Buying advice: iMac versus Mac Mini

Discussion in 'iMac' started by s9606564, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. s9606564, Nov 30, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010

    s9606564 macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2010
    To replace a PC I'm considering two options:
    - an iMac
    - a Mac Mini (with solid state disk)

    Even though I won't be doing real heavy stuff like (HD) video editing, the main criterion is perceived performance.

    Therefore I'm thinking about a Mac Mini upgraded with a solid state disk or an iMac.

    For instance, I'm comparing:
    Mac Mini
    2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM
    Solid state disk

    3.06GHz Intel Core i3
    4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB

    Anyone who can say something about the expected perceived performance of both systems?
    Can the Solid State Disc compensate for the faster processor of the iMac?
    Maybe optionally have 8GB RAM in the Mac Mini?
  2. frakie macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2010
    I would never exchange my 27" iMac for a mac mini. it's worth the price.
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Do you have a monitor and other peripherals? iMac includes those but for Mini you need to buy them. I would go with iMac though, much better CPU and GPU.
  4. s9606564 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2010
    The current PC has a 22 inch TFT, so that's a vote for having the Mac Mini.
    However aesthetics is also a relevant factor :)
  5. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    Even with a 22 inch monitor in your possession already, I'd still get the 27 inch imac.
  6. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
  7. Zach Schible macrumors member

    Zach Schible

    Jun 19, 2009
    Definitely go for the iMac. The longevity alone is worth the upgrade. Good luck on your decision.
  8. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Get the iMac and plug in your existing 22" monitor as a second display.
  9. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    go for the mini
    the imac is not everyones cup of tea , the mini is easier to open and upgrade ,the mini has no glossy display , the mini has no ips display that looks like someone has borrowed some floodlights from the near football stadium
    and most performance gain only exists in the minds of people who bought a iMac and now have to justify the purchase in some way or the other
    the mini is cool and portable so you dont need a iMac for every room , hust some small monitors/tv everywhere in the house and just connect your mini to the monitor/tv thats nearest to you
  10. jfyrfytr25 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 6, 2008
    I know from experience, a good SSD will shown alarger performance gain over faster CPU anyday. no everything is CPU intensive so therefore you dont need ALL the power ALL the time. The Hard Drive on the other hand is accessed for EVERYTHING from the moment you turn it on.

    Another idea would be to buy the imac and add the SSD to that. OR!!!!

    buy the white macbook. it is essentially the same computer as the mac mini but in a notebook form. That way you have the best of both worlds.
  11. krravi macrumors 65816

    Nov 30, 2010
    I was in the same dilema for about two weeks. Finally i decided to get the iMac 21.5.

    I initially ordered the Mac Mini from for $599.0 Shipped. But i changed my mind as i already have a old mac mini and i dont want to get another mac mini with Intel Core 2 Duo.

    Cinebench mark tests put my mac mini at 0.97 and the iMac at 2.97. So almost three times faster(roughly) and not that expensive from the mac mini.

    Get an iMac and forget the Core 2 Duo machine. It will be very slow as time progresses and as apps become bigger and complex. The 4 threads of the Core i3 should be plenty for regular home use.
  12. biggd macrumors 6502


    Apr 6, 2008
    Connect the 22" up to the iMac
  13. randy98mtu macrumors 65816


    Mar 4, 2009
    I have a 24" 2.93 C2D iMac and a 2.26 C2D Mini. I had to take the iMac in for service, so I started using the Mini as our main computer. We run Windows in Fusion all the time because of a PC Fax program my wife needs. Running both OS's CRUSHED the Mini. Beach balls whenever you tried to do anything. The iMac hardly notices. In fairness, the iMac has 4 gig of ram vs 2 gig on the Mini. So perhaps the 4 gig would help, but I still don't feel that a performance gain is only in my head. You are also getting a nice display and everything in a nice, clean package.

    That said, I wish I had a Mac Pro instead of the iMac. I think heat is a big issue in the iMac.
  14. MacHamster68, Dec 1, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010

    MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    2 gb is just not enough to run 2 operating systems , windows alone needs 2 gb to run smoothly which leaves nothing left for osx so no wonder it will crash
    the new 2010 mini takes 8gb ram pc8500 ddr3 1066 mhz not long ago that amount of ram was Mac Pro territory and if upgraded with a ssd the mini is a good performing little computer

    ok the imac is a bit faster but under normal use (surfing emailing and such) you wont notice a difference

    ok apple always supplies only with the absolute minimum ram to just be able to run osx and ilife , thats why you always should max out the ram as soon as you got the Mac on your desk ,no matter which Mac you buy
  15. George Knighton macrumors 65816

    George Knighton

    Oct 13, 2010
    The two biggest influences on performance are a good Internet connection and a fast hard drive.

    But having said that, we're always getting media rich emails and viewing content that requires rendering, a good processor and a good graphics card.

    Personally, I see quite a bit of difference between my iMac and a neighbour's maxed out current generation Mac Mini server version, in regular everyday use. The original poster is talking about a comparison with a relative low powered (by modern definitions) i3 iMac, but I still think the iMac will be visibly quicker.

    By the time you buy the Mac Mini and add all the wireless items you're going to need or want, I think he might just as well go with the iMac.

    But that's just me. :)
  16. s9606564 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2010
    Thanks for your thoughts and experiences.
    Still the different opinions and ways of looking at it I had myself.

    In terms of budget a Mac Mini using the current screen including solid state disk will be about the same as a 21 inch iMac i3 with some extra memory.

    My current preference is starting to develop towards a 21 inch iMac i3 just to be sure on CPU and graphics power.

    Once the percieved performance of the iMac is starting to get less, I can always upgrade the iMac with a solid state disk.
    If I choose the Mac Mini now, there's not much you can do further to increase performance.

    But I'll go to a Mac dealer one of these days and compare a regular Mac Mini (without solid state disk) with the iMac.

    Unfortunately the Internet connection where the system will be used is quite slow. Does that contribute to an advantage for the iMac versus Mac Mini?
  17. George Knighton macrumors 65816

    George Knighton

    Oct 13, 2010
    Well...I don't want to go back on what I said in my previous post, but upgrading the hard drive on the current generation iMac is not something most of us will want to do at home, because of the complicated way of getting to the hard drive by removing the screen.

    In defence of the iMac, however, they "sleep" very well, going into a very low power mode, and if you have 12 GB or 16 GB of RAM, you're not going to have to constantly load things very much anyway. In my experience, of course.

    What do you mean by "quite" slow? A good low latency, high speed connection is an important part of any system's perceived performance, but we all do the best we can with the choices available to us.
  18. s9606564 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2010
    It's a remote location with an ADSL connection that has a limited bandwith available (4Mb up / approx 0,5MB down).

    I was thinking that either increased CPU perfomance for the iMac or increased harddisk performance of a Mac Mini with solid state drive would be a better solution to cope with it and compensate the relatively low performance connection in everyday use.
  19. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    It depends on your "everyday use". Obviously, for web browsing, you will be limited by your slow connection and it won't matter what computer you have. But for applications that don't use the Internet the speed of the connection won't matter. If you do video or to a lesser extent photography, you will want a fast processor regardless of your Internet connection. If you just do some word processing the processor choice is moot.

    If your main computer use is web browsing, then buy the cheapest system you can -- don't waste money on SSD drives and fast CPUs. Bootup and application loading times don't matter since you only have to do it once and then Sleep the computer when it isn't in use.
  20. MacHamster68, Dec 1, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010

    MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    neither the mini maxed out nor the imac maxed out will make a difference in terms of surfing experience , you are limited by your internetconnection and even a ssd wont help there neither will more ram or a faster processor

    but having said that, your connection is not what i would call slow , seen slower connections , so all comes down to personal choice , some like th mini others like the glossy display of the iMac, i liked the old mini more with the nice aluminium and white top , but so i like the old iMac because of the white case and matte display
  21. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2009
    Durham, UK
    The internet performance on either machine is going to pretty much the same, your internet connection is always going to be the bottleneck in your particular case.

    I had the same predicament a while back choosing between the base model iMac and a Mini. Did originally intend to purchase a Mini to put an SSD in but in the end i went iMac, for only £300 more i got a much faster CPU, capacity for twice as much RAM, a much bigger and faster 7200rpm hard drive as well as a bluetooth keyboard, mouse and a gorgeous IPS display.

    The Mini does have its own quirky sort of charm and the innards are much easier to reach if you need to swap something out, but the iMac is much more spec for your money. Theres nothing stopping you from upgrading the iMac to SSD in the future, you just need to be handy with a screwdriver and suction cups :D

Share This Page