Between iMac and mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Todd446, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. Todd446 macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2009
    I am looking to purchase my first mac, but I am not sure which route to take. I search for info, but I still do not know which route is the best. I have a mouse and keyboard (not apple, but I was told they would work). My delimma:

    1. 24" iMac Refurb 2.66 GHz with 4 GB for $1099 (assuming I make up my mind while they are still available)

    2. New mac mini 2.26 GHZ with 2 GB for $599 + 24" LCD monitor (from Costco) for $200 + memory upgrade to 4 GB if needed for about $100. Total app $900 with using my existing usb keyboard and optical mouse.

    3. Try to locate a previous Snow Leopard mini 2.0 GHZ with 1 GB for ?? (I don't think I would pay more than $500) plus monitor and memory above. Total app $800 with using my existing usb keyboard and mouse.

    I will use this for internet, some word processing, some AutoCAD work (not professionally just for side projects). I would like to run parallel systems from time to time.
    My wife will use this for internet, managing her iPods and iTunes, watching videos, downloading from our miniDV video camera, editing photos (hobby not professional). Will the mini perform or should I spend the extra money for the iMac? Is there any benefit to the slightly improved user access in the mini?
    Thanks for your help
  2. DDave macrumors regular

    Oct 10, 2009
    Ok, as a mini owner, and not knowing what kind of computing you do....

    I would probably suggest you get the iMac. I love my mini, but it's not my main system, and with the numbers your putting down spend the extra and get the iMac.

    Now, there are some great refurb models on the site. In fact i'm looking at a refurb myself, just because of how good a deal they are right now.

    Those are my two cents.
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Same GPU? I'd get the mini I think. It's a hard choice isn't it? Both highly capable (you would not have caught me saying that a year ago) and both 24". At < $200 more the 24" iMac sounds great. I say < $200 more because you'll want to put another 2 GB ram in there, which BTW will void your warranty if you screw it up. I've done it with help, but still.

    Anyway, gosh, I think I'd go the mini so I can choose my own monitor.
  4. Disarm macrumors member

    Oct 16, 2009

    I would opt for the mini. It's less money for you, so save the change and buy me an xmas card.
  5. Todd446 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2009
    Still stuck

    At least I am not the only one split on this. The iMac processor is faster than the mini (2.66 vs 2.26), both would have 4 GB of RAM. Does the iMac need additional RAM to perform. I should also note the 24" LCD monitor is nothing special, just a run of the mill monitor from Costco - receiving great reviews and their return policy is great.

    As for the previous mini at 2.0 GHz, will it perform with AutoCAD using parallel (or comparable, I really do not want bootcamp since I typically run CAD with additional tasks such as research on the web and word processing). I am really bad about opening multiple windows and programs (right now I have 3 firefox windows with a total of 9 tabs open).
    I am truly stuck here -

    iMAC: I like the increased processor speed, hard drive speed, hard drive capacity (not really a big deal since I will connect a back up to either system, I finally learned my lesson after my laptop was stolen and desktop died within 2 weeks), probably nicer monitor, cleaner install. I really do not like the limited user serviceable parts, the fact that if the monitor dies / HDD dies / etc my computer is shot - or I pay Apple to fix it instead of just buying a new part, connecting it, and resuming on my way.

    mini: I like the separate components, cheaper, I think I can change the hard drive if needed. I am not sure of the slower processor speed, slower hard drive, smaller hard drive (again not really a big deal), a couple more wires on the desk, need separate speakers (or buy a monitor with them built in but then the cost savings is gone).
    I guess I will either make up my mind or Apple will sell the remaining old units and my decision will be partially completed for me.

  6. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    On the mini. I have a mini bought in may. 4GB ram installed. 250 GB 7200 RPM drive installed. Some vibration from the drive but I'm not touching it and it's a media center PC driving a 47" LCD at 1080p. 2.0 GHz.

    I think the mini is hugely capable. I think the extra CPU is ok with your CAD (I used to work in CAD everyday) but I think providing the GPUs are the same that is what may matter more.

    I think the real life speed difference won't be noticeable. It's too small of an increase to really matter in my opinion. I say save yourself some money and get the mini. I totally understand that it is a hard decision.
  7. c.s. macrumors regular


    Nov 11, 2007
    I'm a big fan of the mini, but I already have a nice display. I think the processor speed difference between 2.26/2.53 and 2.66 is barely noticeable (having used all 3 speeds now). I would take that off the table and use the other factors to decide.
  8. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    ^ considering this then, all roads lead to the mini imho.
  9. Todd446 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2009
    Based on this comment and the several above in favor of the mini I think the 2.26 mini is beating the 24" iMac. I have no problem buying the monitor, it will always be useful. The hold up now looks like buying the new mini or the 2.0 mini (assuming I can get a steal). Will the performance suffer with that processor drop?
    Sorry to be such a pain. I have extremely limited exposure to the mac and its capabilities. I also have a problem with wanting the latest and greatest (like a 27" iMac) but I know I do not need it.
  10. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    iTunes? Videos? iTunes libraries and video files eat up HD space quickly and the $599 mini only has a 160GB drive which is pretty small these days.

    the mini is a good product, but seriously, reconsider whether the HD is big enough
  11. DDave macrumors regular

    Oct 10, 2009
    If your going to get the mini get it with the fastest processor, largest HD and most memory. I've changed memory and HD in mine and it's not hard, but I know a guy that screwed it up and wasn't covered under warranty. Also if you max it out, it will stay current longer making it better for the long run.

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