Mac Mini 2012 i7 quad core + 2 Dell U2415s or 2715Hs vs iMac 27inch

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by rnzde, Dec 11, 2014.

  1. rnzde macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2014
    Hi all. I'd be really grateful for your thoughts on a monitor choice please.

    I currently have a mid-2011 27 inch iMac. The left hand side of the screen has gone dark; commonly experienced design defect that Apple doesn't seem to want to recognise. It's going to cost about $800 to fix (I've tried the 'solder your own connection back into place' trick but my soldering skills (or lack of them) just aren't good enough).

    Instead of pouring $800 into a 3.5 year old machine, I've decided to go down a different path and buy a Mac Mini and equip it with two monitors (I frequently work with multiple complex documents that I need to be able to see simultaneously). Having spent way too much time reading reviews of the new 2014 Mac Minis versus the top end October 2012 Mac Minis, I've opted for a new October 2012 i7 quad core 2.3GHz 500SSD Mini which I hope is going to zip along very nicely.

    I've been pondering over what monitors to choose, given that I'm used to the high resolution of the 27inch iMac (2560 x 1440). I have a 24 inch 2009 iMac at home so am familiar with the different resolutions.

    What I'm not sure about, though, is whether the new Dell U2415 would look better than the 24inch iMac screen, despite their apparently having the same max resolution. That probably sounds odd, but I hear that different makes of monitors with the same resolution can actually look a bit different.

    So my questions, please, are these:

    (1) Does anyone here have a Mac Mini set-up running two Dell U2415 monitors and, if so, what are your views on their resolution/quality? How would you rate them against an old 24 inch iMac screen?

    (2) If I opt for two Dell U2415 monitors, do you think I'll really notice a step down in resolution from the 2011 27inch iMac?

    (3) Do you think opting for two Dell 2715H monitors (same resolution as 27inch iMac) would be a better way to go?

    Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this. Really appreciate any help.


    [I posted this in the peripherals forum but, on reflection, think the Mac Mini forum might be a better option. Thanks.]
  2. willieva macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2010
    My current setup is a 2012 mini with a 24" dell 1920x1200 as my primary monitor. You will notice a step down in the resolution when you try to open numerous documents. Using multiple monitors will get you back some of the real estate but they will be farther apart which, at least to me, is not as seamless an experience.

    IMHO macs are better suited to be used with one screen. With two screens you gain real estate but each screen is a separate workspace. And if you're used to using hot corners then two of them just got a lot farther away from what you're used to.
  3. mrcat macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2014
    London, England
    I have to agree on running a single large display v 2 monitors. I opted for the odd sized 21:9 monitor, a Philips 298P4.

    It sure takes some getting used to, you have to excuse the fiddly buttons at the bottom of the screen. but given all the inputs and a nice 29" ips display, it looks lovely and I find the extra space very useful. On a single screen Excel shows from a-ac, which is nice :)
  4. rnzde thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2014
    Hey thanks mrcat. Very interesting. Do you think the resolution rivals a 27inch iMac? And to get the 2560x1080 res, did you need to connect to Thunderbolt? Thanks a lot.
  5. mrcat, Dec 12, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2014

    mrcat macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2014
    London, England
    I am currently using hdmi so the resolution is only at 1080p, I ordered a mini display port to display port cable to allow me to use it at its proper resolution of 2560 x 1080 @ 60 Hz. Where as my laptop that has the same intel hd4000 as the mac mini can display the full 2560 x 1080 @ 60 Hz over hdmi.

    I find it handy that I can switch between my pc and mac mini, once the display port cable arrives I can try out the picture by picture feature and have both computers sharing the same screen, albeit slimmed down image wise as it is split screen. It also has display port out allowing you to daisy chain via the monitor but this does require particular gpu's to achieve this. I haven't tested this out myself.

    As for comparing this to a 27" iMac, I will say that you'd love the iMac display without hesitation, my screen you would honestly find strange. You will notice benefits of such a wide display but you will feel like the top of the screen is missing in comparison to a iMac. It is worth looking at these odd screens in person if at all possible. I am very happy with mine as it has the functions and inputs I need and was cheaper than an iMac and is very useful.

    Here's the thing if you ask me if my set up would suit you, I would probably say no but a mini maxed out with an sad and 16gb of ram does sound nice. mine is still at 4gb with the stock hard drive. Do I upgrade it or buy an iMac or macbook pro? I would happily keep this screen and use in on the laptop so I don't regret my purchase. But that said, I can't make up my own mind so I would find it hard to recommend anything! I wouldn't make a good salesman!

    update: I received my mini display port to display port cable, mac mini is running at 2560 x 1080 and it looks lovely too :)
  6. newellj macrumors 603

    Oct 15, 2014
    Boston, MA, US
    Not precisely your case, because my 24" Dell monitors (two) are U2410s, but they are 1200p. One runs on the MDP/TB port and the other on the HDMI port. They are sharp and provide a large (and continuous) work area for me. Like you, I often need one document open on one display and another on the other. This is working fine for me.
  7. cornerexit macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2014
    I run the 2012 mini with (2) 22" Dells at 1080p resolution. 0 complaints. I don't play video games so they are great for me. Picked them up mid year for like $109 each (the dells).
  8. dogslobber macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2014
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA

    2012 Mini easily drives these 2 displays for me.

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