Mac Mini Dual Monitor vs iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by skybluez09, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. skybluez09 macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2010
    Alright so I am kind of new to the whole "buying a computer that 'suits your needs'" type of thing because I never really had a choice on what to get...but now I have to make a choice. I either can get a mac mini with decent specs (not exactly sure what is what yet) or an imac again with decent specs. I decided i wanted dual monitors but and imac with another different monitor sitting next to it just doesnt seem right. IT comes down to this, I surf the web, email, school work, and occsionally play games like Civ 5 or Starcraft. Which direction should i go iMac or Mac Mini? A lower spec Mac Pro is also a consideration...(can you add RAM after market to those)?
  2. dissolve macrumors 6502a

    Aug 23, 2009
    I agree that having a matching dual monitor setup is pretty important. Unless you can swing the 27" iMac and 27" LED ACD, I'd probably recommend the Mac Mini for your usage. It'll perform decently with the games you mentioned. Keep in mind that gaming performance will go mini < iMac < Mac Pro. The MP will allow you to upgrade the GPU in the future, but if gaming is only an occasional hobby, it's probably not worth it. Go MP if you plan to add several hard drives and will utilize the PCIe slots.

    You can upgrade the RAM in all three models. I'd suggest a Mac Mini and if you get serious about gaming, build a PC box. The total will still be less than a base MP. I own a MP so I'm not biased against it, but it doesn't seem worth it for your needs.
  3. Yvan256 macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2004
    I would have said "Mac mini maxed out to 8 GiB of RAM" until you mentioned games. While the nVidia 320M in the Mac mini is decent, you won't be able to play games with maxed-out settings. The 320M also shares 256 MiB of RAM with the system, so you need to account for that when counting your system RAM. The 5400 RPM laptop drive is also slower when loading a lot of data. I play Left 4 Dead 2 (medium settings) and Starcraft II (low settings) with friends, and they always finish loading first and then have to wait for my Mac mini to keep up.

    If you can afford the iMac, go for it. The faster GPU with dedicated RAM and the faster hard drive are really worth it for games.

    And yes, you can add 3rd party RAM, just make sure the vendor knows how to deal with Macs. They're a lot more finicky about the quality of RAM that you can use. If you're in Canada, I cannot say enough good things about CanadaRAM. If you're in the USA, people seem to like OWC. Overseas, I have no idea...

    P.S.: aside from games, a Mac mini maxed out to 8 GiB will be more than enough for almost any other tasks, short of real-time HD video editing. Even then, I think it would hold its own and even surprise me.

    edit: I see you just joined MacRumors... welcome to the forums!

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