24 hours to decide: i7 Mac Mini vs 2006 iMac

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by coffeelover, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. coffeelover macrumors newbie

    Aug 12, 2014
    Something that's been covered before but considering recent product development (or lack of them), worth asking again as have a window of 24 hours to make a decision!

    Could I get some opinions please: I have a long-in-the-tooth early 2006 iMac (in glorious white) that so far hasn't missed a beat. Was maxed out at the time with 2GB RAM (bless) etc. All is in working order but am expecting impending doom shortly (although you never know, as of course there's still some PPCs kicking around).

    I recently got hold of a refurb Mac Mini (i7 with SSD) and have a day left to decide whether or not to keep it. Should I keep it or hold fire for the mysterious replacement?

    The usuals:

    Pros to keep:
    1. I can upgrade the RAM
    2. Much better performance than old iMac
    3. No risk of unwanted new hardware/unupgradabibilty in a new Mini or it being discontinued (no glossy iMac screens please)
    4. Own trackpad, keyboard etc already

    Cons to keep:
    1. Something better could come out very soon (as ever)
    2. Even as refurb, it's not exactly a great amount of cash off old hardware
    3. Lousy graphics (although not used for games etc)

    Tasks are general things like email and the odd bit of Adobe CS3.

    Honest thoughts much appreciated. Thanks.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    The Mac mini will be more than fine for your stated tasks, and even if an updated Mac mini will come along shortly, though not before October, it will probably be faster and have better graphics, but for your stated tasks, it will not matter, as you won't feel the difference.
  3. coffeelover thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 12, 2014
    Thanks for your thoughts. Something else that gets me is longevity - my iMac has likely lasted this long as, at the time it was purchased, it was all-singing all-dancing. As I want to get a good run with the Mini, will the nasty bits of the spec (like graphics) be a potential issue in not too much time?

    And as my early 2006 iMac is still trundling on, it seems a shame to retire it prematurely - does anyone have any thoughts on how much longer I could likely expect out of it?

    Thanks again.
  4. Miat macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2012
    An i7 Mini with an SSD will be plenty quick for general use, so it sounds to me like your choice revolves mainly around the level of graphics you want.

    I have a current model i7 Mini, and use it for general stuff (mainly browsing, and watching lots of videos including Blu-ray, via a Dell 27" 2560 x 1440 screen).

    The HD4000 iGPU has its limitations, but I would not describe it as "lousy". It does everything I need, and should do what you want.

    If you can get a good deal on it, you are unlikely to regret it.
  5. coffeelover thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 12, 2014

    Would you describe refurb store (~£120 off) a good deal for two year old tech?

    I guess it comes down to the risk of potentially not having a new Mini that can be upgraded by the user. With that in mind and that my iMac is so long in the tooth, is it a risk to wait it out for a new Mini or could the iMac keep on going for much longer to enable waiting?
  6. Mcdevidr macrumors 6502a

    Nov 27, 2013
    The thing is nobody knows what will be released. There is plenty of speculation on the Mac Mini thread however. Honestly if you have both systems and have tried them out, then make a choice.

    The answer to the value question, as in is it a good deal is subjective. For people like me who game it is not a good deal or value because the graphics, now with steam stream that does not really matter but considering I could stream games just as well with a little brix with an Atom processor and built in AC wireless for roughly 250 dollars the value just is not there even on the i5. That being said I used the i7 and i5 versions and both are great and very stable machines and I didnt even have the SSD in them which means your i7 should be much better.
  7. SWAN808 macrumors member

    Nov 28, 2010
    the mac mini i7 are excellent...hard not to recommend...
  8. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    He did mention Adobe CS3. It depends on what he is using that for.

    I use Adobe illustrator CS4 and I can make my late 2013 15" rMBP stall with that, and it also has an i7. Just about everything else is smooth, but I find Adobe can reduce any computer to a crawl. But the better the computer, the more it takes before that happens.

    Stress test the Mini, keep it if you are happy with the results. A new Mini might be waiting for new CPU's from Intel, which look likely to arrive next year.
  9. Miat, Aug 13, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014

    Miat macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2012
    Difficult to say, seeing I am in Australia, and got mine a year ago. I paid AUD $750 for a refurb (2.3 GHz i7, 4GB RAM, single 5900 RPM 1TB HDD).

    Grabbed 16GB of 3rd party RAM, and added a 7200 RPM 1TB HDD for the boot drive.

    Works for me. :) Will get an SSD one day, soon as the 1TB price comes down enough.

    No idea about how long you can rely on your iMac. That gamble depends how important having a working computer is to you.

    If the new Mini (assuming we get one :rolleyes: ) is not user upgradeable, then it is possible the last of the upgradeable ones (the 2012 model with USB 3) will hold their value well. If the 2012 model is the last of the Minis, it will probably hold its value even better. :D

    Unless you really need it there is often a lot to be said for not getting the latest tech and instead buying the previous generation. It has been tested in the real world and most problems ironed out, is generally cheaper, and has more bits to go with it.
  10. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Keep it!

    That machine is a significant improvement to your old 2006 iMac and will keep an excellent resale value, so you can upgrade any time you like if something better will appear (which is completely unclear in terms of if, when and what).

    Don't fall for the psychological trap that it is "old" hardware and thus not worth anything anymore. The 2012 mini is still a very competitive machine (except for the graphics part, but that is basically only a problem for gaming) and will be able to serve you quite some years from now.

    • CPU performance improvements are stalling for quite some time now - improvements nowadays mainly come from power savings.
    • SSD's as the future of computer storage will be offered for a long time in the 2.5" SATA format the mini supports. Speed differences to PCIe-based SSD's can be measured, but rarely felt during normal use.
    • The underlying hardware platform is said to support upto 32GB of Ram, so with the recently introduced 16GB S0-DIMM's you could upgrade the mini to the same level as a 27" iMac, once the prices come down.

    So all bases covered except for gaming graphics (which is better covered by a dedicated gaming PC anyway).

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