Mac Mini instead of iMac?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ahoydecoy, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. ahoydecoy macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2015
    I've been saving for an iMac for when I need something more powerful than my low-spec Macbook Pro, but I already have a fairly decent 4k monitor (which I use with the Pro).

    I was looking at the 23inch retina, with quad-core 3.0ghz, 16gb RAM and the 1TB fusion drive (which I know a lot of people advise against).

    Is it now worth my while considering a Mini, maybe a 6-core 3.0ghz, 16gb RAM and 512GB SSD for the same price (£1.5k) instead?
  2. Steve121178 macrumors 601


    Apr 13, 2010
    Bedfordshire, UK
    Comes down to whether you want the all-in-one or not. I'd lean towards the Mini if your monitor is a really good one.
  3. revmacian macrumors 6502a


    Oct 20, 2018
    I was thinking the same thing. I too have been saving for an iMac but now feel that the new Mac mini may well be a better investment. What I did was open two tabs in Safari and compare specs between the new Mac mini and the current iMac. Apple really surprised me with the bump in Mac mini specs this year. I'm thinking the Mac mini is the way to go if you already have a nice monitor.
  4. EEzycade macrumors regular


    Jun 29, 2018
    Mesa, Arizona
  5. pallymore macrumors regular


    Sep 24, 2013
    Boston, MA
    If you don't need a monitor (a good one) or a dGPU then the Mini is for you.

    iMac didn't receive any updates this year, I wouldn't want to pay full price for one now.
    Vega graphics are coming to MBPs later this month - I'd hold off to see if there is going to be a spec bump for the iMac also.
  6. androo4519 macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2005
    I thought about this possibility in the aftermath of the disappointing lack of iMac news at the event.

    But I don't want to get a Mini 'on the rebound' and regret it later.

    For me, an iMac is a long-term investment that I'll spec to the max, so I need all the money I've saved and earmarked and don't want to spend it on an interim Mini that I won't have much use for when I inevitably buy an updated iMac in the next six months. Hope never dies.
  7. BillyBobBongo macrumors 68020


    Jun 21, 2007
    On The Interweb Thingy!
    Having carried two iMacs to the Apple store in Amsterdam for repairs/service...get the Mac mini! :)
  8. bodonnell202 macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2016
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    I agree with others - if you already have a decent 4K monitor go with the Mini. The CPU should have good longevity and you have the option of upgrading the RAM and/or adding an external GPU down the road.
  9. strawbale macrumors 6502

    Mar 25, 2011
    French Pyrenees
    Even if you need a good monitor I'd go with the MM2018 - lots of choice for good monitors, some better than the iMac screens.
  10. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    I have both. The power of the mini is versatility. The more roles a Mac can play, the more its value. And mini can now do everything. But don’t get it if you’re just going to replace it in 6 mo when the iMac refreshes.

    Get mini because it will drive 2 or 3 screens or because you can sell it to yourself in 2-4 years for htpc duty and/or make it dedicated server.
  11. DesertSurfer macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2014
    Between the Sonoran Desert and the Pacific Ocean
    The new mini has better CPU's, but the iMac (even thought it hasn't been updated) has more graphics horsepower. If the iMac gets an upgrade soon, it might make the choice a little less confusing.
  12. Scarpad macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    i have had a 2011 21.5 Inch iMac and its served me well, it's still being used daily but has started having the issue with checkerboard video locking up the computer. I was really thinking going mac mini but the more i think about it i'm aiming to wait for a refresh of the iMac, my space is limited and the iMacs now are so much thinner and have fantastic retina i'm going to wait and hope my existing iMac can limp along until a refresh comes out.
  13. Snappers macrumors member

    Aug 31, 2016
    [QUOTE="Is it now worth my while considering a Mini, maybe a 6-core 3.0ghz, 16gb RAM and 512GB SSD for the same price (£1.5k) instead?[/QUOTE]

    Depends on how graphics intensive your workload is. If you need the graphics power, go with the iMac, if not go with the Mini. Worse case, if the Mini does not meet your needs, you can always resell it on Ebay.
  14. thoang77, Nov 7, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018

    thoang77 macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2010
    SF Bay Area
    On the flipside, if your workload truly is graphic intensive, it might be better to go with a Mac Mini and an eGPU to allow you to not only steadily increase your GPU performance over time, but even start ahead with a strong GPU, rather than be bottlenecked by a Radeon 560
  15. mikejames macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2005
    I've ordered a Mini with i5, 16GB, 256GB storage to replace my late 2013 27inch iMac. The difference in specs is massive and I just don't need an all-in-one anymore.

    As others have mentioned it depends on what your workload is. My iMac has been great but after 5 years it's time to sell it.
  16. stillcrazyman macrumors 68020


    Oct 10, 2014
    In Exile
    I’m also considering a Mini to replace my 2012 iMac 27. It’s been a great Mac, but I’m not sure I want to deal with an all in one anymore.
  17. LaloG macrumors member

    Mar 29, 2013
    Someone provide a list of monitors they recommend for photography in the $300-$500. Screen size is 24” minimum. Thanks.
  18. weaztek macrumors member


    Aug 28, 2009
    That's pretty surprising to me. My 2011 iMac is a 2.7 GHz 4 core i5 with a very solid AMD Radeon graphics card. So 7 years later I am looking at a Mac Mini that is essentially twice as fast at most tasks. I find that rather underwhelming although I'll probably still upgrade to future-proof my system at some point.
  19. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    Monitor thread
    Best Monitor for New Mini

    Intel (and processors in general) hit a wall last decade. Moors law no longer applies. Its why cores are now so important and why Apple is pushing so hard on drive read/write speed, to keep moving the leading edge.
  20. Rasta4i macrumors regular


    Dec 13, 2010
    have you got any monitor suggestions? I'm doing video editing
  21. Ifti macrumors 68020


    Dec 14, 2010
    Many are now comparing the Mini to an outdated and un-refreshed iMac.
    The iMac will be refreshed at some point, and it will come with higher specs and a better GPU, so consider this when making your decision.

    This is precisely what puts me off of getting an iMAC. I really don't want to be lugging that thing to an Apple store and wait for a 'Genius' to have a look at it, then lug it all the way back home.
    I also don't like the fact that should I have a display issue it puts the entire system out of commission.
  22. marc_b macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2018
    Cologne, Germany
    No iMac has ever shipped with a decent GPU that compares to what you could achieve with a good eGPU on a Mini. And you can even switch that for a better one a few years later. Plus, you can switch monitors whenever you feel like it.
  23. androo4519 macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2005
    The problem of taking an iMac back to the Apple store is definitely a consideration. It would be a massive pain for me certainly. Pity Apple Care doesn't have an 'on site' option. I guess I've just been lucky with my 2009 iMac.
  24. PJivan macrumors 6502


    Aug 19, 2015
    my imac have a 580 (yes is decent just like the 780m was), not sure you can beat that with the thunderbolt 3 bandwidth and latency limitation.
  25. Ifti macrumors 68020


    Dec 14, 2010
    Apologies, I was referring to the built in GPU not the eGPU
    --- Post Merged, Nov 8, 2018 ---
    I believe with AppleCare, if you've purchased a BTO system online, there is the option of having the system sent back to them for any repairs? - although that also leaves you without a system for a length of time, it does save having to carry it into a store!

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28 November 7, 2018