of "tilt" is a deal-breaker for me.

I paired my i7 Mini with a 24" NEC display and hands-down it's my fave Mac since I got my first one in 1995.

Next week my Series II 30"x 72" UpDesk arrives. I will be able to easily switch from sitting to standing at the touch of a button. I looked at every adjustable standing desk out there and the UpDesk has great features and user reviews at a price that beats the competition...

https://myupdesk.com/updesk/seriesII/maple-large
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 09:31 PM   #17
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I too think the mini would work well for you. However, watch out when replacing the 5400 with an SSD. Depending on which of 2 locations the stock drive is in, it can be a bit of a bear getting that drive out.

Assuming of course, that you do not leave it in. I wanted to take mine out for external backup and figured why have another heat producing item in there when I did not need it.

Mine was in the "wrong" position and required proprietary tool to remove logic board. I had to bring it to the store. Ouch!

All in all, well worth it. This things boots like a rocket ship!

And is very very fast.
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Old Jul 27, 2013, 12:24 AM   #18
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Mine was in the "wrong" position and required proprietary tool to remove logic board. I had to bring it to the store. Ouch!

All in all, well worth it. This things boots like a rocket ship!

And is very very fast.
How much do they charge to install the hard drive?


Maybe the OP can benefit from this, I'm in the same search mode.


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Old Jul 27, 2013, 01:34 AM   #19
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How much do they charge to install the hard drive?


Maybe the OP can benefit from this, I'm in the same search mode.


Attachment 424868
First it was $30. But when they saw that it was in the "wrong" position (which I thought I had made clear to them) they upped it to $60. Ouch!

It was my local Apple dealer, not an Apple Store. I was happy to pay it as the mini is a bitch to work on. At least for me the first time.
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Old Jul 27, 2013, 03:05 AM   #20
Philgr
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Thanks for the feedback guys

The reclaimed room is currently being refurbished and the furniture is arriving today.

I am leaning towards a mini with a couple of monitors, i think it will give me the performance, functionality that i require, the plan will be to max out the spec of the mini for speed, so Men, SSD, storage is not a major concern i have plenty of capacity already

i am in no rush and may decide to wait till the next round of product refreshes to see what comes, for the time being i have a 2009 MBP i can use and will look for a couple of decent monitors to go with it

PG

PS Wonder what price point a bottom spec dustbin Pro will be ?
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Old Jul 27, 2013, 10:05 AM   #21
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PS Wonder what price point a bottom spec dustbin Pro will be ?
That's the million dollar question. I do video rendering work often enough that I'm seriously considering the new MP but it all depends on price. That's why I'm hanging tight for now to see whether I go the mini route or MP. Frankly I'm not optimistic about the new MP price.
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Old Jul 28, 2013, 06:14 PM   #22
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Price will depend on number of cores, and Xeon CPUs are much more expensive than consumer series CPUs.
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