Cheap alternative to iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by piatti, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    piatti

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #1
    Would you save a lot of money if you bought a $600 ish desktop and 27 inch IPS monitor to go with it? (Windows)
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2012
    #2
    a base mac mini ($599) plus a nice 24" IPS display ($350)
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    piatti

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    But then Mac mini can't have lots of RAM. I would want at least 16GB capacity
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2010
    #4
    The Mini will take 16GB RAM. Not sure if we'll find it takes 32GB (unsupported), but 16GB is fair.

    I've posted this a number of places today, but I built a Hackintosh this weekend and that was pretty easy and cost me around $650. I did already have a sweet case, PSU and Blu-ray drive, so those would add to the cost. But, all stuff that can be done cheaply and will leave you something way more powerful than the Mini or even full spec'd iMac. (I did not through in a GPU yet - just testing things out with the integrated gfx card so far).
     
  5. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #5
    The Mini can take 16gb of RAM.

    DON'T pay to get it from Apple. Buy it on your own, and install it yourself.

    If you're going to figure "$600-ish" for a PC desktop, you can afford the i7 Mini (mid-level model).

    If you want a decent 27" IPS monitor, check this:
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/AOC+-+2...lver/6293177.p?id=1218726428129&skuId=6293177
    (it goes on sale every other week for $269 -- wait and get a deal)

    Reviews for above:
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2412690,00.asp
    and
    http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/aoc_i2757fm.htm
     
  6. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #6

    I don't care what the reviews say. A 1080P monitor at 27" means it has a dpi of ONLY 81.6! That's pathetic. I find 95-100 to be perfect. Anything below 95 means everything is going to be grainy.
     
  7. macrumors 68020

    Kissaragi

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    #7
    I think the 27" iMac is actually one of Apples best value products. Getting a screen to match that is going to cost you a lot.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    piatti

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #8
    Could you recommend a better monitor? But I think 27 is probably too big and you have to move your head side to side to use it isn't it?

    ----------

    Thank you. Could you explain how you did it? What monitor did you use?
     
  9. r0k
    macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #9
    I'm not a huge fan of hackintosh. I have a friend at the office who built his hackintosh using exactly the specs posted at insanelymac and couldn't get OSX to work. He already owned an older iMac. Because of his bad experience with the hackintosh, he eventually gave in and put dogpoo, ahem I mean Windows on his machine. He now uses windows exclusively and uses a GS3 instead of an iPhone. I've never seen a former Mac owner become so turned off by all things Apple.

    I have a 2010 Mac mini with 8 GB in it and I while I put 16 GB in my MBP, I had to roll back to 8 (most likely because of low quality RAM). At some point I'll get ram from Crucial and try again.

    I really like Apple's current suite of mid to high range products but the Mac Pro is somewhat dated. I speculate that if Apple drags their feet on a Mac Pro replacement much longer, the hackintosh community will continue to grow.
     
  10. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #10
    Everyone has their own opinion of what a great monitor is. I personally like the Dell Ultrasharps in the 22-24" range at 1080P or 1200P. Those will give you a DPI right around 95. At home I use 3 LG 23" 1080P IPS LED LCD's which are 95 DPI almost on the nose. I find Apple's 27" displays a little difficult on my eyes with it's DPI of 109. I might try it again when they release an updated screen that most likely won't be as glossy (maybe that will help?).

    My recommendation is something in the 22-24" range at 1080P or 1200P with an IPS display. Those are my requirements anyway. These can generally be had for around $200 anymore.
     
  11. macrumors 68000

    KylePowers

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    #11
    The 2012 iMacs already have a reduced glare screen (though not anti-glare). Is it still too glossy? I haven't seen them myself, but I use a 2011 iMac in a dark room and it's awesomesauce. I'd imagine the newer ones are even sweeter.
     
  12. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #12
    Yes, but I'm talking about the Thunderbolt display. Right now it still has the glossiness that the 2009-2011 had. I had a 2009 iMac so I know what it is like. While the glossiness wasn't terrible, it was still more than I wanted.
     
  13. macrumors 68000

    KylePowers

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    #13
    Ah, gotcha. I'm waiting on the Thunderbolt Display refresh myself. Should be pretty awesome.

    Though, to anyone considering a 27in IPS display and don't mind the glossiness, I'd recommend checking eBay or Best Buy for an open-box/used/refurb Thunderbolt Display. I've seen them go for 600-700, which isn't too horrible :)
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #14
    Mini Core i7 2.3 Ghz 799$
    16 Gb 100$ (2x 8Gb)
    Dell U2713HM 550$ (IPS same resolution as iMac non-glare)
    Keyboard and mouse 50$
    Total: 1500$

    iMac 27 inch
    Base model 1799$ (much slower than the mini!, even the 1999$ model is slower!)
    16 Gb 50$ (2x 4Gb)
    Total: 1850$

    Mini is cheaper nowadays.

    If you want SSD or Fusion, the difference is even greater, as the Mini allows do-it-yourself adding of a second drive.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    piatti

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #15
    U mean VMware fusion?

    If you don't really need Mac and satisfied with Windows, how much further money could you save?
     
  16. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #16
  17. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #17
    "I find Apple's 27" displays a little difficult on my eyes with it's DPI of 109."

    That's EXACTLY why I like the monitor I referred to above in reply #5. It's 1080p, but on a 27" display, that works out to a dot pitch of .031mm (vis-a-vis about .027mm for a 24" 1080p display).

    Younger folk will look at this and say, "that's too grainy!"

    Older folk (or those whose vision isn't good) will look at it and say "at last, a monitor I can SEE!"
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    piatti

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #18
    Is the base Mini for $600 ok machine? BTW how do you make a Hackintosh? I know there is a whole forum dedicated to it but is there a streamlined tutorial you could recommend?
     
  19. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #19
    "Is the base Mini for $600 ok machine?"

    You've probably been told this already, but I'll say it again:
    If there is ANY way you can afford it, get the i7 version of the Mini. You won't regret it.

    Add 16gb of RAM yourself.
    I HIGHLY RECOMMEND datamem.com for a RAM source. (NFI)

    You can add an SSD for a boot drive later (easiest solution is to get a USB3/SATA dock and add it that way).
     
  20. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #20
    It is a very ok machine. One other consideration I would make is either Apple Refurbished or pre-owned.
     
  21. macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Location:
    Earth
    #21
    Like what the others suggested, a Mac Mini plus a third party monitor like Viewsonic, Samsung. For ram upgrade, avoid Apple ram. Another option is a refurbished Mac Mini or even a refurbished iMac.
     
  22. macrumors 65816

    Lil Chillbil

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    Location:
    California
    #22
    I have one as my main machine, pretty much as long as it has an intel processor you can at least install Snow leopard, anything newer is where you'll run into a possible problem.
     
  23. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    piatti

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #23
    If you put 32 GB of RAM on the iMac would it be still slower than the Mac Mini?
     
  24. macrumors 65816

    rabidz7

    #24
    Why not get a PowerMac G5 Quad? Don't get a mac mini, it has no GPU RAM and is so small it probably won't get proper airflow and overheat.
     
  25. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    piatti

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #25
    Isn't that kind of old? Is it still powerful?
     

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