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Mac2004

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 17, 2004
295
43
I’m debating if I should get the iMac M3 or if I should get a Mac Mini M2 Pro model? Someone on here said that you could do more graphics with the M2 Pro chip than the M3 chip? Is there any truth to that or is the M3 computer the way to go? Also, which model of the IMac is the best one to buy? Is there a big difference between the middle model and the top model? Is the 8gb of memory good enough or should I get 16? I’m mostly using the computer for web browsing, word processing, zoom, email, graphics, and photo/video editing. I’m not a gamer. However, I plan on keeping the computer for 5-7 years.
 

IngerMan

macrumors 68020
Feb 21, 2011
2,012
903
Michigan
I would do some research on you tube for iMac M3 reviews. I found this one fairly informative.


iMac and Mac Mini are not apples to apples. The MM Pro2 is more powerful than the iMac M3. But they are 2 totally different types of setups.

I have a MM 2018 i7 with a eGPU and a ton of cables, I had iMac 2007 and 2015. I miss the simplicity and the beauty of a screen so I ordered a iMac M3/16GB/512SSD, I considered ordering 24GB and 1TB SSD but I don't want to through that kind of money to a NON M3 Pro.

I would say at least go mid level 10 core GPU and 16 GB of ram.
 

Chuckeee

macrumors 68020
Aug 18, 2023
2,173
6,085
Southern California
Either one of them will satisfy your processing needs. The main question you should be concerned about is would you be satisfied with the iMac 24” display (don’t trust reviews, go to a store and see one yourself). If you satisfied with the display get the iMac, if you want (or will want) larger or matching dual displays the get the mini M2 pro. As far as RAM, 8 GB is probably okay but since it cannot be upgraded, 16GB would be better if you can afford it.
 

Juicy Box

macrumors 604
Sep 23, 2014
7,540
8,876
I used to be a fan on the iMacs, but now feel like they are a waste of a perfectly good display once the HW performance no longer meets my needs.

I currently own nine iMacs, an original, a 17" G4, a 2007 Core Duo, two Mid 2011s, two Late 2012s, and two Late 2013s. The two 2013s, and one of the 2012s are used daily by my children.

The displays on the iMacs look better than most displays out there, and it would be nice to continue to use them with new Macs, but Apple removed Target Display Mode on newer iMacs, and did not add support for AS Macs to connect to the TB iMacs to use them as displays.

Because of that, I will probably no longer get anymore all in one Macs. The Display will last much longer than the HW, leaving them unusable in the long term.

I rather buy a decent display to go with a MM or Studio than get another iMac. Unless Apple brings back Target Display Mode.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,732
12,844
If you decide on the iMac, MAKE SURE you get the one with FOUR PORTS on the back, instead of just two. Only two ports on a "desktop" computer? That's ridiculous.

I'd suggest the m2pro Mini instead, however.
And a decent 27" 4k display to go with it.

BE AWARE that an m3 (and probably m3pro) Mini will probably be released in early 2024.
That's "not that far away" ...
 

picpicmac

macrumors 65816
Aug 10, 2023
1,125
1,618
I’m debating if I should get the iMac M3 or if I should get a Mac Mini M2 Pro model?
Many of us are in this same boat.


graphics, and photo/video editing
It depends on what you mean by "graphics", "photo", and "editing".

8GB is fine for the home computer that does email, browse the web, make video calls for the grandkids, etc.

If you want to use an Adobe product, especially Photoshop, you will likely be more pleased with more memory.

Much has been written on this topic.

There is another thread concurrent with this one, over the same choice in Macs. Recommend checking it out.

For myself, I wonder if I should hold out for the M3 Mini or just go for the M2 Mini/M2 Pro Mini or with the M3 iMac. See the previous poster's ideas on displays.
 

OldMike

macrumors 6502a
Mar 3, 2009
537
218
Dallas, TX
For CPU work, the M3 seems to be very close to the 10 Core M2 Pro that comes standard in the Mac Mini M2 Pro. For most GPU tasks (not including the new features in the M3 like ray tracing), the M2 Pro seems to come out pretty far ahead.

Tough choice deciding to wait for the M3 Pro Mac Mini, since it seems like the M3 Pro is not a huge bump up from the M2 Pro, though the standard M3 Pro in the Mac Mini may come with 11 Cores and offer better CPU performance (almost like getting the $300 12 core M2 Pro upgrade for free). On the GPU side, the M2 Pro competes nicely with the M3 Pro, except again where the new features like ray tracing come into play.

It's always nice to get the latest model though, since it will be supported longer - and the M3 Minis should be right around the corner...
 

Warped9

macrumors 68000
Oct 27, 2018
1,701
2,353
Brockville, Ontario.
Seems very sensible. Thanks for posting it.
I was having this very same conversation with a customer yesterday about this very thing. He has a 2017 iMac and is considering upgrading to a new iMac, but M1 or M3. I candidly told him it greatly depended o his intended use—what did he need his machine to do.

Based on what he told me I told him the M1 would suit his needs well and at a savings. I told him to consider the M3 only if he felt he really needed that extra 20 percent performance.
 

Santabean2000

macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2007
1,884
2,044
I chose a Pro mini, base model. It's not a monster, but gets the job done.

Go iMac if aesthetics are a major, if not, Pro mini all the way.
 

Warped9

macrumors 68000
Oct 27, 2018
1,701
2,353
Brockville, Ontario.
The thing is, as the video states, buying the mini works as an alternative IF you don’t also have to buy a keyboard, mouse and really good audio system. And then there is the display which would be challenging to equal the iMac’s. Add it all up then the iMac’s price isn’t out of whack.

I agree as I’ve gone through the exact same exercise long before seeing this video review.
 
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Gudi

Suspended
May 3, 2013
4,590
3,267
Berlin, Berlin
I’m debating if I should get the iMac M3 or if I should get a Mac Mini M2 Pro model?
The M3 is newer and will receive macOS updates one year longer.
Someone on here said that you could do more graphics with the M2 Pro chip than the M3 chip?
That someone forgot to mention that the Mini comes without display, keyboard, mouse, webcam, speakers, woofers, colorful Apple sticker and color-matched Lightning cable. In my opinion the Mac mini is a useless lump of metal that hasn't seen a form factor update since 2010.
Is there any truth to that or is the M3 computer the way to go?
Well, yes. Because of 6 or 8 cpu performance cores and 16 or 19 gpu cores, there are tasks an M-Pro is simply faster at. But saving one minute one or twice a year isn't worth it for most people.
Also, which model of the iMac is the best one to buy?
The cheapest one you can get, already packs a lot of value and they all age at the same speed. But if you don't want to be stingy, the 4-port model comes with a few extra features: one (M1) or two (M3) more gpu cores, an Ethernet port in the power brick, an extra fan with a heat pipe and TouchID on the keyboard. Furthermore you might want to upgrade to 16 GB RAM. And lastly the 256 GB SSD on the M3 iMac is much slower than the 512 GB. On the M1 iMac you can pick any size.
Is there a big difference between the middle model and the top model?
No.
Is the 8gb of memory good enough or should I get 16?
For multi-tasking with dozens of apps and tabs, you don't benefit from more than 8 GB. It's not a hard limit, macOS will use memory compression and Swap memory to accommodate your needs. If you regularly use one professional app, which by itself demands 20 GB of RAM, it's also not a performance problem. The SSD is fast enough to never worry about RAM, but abusing the SSD in this way will cut the lifetime of the SSD a little shorter than it could be. Which is also not a problem, because Apple builds in excellent SSDs. For gaming and peace of mind you could choose 16 GB, but it's in no way ever necessary.
I’m mostly using the computer for web browsing, word processing, zoom, email, graphics, and photo/video editing. I’m not a gamer. However, I plan on keeping the computer for 5-7 years.
Literally every Apple Silicon iMac will do that. Enjoy your 4.5K screen and pick an awesome color! 🔵🟢🔴⚪️🟡🟠🟣

EDIT: If you're looking for a real upgrade consider the Magic Trackpad instead or additionally to the Magic Mouse.
 
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giffut

macrumors 6502
Apr 28, 2003
470
157
Germany
Just forget the iMac. As long as you can'tuse it as an external display, too, it's a collosal waste.

Get a Mac Mini M2 Pro and a display of your choice and be done with it.

Try as much as you can to buy stuff you can swap and repair easily.

Don't consume on style and taste, but on usage only and avoid doing stuff if it is not essental. The planet/ecosystem is in collapse mode because of the former.
 

Ben J.

macrumors 6502a
Aug 29, 2019
802
484
Oslo
(I just posted this on the Gearspace forum. I think it fits in this thread, so it's mostly a copy/paste.)

I've just ordered a Mac Mini M2 Pro, 32/512.

My plan since the M1s came out was always to wait until around the M3 to make my next significant investment in a desktop computer. I changed my mind now, since it looks like a M3 Mini (my preferred form factor) coming next year, will be pretty costly without having too much improved performance overall.

I've had these Minis: 2018 intel 32GB, M1 16GB, and the last year an M2 16GB. All good macs, but the big jump was of course intel-to-M1. The M1-to-M2 was hardly noticeable.

The M2 has been great. The 16GB, a little tight, since my main power/ram drainers are Avid Pro Tools for music/mixing, and especially my big Lightroom catalogue. So I looked at swapping it for an identical mac with 24GB, the max it can have. But I'll be doing the "leap" now instead of waiting for the M3 Minis. Here's why:

My new M2 Pro vs my current M2:
32GB RAM instead of 16 or 24.
Double memory bandwidth.
6 performance cores instead of 4.
16 GPU cores instead of 10.
(Means it handles 3 displays instead of 2, and has faster refresh rates.)
4 Thunderbolt ports instead of 2.
512GB drive instead of 256GB, and double bandwidth/speed.
HDMI 2.1 instead of 2.0.

After I sell my M2 mini, the transition will cost me about $1500. But I think it's a very solid configuration, and should hold well in value for a number of years.

(The actual cost of the M2 pro mini with 32GB ram from the Apple store here in Norway is about $2400, but you must take into account the bad state of our currency nowadays, our 25% VAT, and our generally very high scandinavian price levels.)

I'm confident that I've made a good choice, and having used the M2 for almost a year, I'm sure I know what I'm getting. It's also very nice that I can simply pull all the plugs from my M2 mini, and insert them into the M2 Pro, and everything will work, like it did with the previous mac mini transitions I've made.
 

Warped9

macrumors 68000
Oct 27, 2018
1,701
2,353
Brockville, Ontario.
I’m debating if I should get the iMac M3 or if I should get a Mac Mini M2 Pro model? Someone on here said that you could do more graphics with the M2 Pro chip than the M3 chip? Is there any truth to that or is the M3 computer the way to go? Also, which model of the IMac is the best one to buy? Is there a big difference between the middle model and the top model? Is the 8gb of memory good enough or should I get 16? I’m mostly using the computer for web browsing, word processing, zoom, email, graphics, and photo/video editing. I’m not a gamer. However, I plan on keeping the computer for 5-7 years.
I sell these things so here is my input based on what you described.

Bottom line, as someone stated above, any M-series Mac will do what you want and then some. One question you might ask yourself is if you can envision any possible changes (in regard to computer needs) in the coming years.

An iMac is a tidy AIO solution, and one that can last you many, many years. I often encounter people with Intel iMacs they’re still using for 5-10 years. And the Intel Macs aren’t as good as the M-series. The main obstacle to an older Mac is eventually you cannot upgrade the OS anymore, but that isn’t a serious issue depending on what you’re doing. My 2011 iMac, for example, is stuck at High Sierra, but the only issue I’ve encountered is Safari no longer recognized with certain websites. You can get around that by using a different browser. Or if you have a more current iPhone or iPad then there is no problem to visit said websites.

If you like the iMac option and want to save money then look into a refurbished M1 from the Apple Store. It’s no different than ordering a brand new machine, but you can save quite a bit of money. And Apple warranties it like a new device. There also remains some flexibility in ordering a device with higher specs to future proof yourself. So you could still get a base 8/256 device or a 16/512 and still save substantially over what it would have cost new or what a new M3 will cost.

Everything I said also largely applies to an M2 Mac Mini Pro. But the Mini option also means you will need a keyboard, a mouse, a sound system and a display (and webcam if the display doesn’t have one). If you already have some or all of those things then you can save money, but if you have to get any or all those accessories the savings advantage starts to disappear. And bear in mind the iMac has an excellent sound system and an excellent display. The iMac’s 4.5K display alone will not be cheap to substitute for.

Consider an M3 iMac only if you think you really need the extra 20 or so percent better performance over the M1. In many respects the M3 will be much on par with the M2 Pro in terms of overall performance. I would recommend the M3 or M2 Pro only if you see yourself getting into more than occasional video editing or 3D modelling.

Yes, the iMacs don’t have a lot of ports, but you can get around that (if necessary) by getting yourself one of those very cool looking docks from Setachi or Minisopuru that fit seamlessly with the iMac. Then you’ll have all the various ports you could need. I plan on going this route.

You may get a lot of strong opinions one way or the other, but ultimately you have to decide for yourself what is important and what works best for you.
 

rebus76

macrumors newbie
Apr 12, 2023
1
0
Bologna, Italy
I have similar doubts. I would like to replace my 27" iMac (late-2015).
My main use is desktop publishing (Adobe suite), with occasional audio/video editing. And office use, of course, but I guess any new machine would be fine with it.

What makes me think about a Mac Mini M2 Pro (16/512):
I do not need keyboard, trackpad, speakers and webcam. I do need a monitor (I accept suggestions) but at least I could get a 27" instead of a 24", and I guess I would still save some money if I don't buy a 5k. I guess a 4k will be decent enough. M2 Pro performance should not be that far from M3.

What makes me think about an iMac M3 (16/512):
Newer processor, better screen (though I'm afraid I would miss the 27").

All things considered, I am convincing myself that the Mini would better suit my needs. Would you agree?
 

Gudi

Suspended
May 3, 2013
4,590
3,267
Berlin, Berlin
Just forget the iMac. As long as you can't use it as an external display, too, it's a colossal waste. Get a Mac Mini M2 Pro and a display of your choice and be done with it.
You can’t use the Mini as a display either! 🤷
Try as much as you can to buy stuff you can swap and repair easily.
That’s a Linux PC box.
Don't consume on style and taste, but on usage only and avoid doing stuff if it is not essential. The planet/ecosystem is in collapse mode because of the former.
From an ecological perspective it is incredibly wasteful to buy and ship display, keyboard, mouse, webcam and speakers in five additional boxes. The UPS truck will need new tires after all the Mac mini buyers have saved the planet. 🌎
 

IngerMan

macrumors 68020
Feb 21, 2011
2,012
903
Michigan
I am typing on my 2018 MM i7, which I purchased in February of 2019. It replaced a 2015 iMac 27". That damn fusion drive in the iMac ruined it for me.

I am waiting today for delivery of the M3 iMac. I have the MM setup with a Dell 38" 4K in my basement, I will use the iMac on the main floor office. My first Apple product was a 2007 20" iMac in which I used until the 2015 iMac replacement.

I am excited to experience the all in one again. I will follow up later with my experience between the 2. I still plan on using this 2018 MM till it dies or becomes obviously slow and annoying. It still feels pretty quick for my use.
 
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Ben J.

macrumors 6502a
Aug 29, 2019
802
484
Oslo
I am typing on my 2018 MM i7, which I purchased in February of 2019. It replaced a 2015 iMac 27". That damn fusion drive in the iMac ruined it for me.

I am waiting today for delivery of the M3 iMac. I have the MM setup with a Dell 38" 4K in my basement, I will use the iMac on the main floor office. My first Apple product was a 2007 20" iMac in which I used until the 2015 iMac replacement.

I am excited to experience the all in one again. I will follow up later with my experience between the 2. I still plan on using this 2018 MM till it dies or becomes obviously slow and annoying. It still feels pretty quick for my use.
I had that mac mini i7 32GB 2018 myself, and it's a very nice and powerful mac. But then I got the M1 mini, and two things were immediately obvious; the overall snappyness and flow, and the coolness and absence of fan noise. My MM i7 could be noisy some times.

I think you'll love the leap.
 
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picpicmac

macrumors 65816
Aug 10, 2023
1,125
1,618
16/512 and still save substantially over what it would have cost new or what a new M3 will cost.
M1 iMac 16/512 is $1559 in refurb store.
M3 iMac 16/512 is $1779 in Education store.

So a savings of $220.

I guess it all comes down to budget.
 

picpicmac

macrumors 65816
Aug 10, 2023
1,125
1,618
very cool looking docks from Setachi or Minisopuru that fit seamlessly with the iMac.
Lots of negative reviews for the Satechi and Minisopuru (as well as the same items under different brand names), arising it appears due to the devices not being powered and people trying to draw too much power through them.

I am looking at the powered Thunderbolt hubs from the likes of OWC.
 

Warped9

macrumors 68000
Oct 27, 2018
1,701
2,353
Brockville, Ontario.
M1 iMac 16/512 is $1559 in refurb store.
M3 iMac 16/512 is $1779 in Education store.

So a savings of $220.

I guess it all comes down to budget.
It can be matter of budget and perspective. For some it‘s an insignificant difference. For others it might be quite a difference they can save and maybe use elsewhere.
 
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