iMac 21.5" or Mac Mini for professional image editing?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by GERAKI01, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. GERAKI01, Jul 28, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014

    GERAKI01 macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Dear fellows,

    I would really appreciate your feedback on this:

    I am upgrading from a 2005 Power Mac G5 that (believe it or not) served me faithfully (obviously with some serious restrictions as time walked by, but no major upgrades other than adding extra RAM and storage space!) for the last 8,5 years!!! Other than standard apps run by almost everybody today, my main interest lies in using my new Mac for professional photo editing and graphic design (Lightroom, Photoshop & InDesign).

    As I am in between iMac 21.5" (2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5) and Mac Mini (2.6 GHz Intel i7 quad core), I would love to hear your thoughts on which one could be a better deal for my case. iMac worries me about any screen issues that might come up in the future, while on Mac Mini I question if its card suits my editing needs. Please don't state the obvious: "if I could get the job done with a G5, either these Macs would be a HUGE upgrade", as the point is not the past, but which one of these two options should serve me well for the next 4-5 years.

    In either case, I am heading for a 8 GB of RAM and a 256GB Flash Storage. Mac Mini would be used with my G5's Apple Cinema Display (20-inch). Please don't suggest heading for the 27" screen, as I would prefer to add a NEC 24" screen on a later date, if need for larger real estate ever arises.

    Thanks in advance,
    Tony
     
  2. /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    As a general product, for what you are looking for, the time you want to keep it and how you want to use it, I think the Mac mini is what you are looking for. Also with the money difference you save you could add some things like a SSD, Fusion Drive or even an external backup drive.

    The only problem is that the current Mac mini model is getting quite old, it's from 2012. (look in the Macrumors buyer's guide).

    I hate saying that but you should wait for a Mac Mini refresh. I say I hate it because there is no way to know exactly when it will come. This summer, this fall, winter ? Personally I think we will at least see a refresh, if not a redesing before christmas, but there is no garantee.
     
  3. MartinAppleGuy, Jul 29, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014

    MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    #3
    I do a lot of high end video and photo editing as well as 3D work and animation with my iMac (2.9Ghz i5, 750m). Everything runs great, not even a hickup on the largest of projects. I wouldn't go for the Mac Mini though, it still contains the HD 4000 graphics.
     
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #4
    I'd go for the iMac - the GT 750M would accelerate rendering greatly.

    I have a 3.1 i7/16/256/750M variant of the 21.5" and it handles heavy 1080p smoothly.

    I'd recommend the i7 and 16GB RAM upgrade as well. The i7 would give quite a good improvement over the i5 by around 40% in hyper threaded tasks, like rendering, encoding and video editing. Meanwhile, since RAM isn't upgradable post-purchase, I suggest maxing it out.

    If you can't afford the i7 and 16GB at the moment, I'd suggest waiting a bit longer to save up for the upgrades. It's really worth it.
     
  5. zedsdead macrumors 68040

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    #5
    I also think that a Mac Mini is better for your support in theory, sans for the part that it hasn't been upgraded in 600+ days. The HD4000 graphics card is fine, but will really start to show it age soon. That is the only thing that I think is a problem.

    The iMac definitely has a better graphics card, and if you are looking for longevity will be the main part that won't last. Just be sure to upgrade the RAM to the max in the iMac since you can't do that after purchase.

    Overall at the current moment, the iMac is the better choice because of the components. Also, you will have a dual screen setup since you already have a 20+ Apple LCD.
     
  6. GERAKI01 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Thank you all so much for your very precious feedback.

    So it seems that almost everybody in here suggests that Mac Mini should be a very good fit. However, I guess I should take my chances and get the one (2012!) that is already available, as I see people in other threads waiting for a mini refresh/upgrade since last summer! After all, no one seems to have a clue when (and if at all) Apple is finally going to offer this option!
     
  7. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #7
    The mini has always been an upgrade conundrum. It could go YEARS without an upgrade and the BOOM! out of the blue. I have been waiting for a Haswell mini for what seems an eon but to no avail. Most likely, IMHO, we won't see a new mini until Broadwell is released at either the end of this year or early next.
     
  8. GERAKI01 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8

    This doesn't sound very promising! Does it? :(
     
  9. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #9
    No, it isn't. Doesn't make much sense to come out with a new mini now with Broadwell so close. Broadwell will be aimed at low-power applications, like the mini, first so its ideal. Personally, I am happy with Mavericks on my 2009 mini and looking forward to Yosemite on it so its turned out to be a "no biggie" for me. Sucks if you are looking now for one, however.
     
  10. GERAKI01 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Oh, yep!:(
     
  11. Serban Suspended

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  12. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #12
    If Broadwell arrives, then that is entirely possible.
     
  13. GERAKI01, Jul 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014

    GERAKI01 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    Inside info?

    But again, 2 years delay for a mac that normally got upgraded every year (Oct 2012 <-- July 2011 <-- Jun 2010)? Isn't there the possibility that Apple just has decided (though not publicly admitting it) that they progressively phased out production of Mac Minis in favor of their higher (and obviously more expensive) machines? Just a thought!
     
  14. GERAKI01 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    :eek:
    and just to think that I was about to pull the trigger on my "new" mid-2012 mini tomorrow morning!!!
     
  15. GERAKI01 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #16
    Wow...
    they already removed it from the page!

    Well, the dream lasted only for a couple of hours, I guess!

    I've made it though to snap a screenshot of the original post! If they finally kill the mini line, one day that snapshot may have some historical value! :rolleyes:
     
  16. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    #17
    I too was looking to get a Mac Mini earlier this year, but seeing as how it's taken so long to be refreshed, I ended up getting an iMac instead. I don't regret the decision at all.

    I trumpet this a lot, but I think it bears repeating: look for refurbished iMacs that fit the specs you're looking for. You could end up with a current-technology iMac that owing to it being refurbed, is closer in price to a "new" Mac mini.

    As for the 20" cinema display you already have, you can always hook that up to an iMac and use it as a second display. I ended up doing this with the display I had already gotten ready for the mini I wanted to buy. Having two screens is REALLY nice, especially for image editing purposes when you're working with lots of files: work with the images on the screen that looks better, and then throw all your finder windows and tool points on the lesser display.
     
  17. GERAKI01 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Thanks scaredpoet for your feedback!

    Unfortunately, this option (refurbished) does not apply to this part of the world! :(
    We do not have other options which you consider as... standard! This includes no return & no-money back policy. Other than in a case of a defective machine, the moment you step outside of the store (or the moment you hit the buy button at any online store), you and your machine are married for good! You do not have any right to return it for any reason (other than a defective product) and no period to try & test! :(
    And even if it happens to get a defective one, you are not getting back your money or another replacement. You just join the ranks in a waiting list at the service department (obviously with some sort of... priority)!

    As on your 2-screen set-up, I am fully with you. I have tried it and indeed it works fine!
     
  18. Charcoalwerks macrumors regular

    Charcoalwerks

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    #19
    I second this!^^

    I bought my iMac Mid 2011 refurbished in early November 2011. I have not had one issue with it. Hard for me to believe this November it will be 3 years since then already. With 12Gb of RAM I can't see myself needing a newer iMac anytime soon at all.
     
  19. poematik13 macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    get the 21.5" iMac with the highest specs but the base ram. Max out the ram yourself, its cheaper. It'll last you a good 4-5 years before becoming completely obsolete.
     
  20. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #21
    RAM is not upgradeable in 21.5" iMacs, unless you're willing to take it apart and void the warranty.

    It's no easy job to take it apart.
     
  21. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    #22
    8GB of RAM will have a good 5 years before even a noticeable drop in performance. 4GB of RAM has 4 -5 years before becoming obsolete for high end tasks, but not 8.
     
  22. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #23
    Depends on your tasks. A VM running Windows will consume at least 2GB to be useable. My 8GB mini often gets into the red from memory pressure.
     
  23. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    #24
    Totally agree there. Sorry, I don't use VM's and that is why my usage will last be much longer. I would agree with your original figure then :)
     
  24. GERAKI01 thread starter macrumors newbie

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