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Old Oct 27, 2012, 01:49 AM   #1
ramraid
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New iMac or mini

I have been holding out for a new iMac for about 1 year, but now i can't decide on what to get.

Currently I have a 24" 2008 iMac with 4GB RAM, 3.06Ghz C2D, Nvidia 8800 GS 512MB and 1TB Hard Disk. I originally purchased this because I wanted to play games via Windows on bootcamp, as well as use OSX for day to day tasks Now my windows partition is long gone, and most of my gaming is done on my iPad

My iMac is now getting a little slow and i am thinking of passing it down to my kids

The new computer i purchase will be used for the following:

Web Browsing
Plex Media Server, inc transcoding to IOS clients
Email
iPhoto etc

My question is: Do i really need a new 27" iMac? Would a middle range mac mini i7, fusion drive and with a nice monitor do the same job for a lot less?
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 04:54 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by ramraid View Post
I have been holding out for a new iMac for about 1 year, but now i can't decide on what to get.

Currently I have a 24" 2008 iMac with 4GB RAM, 3.06Ghz C2D, Nvidia 8800 GS 512MB and 1TB Hard Disk. I originally purchased this because I wanted to play games via Windows on bootcamp, as well as use OSX for day to day tasks Now my windows partition is long gone, and most of my gaming is done on my iPad

My iMac is now getting a little slow and i am thinking of passing it down to my kids

The new computer i purchase will be used for the following:

Web Browsing
Plex Media Server, inc transcoding to IOS clients
Email
iPhoto etc

My question is: Do i really need a new 27" iMac? Would a middle range mac mini i7, fusion drive and with a nice monitor do the same job for a lot less?
It certainly would. My own needs are very similar and i've just jumped from a Late 2009 iMac to a new base model Mini. The difference between these too is surprising, even the base Mini blows the socks off my old iMac. I'm sure you'll see an even bigger difference with an i7 +Fusion Drive.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 05:01 AM   #3
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The mini is cheaper to upgrade later on.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 05:12 AM   #4
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The mini is cheaper to upgrade later on.
+1. Even more so with the latest iMacs that were just announced, good luck getting to the RAM in the new 21 inchers without some frickin' laserbeams and a soldering iron lol
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 06:03 AM   #5
ramraid
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Thanks for the input...

I think i will go with a maxed out mini. I will buy the ram somewhere else though.

Now i just need to decide on a monitor. Really want a Thunderbolt Display, but I think that's likely to be refreshed soon.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 07:36 AM   #6
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It certainly would. My own needs are very similar and i've just jumped from a Late 2009 iMac to a new base model Mini. The difference between these too is surprising, even the base Mini blows the socks off my old iMac. I'm sure you'll see an even bigger difference with an i7 +Fusion Drive.
do you actually have the Mac Mini up and running..? I know the stats uggest it's performance is impressive, but I am looking for the opinions/experiences of someone who actually went from an iMac to a Mac Mini. I myself have a very early (4 Jan 2006) iMac, which still chugs along, but is beyond upgradeable, and is starting to be limited in some of the tasks I need it to do I was all set to get the new iMac, but the price, lack of optical drive, lack of an (at least visible) audio input, and the rather impressive statistics on the Mac Mini are forcing me to reconsider. I would like to hear from someone who has actually done this...

RJB
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 09:15 AM   #7
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do you actually have the Mac Mini up and running..? I know the stats uggest it's performance is impressive, but I am looking for the opinions/experiences of someone who actually went from an iMac to a Mac Mini. I myself have a very early (4 Jan 2006) iMac, which still chugs along, but is beyond upgradeable, and is starting to be limited in some of the tasks I need it to do I was all set to get the new iMac, but the price, lack of optical drive, lack of an (at least visible) audio input, and the rather impressive statistics on the Mac Mini are forcing me to reconsider. I would like to hear from someone who has actually done this...

RJB
Thats exactly what i've done. From iMac to Mini (for same concerns about new iMac)

Wow your still using an early 06 iMac? Cool, i had that too. Which i replaced with a 2009 iMac, and have replaced that one with a brand new i5 Mini.

i've had the Mini up and running for a day and a half and am very pleased with it. To be honest i was a little concerned that in some ways i was "trading down" but apart from missing the built in IPS screen i couldnt be happier. I did add replace one of the 2GB RAM chips with an 8GB from Crucial though which brought it to 10GB.

Despite only having a 5400rpm hard drive its much more responsive than my iMac (7200rpm) ever was. I also love iStat and have all the monitors and sensors on my menu bar, the results when compared to my iMac are interesting. Watching any form of Flash content or HD would show ALOT of CPU/GPU activity on either of my previous Intel iMacs, but with the Mini the CPU/Graphics are basically idle. I haven't transcoded anything yet, but from what i've seen when doing other tasks it'll blow away any Core Duo or Core 2 Duo Mac. If you're still running a 6 year old iMac i'm sure you would be pleasantly surprised by even the base model, going for an i7 model with Fusion Drive would be even more awesome.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 09:36 AM   #8
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+1. Even more so with the latest iMacs that were just announced, good luck getting to the RAM in the new 21 inchers without some frickin' laserbeams and a soldering iron lol
That was the main deciding factor for me. I was gonna get an iMac. But when I discovered the incredible decision by Apple to make it nearly impossible to upgrade the ram on the 21-inch iMac, I started looking at the Mini. Besides, I already had a relatively new Apple keyboard, 23-inch LG monitor and Logitech wireless mouse. The Mini just makes way more sense, especially for my use...

Oh...and I'm upgrading from a pre-Intel (PPC) G5 mini-tower we bought in 2005...so ANYTHING would seem fast compared to that dinosaur...
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 02:08 PM   #9
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+1. Even more so with the latest iMacs that were just announced, good luck getting to the RAM in the new 21 inchers without some frickin' laserbeams and a soldering iron lol
I meant when upgrading the entire computer. You don't need to replace screen and computer. Just computer.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 02:14 PM   #10
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The bottom end Mac mini is sufficient for your needs, heck the bottom end last generation model is probably enough. Pop an SSD into it, and it will fly.

For your needs, the i7 will give you nothing over an i5. And neither will 16GB ram, so save the money.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 02:38 PM   #11
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...For your needs, the i7 will give you nothing over an i5. And neither will 16GB ram, so save the money.
That's just BS...every Mac I've ever owned (and I've owned MANY for the past 20 years) has benefited from extra RAM, regardless of my use.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 02:43 PM   #12
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That's just BS...every Mac I've ever owned (and I've owned MANY for the past 20 years) has benefited from extra RAM, regardless of my use.
Really? If you have 16GB, start your favorite applications, and go to Activity Monitor and see how much RAM you have free.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 02:45 PM   #13
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I don't game, so in 2010 went for a Mini + ACD. Total amount was more than a base 27" iMac I think, but my intention was to just update the Mini as I'll do know. This way a got a new computer keeping a wonderful monitor. I plan to do this for the following years, as long as the Mini isn't discontinued that is... lol

A Mini, if you don't game, is a wonderful choice. You ought to have a monitor though.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 02:47 PM   #14
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Really? If you have 16GB, start your favorite applications, and go to Activity Monitor and see how much RAM you have free.
Yes, really...
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 02:51 PM   #15
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and have all the monitors and sensors on my menu bar
Readings from iStat in the Menu Bar? How do you do that?

----------

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Originally Posted by Bierboy View Post
That's just BS...every Mac I've ever owned (and I've owned MANY for the past 20 years) has benefited from extra RAM, regardless of my use.
Well... It might help a lot in some cases. I wouldn't recommend getting the Apple upgrade though. You can buy two 8GB sticks and save like $230...
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 03:10 PM   #16
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The bottom end Mac mini is sufficient for your needs, heck the bottom end last generation model is probably enough. Pop an SSD into it, and it will fly.

For your needs, the i7 will give you nothing over an i5. And neither will 16GB ram, so save the money.
I once thought that, until you start working with a couple of programs open. Final Cut, Photoshop, Internet and the worst kill of all Red Cine ate through 12gbs of ram pretty easily.

Now on normal use most users will be fine, but I believe that ram is so cheap now compared to many years ago that it is pretty common and practice for users to just max out.

My decision now is if the 2.6ghz is worth the $100 upgrade fee vs the 2.3ghz i7.
Would like to see some tests.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 03:10 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by rjpcbean View Post
do you actually have the Mac Mini up and running..? I know the stats uggest it's performance is impressive, but I am looking for the opinions/experiences of someone who actually went from an iMac to a Mac Mini. I myself have a very early (4 Jan 2006) iMac, which still chugs along, but is beyond upgradeable, and is starting to be limited in some of the tasks I need it to do I was all set to get the new iMac, but the price, lack of optical drive, lack of an (at least visible) audio input, and the rather impressive statistics on the Mac Mini are forcing me to reconsider. I would like to hear from someone who has actually done this...

RJB
The 2.3GHz Mini that I am currently using is replacing a 2006 2.16GHz 24" iMac. You can figure that the Mini is at least three times as fast as the 2006 Core2Duo CPU.

I added 16GB of RAM from Crucial. Prior to installing the RAM I checked the usage with the stock 4GB. I was surprised at how much RAM was being used with only basic apps running but not actually doing anything: there was less than 1GB RAM free.

I recommend NEC displays. Best bang for the buck, comparable in price to Dell but more reliable and great NEC customer service.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 03:27 PM   #18
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....

My decision now is if the 2.6ghz is worth the $100 upgrade fee vs the 2.3ghz i7.
Would like to see some tests.
get the 2.3 quad put in 8gb or 16gb ram.


as tempting as the quad 2.6 is the real jump is from the dual to the quad 2.3. skip the fusion it is a risk. consider an external ssd via t-bolt or usb3.

I am running a 2012 quad with an external lacie little big disk as a booter it is really nice. waiting on some ram. I post better scores then the new 2012 mac pro quad.

Last edited by philipma1957; Oct 27, 2012 at 04:32 PM.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 04:09 PM   #19
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get the 2.3 quad put in 8gb or 16gb ram.


as tempting as the quad 2.6 is the real jump is from the dual to the quad 2.3. skip the fusion it is a risk. consider an external ssd via t-bolt or usb3.

I am running a 2012 quad with an external lacie little big disk as a booter it is really nice. waiting on some ram. I post better scores the the new 2012 mac pro quad.
Thanks, quick question.

How does usb3 drives compare to firewire 800 and esata?
Also I will for sure put 16gb ram into the mac mini which I will be buying this week.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 04:42 PM   #20
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Thanks, quick question.

How does usb3 drives compare to firewire 800 and esata?
Also I will for sure put 16gb ram into the mac mini which I will be buying this week.
80 to 85 mb = firewire with a hdd or an ssd

220 to 240 = esata with an ssd

185mb to 195mb = usb3 with an ssd

440mb to 465mb = thunderbolt with 2 ssds in raid0


i have tested all of the above those are my scores.
-------------------------------------------------------------

if price does not matter thunderbolt is fastest. the above scores are some I reached with different setups. I like thunderbolt the most as it has been very reliable and fast. Almost prefect for reliability ,

I like esata next it is pretty fast pretty reliable.

I have not run usb3 a lot as I am more mac then pc so i have found usb3 to be pretty fast not super fast and pretty reliable not perfect.

firewire 800 was okay for its time I have a few cases sitting around that were reliable. sansdigital made a few good ones,


usb2 was junk least reliable and really slow.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 05:12 PM   #21
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80 to 85 mb = firewire with a hdd or an ssd

220 to 240 = esata with an ssd

185mb to 195mb = usb3 with an ssd

440mb to 465mb = thunderbolt with 2 ssds in raid0


i have tested all of the above those are my scores.
-------------------------------------------------------------

if price does not matter thunderbolt is fastest. the above scores are some I reached with different setups. I like thunderbolt the most as it has been very reliable and fast. Almost prefect for reliability ,

I like esata next it is pretty fast pretty reliable.

I have not run usb3 a lot as I am more mac then pc so i have found usb3 to be pretty fast not super fast and pretty reliable not perfect.

firewire 800 was okay for its time I have a few cases sitting around that were reliable. sansdigital made a few good ones,


usb2 was junk least reliable and really slow.

Thanks,
How would these tests compare to using 7200rpm hard drives? I currently do not own any SSD drives yet so in the meantime wanted to know.

I will be buying the little big disk that comes with the 5400 or 7200rpm drives via thunderbolt I believe and then for the mac mini i am thinking about upgrading the 5400 rpm hd to either a 7200rpm or leaving the stock 5400rpm in there and getting a 256 or larger for my apps.


As always, I'm looking for the best options but Money is a concern as my budget is not very big.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 06:24 PM   #22
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Thanks,
How would these tests compare to using 7200rpm hard drives? I currently do not own any SSD drives yet so in the meantime wanted to know.

I will be buying the little big disk that comes with the 5400 or 7200rpm drives via thunderbolt I believe and then for the mac mini i am thinking about upgrading the 5400 rpm hd to either a 7200rpm or leaving the stock 5400rpm in there and getting a 256 or larger for my apps.


As always, I'm looking for the best options but Money is a concern as my budget is not very big.
the lacie lbd with 2x 500gb (7200rpm) hdds

goes to 145mb maybe 160mb.

good for long reads and writes.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 06:48 PM   #23
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Readings from iStat in the Menu Bar? How do you do that?
Download and install iStat menus (currently version 3) It monitors your hardware and displays them as menubar items with details in drop-downs . An excellent piece of software, although no longer freeware. Worth checking out, it helps you get a good idea of whats going on "under the hood" as your menubar is updated in real time. Sort of like a driving enthusiast with a car i suppose.
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Old Oct 27, 2012, 10:01 PM   #24
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Download and install iStat menus (currently version 3) It monitors your hardware and displays them as menubar items with details in drop-downs . An excellent piece of software, although no longer freeware. Worth checking out, it helps you get a good idea of whats going on "under the hood" as your menubar is updated in real time. Sort of like a driving enthusiast with a car i suppose.
I've been using the Widget iStat Pro for a long time, didn't even know of that app! Downloading a trial now. $16 isn't cheap so wanna make sure it gives me much more than iStat Pro, which is free!
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Old Oct 28, 2012, 12:31 AM   #25
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Smile late 2009 iMac to 2.3 Ghz Mac Mini

I'm currently using a late 2009 3.06 ghz dual core iMac. Been seeing the spinning beach ball more often.

My 2.3 Ghz i7 Mac mini w/ 8Gb ram, and 24" Samsung 1080p HDTV are both expected to arrive on Tues. or Weds.

The 24" Samsung is on sale at Costco for $199 and has 2x 5W speakers and a 5ms refresh rating. Samsung HDTVs have some of the best whites and blacks and excellent color. At less than $200 and with 90 day money back return I had to try it!

The late 2009 iMac has a Geek Benchmark of approx. 4100 vs approx 11,000 for the i7 Mac Mini so I'm expecting a significant improvement in processing plus I go from 500Gb to 1 Tb of storage.

I can't wait till Tues. to begin transferring my files from the iMac to the Mini.
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