Mac mini i7 vs iMac

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by al404, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. al404 macrumors 6502


    Apr 24, 2011
    Novara, Italy
    hi i would like to change my 27 imac but i'm not sure i want to go with a new imac

    i like the big screen but is a big limit if you may need to move with your PC

    i would like to get this setup: mac mini i7 + monitor 27 2560 x 1440 ips ( i see them about 500€ ) + 16Gb ram

    looking at benchmarks on mactracker app ( geekbench 2 values )
    latest mac mini i7 2.3Ghz scores 10784
    latest iMac i5 3.2Ghz scores 10031

    i know the 2 CPU are different, but i did compare what i can afford to buy with my budget

    so on plain benchmark mac mini seems faster, i'm worried about graphic card
    not sure what can effect in real life, i'm not going to play games on my mac, just some photoshop elements and video editing as graphic activities

    is it in real life basic imac 27 model faster than i7 mac mini?
    if i open and change internal HDD with SSD would i wood my warranty?
  2. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2011
    Since you're not going to be gaming then the HD4000 iGPU will do just fine for you. I do work in Lightroom and Final Cut Pro X on my Mini, which has an Apple Thunderbolt Display attached, and have no complaints about the performance. My rMBP is about 10% faster and has a dedicated GPU that handles games reasonably well, but it's also about 2x-2.5x as expensive as my Mini was (considering base price + memory and SSD).

    I could add a Thunderbolt PCIe enclosure and external GPU that outperforms the dGPU in the MBP and still be ahead money-wise. I may still do that at some point, but would need a different display since I wouldn't be able to connect the external GPU to the ATD.

    Anyway, the Mac Mini is quite the little machine. :)
  3. plusnq macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2013
    The Mac mini is fine for the use you outlined. A SSD upgrade along with the RAM really makes it a great little machine.
  4. squirrrl macrumors 6502a


    Sep 11, 2013
    San Diego, CA
    I wonder if you post this thread in the iMac section whether you'd get the same answer.
  5. kwikdeth macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2003
    Tempe, AZ
    get the i7. if you're not doing any gaming then the HD4000 graphics will be fine. for cpu-intensive stuff always go for the better processor.

    SSD will also be a huge upgrade, in addition to the RAM. if you really want it to scream, put in two SSDs in RAID0. beast mode = on
  6. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Remember that the Mini allows Dual Samsung 840 Pro SSD's or similar in RAID 0. People run those Mini's with 1GB/s read/write, faster than the new Mac Pro in disk-intensive tasks. Very welcome with video editing.
    You don't need to start with 2 SSD's right away, but it is nice to know you can go that route. So it can outperform the iMac on Disk intensive too.
  7. Jambalaya macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2013
    The mini is very portable, I have the older larger model (with optical drive) and I move that around regularly. I tend to take the keyboard and magic mouse and use the screens which are "on-site" (typically custom monitor of HD TV's)

    With regard to warranty, yes if you switch the disks you will have officially voided the warranty.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Let me preface my remarks by saying that I'm a happy late-2012 i7 2.6ghz user.

    Having said that, I have to acknowledge that the faster iMacs will outperform the i7 Mini. HOWEVER -- the i7 Mini I have runs great, fast and smooth.

    Also, even though I bought the 2.6ghz version of the i7, you'll probably do just as well with the 2.3ghz model. I doubt the speed differential makes much difference. It only cost me an additional $80 at buy-in time, and I tend to keep my computers around for a while, so it was ok with me.
  9. al404 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Apr 24, 2011
    Novara, Italy
    thanks for adwise, which monitor would you raccomend i would like an IPS but not sure if 24 or 27, 27 are much more pricy with 2560x1440 resolution
  10. Chancha macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2014
    Between the 27" and 24" you need to ask yourself whether you need that extra resolution. If you do real work with the computer, the 2560x1440 has loads more pixels area to work with. The 24" on the other hand is standard so HD videos plays 1 to 1, and in general are better value.

    For me, two months ago I also got a fully tricked out i7 Mini, facing the same decision on monitors, I was seriously considering the 27"s but after researching a bit it turned out pretty much all the affordable models have critical issues (ASUS with wake up issue, the Dell bleeds etc). I ended up getting dual Dell U2414H, costs less than one 27" together, and dual set up is more versatile for my other devices that need monitors.
  11. grandM macrumors 65816


    Oct 14, 2013
    And in time you keep your screen & attach a new mini!
  12. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    In the real world…….

    Performance scores get bandied around and drooled over, as is gorgeous appearance, but in the real world, how much do they really matter?

    Obviously more than a bit for some, for whom having bragging rights to owning the latest and the greatest is important….. and a quest without end.

    For many, probably most, a suitably configured Mac Mini is probably all the computer they need. I have seen reviews suggesting the same.

    Both good reasons to go the Mini route in the experience of some, including me. But in the end it's your call depending on your priorities and situation.
  13. al404 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Apr 24, 2011
    Novara, Italy
    i made my last decision and bought mac mini i7 2.3 - just ordered

    it scores almost double my imac on geekbanch, i don't really need much more of my imac but this is the 2 imac in last 6 year that has problem at the end of apple care, my apple care is expiring in 10days so i want to fix it before it expires.
    imac monitor is showing up vertical stripes, now are really small but i read on internet and seem a known issue and get worst

    i really prefer to have a mac mini and a monitor for my work so if one of them have issue i don't lose both

    this mac mini score almost double my actual imac, i was warried about video card, but i did a quick test with my mac book that has intel HD 3000, i didn't thing at that till today

    i shot a short video with samsung note 3 that can record at 4K
    can't play video with quicktime on macbook and imac but it works with VLC, both of them can play the 4K video

    if may macbook can play 4K video i guess mac mini can too, mac book has intel HD 3000
    i did it just as real life test, i can also edit 4k movie with mac book and iMovie

    since beginning of 2014 i have OS X on external SSD inside a icy box enclosure that support firewire 800 and USB3
    since my imac doesn't have USB3 i'm using over firewire, and is fast, i'm not going to modify my mini until warranty will end

    i'm curious to see what happen connecting my external OS X to new mini

    i just tried to resize imac 27 to 1080 and i'm not sure since i write a lot is worst to see text bigger or not
    i already have a secondary monitor

    can i use 27 2560x1440 on HDMI or it has to go on thunderbolt?

    i also would like to use 2 X 4Gb DDR3 PC3-10600 sodimm that already have on mini, i know that it use a faster ram, but i was wondering if it still work kine while i'm waiting to get an upgrade to 16Gb
  14. Chancha macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2014
    4K is a loose standard now, just because footages from the Samsung can be edited no problems with iMovie, does not mean any other 4K footage can, especially shot from proper cameras. I do not know your 4K test is just for general impression of performance, or you have a real need to edit 4K videos down the road, if it's the latter, just be cautioned.

    The Mini has USB3, it will handle the external SSD fine (better than before with FW800). That said I think stability-wise it is always best to use the internal SATA, and I don't think changing the drive invalidates your AppleCare (but you may need to put back the original components to ship back for repair).

    Not sure what you really want there, the iMac 27" screen is native 2560x1440, for general desktop work you have to stick with that resolution otherwise graphic will be scaled, and text are surely not going to be crisp.

    And, the Mini's HDMI port is limited to 1920x1080(1200). Any 2560x1440 monitor needs to be connected through the mini DisplayPort (Thunderbolt). Your 2nd monitor, if it is just HD, should go to the HDMI port, and if it has DVI just use the dongle that bundles with the Mac Mini box to convert. (If it has VGA then you have another problem).

    Should work, the clock is not so significant as much as the capacity in the real world. However, I would suggest to get the 16GB modules now, their prices are probably at the bottom of the bell curve right this moment, 1 year later they may start to become obsolete which in turn cost more as supply is lowered.
  15. al404 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Apr 24, 2011
    Novara, Italy
    @Chancha my test with 4K was just to get something in real life i would may like to do, i don't shoot video and if i do form my vacation is in full HD

    for monitor, my secondary monitor is a 22 1920 x 1080 so i will set it on HDMI
    for primary i was thinking about 24 1920x1200 that may be the best for my use

    i write a lot and on 27 imac some times it seems too small, especially at the end of the day

    i found U2412M Dell that seems popular but quite old, BL2411PT Benq not so famous but seems to have a displayport (not sure if useless) and audio , 24 PA248Q Asus, U2414H Dell
  16. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    The OP wrote above:
    [[ since beginning of 2014 i have OS X on external SSD inside a icy box enclosure that support firewire 800 and USB3 since my imac doesn't have USB3 i'm using over firewire, and is fast, i'm not going to modify my mini until warranty will end ]]

    The new Mac Mini has USB3 (of course), so you won't have any problems connecting the icy box to it, BUT....

    I don't think the version of the OS that you're currently using will boot the Mini. You may get the "do not enter" (circle with a line across it) when you try to boot from the icy box.

    What you could do to resolve this:
    1. Boot the Mini from its internal HDD for the moment.
    2. During the initial setup, when prompted if you want to migrate from an older Mac, connect the icy dock and chose it as your source drive
    3. Get your stuff (accounts, apps, data, settings) "migrated over" from the icy dock. Your old copy of the OS will be "left behind".
    4. Now, do a "test boot" from the Mini HDD, to see if everything is where you want it to be.
    5. Open Disk Utility and RE-initialize the icy dock (yes, re-initialize!)
    6. Use CarbonCopyCloner (FREE to download and use for 30 days) to "re-clone" the HDD back to the icy dock.

    You should now be able to boot and run the Mini from the icy dock, with all your stuff "still there".

    I would not (repeat, WOULD NOT) advise you to open the Mini and attempt a drive swap at this time, unless you are CERTAIN about your abilities to work inside. I've read too many reports right here on the MR forums from people who thought they could do the job, opened the case, and ....... BROKE something inside. You have the icy dock, and the Mini will boot and run beautifully from it. As fast as if it were inside.

    As to monitors:
    I'd suggest a 27" size. Be aware that you can get 27" displays in either "full resolution" (2560x1440) or "mid-resolution" (1920x1080) sizes. I'm older, with older eyes, and I purposely bought a mid-rez 27" display so I could run the display at standard resolution without straining to read text, etc. Just something to consider.
  17. al404 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Apr 24, 2011
    Novara, Italy
    thanks Fishrrman, actually i did carbon copy clone my os from my 24 imac -> to my macbook -> to my 27 imac and always worked

    i guess that if mini doesn't boot from my external carbon copy clone SSD to internal HDD would not help

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