iMac i5 vs Mac mini i7 vs Mac Pro - help!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by coffee610, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. coffee610 macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2012
    I am looking into getting a desktop now that all the new computers have been released. I am a active Photoshop and Lightroom user, but not much else except minimal iMovie video/Garage band and no gaming. I have a monitor at the moment. I'd ideally like the following stats (Quad i7 processor; at least 16GB RAM; combined SSD+HD) and am kinda kicking myself that I didn't just order an old custom iMac when they were in stock, but now since the release of the new imac, this combination in iMac is impossible to find. I am also trying to avoid the Fusion Drive as I like to actually have control over my files - sorry Apple, ignorance is not bliss for a real computer user. Here is what I am considering.

    Option 1: Old iMac Quad i5 with HDD only (hoping to add a SSD for boot later to this, but unsure if I can - seems like a difficult task from my reading)

    Option 2: New Mac Mini Quad i7, 16RAM, 256SSD (hoping to add a HD to this at some point, but unsure if I can)

    Option 3: Mac Pro with some increased RAM and the two drives.$$$

    I am hoping you guys could give me some advice on these options, and which one you think I should go for. Also, do you think it will be possible to add an HDD to the new Mac Minis as some point, or an SSD to the old iMac?? Is the Mac Pro worth the money?

    Thanks a ton
  2. nagareru macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2012
    Lima, Peru
    In your case I would go for the mac mini. The Solid state drive will be what you are looking for and in the case of the HDD you can easily get a thunderbolt HDD or even a usb3 one, they both will be fast and not very expensive. You can pay it with what you save from buying either an imac or mac pro.

    You already have a screen right? So that shouldnt be a problem.
  3. coffee610 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2012

    Thanks for the reply, yes I have a screen, given to me free, so that is nice, but I don't want to make a decision around that, I have saved, so am willing to spend more for something better. Honestly, I want the product that will also last me the longest time. Do you think the Mac Mini will be upgradable in the future to add an internal HD as well? Does it even make a difference to have an internal HD? For some reason I'm just thinking that might be more secure, but perhaps it is not important in the end.
  4. martinm0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2010
    Here's my opinion:

    Grab a refurb iMac from Apple. I have a base 21.5" 2.5 i5 quad core iMac that really does a great job (I mostly just convert video, so no Photoshop/Lightroom experience to offer).

    For $980 you'll get a fantastic 1080p screen, user upgradeable RAM (2 open DIMMS, 4 total) dedicated GPU, DVD drive, 7200rpm internal HDD, keyboard, mouse). You can run a SSD off Seagate's thunderbolt sleds, or as I've done, gutted a LaCie little big disk and stuck a SSD in one side and kept a HDD in the other for Time machine.

    I always loved the Mini, but when it came down to using it 24/7 doing video encodes, it was running the fan constantly and was a near max temps (I had the 2.0 i7 server when it first came out). I was just too concerned that I would wear it out too quickly the way I was using it. In comparison, the iMac barely has the fan come on at all since it has much more ventilation compared to the Mini.
  5. JGRE, Oct 27, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012

    JGRE macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2011
    Dutch Mountains
  6. nagareru macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2012
    Lima, Peru
    If money is not a problem then go for the 27" imac! get BTO 680MX up the ram to 32 and get the 756SSD... all that will cost you almost the same as a 12core mac pro tower (maybe more), but youll get thunderbolt + usb 3 + SSD + Screen.

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