Help decide: 2012 Mini (base or mid) vs. 2011 iMac base refurb

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by k.alexander, Oct 24, 2012.

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  1. k.alexander, Oct 24, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012

    k.alexander macrumors regular

    k.alexander

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    #1
    Help me make up my mind. I am looking at either a new 2012 Mini (base or mid) vs the 2011 21.5 iMac (base).

    2011 iMac: Quad Core i5-2400S@2.50GHz (bench score 4712), AMD 6750HD 512VRam, 500GB 7200Rpm HD, 4GB Ram. $979

    2012 Mini (base): DualCore i5@2.50GHz (bench score 3995), Intel 4000HD, 500GB 5400Rpm, 4GB Ram. $717 (including KB/Touchpad which I need)
    2012 Mini (mid): QuadCore i7@2.30GHz (bench score 6738), Intel 4000HD, 1TB 5400Rpm, 4GB Ram. $917 (including KB/Touchpad which I need)


    This PC will be primarily used for Aperture/PS, some light-to-mid-level home video editing, plus web/office stuff, No gaming. I understand any of these machines will do what I need today, but I tend to keep PCs for a while (I can't believe but I'm about to upgrade my 1.83Ghz Core Duo MBP 15"--first Intel MBP), and so I wonder which of these will last me the longest. Also, am I correct that if I'm not gaming at all, I dont really need the dedicated graphics card, or is there a benefit to such a card for Aperture/PS?

    I understand that with the mini, I will likely be able to put in an SSD in addition to the drive that's there now. From ifixit, it seems doable on the iMac but way way too much work. Both machines can have their ram easily upgraded as well. Plus hopefully the new mini can also have it's current HD more easily upgraded than the iMac due to the iMac's 7pin connect for the HD's temp/fan. So the mini actually seems like a more upgradeable machine going forward.

    Advice please?!? Thanks
     
  2. k.alexander thread starter macrumors regular

    k.alexander

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
  3. cyclotron451 macrumors regular

    cyclotron451

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    Europe
    #3
    Hi, it's a valid question - I'm speaking as an owner of 2 20" iMacs with C2D, who was thinking to get a 27" iMac 2012 - I'm also now tending for the base Mac mini, it seems that it would be upgradeable over the next few years, including either an momentus XT hybrid disk (biggest currently 32GB flash/750GB rotary) or just plain SSD. I have wildly upgraded my 2007 & 2008 iMacs, I like to avoid cul-de-sacs of technology like embedded sensors in 2011 iMac HDDs, so do prefer the more open platform.

    Aperture & Photoshop do need RAM, so the aftermarket upgrade to maybe 16GB will be your first priority, then external humungous FW/USB3 scratch/backup disks. the new Mini has better connectivity than last years iMac.

    I use Apple keyboards with wires - but Microsoft $25 comfort Optical mice, tho' I have a Magic trackpad for playing with which mostly does what I want. I'd like to see more benchmarks of the CPU/GPU to confirm if the Dual i5 might not be sometimes faster than the Qi7?
     
  4. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #4
    First off, seriously, you might wait more than 45 minutes for a response when posting first thing in the morning :)

    Second, where are you getting benchmarks for the new machines from, and what benchmark is that?

    As mentioned I'd wait for more complete benchmarks as well, but I"m betting the massively increased CPU will generally make up for the decreased video card power.
     
  5. k.alexander thread starter macrumors regular

    k.alexander

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    #5
    sorry.
    The benchmarks are the PassMark and are from: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php
     
  6. k.alexander thread starter macrumors regular

    k.alexander

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    #6
    bump for a few more opinions. Thanks in advance.
     
  7. marcello696 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    #7
    I was also deciding between the 2012 base and getting a 2011 mid range. I found a great deal locally for the 2011 i5 2.5ghz with AMD 6630 GPU and 8gb of memory for $500.

    Still under Apple warranty until March 2013 so it was an easy decision. I saved $140 for virtually the same as the 2012 base model plus it has a slightly better GPU and 4gb more of memory.

    IMHO look for a deal on the mid range 2011 model before spending $599 plus tax on the 2012 model. They are virtually the same
     
  8. k.alexander thread starter macrumors regular

    k.alexander

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2010
    #8
    I'm the OP. After some more thinking, I think I've decided to get the 2011 iMac refurb.

    Primary reason: the 6750M discrete graphics card. At the end of the day, this wipes the floor with the Intel HD 4000 that's in the 2012 minis.
    Second reason: the all in one package.
    Third reason: 4 RAM slots. I will prob buy 2x4GB (<$50), not throw any of the existing ram out and end up with 12GB, which should likely last me a very long time.
    Lastly: actually ends up being same money as a less powerful 2012 mini, and less money than the mid-range 2012 mini I was looking at.

    Downsides
    1: the mini would be easier to upgrade with regard to HD and installing an SSD as a 2nd drive. But that's the price, I guess. The iMac is doable, but just a huge pain. Alternatively, I do have the option of connecting an external SSD via the Thunderbolt port.
    2: The mid-range mini would have had a faster CPU, i7 Ivy vs. i5 Sandy.
    3. The iMac has a 500GB HD compared to 1TB, but that's a minor minor thing.
     
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