iMac vs Mac Mini

Discussion in 'iMac' started by smacks, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. smacks macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2012
    Well it is time to buy a new CPU. The wife is pushing towards Apple despite myself being a PC guy my whole life, since back in the Dos days.

    So I caved... With the new expected refreshes next week and me never have used an Apple product since maybe playing "Lemonade" back in the early 80s in grade school, so I have some questions.

    1. I was leaning towards the Mac Mini as an entry point into the apple world, but after figuring in the cost of the Mini and then needing the 27" screen (gotta have that!) and all the other things like keyboard, mouse, DVD etc... I started thinking that it may just be best to get a new iMac. Thoughts?

    2. Have iMacs generally been good products? Meaning, on my PC if something went wrong, monitor, HD, sound etc... I could just replace it. On an iMac it seems as though if the monitor goes bad in 2 years, the whole thing is junk. Whereas a Mini with a separate monitor may have other uses down the line as hand downs to kids.

    3. What would you experienced apple gurus recommend to a Windows guy? Cost isn't a big concern, nor is space, but I don't want to be wasteful either if the iMac is complete overkill. As far as use, I could see some home video editing, music DJ, photo stuff, internet, youtube as well as Minecraft, school projects etc.. for kids

    Thanks, and looking forward to the switch, now it is just a question of which one?

  2. Huginnmuninn macrumors regular


    Oct 8, 2011
    This is the iMac forum. Guess what people are going to recommend. ;)

    FYI new iMac is rumored to be without a Superdrive either.

    If you're a PC guy your whole life you may already have keyboard, mouse and monitor. Mac Mini might be all you need.

    I'm not a fan of Apple's $999 monitor/Thunderbolt hub. I'd rather get an equivalent (or better, with non-glossy display) non-hub monitor from Dell or Samsung for $700-$800. (But again, if you've already got a monitor there's no rush to get a new one.)

    Personally I prefer the iMac. But there doesn't seem to be a burning reason for you to choose one if you've got peripherals you could connect to the Mac Mini ... saving quite a bit of money in the process.
  3. skyenet macrumors regular


    Jun 26, 2012
    Near Glasgow - Scotland
    I have both an 2009 27" iMac and a 2011 Mac Mini. If you are are wanting a great home system then I think the iMac is the best bet, and is likely to have better performance and storage options. The 27" display is amazing and the wireless Keyboard and Mouse work, and look great. It will also last many years. My 2007 iMac 24" has been on 24/7 and has not missed a beat and still running the very latest OSX. They hold their value well.

    I use my Mac Mini between home and my work. I just transport it between both locations in a small notebook bag along with a wireless mouse and keypad (neither as good or reliable as the Apple equivalents). AT home I use a HDMI to DVI connector to a HP 2311X monitor and the display is fine, though nowhere near the quality and clarity of the 27". Using Airplay and an Apple TV it can also connect to my 50' Plasma which is handy (but so could a modern iMac). AT work I use a HDMI to VGA with any monitor I can borrow. At home it only gets used for work stuff as I far prefer my 27" iMac.
  4. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    iMacs will almost always be more cost efficient and more powerful to boot. A better deal overall.
  5. Nandifix macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2012
    Yep, iMac is a better deal if you dont already have the screen, keyboard, mouse etc..
  6. JRoDDz macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2009
    Get an iMac and get Applecare. That will cover anything wrong with monitor or any other hardware for 3 years. I have my early 2009 24" iMac and it still runs great just like the day I bought it.
  7. chuckd83 macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2010
    Does the Mac Mini contain a mobile processor while the iMac a desktop?
  8. iMcLovin macrumors 68000


    Feb 11, 2009
    if you ask in the iMac forum, people will say iMac. If you ask in the mac mini forum you will hear mini. So, I guess it depends on what you would like to hear :D
  9. Nandifix macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2012
  10. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I went from PC to Mac when Apple switched to Intel because I need to run some Windows-only programs. My wife switched 3 years earlier. We now each have our own iMacs and MacBooks, and there are two Mac minis as entertainment centers and a third as a server. Our daughter also has an iMac and MacBook hand-me-downs. Nothing here is brand new, but I'm certainly familiar with the models.

    The iMac is certainly the best buy. Every iMac we've bought, including the original one bought late 2004 is still in use (the two oldest are no longer here but friends have them). These two have needed power supply replacement and a new hard drive, respectively. The newer ones (three of them) have had no repairs and are 3, 3, and 4 years old. I'd recommend Applecare if you don't like to take risks, however my experience over many systems is that it probably isn't really worth the cost.

    Try out the base model 27". It will probably be fine. You can save some more money by buying a refurbished one from Apple.

    The Mac minis don't feel as satisfying to use as personal computers (two of mine are the base models, and the third is the server model) because they feel sluggish. Slower hard drives and the embedded graphics hurt performance as does the mobile CPU. In my case they are perfect for entertainment servers (running Plex) connected to monitors and operated using remotes, and the server system runs without keyboard/mouse/monitor.
  11. 12dylan34 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2009
    If the monitor goes bad in 2 years, you just get a new monitor. Just because it's not separate with its own casing doesn't mean you have to junk the whole machine for 1 part that goes bad. Just requires some disassembly.
  12. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Seconded, Applecare is a lifesaver for those sorts of situations (and can be had legally and cheaply on eBay). And I've got a 2007 iMac that I still use as a productive work machine.

    I'd say to see what the specs on the new machines are and evaluate from there. The all-in-one form factor of the iMac is really nice, especially if it's in public view, and there's a surprising amount of horsepower. The Minis really are decently powerful these days, and for most folks will be just fine powerwise, but you'll get generally better performance out of the iMac.

    I'm in the market for a new machine myself and am debating the two as well, if there's a significant boost in the video card for the Mini this time around I'll give it a serious look, otherwise it'll most like be iMac for me.
  13. dazey macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2005
    Mac Minis do seem to last well, I am still running a 2005 G4 mini as a server, I don't think it has been off for more than a day or so in the 7 years. They have the advantage that there is less to go wrong and once they are too slow to be used as a main machine, they are small enough and power efficient enough that you can tuck them anywhere. Mine was used as my parents home entertainment server for many years and then I inherited it and use it for off-site backups.
  14. midorix, Oct 19, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012

    midorix macrumors member

    Nov 23, 2007
    Only thing is what happens if anything goes wrong after warranty expires on your Imac? I'm assuming you want your mac to last longer than 3 to 4 years and some of the display issues on Imac is somewhat concerning.

    I've got 2007 IMAC that now has display issue. Estimated cost to repair by Apple is $700+.
    I'm trying the refurbished monitor from Ebay route to address the issue which still costs $300.
    FYI, I did have Applecare, I purchased the Imac with AMEX to extend that warranty for one additional year, and I'm still upset that I have to replace the LCD with less than 5 years of use.

    Because of this and as I'll be in the market for another mac soon, I'm considering the Mini. If I had a Mini, I can get a brand new monitor much cheaper.
  15. MacVault macrumors 65816

    Jun 10, 2002
    Planet Earth
    I was thinking of getting an iMac but I want 2 or 3 identical 27 or 30 inch LCD screens - and I want them to LOOK identical. If I get an iMac, my 2nd or 3rd screens will NOT match the iMac screen due to the ugly CHIN on the bottom - UNLESS the new iMac does away with the CHIN - PLEASE GOD!

    How many 30" screens will the iMac and Mac Mini support? Will they drive 3?

    Last question.. are there any large retina LCDs out there from other manufacturers yet?
  16. Mister Bumbo macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2012
    I'd say the Mini is not really up to that task. The high end iMac should be good for it. If you can wait for the 2013 Mac Pro, it would fit your needs better than an iMac perhaps if you want identical monitors. (As I suspect you do more than surfing if you need 2-3 screens.)
  17. Yamcha macrumors 68000

    Mar 6, 2008
    Yup, I think your better of getting the iMac, you'll get more performance for the money your paying, and I think If you decide to get wireless keyboard & mouse with the Mac Mini + Cinema Display It'll probably cost you a bit more then the iMac..

    I would just get extra Apple Care warranty..
  18. toddbanng macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2012
    Wait on new iMac

    Probably already covered, but what are most folks saying the new iMac will feature.
    I've heard thinner display and non-glare glass, IvyBridge is almost certain, and
    better graphics with Radeon 7000 series cards.
    I've had it with Windows and building a new machine every 3-4 years - family needs/wants something that just plain runs - and I still have an iBook G4 that still runs great, has never died that the kids use for internet research.

    Anyone think the "old" models will go on sale - or just get replaced with the newer model?
    I may DB with W7 if needed, but not sure if W8 would run on a new iMac (assume it would)

    Thoughts, suggestions

    Machine used primarily for managing photos/videos, Office docs of all types and MMORPG games like WOW (Does WOW play nice on a Mac???)

  19. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Wait a couple of hours and most of your questions will be answered on the Front Page.

    The price of refurbished models (which will also include discontinued models) drops when new models are released, although the full droppage (?) only occurs when the new models also make it to the refurbished store. I've gotten as much as 1/3 off that way.
  20. mojothemonkey macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2005
    I keep saying it, I would LOVE it if the mac mini came with a respectable GPU option (and for mobile GPU chips, that means either the 7970M or 680M) that can run a serious game from time to time. I would buy 1 maxed out Mini and 2 Thunderbolt displays and just move the computing unit to whichever space I felt like working or gaming at, depending on what the family was up to and what space was being used.

    Not enough to make this an obvious laptop choice, but perhaps once a week.
  21. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Seriously, at this point it's a bit silly to ask what people think it's going to have :) Let's hang out for an hour or so and see.

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