08' iMac or 09' Mac Mini, which setup to get?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by atcskyfox, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. atcskyfox macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2006
    I am looking to get one of the following two setups below. I already have a macbook and a custom built gaming pc. The prices are pretty close and I know the iMac has a faster HD. I was wondering what is your input between each system and which one would you get? All upgrades would be DIY :)

    System 1: $1253
    2009 Mac Mini 2.0ghz
    4GB Ram Upgrade
    500GB Hard Drive Upgrade
    1TB Hard Drive
    24" Monitor

    System 2: $1130
    2008 iMac 24" 2.8ghz
    4GB Ram Upgrade
  2. atcskyfox thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2006
  3. Prabz26 macrumors regular


    Mar 20, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    shoot thoughts it was iMac and a iMac
    my bad my post was useless
  4. NRose8989 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2008
    Hands down the iMac....

    -Better CPU

    -Better GPU

    -Faster HD

    -Less money

    -Less cables

    -Possible better LCD (depending on what you have or going to get).

    Sure the HD itself is smaller but seeing that your willing to upgrade the Mini, There is no reason why you couldn't upgrade the iMacs HD anyways and bigger/faster 3.5" HD's are cheaper than a 500GB 7200rpm 2.5".
  5. 11800506 macrumors 65816


    Oct 31, 2007
    Washington D.C. Area
    I agree that the iMac is a much better deal, especially with a 3.5" HDD and dedicated graphics. The iMac's hard drive however is fairly hard to replace and is certainly much harder than the Mini's as you basically have to disassemble the entire computer.
  6. polaris20 macrumors 68020

    Jul 13, 2008
    No comparison. iMac. I'm setting up an iMac 2.66Ghz (Mar.09) and it's an awesome machine.
  7. TheCheapGeek macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2008
  8. rupnok macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2002
    This is the EXACT same debate I had with myself - and I went with the 24" 2.8ghz 2008 iMac (refurb), with the 4GB RAM upgrade.

    About two weeks later, I decided to but=y the mini too (to use as a HTPC), and yesterday night I just upgraded the mini with 4GB RAM and a 500 GB WD Blue (5400RPM) drive.

    I ran some really quick tests, and I have to say, if it wasn't for the kickass screen on the iMac, and the near silent operation of the iMac optical drive (I swear I can't hear it when I am ripping music or movies), I'd probably have been pretty happy with the Mac mini.

    I think if you go for the mini, and are using it as your main computer, go for a 7200rpm drive (like the WD Black, or newly release Seagate 7200.4). I don't really notice much difference in performing simple tasks, but multitasking on CPU-intensive apps (like converting FLACs to ALACs and ripping a DVD simultaneously) are a breeze on the iMac, and do crawl on the macmini.

    Another thing to note is that I do believe the mini's optical drive kinda sucks - it's way slow, way noisy - it took 10 extra minutes to rip a DVD on the mini than on the iMac. How much of that is processor speed, and how much of that is optical drive speed, I don't know.

    Hope this helps - pm me if you want actual benchmarks. Happy to run them for a fellow MacForums member.
  9. panzer06 macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2006
    Great info, does that refurb have the ATI2600 GPU and do you find it works better than the 9400 on the mini? I bought the mini but am also considering the $1199 refurb iMac 24". I looked at it in the store and the screen looked fantastic.

  10. OldMike macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    Finally bought a Mac!

    I had the same exact dilemma. To be honest I was 100% certain that I was going to go with the Mac Mini. I have a 22" monitor that I like and figured that the mini would be an inexpensive way to get in.

    In fact, I was not even considering the iMac (well maybe a little), but I decided that a second monitor would be really useful. After making several visits to the local Apple store, though, I decided I really liked the look of the 24" iMac's display and decided to go with a 2008 2.8ghz iMac refurb.

    I just ordered it a couple of hours ago...

    That was the short version. The slightly longer version was that I was looking solely at the Mac Mini (for a long time), and then decided that I would stick with a pc since I could get more bang for my buck. I ended up buying a refurb Gateway quad core with 9800GT graphics card, 8 GB Ram, TV Tuner, etc for $100 more than a Mac Mini. I thought that I would be happy with it - and would put off buying a Mac for a later date (I have owned many Macs in the past, and although I love OS X, I always felt that I was not provided enough freedom in hardware choice).

    Well, after receiving my refurbed Gateway, I wasn't very happy. Warranty was only 90 days, and the PC came with the hard drive disconnected (not really a big deal). I plugged the hard drive back in - booted up and found out that the Quad Core that was in there was a Q6600 instead of the Q9500 that was supposed to be in there. In the one day that I had it, it locked up on me a couple of times as well.

    I ran a geekbench on it - and it came in right around 4300. I looked at the iMac benchmarks and realized that they are not that far behind in processing power. I decided that the extra power and nice large screen justified going with the 2.8ghz iMac over the mini. I am not a fan of all in one's, though, and decided the iMac would be acceptable if I purchase the Apple Care extended warranty. I really wanted to get a Mac this time around - and was just being cheap I guess. So I called the place I ordered the Gateway from and it's going back.

    The next step was I logged onto the Apple store and saw that I was approved for their 12 month 0% offer - and decided to go with the 2008 24" iMac. I have other PC's around the house that I can remote desktop into from the Mac - so I really won't be losing any functionality - and now I have a really nice iMac coming.

    I still am planning on picking up a Mac Mini sometime in the near future, though. I'm looking forward to finally being back on a Mac - it's been a long time.

    Perhaps Lauren also returned her laptop to Best Buy and is doing the same thing as we speak :D
  11. VoodooDaddy macrumors 65816

    May 14, 2003
    I bought a Mac mini 3yrs ago. It was the first Mac I ever owned. I loved it but after a year and a half I bought a 20" iMac and sold the whole mini setup to my neighbor (mini + monitor + usb hub etc). Now I have the 24" you are looking at. Terrific machine.

    So having used both I would recommend the iMac simply because its all in 1, no cable mess, dedicated video.
  12. Xibalba macrumors 6502


    Feb 20, 2009
    Indiana, USA
    Definitely the iMac - I am currently running a Mac Mini since I bought it as my first Mac and I can tell major differences between my new MacBook and the Mini - just waiting to convince the wife why my Mini needs to be replaced with the iMac sooner rather than later...

    I do have the ministack and love it but you still should be able to find a good way to have extra storage that is not too intrusive around your desk area or by using your network. I also run a Time Capsule and HP server with 2.5 TB on my network and am finding my ministack less and less useful since I don't have that data redundant.

    either way you will still be happy...
  13. VoodooDaddy macrumors 65816

    May 14, 2003
    This is easy. IDK what your set up is with the mini but you likely could sell the whole thing for about $300 less than a new (refurbed) iMac. I sold my mini + a crappy 19" Samsung lcd (not widescreen) + a usb hub that was designed to go under the mini, all for $700.

    The 20" iMac I bought to replace it cost me $1000. Only a $300 difference for a newer machine, cant beat that.
  14. Jackintosh macrumors 6502a


    Mar 21, 2009
    Mac Mini without a doubt. The money is similar. Only a slight difference in specs that probably wouldn't be noticed. The main reason is the versatility of the Mini configuration with separate components, especially the monitor. Should that iMac display fail, get a dead pixel, give you constant headaches, or other anomaly, the whole system is impacted. You're stuck. With the Mini, you can swap out the monitor any time, even upgrade it to LED technology as the prices come down.

    I'd also opt for the 2.26 Mini over either the MiniStack or 1 TB hard drive.
  15. jnc macrumors 68020


    Jan 7, 2007
    Nunya, Business TX
    Consider this:

    Do you need to run two external displays, or might you in the future?

    If yes, Mac Mini.

    Are you happy with a fixed display that can only run one additional screen?

    If yes, iMac.

    This was the deal-maker with my purchase, anyway. Fixed screen and one external was a no-no, so iMac was out of the question. my choices were down to Mac Pro and new Mac Mini...

    If that's not an issue to you, by all means go iMac. They're great machines. If you go down that route, I'd recommend the 2007 white Core 2 Duo 24", still has that great matte screen.

    If you go Mac Mini, as Jackintosh said above, go for the 2.26 option... happy with mine, running a Cintiq and a Dell :)

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