iMac vs Mini vs Other

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Toucansma, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. Toucansma macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2001
    #1
    Currently have a 2011 iMac i5 21.5 with with SSD. Speed wise its fine. However with my job i need more screen real estate (ex: two documents size by side, browsers, side by side, etc.)

    Looked at 34" 21:9 monitors and I am really intrigued by them. My dilemma is I can either:
    1. Add another 21" monitor to iMac to match it (aesthetically looks a little odd though)
    2. Sell iMac, get a 2012 Mac Mini (add ram, ssd) w/34" monitor
    3. Sell iMac, get a 2014 Mac Mini w 34" monitor
    4. 27" retina iMac

    I don't have enough money to go for Mac Pro. Issues, not sure if I want to get a 12 Mac Mini and sink money into a 4 year old computer. New mac Minis seem so underwhelming, and you have to spend a lot to get what you want in it (RAM, SSD, unless external). Same with 27" iMac, 1tb fusion is underwhelming, but the 21:9 seems better suited to me for multiple docs compared to the 27". Really don't want to go Windows as all my stuff is Apple (been using them since the 90s). Any suggestions or am I being overly picky?
     
  2. Algus macrumors regular

    Algus

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    Jun 8, 2014
    Location:
    Arizona
    #2
    27'' retina iMac is one of the best deals Apple is currently offering. Yes, it is very expensive but you get a full computer including a 5k display when most other vendors are selling their 5k displays for $1500+

    The cheapest solution for you is going to be to buy another monitor. Are your professional needs limited to just office work? If that is the case, a Mac mini (either variant) will be fine. If you need some of the iMac's higher end hardware like the quad core CPU or graphics card, you'll definitely be disappointed by switching to a Mac mini.

    Without knowing what hardware you have, etc. I would guess the 27'' iMac is the only real upgrade you are considering. The minis will be downsizing to a lesser computer.
     
  3. Toucansma thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 14, 2001
    #3
    Yeah. Some light movie editing/multimedia. Mostly office work, some VMs as well. The only thing with the 27", do you think its suited well for multiple windows (I know its 27" so that sounds silly)/productivity in terms of screen real estate?
     
  4. Algus macrumors regular

    Algus

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    #4
    Yeah I mean the higher resolution you go the more workspace you have. And on a larger screen everything is actually legible. My desktop use the thunderbolt display which is a 27'' 1440p screen an the amount of space I have is absolutely insane. I can easily use four windows comfortably if I need to.
     
  5. Toucansma thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 14, 2001
    #5
    Awesome, thanks Algus. I will check it out some more. The only thing that seems to be a pain are the drives on it. I don't know if I would go 2TB or go full SSD (or just plug in an external).
     
  6. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 8, 2008
    Location:
    Zurich, Switzerland
    #6
    The 2014 Mini can drive two 34" 3440x1440 displays. That's probably the only advantage it has over the 2012 model ;-)
    While the 2012 is four years old, it really comes down to what you want to do with it.
    If you don't need all the CPU-power, the entry-level i5 models aren't that expensive (well, as far as Apple 2nd-hand gear is concerned). Maybe you find a basic model somewhere that you can upgrade yourself (which would have the added advantage that nobody else has opened and potentially fubar'ed it before you).

    These days, I would probably also go with a 27" Retina iMac - but I would rather have something like the MacPro without the GPU-power. Of course, such a system doesn't make sense for Apple because apart from those few here who voice their malcontent about the non-existence of such a machine, few else buyers would show up.
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #7
    Personally, I'd go for iMac over the Mini,
    Better CPU (quad core), better GPU (discrete GPU)
    You get one of the best 5k monitors out there
    Ram is user upgradeable in the 27" iMac.

    Overall, I think you get the best bang for your buck :D
     
  8. Alrescha macrumors 68020

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    Jan 1, 2008
    #8
    Seconded. As fond as I have been for the Mini (and of separate components in general), you can't beat the iMac for price/performance.

    A.
     
  9. Daisy81, Jan 17, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016

    Daisy81 Suspended

    Daisy81

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    Dec 29, 2015
    Location:
    Virginia
    #9
    If you are doing only light video editing and running VMs I think you would be ok with a 2012 Mac Mini. The only thing is they are starting to get a little old. The new Mac Mini is better then the base 2012 Mac Mini. In that regard it would be enough to do light video editing but rendering the videos will take a long time. You could probably also run a VM but I wouldn't try running more then one at once on it. Even with the age of the 2012 Mac Mini you would probably be happier with it (Edit: the quad core) then the 2014 unless you intend to use it for light gaming because the 2014 is marginally better.

    However if you can swing it a base 27" iMac Retina with a 2GB Fusion drive upgrade would be better then any Mac Mini available.

    What is your budget for your machine?

    Keep in mind if you are going to get a Mini you will need a monitor. You'll spend at least $500 getting a half decent 4K monitor. Don't forget to factor that into the cost of your Mini if you go that route.
     
  10. robgendreau macrumors 68030

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #10
    Factor in ergonomics.

    Everyone who had a desktop in the past would sit about 28" away, since the PPI of monitors was sorta static. They just got bigger, going to a different aspect, etc.

    But with retina and other high res monitors, that's changed. Consider that you can get almost the same screen real estate on a retina iPad as you do on that 21.5" iMac, but it's WAY smaller. The difference? you hold the iPad closer to your eyes.

    That same effect is now true with desktop monitors as well. The retina distance for a 5k iMac, eg, is 16". If you sit 32" away, you might as well use a non-retina iMac. Indeed, the limiting factor now is whether the screen is so wide you get front-row-theater whiplash. A 5k iMac up close also leaves little room for another monitor; I use a 2.5k next to a 5k, but I use a standing desk and can adjust for the different retina distances.

    So before you waste money on a high res monitor that might have to sit too far away, assess your working environment.
     
  11. Alrescha, Jan 17, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016

    Alrescha macrumors 68020

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    #11
    I beg to differ. I've never sat 28" away from a monitor in my life.
     
  12. Toucansma thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 14, 2001
    #12
    Around $1800 at most. Yeah I was concerned putting a ton of money in a 4 year old computer.
     
  13. Daisy81, Jan 17, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016

    Daisy81 Suspended

    Daisy81

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    #13
    you could get:

    1. $1800 13" rMBP with 2.9GHz Core i5, 512GB SSD, 8GB Ram and Intel Iris 6100 this is portable and you could use you 2011 iMac in target mode like the mini. You can hook up a second monitor to it and drive two displays from it easily.
    2. $1700 Mac Mini with 3GHz dual core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD and Intel Iris and you can use your iMac in target mode as a monitor and the keyboard/mouse I the mini. You can hook up a second display in addition to the iMac display and get more real estate.
    3. $1800 base retina 27" iMac. Keep in mind this drive is not a fusion or SSD but it is the only one that has a discreet graphics chip. Lots of real estate and you can use the old iMac in target mode as a second screen for it.
    Or instead of buying a new iMac you could buy a Thunderbolt Display for $1000 and add a second screen to your current iMac.
     
  14. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #14
    I just measured my desk and low and bohold, I'm about 28" from my monitor. I think when I'm in the office, I'm even further away. I hate being so close to a monitor.

    What's your distance, are you closer or father?
     
  15. Daisy81 Suspended

    Daisy81

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    #15
    Eye balling it I would say my monitor is about a foot away from the edge of my desk. I'm not right up on my desk I'd guess I'm about another 6" to a foot further back depending on if I'm leaning back or sitting up straight. That is 18 Inches to 24". I don't think 28" is a out lands distance especially for a big screen.

    You would have to be blind as a bat to be 6 inches away from a 27" screen. :D or leaning forward with your elbow on the desk.
     
  16. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #16
    Yes and Yes :)

    I actually have the iMac scaled so the text is a bit larger then the default because I am blind as a bat
     
  17. Daisy81 Suspended

    Daisy81

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    #17
    Without my glasses my head would have to be smacking into the monitor to read it. It's horrible. Thank God for glasses.

    That said I think as long as you can see the screen and your back isn't screaming at you it's all good. :D
     
  18. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #18
    Closer. The bezel of my display is 16" from the edge of my desk(1). When sitting in a working position that puts my eyes ~20" away from the screen. I'm sure that there are folks who work farther away than that, I'm just not one of them.

    A.

    (1) It's only that far away because I moved it back in response to this thread. If I tried to put it back to 28", the back foot of the display would drop off the back edge of the desk and the whole thing would end up on the floor. :)
     

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