Advice on first Mac purchase: iMac or Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ranny2, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. ranny2 macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    Hi there,

    I am after a little help on deciding which Mac to buy. It will be my first Mac, and I will be upgrading from a Windows laptop.
    I do currently have an iPad 2, so I have decided on a desktop Mac.

    Option 1: Mac Mini 2.3GHz, 4GB RAM upgrade, Apple Wireless keyboard, use with existing mouse and monitor (Dell, 19", 1280x1024)

    Option 2: iMac 21.5 2011 base model refurbished which includes mouse, keyboard monitor etc

    I am currently at school, so budget is funds are tight.
    I aim on the computer lasting 2 and a half years until I head off to university (hopefully!), when I will buy a MacBook Pro.

    My uses are:
    Web browsing
    Document editing (iWork or Office)
    Photo editing (not PhotoShop or anything advanced like that... iPhoto and maybe Aperture)

    Thanks very much for your time,
  2. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    Id go with the Mini in your case, especially since you're planning for a laptop later. Then you can turn the Mini into a headless media server down the road :)
  3. ranny2 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    Thanks for the response. I would probably need to sell the Mini to fund the MBP though.
  4. jmpnop macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2010
    The screen and performance is a lot better on the iMac. Its also more future-proof. I'd definitely recommend the iMac.
  5. ranny2 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2011
    May I ask why I would want to upgrade within a year? I hope this purchase will last 2 and a half years! Would the Mini last that long?
  6. tallchris macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2010
    the base iMac has better graphics than the mini, I'd consider if you might need that for photo work.
  7. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    The modern Minis are more than capable of running iPhoto and Aperture quite well.


    I would get the Mac Mini without a doubt. See if you like the Mac experience, and you can always sell your Mini later (which it sounds like you might do in 2 years anyway).

    For what it's worth, a Mini will easily last you 3–4 years... perhaps longer. But I understand wanting to upgrade to a MBP for university. The good news is, a Mini will have good resale value in 2 years.

    I wouldn't normally suggest AppleCare on a Mac Mini, but since you're planning on selling yours, you might consider buying it. Since you'll be selling the computer during the AppleCare period, that will add considerable value.
  8. Yvan256 macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2004
    Be aware that the 2.3 GHz i5 Mac mini only has an Intel HD Graphics 3000 GPU. The 2.5 GHz i5 has an AMD Radeon HD 6630M but is £699.00.

    If you think the Intel HD Graphics 3000 will be enough, save some money and order the 2.3 GHz i5 Mac mini model and get the RAM from a third party vendor with RAM certified for a Mac mini. Not sure where that would be in the UK, however.
  9. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    Just tell us which one you purchase and we will support you and your decision. :D
  10. Hirakata macrumors 6502


    Mar 17, 2011
    Burbank, CA
    100% go with the Mini. If your "uses" list is correct, it'll be more than enough computer for you and you'll save £250.
  11. mccoppin macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2010
    Go with the iMac

    The iMac is a all in one computer with only 1 cord (AC).
    The Mac Mini, you would have to buy your own web camera, an external hard drive for more storage & back up. Add a separate microphone for the web cam. You end up with more cords. Add your own monitor. The iMac is clean looking and works wonderful with all the built-in features.

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