iMac or mini?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Hamburger, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. Hamburger macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2011
    I have read the countless threads in the iMac and the mini forums, but I am still not quite sure what to do.

    I made the big mistake of not maxing out my 11'' MBA two years ago and am now seeing beachballs in iPhoto and other prgrammes, so I am looking at a new purchase which is to be future-proof and last several years.

    Compared to most people here I am more or less a casual user: word processing, a little iPhoto, internet, mail, Facebook etc...

    I have the 24'' ACD, wireless keyboard and trackpad, so I am considering the Mini.
    Would the base model with RAM upgrade to 8GB be sufficient or is the 2.3 GHz mid-Mini a better idea? I would also upgrade the RAM there and am toying with fushion drive or SSD because I am spoilt by the speed of the SSD in the MBA. Such a setup would set me back around 1200 euros.

    But I also quite like the new iMac. I assume the screen is better and has less glare than the ACD. The 27'' is too big for me but the downside is that the base 21'' seems to have no option to include fushion or SSD. The high-end model is pricier and with fushion or SSD would probably cost 1800

    As far as a clean setup is concerned, I would prefer the iMac, it would probably have the better screen as well. Is it also faster than the mini?

    decisions, decisions ... so ideas are welcome, thanks in advance
  2. Spink10 Suspended


    Nov 3, 2011
    Base Mac Mini - upgrade RAM yourself. Considering everything you have.
  3. mrlhxc macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2010
    You could easily go with the base model. The 2.3 Quad i7 might really future-proof yourself though. I personally wouldn't get a iMac unless you are buying a high-end model like the 27" but then you are spending alot of money and you don't even want that anyway. I've actually been really happy with MacMini (2.5Ghz 2011). I got it because i used my 13" mbp in clamshell mode like 90% of the time. Sold the MBP and bought the MacMini. I also worked with a ACHT and he said the MacMini is one of the best macs because its decently powered for everyday stuff and a little more, but if something breaks like the RAM or HDD you can replace yourself. The iMacs are getting harder and harder to replace, these new ones are probably a nightmare to fix. If you can swing it i would get the 2.3 Quad i7 and upgrade the memory yourself. I just got 16GB of RAM in my Macmini for $70 bucks from newegg. It took 2 minuets to install (including turning off the mac :) ) Next is an SSD upgrade....someday.
  4. Lampmeister macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2009
    Fort Worth
    The new Mac mini sounds great, and I think you'd be more than happy providing you max out the RAM. The main plus to the iMac is that gorgeous display, but the mini would surely be cheaper.
  5. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    Go ahead and get the Mac Mini and just get a TBD in the future.

    I love my 2011 27in iMac, but it'd be must easier to upgrade if I had just gone Mac Mini and TBD (though more expensive, surely). I think the modularity is worth the price, especially if you like having the newest architectures/chips/etc.

    Only downside I can think of is the HD4000 vs the dGPU in iMac. Not sure how they compare or if that's important to you though.
  6. Hamburger thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2011
    thanks everybody, and yes, I also believe that the Mini is the better option. Now I just have to make up my mind which one and how much upgrade ...

    But first I plan to have a look at the other Mini, the iPad. That could finally replace my iPad1.
  7. MacSignal macrumors regular

    May 8, 2010
    Suspect reliability makes the iMac a dubious consideration for future-proofing beyond the three years of AC that you can get for it. I would recommend waiting for the next TBD update and pairing it with a Mac Mini. TBD can work well for you through multiple Mac upgrades and the Mini will be relatively easier to sell when you need a more powerful version. Good luck!
  8. Jacque macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2011
    I was in the same boat and almost purchased a 2.6GHz Mac Mini on Friday. However, when I looked at the specifications for the graphics -- HD4000, I was discouraged. I did not want to have a fast machine that had such poor performance as the HD4000. As a result, I decided to wait on the iMAC.

    Is the graphic output for MAC Mini really a problem? Would that be the turning point in a decision between a MAC Mini or an iMAC?
  9. Hamburger thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2011
    I wouldn't mind the TBD, especially a new version with anti-glare. But 27'' is simply too much for my working environment. I wish they would do a 24'' version, or even 21'' which would be good enough for me.
    But overall my 24'' ACD is fine, and it is compatible with the new Mini.
    Apart from that I agree, Mini appears to be the better option, and as someone else said in another thread, if there is something wrong with the Mini you can still hook up a laptop to the display.
  10. Miat macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2012
    There is nothing wrong with the current generation of Intel iGPUs, they work fine.

    Sure, they have their limits, like all technology. Still not so good at serious gaming or pro video work. But I doubt that the vast majority of comp users will run into those limits very often.

    Main 'issue' with iGPUs is making sure your comp has plenty of RAM. If Apple are going to use iGPUs then their base level of RAM should be 8 GB. (Should be that anyway these days.)
  11. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Whatever you get, get it with a fusion drive. If you get a 21.5" iMac, customize it with 16GB of RAM at the time that you buy it to avoid the regret you are now having with your MacBook Air. The base 21.5" iMac, as it has always been, will be crap and not worth your time. Same goes for the base model Mac mini. Or rather, let me put it this way; they'll be great for today, but they won't have the future-proofing that the higher-end models will afford you. If you get the iMac, there's certainly no reason you cannot attach the 24" ACD to it as a second display. Though as far as actual oomph, it sounds like you don't need more than the Mac mini. In which case, customize the higher-end model with the Fusion drive; buy your RAM after-market, and call it all a day.
  12. Jacque macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2011
    Thank you for the response. Good information.
  13. numlock macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2006
    im in the same boat.

    have a 21" i3 imac and want a bigger display and was thinking about the cheaper 27" model.

    actually my requirements are just a bigger display and a little faster and newer technology. no serious gaming or such requirements.

    if i would get a mini what displays would be the ones to check out?
  14. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2011
    The best choice would be a 27" Apple Thunderbolt Display. I am very happy with my 2011 Mac mini + 27" Apple Cinema Display.
  15. Hamburger thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2011
    Thanks. Yes, I am considering fusion, but also 256 SSD aftermarket. After all, I even have 30GB space on the 128 SSD in the MBA. Just don't have that much data and don't foresee that to change.
    I am basically set to get the mid-range Mini, but will still wait and have a first-hand look at the 21.5'' iMac once its in store. Just in case the screen blows me away.
  16. k.alexander macrumors regular


    Jul 14, 2010
    Based on OP's description--you want a mini. I HIGHLY recommend getting the i7 2.3 model for future proofing. You can get 16gb ram yourself for $50. Go fusion drive or just add an SSD yourself when you need it.

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