iMac vs Mini

wecksell

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 4, 2018
5
3
The new iMacs have me in a shopping mood, but here's the question:

A 21" iMac with 16 GB ram, 256 GB SSD, and a Vega 20 is $2150.

A mini with 16 GB ram, 128 GB SSD, eGPU case (with an internal eSATA port) and Radeion 580 is $1840. I can get a 4K monitor that's larger than 21" for under the remaining $310, and then I've got a less elegant and integrated system, but one that can be upgraded over the years - new GPU, new external SSD, etc.

What are people's thoughts on going iMac vs mac mini/eGPU?

I like the idea of putting an SSD into the eGPU box, and I'm discounting the cost of the keyboard and mouse that come included with the iMac because I have a few lying around. I know the RX 580 is slower than a Vega 20, but in two or three years a next generation GPU will be a $250 upgrade whereas on the iMac it'd be impossible to change. So too for adding more SSD storage to the eGPU box.

Thank you.
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,457
7,057
To be fair, no $310 4K monitor is going to equal the one in the iMac, for several reasons. First off, the one in the iMac is true 4K, or 4096x2304; the resolution of most displays advertised as 4K is less at 3840x2160, which is the standard for 16:9 4K video.

The brightness (500nits) and color reproduction (P3 color gamut) of the iMac's display are exceptional also. Any sub-$310 4K display is not going to offer either of these, usually 300nits or sRGB only. How much of a difference this makes depends on your usage.
 

wecksell

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 4, 2018
5
3
Yeah, the iMac looks tough to beat, which is actually quite surprising all things considered. Thank you for your replies.
 

dimme

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2007
1,572
3,649
SF, CA
I am looking at the same but with a 27" configuration. The mini setup comes in at $3199 plus keyboard and mouse and the I mac is $3050. The mini uses integrated graphics, but I like the fact the monitor is separate so I could hook up a PC. I could add a eGPU but that adds more $$$. The iMac is the best value but I have always disliked the all in one design.
 

nutmac

macrumors 601
Mar 30, 2004
4,219
2,109
Mac mini will obviously cost more if you configure it as close as possible. An entry level 4K iMac with 256 GB SSD retails at $1499. Similarly configured Mac mini with Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2 costs $1285.87, not including the monitor.

Mac mini has these advantages over iMac:
  • T2 processor for improved security and other features
  • Obvious flexibility of updating only what you need
  • User upgradable RAM, all the way to 64 GB (vs. non user upgradable RAM, up to 32 GB)
  • 4 Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports + 2 USB-A ports + HDMI port (vs. 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports + 4 USB-A ports)
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Optional 10 Gb Ethernet
  • Space Gray
And iMac has these notable benefits:
  • Cheaper overall if you include the display
  • Faster discrete GPU
  • FaceTime HD camera
  • SDXS slot
To me, one compelling benefit of Mac mini is flexibility with display options. While iMac's display arguably look more sleek, it is no longer the gold standard. It lacks more modern improvements such as HDR and faster response time.
 

dimme

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2007
1,572
3,649
SF, CA
[QUOTE="
To me, one compelling benefit of Mac mini is flexibility with display options. While iMac's display arguably look more sleek, it is no longer the gold standard. It lacks more modern improvements such as HDR and faster response time.[/QUOTE]

With the flexibility with display options the mini could be cheaper over time. Sell the mini in two years and get the new hot computer, but keep the display.