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Old Nov 19, 2012, 03:15 AM   #1
SG457
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again... iMac or Mac mini

Hello guys,
I know there are already lots of similar posts out there, but I'm here just to make sure I am getting the right one... I'm struggling between a 799 Mac mini with 2.6 i7 and Fusion Drive, and the 1299 iMac with 16GB of ram (both with SuperDrive added).
I'm just a home user, doing some iLife (especially iMovie), iWork stuffs (probably simultaneously) and sometimes Parallels. Nothing more. I am hoping that the new machine can last for at least 4~5 years. Any suggestions?

Last edited by SG457; Dec 18, 2012 at 08:57 PM.
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 03:26 AM   #2
leadfeather89
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Originally Posted by SG457 View Post
Any suggestions?
Mac Mini
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 03:32 AM   #3
Kev.LoveMac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SG457 View Post
Hello guys,
I know there are already lots of similar posts out there, but I'm here just to make sure I am getting the right one... I'm struggling between a 799 Mac mini with 2.6 i7 and Fusion Drive, and the 1299 iMac with 16GB of ram (both with SuperDrive added).
I'm just a home user, doing some iLife (especially iMovie), iWork stuffs (probably simultaneously) and sometimes Parallels. Nothing more. I am hoping that the new machine can last for at least 4~5 years. Any suggestions?
I personally would prefer iMac. Even the low-end imac is built with a dGPU. I know it is not the best one, but I suppose it would definitely work better (in your case, give you better iMovie performance) than mac mini who has no dGPU.

Another aspect encourages me going for iMac is its all-in-one design. It just makes everything clean in your office room.

Regarding your 4~5 years lifetime of mac, I think both mac mini and imac will do. I knew several friends who are still working with 5-year old macbooks, and these macbooks just work. They work slow in some applications (e.g. iMovie, or some professional computing application such as Matlab), but they just work.

I think no technology can be said to be 'new' in computer market. So after 4~5 years one should, without a doubt, expect much better (w.r.t. speed and design) computer (both PC and MAC). Maybe one will feel the five-year old MAC works like a pocket calculator. That shall also not be a surprise.
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 04:08 AM   #4
tears2040
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If you want something to last for 4-5 years buy the Top of the line now. If not buy base model and upgrade every year or two.

Personally like I have stated countless time the Mac mini with no GPu is a no go for me. Personally if you want a nice monitor it's going to cost some money, cheaper monitors simply do not match the quality of the iMac's screen.
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 09:14 AM   #5
mjoshi123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SG457 View Post
Hello guys,
I know there are already lots of similar posts out there, but I'm here just to make sure I am getting the right one... I'm struggling between a 799 Mac mini with 2.6 i7 and Fusion Drive, and the 1299 iMac with 16GB of ram (both with SuperDrive added).
I'm just a home user, doing some iLife (especially iMovie), iWork stuffs (probably simultaneously) and sometimes Parallels. Nothing more. I am hoping that the new machine can last for at least 4~5 years. Any suggestions?
I was in similar position and got Mac mini insitead of iMac, only reason being the base iMac 21.5" has very little user upgradable things (thanks to Apple's obsession to make everything thin). I got i7 version of Macmini - compared to my MBP 2010 which has 8GB RAM + 256GB SSD it gives me geekbench score of 3200 whereas my new macmini with 4GB RAM gives me geekbench score of 10900, I'm going to upgrade RAM to 16GB and later will update SSD to 512GB. I primarily use it for CS6 + Lightroom + some iMovie slideshows.
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 09:50 AM   #6
mchoffa
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I just cancelled my order for a mini this morning that I placed yesterday... I thought I was sure of myself and happy with the decision until after the order was in.

The total for a refurb thunderbolt display + 2.6ghz i7 mini with fusion was $1978 before tax.

Assuming the fusion upgrade is the same ($250) and going from i5 to i7 is the same as MBA ($100, which is also the price difference on newegg of the 3.2 i5 vs 3.4 i7), the price of a top of the line iMac with 3.4ghz i7 (instead of 2.6), 1GB GPU (instead of HD4000), better 27" screen, plus 8gb ram standard (instead of 4) and the ability to go to 32gb instead of 16gb should only be about $375 more.. or around $2349

not only that, but the iMac comes with a brand new mouse/keyboard that I can turn around and sell since I don't need or want them

it's a shame they won't let you upgrade the lower end 27" with 512mb GPU to an i7... then we'd actually be very close to the same price for a MUCH better machine

----------

of note, I kept my refurb thunderbolt display order... I'll just have to sit here and look at it until the iMac gets here to plug it into... I was planning on getting another refurb thunderbolt display in a couple weeks
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 10:49 AM   #7
bbapps
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SG457 View Post
I am hoping that the new machine can last for at least 4~5 years.
I would look at it this way....
  • Mac Mini 2-3 years; upgrade Mini; keep monitor; sell or use old as server.
  • Must get 4-5 years out of iMac.
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 04:35 PM   #8
blanka
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The mini costs the least of all Macs from year to year. Spend 800 bucks on a mini today. Use it 2 years. Sell for 600. You used a computer for 100/year. No other machine beats that. And the mid mini is the fastest mac you can take under you arm from the average mac store. The faster iMacs are BTO, and the more-than-4-core-pro's are often not in stock either (and they have insane prices).

Sad for Apple, but the Mini is the only sane desktop purchase at Apple right now.
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Old Nov 21, 2012, 03:46 AM   #9
SG457
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Thank you all for giving your valuable opinions, I will take your advice seriously but I still have a question: What functions or features (excl. hardware) are present in an iMac while missing in a Mac mini?
Thanks again!

Last edited by SG457; Nov 21, 2012 at 09:50 AM.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 10:58 AM   #10
bbapps
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SG457 View Post
What functions or features (excl. hardware) are present in an iMac while missing in a Mac mini?
Only thing stopping me from a Mini at this point is the Mini does not have dedicated GPU; relies on the Intel HD4000 integrated GPU. If it was next year and Haswell was out w/ HD5000 integrated GPU; then I might jump, but too much of a gamble at this point for me.

Other than that, given mid-level configurations; iMac uses i5 desktop CPUs vs Mini i7 mobile CPUs, iMac uses 3.5 drives VS Mini 2.5 drives.

I really wish Apple would come out with a "Mac Mini Pro"; a cross between a Mac Mini and a Mac Pro in the $1200 price range. I'd jump all over that in a heart beat!!!!
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 12:40 PM   #11
Overg
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Mac mini, no gpu.
Game over
Buy iMac.
Same price better computer.
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 05:14 AM   #12
SG457
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Seems like I've got some clues...

Last edited by SG457; Dec 18, 2012 at 08:58 PM.
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 06:58 AM   #13
blanka
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Originally Posted by bbucy View Post
If it was next year and Haswell was out w/ HD5000 integrated GPU; then I might jump, but too much of a gamble at this point for me.
That is EXACTLY why you should buy a Mini now. The 2.3 quad is already faster than ALL imacs in store, the HD4000 performs same as last years HD6630 which is more than enough for 90% of use, and it allows you to hop to haswell next year for only 100$ or so, which is a steal to stay at the top.
The iMac is going to give you display headaches after your warranty is out (already after 1 year, and you planned to use it 5 OMG!), and you can't upgrade much yourself (replacing the mini is also an upgrade, and to mess inside the mini is pretty simple too!).
Just go grab an awesome 5 year warranty Eizo or NEC which fits in the price difference of iMac and Mini, and stay at the front line with every new mini that comes out.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 08:57 PM   #14
SG457
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Question More questions

Yeah some more questions emerged....

What are the differences between...
Mobile i7 2.6GHz vs Desktop i5 2.7GHz?
Integrated Intel HD 4000 vs Discrete GT640M? (I know the discrete is always better than integrated but just want to know their difference in performance)
Fusion Drive vs 1TB HDD?

and...
1600MHz RAM vs 1333MHz RAM?
The average lifetime of a Mac mini and the iMac?
Can iMovie handle ~3000 photos and ~300 videos well? If yes, is CPU or GPU more important in making HD video (approx. 3hrs)?

A bunch of questions , but thanks a lot
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