Price Advice iMac/ Mac mini Options

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jcoledavis, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. jcoledavis macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2016
    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I am in desperate need of some help here. I'm eligible for a work computer upgrade and have come down to 3 options that I really can't decide which is the best bang for the buck. I was waiting to see if anything updated at WWDC but can't wait any longer. I turn to you.

    I'm an attorney and spend almost all my time on my desktop usually having multiple documents open at a time and working off Word, Excel, and Acrobat constantly. No real heavy photo, video, etc. Just tons of documents and big .pdfs. I use Office 365 for my main apps and Dropbox for cloud storage.

    I have to submit this to a committee who decides. I'm pretty sure anything over $2k will get rejected and $1800 is the most they have spent. These are all new via Apple BTO except the one model available as a refurb.

    Mac mini: $1,477
    • 2.8GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz)
    • 16GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM
    • 2TB Fusion Drive
    • Intel Iris Graphics
    27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display: $1,899 (I can refurb for $1699)
    • 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    • 8GB 1867MHz DDR3 SDRAM - two 4GB
    • 1TB Fusion Drive
    • AMD Radeon R9 M380 with 2GB video memory
    • I would go out of pocket to upgrade the RAM later via Amazon.
    21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display: $1,999
    • 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    • 16GB 1867MHz LPDDR3
    • 2TB Fusion Drive
    • Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200
    • I would probably offer to go out of pocket a little on this model
    I'm leaning towards the 27" but wanted to see if the more educated had any thoughts.
  2. dwfaust macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    I am here => [•]
    I also like the 27" iMac option... but would seriously consider a different hard drive configuration. The 1TB Fusion is only marginally better than the 1TB spinning drive because Apple only uses a 24GB SSD with that configuration. The 2TB Fusion drive bumps the SSD part up to 128GB and will drastically improve performance... or a straight SSD would also be faster, albeit a pricier option.
  3. jcoledavis thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2016
    I've struggled with that because I know you're right but the extra $200 is going to likely push me beyond my comfort range in going out of pocket on the computer (preventing me from upgrading the RAM) or getting kicked back by my tech committee.

    I have a personal MBA that I use for working from home but this will be owned by my company and not something I want to put too much of my own cash into.

    If I can't get the 2TB Fusion on the 27 what would you do?
  4. marioman38 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Elk Grove, CA
    "having multiple documents open at a time and working off Word, Excel, and Acrobat constantly." Doesn't require 16GB of RAM.....

    Go for the 27" iMac all day, its a no-brainer!
  5. BGBUXA macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2012
    Just for thought, since you are working mostly with documents, my opinion is that the Mac Mini offers everything that you need speculating based on performance to get the job done. Per the Apple Store, for $1,499 you can get the 512GB Flash drive instead of the fusion.

    If you need additional storage maybe use a cloud service? One drive works well with Microsoft products.

    Further, I would look into using a dual monitor set up which can bring you to the $1,800 price point. The extra real estate will allow you to work on multiple docs seamlessly. :)
  6. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Don't overcook the specs if you're just doing Word and Excel.
    No need to cough for the 2.8GHz Mini - the 2.6 will do fine. Spend the money on all-Flash storage and a nice display instead.
    8GB RAM should be fine for office work, too. If you go for the 27" iMac don't rush to buy more RAM.

    1-2TB storage is probably overkill, too. As mentioned, the 1TB Fusion on the iMac has a rather mean SSD portion (not sure about the Mini). Avoid spinning drives on the 21.5-inch iMac and the Mini - they're fairly slow. The 27" hard drive isn't so bad (but I'd still get a SSD if possible).

    I'd go for the 256GB SSD option - the SSD really makes things snappy and 256GB goes a surprisingly long way if you're not doing video, pro audio, games or virtual machines, esp. if you're using cloud storage. I'd have thought that for attorney work you'd need some sort of secure archive (e.g. an external drive locked in a fire safe overnight), not 5 years worth of files sitting on your desktop. Its having the SSD as a system disc that speeds things up (and also mitigates things if you do run short of RAM).

    I'd go for the 27" iMac, and see if you could stretch to $1999 for the 256GB SSD (or find a refurb). Tell 'em you need the big screen because spreadsheets. Or, go for the cheapest all-SSD mini and a nice big screen (or two smaller ones).

    You could also consider a MacBook Air and a nice external (not Apple) display.
  7. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    The 27" retina. WAY more screen real estate; easy to have two documents full sized open at once. If you have to stare at it all day you will really appreciate it; huge difference over non retina. And better ergonomics: you can get up close with say a standing desk. Maybe that'll sway 'em.

    Assuming you have office storage, server or NAS, get it with the SSD though. Even a small one as it won't have that much on it. It will probably be fastest that way. And you can add RAM later if need be.
  8. pjfan macrumors regular

    May 24, 2009
    Columbus OH
    Go with the Retina iMac 27".

    It's obvious that you want to pitch a product that doesn't make you fight for the purchase, so I think the sacrifices aren't that major. Yes, the flash is only 24 GB, but this is for work and it's their computer. I suspect you have an image to maintain and clients coming into your office - an iMac helps with that image.

    One quick note, if my memory serves me right, if you get a pre-October Retina iMac w/ Fusion refurb, it'll have 128 GB flash storage. The flip side, the screen isn't as amazing as the post-October Retina.
  9. kingtj macrumors 68020

    Oct 23, 2003
    Brunswick, MD
    I'm also going to side with the folks who recommend the 27" retina iMac. You can certainly go with the refurbished one for $1699. (Any refurbished Macs purchased direct from Apple are just as good as brand new machines, IMO. I've bought a few and each time, they're indistinguishable from a new product, other than the packaging they're in.)

    I have the most recent model of the Mac Mini over here, although it's the model with the regular 512GB HDD in it (not a Fusion drive). I can tell you this much; it is SLOW doing everything from booting up to launching larger applications. Once things are loaded up, it works ok. But a Fusion drive seems like the bare minimum way you want to configure one of these. I think the best configuration for us will involve simply removing the 512GB HD and putting in a 1TB SSD like a Samsung EVO Pro. Apple has made that process pretty tedious and time-consuming though.

    When you consider the good quality display the new iMac 27" comes with, I think it's a great buy for what you get. The Mac Mini? Not nearly so much ....

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