Going back and forth between waiting iMac 2019 and buying Mac Mini 2018

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Tigerman82, Nov 17, 2018.

  1. Tigerman82 macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2010
    I'm currently rocking the Mid-2010 iMac which is still plenty fast for basic tasks. However, the 21.5 1080p screen makes it hard to multitask and the old GPU and connectivity have become bottlenecks (USB2.0, BT2.1, 802.11n). After 8.5 years it's time for a new computer. I've never been too fond of Apple pricing and thought about switching camps to Windows and something like a NUC Hades Canyon. However, while I'm not too into mobile Apple devices, I simply adore OS X and am destined to use Apple desktops forever.

    When Apple did not release new iMacs this year, I turned my head towards the new Mini which is more like Mini Pro as it torches maxed out iMacs in benchmarks like Geekbench. Whereas the base 27" 5K iMacs with 256Gb SSDs cost around $2k, you can get the i5 Mac Mini for $1k. I like the idea of a modular design where you can pick&choose (and save money if needed) instead getting a premium all-in-one with a premium price tag. HOWEVER... It seems the Mac Mini solution isn't ideal after all.
    • Price is similar to high-end iMacs if you start adding RAM (which you need to do because of the lackluster Intel 630 GPU), a display and other stuff (let alone an eGPU)
    • GPU bottleneck which you can solve with a eGPU solution (minimum 500-600 dollars) which currently isn't working without issues in Bootcamp (which takes hopes of gaming away)
    • Possible issues with high-res monitors if you are not using a eGPU (4K/5K scaling to achieve readable text can cause UI lag)
    So compared to the Mac Mini, the iMac offers
    • A 5K display (for cheap as you get a computer with it) that works without lag as it's optimized
    • A proper GPU that works in Bootcamp and makes light gaming possible
    • Some modularity (you can add an eGPU later on if needed)
    • 'Free' keyboard and mouse
    Any thought on this? Trust me, I'd really like to give the Mac Mini a chance but it seems more and more that from overall cost to long-term performance and versatility, it cannot beat the iMac.
  2. MPW99 macrumors newbie


    Nov 26, 2017
    I have a mbp-ntb 2017 and got my mom an iMac a few months ago - base model with ssd upgrade (that's my level of experience). So just off the top of my head I would say go for the iMac simply because you will get about the same power for a slightly lower price + you will have much better chance of resale in a few years if you decide to upgrade
  3. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Well, what can anybody say... it’s a pity Apple didn’t get round to putting 8th gen processors (which is where the Mini gets its legs) in the iMacs, and now the iMac update could be this year, next year, sometime or never (or , more likely than “never”, it could get “improved” into something you don’t want).

    Apart from that, the questions seem to be:
    • Do you like the iMac 5k display? The only equivalent to that is the $1200 LG ultrafine (and probably an eGPU to be sure of decent performance on a Mini) which makes the iMac good value. But you can’t use the iMac display with anything else.
    • Are you likely to want more than the mobile-class dGPUs in the iMac? They’re far better than the integrated graphics in the Mini, but if you do go for an external GPU then you can have a desktop GPU that’s better than the mobile GPUs in the iMac - and if you’re going external it makes mor sense to have a separate display.
    • 5k iMacs have genuinely user upgradeable RAM. (It’s a 5 minute job) and come with 2 free slots so you can add to what’s there. On the Mini, you have to dismantle the whole thing, replace the existing 2 sticks... and then, possibly, undo the job if you need to claim under AppleCare, if the rep in question has un unhappy love life.
  4. lizurd macrumors newbie


    Feb 5, 2013
    I'm in a somewhat similar situation. I have a 2008 iMac that is functional, but just barely - spinning disk and 4 GB RAM are limiting factors.

    As far as the value proposition goes, for me it primarily hinges on do I need (or even feel that I can't live without) a 5K screen. And the answer for me is, "nope, don't need it". I am looking at the Mac Mini with the i5 and 256GB SSD and purchasing a 27" 2560x1440 monitor. A decent monitor at those specs can be had for $300-$500. Which puts the purchase at $1400 to $1600, whereas the iMac would be $1900 or more. Since I don't need the dGPU or 5K screen of the iMac, the Mini is the better value. And I can always buy a 4K or 5K screen down the road if for some reason I feel like I can't live without it.
  5. thirdsun macrumors member

    Nov 16, 2018
    Same dilemma here. I'm currently leaning towards patience and waiting for the next iMac. The Mac Mini is fine, although the GPU leaves a lot to be desired, but what really tipped the scales is the lack of affordable 5K screens, I want both, high DPI crispness and generous screen real estate, which leads to a 27" 5K display and considering the LG Ultrafine prices the iMac seems like a much better deal.

    However I'm still considering the option of buying a mid-level Mac Mini as a stopgap (I could get the base model i5 for 20% off) and using an affordable 4K 27" display until the next iMac is released. The display will find use as a second monitor to the iMac later and the Mac Mini can be sold or used as a media center computer. That compromise might be overkill if the new iMac arrives early 2019, but it's worthwhile if I'll have to wait until late 2019.

    Still undecided.
  6. Aquamite macrumors regular


    Oct 2, 2014
  7. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Jan 21, 2008
  8. jaybar macrumors 6502a


    Dec 11, 2008
    These posts are endless. We have no definitive idea when Apple will release a new iMac or what it will contain or what will be done away with. If the current iMac is attractive to you and you need to purchase then buy. Eventually there will be something better, but at what cost and at what wait?
  9. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    I wouldn't buy an iMac right now as Apple could update it early next year. I would buy a second monitor (if you have room) and connect it to your existing iMac just to get around your display size limits in the short term. This won't cost the earth to do and you can use it with your new iMac or mini later. I do think the iMac would be the better option though once it had had an upgrade.
  10. NaimNut macrumors newbie


    Oct 28, 2017
    On Saturday I picked up my MacMini (i5/16/256) with the LG 4k Ultrafine monitor. I replaced an early 2009 iMac.

    I couldnt wait any longer and am very happy with my purchase.
  11. jaybar macrumors 6502a


    Dec 11, 2008
    Deciding can be good.
  12. NaimNut macrumors newbie


    Oct 28, 2017
    and healthier (;
  13. jtara macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2009
    This is an easy one.

    There is no iMac 2019. Though there might be one, in the future. Or not.
  14. jaybar macrumors 6502a


    Dec 11, 2008
    So true. Naimnut, I am a Rega fan. Nice to see audiophiles on here.
  15. ggibson913 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 11, 2006
    Get the 5K iMac once you see that display you will have no regrets.
  16. jtara macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2009
    Ooh, ohh, I may need some advice!

    I just dug my vintage Planer 3 out of storage. Probably hasn't been used in 15 years. I'm sure will need a belt. It's a bit of a Frankenstein's monster, with a Linn Basik LV-X tonearm and Grado XF-3 cartridge. It needs to sit on "stilts" (extra cups under the feet) because the connecter is too tall under the deck. What was I thinking, or who talked me into that? I don't remember, purchased in 198x...
    --- Post Merged, Jan 9, 2019 ---
    There are people b*tching in a thread speculating about the coming "Pro" display that it won't be truly "pro". I'm more than happy with the display on my iMac Pro. Assume that is the same display as on the 5K iMac. For most of us, that would be the best display we have ever had. Just have to keep room reflections down.
  17. jaybar macrumors 6502a


    Dec 11, 2008
    Jtara,where are you located?
  18. jtara macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2009
    San Diego.
  19. jaybar, Jan 9, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019

    jaybar macrumors 6502a


    Dec 11, 2008

    I would suggest getting in touch with Rich Brkich at Signature Sound in Syracuse. Look up his website. He is more knowledgeable about Rega than anybody I know. He will best advise you how to proceed. Rich has clients throughout the US and is very approachable.


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