Buy New Mac Mini or iMac?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Mongus, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. Mongus macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2006
    New York
    Hello I am looking to replace an old 2011 21.5" iMac. I am leaning toward getting a new mac mini and a 32" monitor, or a 27" iMac. It seems like I can get the mac mini setup for a few hundred less with basically the same specs. What are your experences with the mini? The iMac has a better video card but other then that the specs are basically the same. Any thoughts would be great.

  2. lcseds macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2006
    NC, USA
    Seems difficult to get a display as stunning as the ones on the iMac, with correct color, scaling, smoothing, etc. Dell has a 24" that seems to be well liked. But I see no 27" that folks are using that appear to be a stand out monitor.
  3. mpfuchs macrumors 6502


    Sep 19, 2014
  4. Cheapassmac macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2018
    Unless you game or do rendering, the mini makes more sense for you. You won't notice a difference except the cost savings and larger monitor (both good traits).

    Even if you do game, you can add an EGPU to the mini that would be faster than whatever is on the iMac.
  5. OldMike macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    As Apple ratchets up the prices on everything, I think the iMac still is the best deal going in Macs right now. Personally, I prefer the Mini - but I think the iMac 27" provides the best value.

    A hidden plus on the iMac is that is was just updated in 2019 and still does not have the T2 in it. I just got my 2018 Mini recently and have already been bitten by Bridge OS crashing.
  6. Cheapassmac macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2018
    iMac is a great value (certain configs anyway), but there are some values that can't be quantified by spec sheet alone. The small form factor of the mini, and the choice of your own monitor is priceless to some people. Also, if you aren't using a machine to it's full potential (ie: most people who use it for web browsing and casual use), then the extra money for the iMac is just extra money spent.
  7. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    iMac still only offers rudimentary support for monitor adjustment (i.e. tilt, nothing else). If the machine fits your working place and personal ergonomics (“height”!), then fine - otherwise you’re outta luck with the iMac.

    You’re also limited to 21.5” or 27” monitor sizes with the iMac. If that’s what you want, fine. Otherwise the mini gives you much more choice (I’d never be able to go back to standard monitors since I’ve experienced my 34” curved UW monitor!).

    2018 mini offers 4x TB3 ports, the iMac only two, so the upgrade path on the mini looks better.

    If the display and/or GPU on the iMac break, you’re outta luck (at least once AppleCare has run out, if purchased up front in the first place). On the mini you replace the monitor / eGPU yourself and continue (assuming you’d use an eGPU, as the iGPU is unlikely to break).

    As has already been said: If you stay far from the machine’s limit, it may last longer. But personally I’d always opt for the mini over the iMac.
  8. bpd115 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 4, 2003
    Going back and forth on this myself and I'm going to go Mini. I'm coming from a 2014 27" Retina iMac (which Apple will give me $550 trade in for). The deciding factor for me was the T2 chip and I'll tell you why. It acts as a coprocessor for transcoding video and the i7 mini beats the new 8 core i9 iMac in ffmpeg encoding time. Since that's the one thing I stress my machine with, it's a no brainer. I'll add an eGPU once Navi hits.
  9. Cruciarius macrumors member


    Aug 18, 2013
    I currently have the late 2014 iMac. Due to it's poor design for cooling/venting, it's encountered an over heating issue. No longer under warranty & I don't know if I could handle taking it apart myself for cleaning, I'm looking at the Mac Mini for an upgrade. In the long run, going the Mac Mini route will be cheaper than an iMac.

    iMac, at least the one I would get, if I got another, I'd likely go with the high-end iMac, which is priced at $3,000+.

    Mac Mini, I'd go an i7 & maybe 512GB SSD, then upgrade RAM on my own. That's around $1,400. Granted after this, I'd also have to buy monitors (I prefer having 2), so day 1, I might be spending around the cost of an iMac, or more, if I get an eGPU. However, down the road when it comes time to upgrade again, I only have to replace the Mac Mini itself, given that all the other hardware is still doing well.

    Whenever you go to upgrade from an iMac to another iMac, you're looking at another $3,000+.

    Both machines have their intended audiences though. The iMac is a nice all-in-one machine. It can game & process videos (not done this myself, but seen videos on it). The Mac Mini can do all that as well, if you add an eGPU. Mac Mini also gets the display of your choice.
  10. Tesla1856, Jun 7, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019

    Tesla1856 macrumors member


    Jul 25, 2017
    Texas, USA
    Both Dell UltraSharp (IPS matte panel) and LG Pro series are good. Think 2K for 27inch and 4K for 32 inches. Still a good ppi/dpi close to Apple retina .
    --- Post Merged, Jun 7, 2019 ---
    Still ? :(

    Mind if I ask what you were doing on the MacMini-2018 that tripped-it-up?

    Also, is it connected to a good UPS-battery (like a APC with the LCD and AVR)?
  11. MacWorld78, Jun 7, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019

    MacWorld78 macrumors 6502


    Jul 25, 2012

    1: If anything goes wrong especially with hardware or software - you'll have to bring to the store...
    2: The screen is hard to see sometime because of the light reflection.
    3: You will see the Apple logo every day :rolleyes: while looking at the monitor (sliver bar with black Apple logo)
    4: You cannot adjust the hight to make sure it is comfortable eye viewing - more likely to end up neck/back pains

    Mac Mini:

    1: If anything goes wrong with hardware or software - obviously it is very easy to bring to the store...
    2: All you need to get your own monitor, keyboard and mouse.
    3: Mac mini is space gray and there is less chance to see the Apple logo every day
    4: Get your own monitor that will give you plenty option to move around especially with the height until you find comfortable working without getting pains in the neck or back.
    5: If you want a better graphics card go for eGPU.

    6: There is bluetooth connection drop out - you can look up at the mac mini forum.

    Specification for either iMac or Mac Mini: that's up to you to decide what's best for you.
  12. Ddyracer macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2009
    I lol'd. Agreed though, that logo gets dirty!
  13. OldMike macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    My Mini is connected to an APC 1100VA UPS (rated to 600 watts and drawing only around 150 watts).

    I keep the Mini running 24/7 with no sleep. The monitors sleep after I lock the Mini or after 20 minutes of idle. I have an eGPU and TB3 nvme drive hooked up to each individual TB3 controller.

    This has only happened a couple of times, but always happens over night. I have noticed that both times it occurred I had OneDrive running doing a large sync to an external drive. Not sure if that is just a coincidence or not. I also have another Mac that will also give me fits when trying to run a large sync in OneDrive.

    Since I have changed my settings for OneDrive to use files on demand instead of doing a massive sync of files - I have not had a T2 crash. Still don't know if OneDrive can be part of the problem or not.
  14. Tesla1856, Jun 8, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019

    Tesla1856 macrumors member


    Jul 25, 2017
    Texas, USA
    1. Perfect. Be sure ALL devices are connected to it.

    2. Lots of external and cables ... but it should work.

    3. Keep-up the good trouble-shooting and detailed notes. :)

    4. I for one would be interested to hear if your T2-chip error is resolved.

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13 June 4, 2019