iMac or iMac mini? £1500 budget

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Abiyork, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. Abiyork macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2012
    Hi everyone,

    Looking to purchase my first Apple computer, and can't decide which to get.

    I like the look of the iMacs (who doesn't) but can't help but feel that for the money of the bottom spec 27" I could do better with other options.

    I'm a photographer and will be using the computer for 75% lightroom and 20% photoshop and the remaining 5% for browsing and itunes etc.

    I have a good calibrated monitor already so was considering the top spec Mac Mini upgraded to i7 and 16GB Ram which will have the fusion drive too. That totals £1125 (after 6% work discount) saving £325 on the lowest spec 27" iMac.

    Whilst that machine is obviously better spec is it necessary or would the iMac i5, 8GB, standard 1TB drive still be ok for my needs?

    Cheers for any input.
  2. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014
    Well whatever you do don't cheap out on a standard HD. Fusion or all SSD.

    Best option money wise is a 2012 Mac Mini(used or new), add in SSD and 16 GB of RAM. o=
  3. quickcalibre macrumors regular


    Sep 20, 2013
    Oh iMac all the way.

    For £1,500 you could go with the 21.5-inch: 2.9GHz version and upgrade it to 1TB Fusion Drive.

    You can do ram anytime in the future, as it's extremely easy to do and cheaper.

    It might be worth spending a little extra to upgrade it bit more, but up to you.

    Or you can go second hand and get a year or two past versions.

    I have a maxed out 2011 iMac and it's still an amazing computer.
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Nope you can't upgrade the RAM on a 21.5" iMac. Although it's not soldered, taking apart the entire display just to get to the RAM slots isn't worth the trouble.
  5. rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
    I agree. This is by far the most value for money if you already have a good screen.
    The only downside to it is the GPU, which can be relevant for the work you are doing.

    Do you think you will benefit from a dual screen? Most of the time I prefer a single screen setup, but for photography it has some benefits.
  6. koulmj Suspended


    Mar 18, 2013
    I'm with this suggestion, sometimes I wish i had gone for a Mini and just added a Dell Monitor that I happen to have laying around + SSD and some ram.
  7. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    you can go with current Mac mini with 3 ghz i7, 16 Gb RAM and 1T Fusion Drive at $1399
  8. Abiyork thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2012
    Many thanks for your responses.

    Where would I pick up a new 2012 Mac mini?

    I can see a refurb may be a possibility if I keep my eye open.


    That's what I mentioned in my first post Serben, but I'm being told there is more value for money with older versions or in an iMac which holds more value in any future sale etc
  9. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    or i will sell you for 1500$ my imac 27" 4ghz i7, 16 gb RAm,, 512 SSD and R9 295x
  10. Mr Kram macrumors 68020

    Mr Kram

    Oct 1, 2008
    i would guess that if you had access to a monitor, you could more mini than iMac for the same money.
  11. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014
    Blah….$1400 for a fusion drive mini?

    Refurb quad core i7 mini -$590
    16 GB RAM - $130
    1TB Samsung SSD - $400
    Total - $1120
  12. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014
    Do you have an Amazon account? They might have some 2012 Mini's there.

    My main issue with a new mini is they get expensive when you add in 16 GB ram and a fusion drive. At that point i'd rather shell out a little more for a refurb fusion 27" iMac. The iMac is a much better're getting a screen, desktop cpu, separate graphics card and the ability to load it up with 32 GB RAM. Mini's are good deals if you can configure them loaded for under a $1,000 which you can't do with the 2014 models.
  13. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Others disagree, but I'm not a fan of buying a dual core for photo stuff, since Adobe products can make effective use of more cores. The mini seems rather expensive for what you get. Here's a good comparison of geekbench speed vs the quad 2012 minis; bear in mind you need something that makes use of those cores but I bet you do:

    I would consider a refurb MBP. There are a bunch in the UK Apple Store. For example, a 2.0 quad core retina 15" is £1189. And you can go faster; the 2.0 includes a 256 SSD; for £1700 you could get a 2.5 with better graphics AND a 512 SSD. These would be way faster mulitcore than the 2014 mini; see

    You'd get a much better machine IMHO, it would still be relatively small and easy to use with your existing setup. A mini is sort of a headless laptop anyway.
  14. quickcalibre macrumors regular


    Sep 20, 2013
    Oh darn, news to me.

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