They are both quad core. The mini is i7 while the iMac is i5 but clocked higher. I could do the ram upgrade later on the iMac . I plan to run logic & GarageBand at the same time , edit my 1080p videos in FCP X, develop my new app/web page,iPhoto editing,and just browse the web . I have 635 in bb gift cards . So at most I'm willing to add $400.