iMac or Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Allana, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. Allana macrumors newbie


    Feb 13, 2015
    So if you had to choose between the 21.5 inch 4k iMac with 1TB space and fusion OR the new Mac mini with 3.0GHz processor and 256 GB storage with would you pick and why ?
  2. ZMacintosh macrumors 65816


    Nov 13, 2008
    first question would be why between those two models? is it a budget thing or just availability? what are you doing with it..need to account for space constraints (is it going to be on a desk, tucked away, etc)..too many unknowns.

    my first instinct would be go with the iMac as it has a dedicated GPU and a nice 4K display, where with the Mac mini you need to account for a display and possible dedicate GPU if you're tasks require it. Although the mini specs are quite amazing..I think the iMac still offers a good all around package.
  3. bhargavak macrumors newbie


    Aug 4, 2016
    The iMac 4k (Maybe with a 256-512GB SSD though). Add a 4k display, Apple KB & Magic mouse2 to the Mini and you'll be shooting over the price of the iMac specs above. Although I would wait for an iMac refresh with 8th gen processors (Speculate that the entry ones might come with SSD storage as default).
  4. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    OK - first, forget the fusion drive on the iMac - it has a measly 24GB SSD portion and a not-particularly fast hard drive. Go the extra $100 for a proper 256GB SSD (which is what you'd get on the i5 Mini).

    The iMac is unbeatable value if you like the display (note its a "true 4k" 4096x2304 display rather than the not-quite-4k UHD 3840x2160 you get on most "4k" displays) and don't mind having the computer built in (which stops you using that great display with any other hardware).

    The Mini should give you more choice over displays (5k, multiple 4k, multiple 2k, ultra-wide etc.) but unfortunately its been saddled with a fairly feeble integrated GPU that might have limitations even at 2d work with multiple 4k screens, especially if you want to use "scaled" mode - so you want to pick a display that's either small enough to use in pixel-doubled "looks like 1080p" (20-23" 4k) mode or large enough to use in 1:1 4k mode (30"+ 4k) - or pick standard def displays. Of course, if you fork out for an external GPU then you can have a better GPU than the iMac (and another box on your desk) but its sounding like the scenario of wanting a GPU just good enough to drive a couple of ~27" 4k displays for "real estate" during 2D work is the Mini's weak spot.

    Otherwise, the Mini should out-perform the iMac on tasks that are CPU-heavy but don't need the GPU.
  5. Allana thread starter macrumors newbie


    Feb 13, 2015
    I thought if you didn’t get the fusion ( wich is 100 dollars extra) that it was much slower ?? Thanks for your input
  6. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    No, there’s the model with 1TB hard drive (don’t even think about it), then there’s the 1TB Fusion (a hard drive with a small SSD cache) for $100, then the 256GB SSD for $200 (or a 512GB SSD for $400).

    Yes, the SSD gives you less storage, but is all super-fast SSD - 256G ensures you can get the OS, all of your Apps, temporary files etc. on the SSD, which is where the big speed increase comes from. For many purposes it will leave you ample space for your working documents too. For bulky files, like movie, music and photo libraries, archived files etc. use whatever combination of external hard drives, networked storage or cloud suits you. Well, anyway that’s the suggestion (and it’s what you’d need to do with the Mini, anyhow).
  7. ignatius345 macrumors 68000

    Aug 20, 2015
    Yeah, Fusion Drives with larger SSDs are pretty great (my iMac's FD has a 128GB SSD combined with a 1TB HDD and it's generally very fast) but they seriously skimp on the smaller ones. It's a very cheap and lame move on Apple's part.

    Also, on a desktop if you find yourself needing extra storage, a 1TB SSD external can be had very cheaply these days...
  8. worldvga macrumors member


    Nov 21, 2018
    In terms of specs, the iMac is a better deal than theMac mini because it features more modern processors, more RAM, and better graphics. It also features an integrated monitor and comes with both a wireless keyboard and mouse. However, if you want an HDMI port, the Mac mini offers one

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  9. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2015
    San Jose, CA
    Won't dispute the better graphics bit, but the new Mac mini actually has a newer (and slightly more powerful) CPU selection than the current 21" iMac and the 2018 mini can support double the RAM compared to the 21" iMac.
  10. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    You may want to think short term and slightly down the line. (If I have an error below, please do correct.)

    With the 21" iMac, you get the screen at a set size, RAM and a CPU. The rest is expandable.via external addition.
    eGPU, more drive space and a larger monitor if desired.

    With the Mac Mini - if you know how to, you can upgrade the RAM yourself, while the CPU remains the same as well as your need to get a keyboard, mouse/touchpad and monitor. You can add eGPU, more drive space, run more than one monitor etc.

    So what it comes down to is what do you want today since you can again, down the line expand/add/upgrade. For me, I would focus on what cannot be upgraded (CPU, internal drive, RAM on the iMac etc.) to help make a decision along with of course, $$$ sweet spot.

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