Pulled the trigger! No more iMac! Mac mini equals BEST value for money (for audio!)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Pie Chips Salad, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. Pie Chips Salad, Nov 16, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012

    macrumors member

    Sep 28, 2012
    Yesterday I did the unthinkable. I bought a fully henched out mac mini server the highest spec you can buy. I think that now the mac mini represents more value than the imac. Especially for my purposes anyways.

    I bought 2.6ghz , 4 gb ram upgrade myself obviously, dual solid snakes 512gb total. I did so for these reasons:

    I only need a fast computer for music production and audio. I don't play games or edit video or do photo shop. So HD4000 graphics is fine with me. From what I hear it's ok anyways.

    Cash Money. Doing this I think will save me possibly as much as a grand. With audio fast hard drives is a must. I don't even want to waste my money on a fusion because the main part of it is 5400 rpm and when you have a fairly full HD who knows what speeds my samples will play back at. Apple priced me out with the 768 gb only option which could cost as much as a thousand pounds UK. The same price (Nearly as a fully specced mac mini). SSD is the way of the future and im jumping on now. I still get 500 gb of ssd and could always boost that externally If I wanted to match the up and coming imac 768 ssd at far less cost.

    3.) SSD = Less noise, less heat (less fans) = better for recording.

    4.) Audio in and out and fw800 is also fairly useful for audio.

    2.6 ghz Quad i7 turbo with hyperthreading is prob at least equal (maybe even a tiny margin better?) than the standard i5 desktop cpu's 2.9 ghz cpu. Buying the decent 3.4 ghz i7 processor is a 200 quid bump to the 3.2 i5 (still not that great and again I don't need better graphics) and then another 160 (atleast) to bump me to the i7. F that. I've watched mac pro retina (same 2.6ghz processor) vids on YT were the dude was rendering stuff playing videos and going on the internet at great speeds so I think it will do me just fine.

    6.) I CAN'T FOOKIN WAIT ANY LONGER - I heard that Imacs may be delayed till 2013. F that for a load of old bollocks. Ive waited most of this year. Done.

    New Imac still unknown quantity. Screen problems who the F knows. I know a few people have had prob with mini's but still format is pretty much the same as 2011 but now with better specs.

    8.) Extended return period. If for some reason It doesn't work out with the mini I have till Jan to return it. Then I could buy a 27 iMac. No risk then. But I think it should be fine because...

    9.) The mac mini fully specced with SSD is pulling 13 G's geekbench. Compare that to my 2009 imac scoring 3 G's and thats quite a increase. It even kills the last year top spec 3.4 ghz quad imac which score 11 G's. Pretty sporty eh?

    Putting my apples (eggs) into different baskets. - When you spend 3 grand on a nice Imac yes you get the best everything in one machine. But what happens after the 3 year warranty? The 1000 pound ssd is worth way less because SSD prices went down so to sell it would hurt. To keep it? Well if the motherboard/ screen goes you have a huge (yet I must admit, very handsome slim paper weight). F that. I spent 1200 pounds for this mini. With Ed discount. Mini's are the best of all macs for holding their value (I read in forum could be BS). So maybe in 2-3 Years I sell on for 800 and buy the latest and greatest mini. Only 400 spent for it's usage. Sounds good eh?

    11.) But what about that really nice screen? Well I can buy a super nice (thin for all those thin momo's) Hi Res 27 Panel. I buy it once and hopefully it lasts atleast 5-7 years or more. Same resolution 2560 x 1440 as the new one. Way less glare than the current Imac. Here's what I was thinking its got great reviews and looks amazing on youtube: -


    Maybe not as nice as the new Imac 27 but fairly close.

    Portable. Not something i had thought of before, but if I want to take the computer away to a friends or I move county or house its easy to atleast take my computer with me and find a random HD tv for hook up. Sporty.

    13.) More user accessible than Imac. If I need to change Ram (for you 21 imacs out there) or improve the ssd space later on; I could without too much difficulty. Try pulling the glue off the new imac screen. I wouldn't.

    I already have the peripherals. I like my old school plugged in keyboard. I have a 3rd party wireless mouse. I even have an old dell monitor for the trial. I can't be bothered with wireless keyboard because it has no usb ports like my current one and needs batteries. F that also.

    15) New imac is not all in one anymore. Both need optical drives. Yes I still need one. (Software, Dvd's, demos for audio etc).

    In my mind I am spending a total of 1700 quid with monitor. Mini was 1250 ish with Education discount. I didn't have to spend so much on spec or monitor. I could get a high end imac for that money I know. But still the High End mac has a i5 processor and slow ancient tech spinny drive. In 3 years I keep my monitor and spec up the computer bits if I want. Plus I am selling my old imac for 500 pounds. Same price as new monitor. So Im only down 1200 ish.

    I realize that some people may want graphics. But for those who don't the mini has overtaken the Imac in terms of value for me. Nice monitors and peripherals don't cost that much money anymore.

    I hope I have swayed all you audio guys and maybe even some of you 21 inch Imac guys into my mac mini web ive just spun.

    For the others I hope you find your high end 27 worth the wait. It has been a brutally long one. Not trolling when I say that!
  2. macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2012
    i agree - do we have anymore brave souls out there?

    also, how did you get an extended period of return time?
  3. thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 28, 2012
    It says on the website for all orders! It is the Xmas return period thing they are doing.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2010
    Mac Mini with No graphics card is useless for Me...... Hd Video Editing and Motion graphics makes the machine come to a Crawl.........

    I bought one and had to return it, also unless your willing to spend well over $500+ No monitor you get will match the quality of the iMac screen.

    Audio is cpu intensive and the Mac mini's have great cpu's in them, but what I need for graphics and is useless for me........... :(
  5. macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2012
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    My friend. I did the exact same thing you did yesterday. I even got the 27" thunderbolt monitor and keyboard trackpad and mouse plus apogee duet 2 and Maudio bx5. Christmas is coming early. I also saw the return period. And if the iMac comes out and reviews are great I'll just return the monitor and mini and keyboard for the iMac 27". Great minds think alike!

    Plus I did this with airmiles 10x the rewards. Which will get me two free trips in North America. Yay!
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2012
    have to say I'm tempted. But, I'm going to hang on a little longer and see what the new screen looks like in the flesh. Like you, my interests are more in music than games so it might make more sense to go this way.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2008
    I'll give ya the value for the machine is a great investment. you may come out a bit cheaper then some of the iMacs. but i wouldnt say this machine can really match the 2011 Core i7 3.4Ghz system.

    Well since everything is all digital, no physical media anymore; id still consider it an all in one. especially for the Digital hub lifestyle apple is going for. honestly havent had to install software from physical media probably since 2007-2008 and it was rare.

    not a bad machine you got there,highly considering one for an Home Theater & Media server project anyone of them will do but these new ones are quite versatile.
  8. macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2012
    Oh man, I wonder when the extended return period went into effect. :confused:
  9. thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 28, 2012
  10. macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2011
    I believe you did the right thing for your needs. For me though no dedicated GPU is a no go.
  11. macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2010
    No dedicated video card = useless to me. Have fun with it.
  12. macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2012
    equal for me
  13. macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2012
    Another reason to prefer Mini to iMac

    The built in screen of the iMac can have problems. My wife's screen slowly started developing single-pixel vertical lines top to bottom, just after the warranty expired. Now she's got many and is using an external monitor with her iMac. If you get the iMac and your screen has problems as my wife's does you are hosed. Much better to get the Mini and use a separate monitor. Then you don't have to replace both if one goes bad.
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2008
    Asheville, NC
    I keep going back and forth in my head about this. The iMac is definitely more for the money. The $1999 iMac is basically a 27" thunderbolt display + 3.2ghz i5 + 8gb ram + 1tb 7200 rpm HDD + 1gb GPU... won't know for sure a true comparison until we get BTO prices though
  15. thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 28, 2012
    What are you using your mac for if you don't mind me asking?

    I know it seems value for money but you really are putting all your eggs in one basket. If you bought a monitor you could start with a mini and depending on needs progress to a new 2013 Mac pro or even a Pc. Bottom line is you have options. If the imac or computer internals monitor breaks outside of warranty as Duke says your hosed.
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2008
    Asheville, NC
    I know, I just like the better options on the iMac... GPU and the bigger fusion and probably bigger SSD sizes too.

    I do web development and iOS development, with some photography on the side for fun, so photoshop + illustrator + aperture + lots of windows/tabs open all over the place + occasional VM for testing IE... since my old 2008 iMac is barely getting by I'm sure the mini could handle all I do and then some. I was just really hoping to put in 32GB of ram (DOH! I already ordered it from crucial!) and get the upgraded 2gb GPU. I'd probably never use even close to 16gb of ram anyway (i'm scraping by on my 4gb right now as it is) but I just want to know that I can push at least the 2 TB displays and possibly 2 TB + 1 hdmi (which is what my iMac + TB + hdmi setup would consist of basically).

    If the mini can handle 2 TB + hdmi 1080p display then I'll order one tomorrow. I just haven't gotten an answer from someone actually running that currently.

    $1100 for the mini + 2x$829 for refurb TB displays would be a sweet deal
  17. thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 28, 2012
    To be honest you will prob never use more than 16gb of ram as you say. Im sure you can send back the ram you have and replace it for 16gb for mac mini. I have read somewhere that the mini architec would actually support 32 but I don't think you can get 16gb sticks?

    You could get a reg mac mini with a fusion or ssd. Buy a cheap hd connect it to the fast usb 3 and have loads of cheap storage.

    Best idea. Go to apple store online. Ask you dual thunderbolt questions in chat mode or even call. If yes then...

    Buy one that best fits your needs BTO. If you have a monitor or tv you can use great. Use you keyboard mouse from your imac.

    If your blown away by the performance dif its the right choice for you. If your like meh then send it back you have until JAN and wait for your imac!

    The money saved you can stick in a jar for your next badd ass mini. Except you won't really need to dip into that money much because resell value is very good on the modest yet powerful mini.


    Nothing to lose.

    Oh BTW. These Asus Super High res (really Samsung panels, much like apple I think) are bad ass you could get two of them and save more!

  18. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    I am glad someone's made their mind up.

    I would go for the Mac mini, but I need that dedicated graphics and better processor.

    I've always wanted a Mac mini to host a 24/7 Minecraft server but I don't have that kinda money.
  19. Siderz, Nov 16, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012

    macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    (Ignore this one)

    Oops...looks like I clicked the wrong button...move along...
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2008
    Asheville, NC
    well looking at crucial the part numbers for the new iMac ram and mini ram are different, but the actual specs are all exactly the same, so I'm inclined to think I can just sell or return half of what I ordered.

    Module Size: 16GB kit (8GBx2)
    Package: 204-pin SODIMM
    Feature: DDR3 PC3-12800
    Specs: DDR3 PC3-12800 • CL=11 • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR3-1600 • 1.35V • 1024Meg x 64

    except that I wouldn't be able to daisy chain those through the thunderbolt port. I was also looking at the dell U2713HM, which are on sale at the moment through newegg for $740 apiece, or the samsung series 9 27" (I love samsung displays/TVs) but again, can't daisy chain them.
  21. macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2010
    You buy Apple Care before your year is up and extend the warranty for another 2 years. An iMac for 3 years is more than enough and you should upgrade your computer every 3 years anyways, I do it every year most 2.

    Also the Mac mini has a beast of a CPU but as stated doing any kind of Graphics program is a problem. Heck even the baseline iMacs with 512mb ram and their specs can cause problems.

    Programs are becoming more graphics dependent and now working with 2k and 4k files you really need a graphics card. Heck even doing 1080p Apple Motion and After Effect projects you need a graphics card. Sadly the hd4000 cannot keep up........
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    I'd say 4 years, if your computer breaks in the fourth year, then it's your turn to buy a new one.

    If it's just casual use, then you can probably get much more than 4 years. I know people who've bought second hand MacBook Pros because they're just using it for casual stuff and it works just as good for Internet browsing as a new one does.
  23. macrumors 68020


    Mar 29, 2009
    A man of the people. The right sort of people.
    £1700 quid. Sounds pricey for something that will aesthetically look poor on your desk. (3rd party bits and bobs, retro Asus screen)

    You need to spec up a £1700 iMac and compare it side by side to make a real argument. You may be right, but I'd need to see the specs and benchmarks from two £1700 machines side by side to really know for sure.
  24. macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2011
    My 6 year old Windows PC has been slowly dying and just bit the dust yesterday. I was holding out for the new 27" iMac, but now I can't wait. I do a lot of video and Photoshop, so the Mini was not an option. Thought about a MBP, but that would have taken most of the money I had for the iMac. I figured I could get a Windows PC on the cheap until the new iMacs arrive and get the kinks worked out. Ended up ordering a system with an i7-3770, 16GB Ram, 1TB HDD, 1GB Nvidia Graphics and Blu-Ray for $800 after using a family members discount. This allowed me to save most of my money for the iMac and when they finally arrive, I can sell the PC for a few hundred bucks and jump to the iMac. I already moved my wife to a 2012 MBA and my son to a 2012 MBP over the summer as their laptops died, so I'll just have to tough it out with Windows for a few more months... My only regret is that I'll have to deal with the POS known as Windows 8...
  25. macrumors member

    Oct 9, 2012
    Let us know how get on, pie and chips

    I'm now thinking of this route, especially as I have a hi-res 23" monitor I could use short term. It's going to be 3 or more weeks before I can get a 27" iMac, so I'm interested in how you get on.

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