iMac vs. Mac mini

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Love, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. Love macrumors 68000


    Jan 20, 2007
    Just southeast of Northwestshire
    Before I type this message, don't talk about value. This thread is about what computer is better for ME, not what is better in general. I'll buy a Mac mini if it suits me. I'll buy an iMac if it suits me. If you think the iMac is better for me, suggest it. If you think the Mac mini is better for me, suggest it.

    Alright, my Early 2006 iMac is definitely aging. Sometimes it goes in to random "thinking spells" where the hard drive just accesses and accesses and does that ticking sound for about 5 minutes. My iMac has a Seagate drive, but some come with Maxtors(god forbid).

    It's clearly time for a new computer as this issue didn't seem to be resolved with an OS reinstall. Plus this iMac is getting a bit old.

    I am very OCD, noise bothers me while working. In no sense is my iMac quiet. Sometimes the fans just ramp up in to vacuum cleaner mode for no particular reason, which annoys me and startles me. If they've done something about the noise with the iMac, good, because the seagate drive in my machine is quiet while idling, but whenever it accesses it is really loud and it drives me nuts. For example, it has taken me an hour thus far to write this post due to the distracting noise of the hard disk. For a person who types at exactly 122 words per minute, this is shameful. To cut to the chase, the quieter the better.

    It needs to be fast. My aging iMac core duo, the very first intel iMac announced, is getting quite slow. However I find my brother's MacBook quite fast. He has about the same content on his machine as on mine.

    I just can't get work done on laptops. They make me thing about multiple things, like why is my lap burning with the intensity of 1000 suns, or why did my sperm count just drop, or hmm, before I do that homework I'm gonna watch the extended edition of lord of the rings. Either way, i don't get work done on them. In my fortress of solitude (my room) with a desktop I can focus on my work, so there are 2 desktops in consideration:
    1. The adorable Mac mini

    The Mac mini. It's adorable. It's so small, which is good for tech jobs I occasionally do. I can take the Mac mini around because it is so light, and hook it up to that persons part. if it's quiet, HUGE plus. I already have a display that is doable. It's a bit cheaper, but I can't easily modify it.

    2. The beautiful iMac

    It has an iSight, which could occasionally be useful, but not a requirement. I like the fact it can hold more storage which is good, but external drives are becoming cheaper and cheaper, and mine just died, giving Mac mini a competitive edge. The screen on the iMac is nice, but I prefer matte screens, so my 19 inch Acer display would be good. I like the semi-portability of iMac, but the fact it takes more space on my desk is a downside. I'm pinched for space in my not so spacious room, so that's a good thing. My desk is struggling with my 17 inch machine, so iMagine a 20 inch.

    I'd be ordering both of these with a Apple wireless keyboard and mouse.

    So chime in, and help me pick. I like the iMac all in one form, but I like the Mac mini a lot too.
  2. molintorch macrumors member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Oregon, USA
    I'll chime in regarding mini's since I have one. Its in my kitchen in the corner on the breakfast bar area. I have a 15 inch HP LCD attached via dvi running 1024x768 and the plexiglass style keyboard and might mouse. I purchase an external drive using same footprint as mini that sits under it. With that in mind...

    I use it for all sorts of things. Its a guest station for friends and family. I store my music and movie collection on the external drive to stream to my 360 wirelessly using connect 360. I run Mac the Ripper on the weekends, the queue up handbrake during the week to slowly convert my DVD collection. At one point in 2006, my dell gaming laptop was out for service and I played WoW in the mini with settings turned down, but acceptable framerate (25-30). Its also my sync station for my iphone, and stores my digital photos.

    Really I use it as a basic file server in many ways. Sometime, like running handbrake or wow, I hear the fan spin up but its no where near the volume of my mbp when playing games (mbp is much louder). All in all its a great little system and I have never had any issues with it. Its not a mac pro for processing power, but it does what I ask :)
  3. lil' brudder macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Sounds to me like the mac mini would be best suited for you. Besides the fact that the mini is cheaper (I know you didn't want me to mention that - oops? :p ) You already have that 19" acer monitor which you said you liked because of the matte finish. As molintorch has, you can get an external hard drive that has the same footprint and is designed specifically for the mac mini which oftentimes also has additional usb/firewire ports. As long as the iSight and wireless-N aren't big deals to you, seems like the mini owns all in about all regards other than speed and expandability. (you might consider waiting a little bit to see if apple is going to release any new imacs/minis if you can help it)
  4. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    The mini is silent most of the time, but whenever doing anything that might require more power than websurfing it kicks into overdrive and is really quite loud because of its little fan that has to howl like a banshee from hell just to push air. When I had a mini it really annoyed me, I much preffered the constant whoosh of the fans from my PC that always stayed the same volume rather than going from total silence to random blasts.
  5. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    I have both.

    I prefer my iMac.

    I wanted to replace my old Dell 8200 and decided to try a Mini since I already had everything. In the end, I ended up spending what I could have purchased an iMac for.

    The one downside to the Mini is that you have all the ugliness of a PC, meaning there are wires everywhere. I really got tired of that with my old PC's and really love my iMac sitting in my kitchen with just the power wire going to the outlet. You can minimize it with the wireless mouse/keyboard, but its still there. External drive cables, monitor cable, in my case an iSight cable and printer cable, etc.

    The iMac has a bit better speakers for those times you don't want to use the externals, built in iSight, monitor controls work from the keyboad. Little things that all add up.

    I have issues with streaming video at certain sites that I never had with my iMac. I think that graphics card really helps. Other than that, I haven't had any other issues with my mini.

    The mini is small, but it still sits on the desk along with your monitor, taking up more room. The iMac is at least lifted off the desk and gives a much smaller footprint overall.

    I guess my conclusion is really about aesthetics and not so much about performance.

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