Buying a new Mac: desktop or all in one

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by redhatlab, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. redhatlab macrumors newbie

    Dec 1, 2010

    I am a freelancer web developer and I am planning on buying a new Mac. Due to a recent experience with my now 5+ years all iMac over heating to burn out the video card I started to think that all in one computers might alway have some issue and I will not even mention the trouble to upgrade it.

    Should my next computer be another iMac or should I get a Mac mini or even the new Mac Pro so that the heat of the screen is not in top of the CPU, Hard Drive, motherboard, etc?

    Note: I don't play games on the computer or do any rendering. I don't need a NASA computer as I will not be folding molecules. I do hate cables messes. My current setup is an iMac 2008 with a 24 LED cinema display.
  2. chumawumba macrumors 6502


    Aug 9, 2012
    Ask the NSA
    Mac Pro. That thing is a pure powerhouse. (Speculation)
  3. redhatlab thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 1, 2010
    Thank you for your reply, but I am not asking for performance. The current iMac with the 3rd generation intel processors are really good too. I just want to get a configuration that will extend the life of the machine.
  4. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I have used iMac, Mac Mini and Mac Pro. In your case, all of them would work and some might be overkill. I ended up with a Mac Mini and a 3rd party higher end monitor. This monitor is still in use though I have given my original Mac Mini away and bought another. In short the monitor should last as long as your computer and perhaps longer (calibration of the monitor for graphic use is another reason I use a 3rd party monitor).

    Short answer - any computer that lasts at least 3-4 years is typical so your iMac appears to be within norms before needing to purchase a new system. Getting a Mac Mini should be more than enough power but there is the cost of keyboard, cursor control (mouse etc.) and monitor of the size you want.
    Mac Pro - no reason to get a new one as a refurb is good but it is overkill in terms of expansion within and amount of watts drawn. I cannot say get an iMac unless you are comfortable with adding extended warranty of sorts and going with 21" or 27" screens.
  5. twoehr macrumors member

    Jul 3, 2013
    East Coast US
    When I bought my iMac 2 years ago I had similar concerns. In the end I decided that the all in one was a better value than purchasing a Mac mini and Cinema Display (if I was getting a Mac, I was absolutely getting a 27" Apple screen).

    That said, I don't think that it is necessarily likely that one half will in turn break the other half, but just like any other combo electronic device, say the combo TV-VCR, when one breaks you may be left with something useless, although half functional. At least with my iMac it can be a monitor for a future laptop or mini.

    While it would've been nicer for you to get more than 5 years out of your iMac, it wasn't an unreasonably too short of a life.

    Unless you want a laptop, I'd look at a 27" iMac.

  6. kurzz macrumors 6502


    May 18, 2007
    I have a 27" imac currently but my next desktop will be a mac mini. I want to move away from all-in-ones because I do appreciate having a separate display I can upgrade on its own schedule.
  7. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    I have a 24" iMac and my next computer is likely to be a Mac Mini. I intend to buy it, then load it with RAM, and get a good IPS monitor for about £200. That way it is almost certainly going to be cheaper than an iMac, even if I upgrade twice as often.
  8. firedept macrumors 603


    Jul 8, 2011
    I currently own a 27" iMac for web & graphic design. I can tell you that Apple has solved the heat issue in the new iMacs. My 2011 iMac loved to heat up when I was rendering or being used for hours on end. My late 2012 is much cooler running. The new iMac is quite the powerhouse if you go top of line built to order.

    I have the i7, 1TB Fusion Drive, 680MX 2GB with 24GB Ram and this iMac has never struggled to do anything I have requested of it.

    I think a Mac Mini or iMac would probably be the better choice for you. The Mac Pro is probably over kill, plus they can get a lot pricier than the Mini or iMac.

    The reason I would suggest the 27" is for the screen real estate. Nice to be able to see things clearly. You can also upgrade the RAM in the Mini or iMac 27" yourself to save money. 21" iMac can not have RAM upgraded at a later date. You would have to order it with the RAM you need right from the start.
  9. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    The iMac is less reliable than the mini and mac pro. You already know one of the reasons why.
  10. COrocket macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    Since you are not doing any heavy duty computing the mini will be fine. One of the reasons I got the mini is because they offer a similar configuration in a server model which means the machine is built to run 24/7. Does that make it better than iMacs? I honestly don't know, but it should last for years anyways. Also, 5 years with a computer is a pretty good run, because after that the hardware and operating system compatablity start to become obselete. I also like the fact that you can upgrade the computer and monitor separately, rather than chucking the whole thing when either part fails.
  11. redhatlab thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 1, 2010
    Once again, thank you all for your answers.

    I kind of figure that the Mac Pro will be an overkill even knowing that a computer is never too fast or too much of a powerhorse.

    I already own a keyboard, mouse and a 24 LED cinema display, so I am thinking of taking your advice about the Mac mini as the way to go.

    Everything is so close together in the Mac mini, any over heating or any other issues I should know about?

    How about when playing YouTube videos? my iMac use to get super hot if the video was coming thru the flash player.
  12. COrocket macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    The mini runs cool watching videos and using office applications. Only time the mini heats up is if you are encoding or something really CPU intensive.
  13. Omnius macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2012
    The mini runs hot. All minis have always run hot. Mini users flip them on a side or just slightly elevate the mini for better airflow.

    Don't expect the mini to die just because it's warm.
  14. Thraun macrumors regular


    Dec 18, 2008
    Abbotsford, BC
    Computers get hot, and sometimes the electronic parts fail. Not even necessarily because of the temperature. Most iMac models have 3 big fans in them to keep them cool, and the newest models are even more efficient.

    For every iMac that dies because of overheating, there are 1000 more (like mine, a late 2006) that go 7 years and more without experiencing any issues. Unfortunately, you never hear about the good ones, just the people that complain about the 1 in 1000.
  15. PortableLover macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2012
    I think a Mac Mini or a iMac will be more then enough. The Mac Pro is way too much tbh, the only difference with the i7s and Xeons are that the Xeons are designed largely for raw stability and can support more RAM.

    Since you'll never really use the power of a full Xeon nor an i7, an iMac or Mac Mini is more then enough for your needs, bear in mind that the iMac has desktop processors and the Mini has mobile processors.

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