Advice please: New iMac or new Mac mini?

MrLee

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 18, 2005
19
4
Like many people here, I've been waiting a long time for the new iMac. My 2006 model is on its last legs, and a new machine is a necessity.

Now that the new iMac has been announced, however, I'm not 100% convinced it's the right machine. As good as it looks, the decision of form over power seems a strange one.

Anyway, I use my computer for editing a lot of RAW photos in Lightroom and Photoshop. That's the most it's pushed. Something my current Mac now struggles with...

But with new Mac minis packing a good bit of power and a fusion drive, would I be better off getting one of them and a Thunderbolt display?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
 

jonnyback

macrumors member
Apr 6, 2008
41
0
London, UK
I am in the same position. I am a photographer and have borrowed a MacBook Pro to work on til the iMac arrives (not ideal on 13" screen, but I only buy new computers every 3-4 years so I am going to wait for the sake of a more powerful machine).

If you are going to max out either I would definitely wait, due to higher spec possible with the iMac (I'm talking graphics and processor).

Another big bonus of the iMac vs the Mini+Thunderbotl Display is the new iMac screen with less glare (....which is not getting enough praise after the amount of people that have complained about it!)

A lot of people MacRumors will always convince you to 'buy now and not wait' but if your last buy was in 2006, a couple of months of struggling is worth it when you get a better machine.
 

mdgolom

macrumors 6502
Oct 26, 2006
319
0
I am in the same position. I am a photographer and have borrowed a MacBook Pro to work on til the iMac arrives (not ideal on 13" screen, but I only buy new computers every 3-4 years so I am going to wait for the sake of a more powerful machine).

If you are going to max out either I would definitely wait, due to higher spec possible with the iMac (I'm talking graphics and processor).

Another big bonus of the iMac vs the Mini+Thunderbotl Display is the new iMac screen with less glare (....which is not getting enough praise after the amount of people that have complained about it!)

A lot of people MacRumors will always convince you to 'buy now and not wait' but if your last buy was in 2006, a couple of months of struggling is worth it when you get a better machine.
I too am in the same boat. My 2009 iMac has issues and I've been holding off on purchasing a new one until Apple released updates. I'm pretty sure I', not getting the new iMac since it lacks the Firewire 800. I have a Firewire 800 Raid and HD Dock that support FW800. Yes, I could use USB, but they're not USB3.0 compatible.

This leaves me with looking at the 2011 iMac or a new 2012 Mac Mini with a 27" thunderbolt Cinema display. I primarily use it for surfing, email, watching Video/DVDs (on a second monitor), ripping stuff, VM since some of my work requires windows. I like the idea of the mini since the display gives you a second set of ports supported via thunderbolt. Also when I replace the mini, I still have the monitor for the next machine. I just need to figure out if the $450 premium for the mini over the 2011 iMac is worth it.
 

MrLee

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 18, 2005
19
4
I am in the same position. I am a photographer and have borrowed a MacBook Pro to work on til the iMac arrives (not ideal on 13" screen, but I only buy new computers every 3-4 years so I am going to wait for the sake of a more powerful machine).

If you are going to max out either I would definitely wait, due to higher spec possible with the iMac (I'm talking graphics and processor).

Another big bonus of the iMac vs the Mini+Thunderbotl Display is the new iMac screen with less glare (....which is not getting enough praise after the amount of people that have complained about it!)

A lot of people MacRumors will always convince you to 'buy now and not wait' but if your last buy was in 2006, a couple of months of struggling is worth it when you get a better machine.
The graphics was one possible weakness with the mini, but would that make much of a difference when using Lightroom and Photoshop? Something I've been thinking about.
 

jonnyback

macrumors member
Apr 6, 2008
41
0
London, UK
The graphics was one possible weakness with the mini, but would that make much of a difference when using Lightroom and Photoshop? Something I've been thinking about.
It won't make much difference as far as I can understand, but I am not sure on the exact ins and out.

It seems Lightrooms uses RAM and CPU much more than graphics.

This forum backs up my claim;
http://forums.adobe.com/message/4602856

Please let us know if I am off the mark on this one everybody!
 

Whackman

macrumors regular
Oct 23, 2012
180
72
Mac Mini, especially the 4 core with plenty of Ram is fine for this. Plenty fine.

You have to score a good screen ofcourse. The iMac will probably have a great screen.
 

scottrichardson

macrumors 6502
Jul 10, 2007
496
4
Ulladulla, NSW Australia
I battled with this same issue.

I need TWO workstations for my designers/developers in my design studio.

It was either the fully optioned up mini's with 27" Cinema Displays NOW, or the fully optioned up 27" iMacs in LATE DECEMBER.

I'm going to wait I think :(
 

MrLee

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 18, 2005
19
4
Thanks for the advice. Very much appreciated.

The new iMac really is a beautiful thing, but I'm leaning more towards the mini -- I think.

Having had the hard drive in my current iMac fail, the smaller form of the mini (I'm in Tokyo and it'd be a lot easier to take to Apple on a busy train), along with the option of either fixing it myself or upgrading in a year or two, could be decisive.
 

Whackman

macrumors regular
Oct 23, 2012
180
72
I battled with this same issue.

I need TWO workstations for my designers/developers in my design studio.

It was either the fully optioned up mini's with 27" Cinema Displays NOW, or the fully optioned up 27" iMacs in LATE DECEMBER.

I'm going to wait I think :(
Same here.. although i need two workstations for myself...i have a Mac mini and an Eizo screen at home.
Now i need another set up in my new studio.

So.. another Mac mini + Eizo combination OR a new 27 inch iMAc...
I'm thinking mid range 27 inch iMac right now. Cause it will be about the same money as a maxed out Mac mini and an Eizo screen.

Hmnn.. but the eizo is probaly better for colour reproduction.
 

CASLondon

macrumors 6502a
Apr 18, 2011
536
0
London
Why not 13 macbook pro with ssd and ram upgrade?
Why choose a 13 inch screen for photography editing? It might be a perfect road machine for processing shoots, but no way as a main machine. This photographer nails it.

http://macperformanceguide.com/blog/2012/20121023_1-MacBookPro-Retina-13.html

I'm on the mini/thunderbolt side, for sure. See the blog linked above for more about the issue. That mini is the most exciting part of the announcement in my mind. Mac Mini or a used Mac Pro is the way to go, you'll be able to do cheaper SSD and ram upgrades from 3rd parties.
 

MrLee

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 18, 2005
19
4
Why choose a 13 inch screen for photography editing? It might be a perfect road machine for processing shoots, but no way as a main machine. This photographer nails it.

http://macperformanceguide.com/blog/2012/20121023_1-MacBookPro-Retina-13.html

I'm on the mini/thunderbolt side, for sure. See the blog linked above for more about the issue. That mini is the most exciting part of the announcement in my mind. Mac Mini or a used Mac Pro is the way to go, you'll be able to do cheaper SSD and ram upgrades from 3rd parties.
Yes, it's a main machine with a big screen I'm after. Preferably 27".

The option to upgrade or make repairs really is appealing. It was a huge pain with my iMac.
 

motrek

macrumors 68020
Sep 14, 2012
2,424
149
...
The option to upgrade or make repairs really is appealing. It was a huge pain with my iMac.
Interesting question.

Mini + Thunderbolt Display = more modular i.e. easier to transport (will connect to any TV via HDMI if necessary) and easier to repair. Also uses a 2.5" hard drive that'll be cooler and quieter than the iMac's 3.5" drive.

iMac = bigger, thus better cooling, thus faster CPUs and GPUs standard. Less desk clutter.

I would not use a Mini with any random display, since I value having speakers, a microphone, a webcam, and a bunch of USB ports built into the display.

Interestingly, the new mid-spec Mini seems to have a quad-core i7 and in some cases might actually be faster than the quad-core i5 that comes standard with the iMacs, since it has hyperthreading. But in most cases I'd expect the 2.3GHz CPU to be slower than a 2.9GHz (?) CPU.

Forgot to mention that the prices aren't exactly the same since the iMac includes a mouse and keyboard. You will have to buy those extra for the Mini.
 

njvan

macrumors member
Aug 31, 2009
59
0
You are working on a 2006 machine - I'm not sure why you would complain about the new iMac lacking in power?
 

MrLee

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 18, 2005
19
4
Interesting question.

Mini + Thunderbolt Display = more modular i.e. easier to transport (will connect to any TV via HDMI if necessary) and easier to repair. Also uses a 2.5" hard drive that'll be cooler and quieter than the iMac's 3.5" drive.

iMac = bigger, thus better cooling, thus faster CPUs and GPUs standard. Less desk clutter.

I would not use a Mini with any random display, since I value having speakers, a microphone, a webcam, and a bunch of USB ports built into the display.

Interestingly, the new mid-spec Mini seems to have a quad-core i7 and in some cases might actually be faster than the quad-core i5 that comes standard with the iMacs, since it has hyperthreading. But in most cases I'd expect the 2.3GHz CPU to be slower than a 2.9GHz (?) CPU.

Forgot to mention that the prices aren't exactly the same since the iMac includes a mouse and keyboard. You will have to buy those extra for the Mini.
Yeah, it makes for a tricky decision. Sure I'd be happy with either, but it's which would make me happiest that is key
.
You are working on a 2006 machine - I'm not sure why you would complain about the new iMac lacking in power?
It almost feels like I've been waiting since 2006 for this particular refresh...

All joking aside, however, of course it's massively more powerful than the iMac I'm using now, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't find faults with it. Especially so considering how much they cost.
 

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