Mac Mini w/Cinema display or iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Kidd38s, Jul 31, 2006.

  1. Kidd38s macrumors newbie

    Kidd38s

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #1
    I'm looking into buying a new mac and I'm torn between the 20" iMac and the Mac Mini with a 20 or 23 cinema display. I'll most likely be waiting to see if anything major pops up at WWDC, but I was hoping the crowd here could help me a little beforehand. I'm an accountant and sadly will have to be be using bootcamp/windows more than I'd like, but for anything xp isn't a necessity for OSX is my choice. That probably won't consist of more than the usual amount of surfing/word processing/movie viewing/music listening with maybe some light photo/video editing. I guess what I really want to know is whether or not the mini has enough juice to run the 23" monitor comfortably. My powerbook starts playing stovetop whenever I hook an external up to it. Thanks for any help you can give.
     
  2. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #2
    Unless you have a VERY good reason to want an external monitor and/or need bigger than 20", the iMac is probably a much better idea for a number of reasons.

    Look at it this way: The base 20" iMac is about $100 more than the higher-end mini + 20" ACD and has the following advantages: 15% faster processor, three times the hard drive space, faster hard drive (3.5" vs 2.5"), DRASTICALLY better graphics, built-in camera and microphone, much more easily expandable memory, it includes a keyboard and mighty mouse (the mini doesn't), it has significantly better built-in speakers, and it actually ends up taking up less desk and floor space--the "foot" is the same size as the ACD alone, and both the mini and the ACD have a brick that sits on the floor.

    The $78 for the keyboard and mouse alone practically brings the costs to the same level.

    Other potential advantages are that you can drive a 2nd monitor (not an option with the Mini), if you need a bigger and/or faster internal hard drive your have way more options with the iMac (both at purchase and upgraded later), and if you want to go to 2GB of RAM you can buy the iMac with a single 1GB stick and buy a secon gig from somewhere with reasonable prices, while with the mini only comes with pairs so you have to chuck what it comes with and buy the full 2 gigs.

    Really the only advantage of the mini is that you can use a cheaper monitor with it if you are so inclined (say, the Dell 24" that everybody seems to like), or if you later want to upgrade the computer you don't have to replace the monitor along with it. It might be a little quieter, but both computers are functionally silent under most conditions, so that's not really an issue.

    Apple sells the Mini for people who already have a keyboard/mouse/monitor, and that's really what it's best for. Well, that and people who want to integrate it into a home theater setup or use it like a little media server, but it doesn't sound like either of those things are what you want to do.
     
  3. Moe macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2003
    #3
    The Core-Duo Mini has more than enough power to run a 1920 x 1200 23" Apple display. Exposé and Dashboard effects run smoothly, and most 1080p QuicktimeHD trailers play very well.

    I don't disagree that the iMac gives you more power/capacity for the buck, but even it's 20" monitor doesn't support that higher resolution. It could and have the same pixel density per inch as the MacBook. Another problem is that before I figured out the Mini was enough for me, I'd planned on possibly upgrading to a Mac Pro this fall, and wanted a monitor I wouldn't have to sell and lose money on as a part of the computer. And finally, I already had a 20" 4:3 monitor and didn't want to lose the 12" and 1200 pixel vertical display height. The 23" gives me exactly that, where the 20" 16:10 widescreen is barely taller than a 17" 4:3.
     
  4. mrblah macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    #4
    Since the prices at the end of the day will almost be the same I would say an iMac just for the graphics alone, the Mini has one of the worst graphic solutions on the market today. It works, they couldnt sell it if it was unusable, but it doesnt work as well as whats in an iMac regardless of whether or not you play games. Not to mention I bet (hope) the sound is better on the iMac, the Mini's sound board (atleast the old G4 ones) is pretty awful if youre a music buff.

    The Mini is designed to be an inexpensive "addition" to what you already have, I dont think it was ever intended to be a replacement (it doesnt even come with a keyboard!). Both the 20" iMac and the 20" Cinema Display use the same LCD panels, as long as you dont go for a 17" iMac youre going to get the same monitor.
     
  5. Moe macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2003
    #5
    You may find more responses from Mini owners with actual experience with them here.
     
  6. serpent macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    #6
    I went the route of the iMM and a Dell 2407. I will never buy an all in one machine,especially one that wont power an external monitor. I've even seen a 20" iMac on ebay 3 days old cat knocks it over, poor suckers now SOL.
    I'm running @ 1920 x 1200 and it looks sweet!

    Serpent
     
  7. Maxiseller macrumors 6502a

    Maxiseller

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Location:
    Little grey, chilly island.
    #7
    The only reason in my opinion to actually buy a Mini with a Cinema Display would be that you are planning on upgrading in the future.

    The downside on having an iMac in my opinion is :

    If the whole thing dies thats it! You're out of a worktation AND screen while you get it repaired or buy a new one.

    If you want to upgrade just the computer - well you can't! It's going to cost you a lot more to replace the screen all over again that you were probably happy with.

    If you can spend a little more now and less in the future then that is what I would do. I purchased a second hand powermac and am upgrading slowly. I've got 2 sony 19" displays and a 20" cinema on the way - I'll only have to change the Powermac now for a few years.
     
  8. Kidd38s thread starter macrumors newbie

    Kidd38s

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #8
    Great. Thanks everyone, loooks like I'll go with the iMac. If i get it the the faster processor it'l be more than sufficient for a few years, and if I end up needing more screen real estate (which I doubt I will) I'll upgrade from there.
     
  9. Hytower77 macrumors regular

    Hytower77

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2005
    Location:
    Some random place outside of Fort Worth, TX
    #9
    I think you'll be happy. I was struggling with this same situation a few weeks ago. I have my 17" iMac driving a 19" WS Acer monitor as well. I love all the desktop space.

    Also, the final $ amount is what made my decision. Once I found out for sure the iMac could drive the monitor, I was good to go.

    Heres the set up...

    http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i268/hightower1123/DSC00293.jpg

    http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i268/hightower1123/DSC00289.jpg
     
  10. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #10
    Sounds like that setup was fine for you, but don't forget that the new iMacs can drive a second (not just mirrored) monitor, as the poster above mentioned. So, you could always get a big ol' monitor and use the iMac's monitor as a second display, if it was too small for you. In fact, I'd seriously consider the 17" iMac with a large second monitor to a mini with a large monitor, unless you REALLY didn't have any use for the second display and hard drive performance.
     

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