mac mini not a good buy?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Ruahrc, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    I was just doing a little fiddling today because I was both bored and curious, seeing what it would take to move to a hypothetical desktop + iPad configuration.

    I'm pretty happy with my MBP performance (especially with my 3rd party SSD), so I thought I'd start with Mac Minis, since they're basically MBPs without the portability.

    However, I noticed that if I configure the high end Mac Mini to match that of the entry level iMac, the iMac blows it away in terms of price.

    2.53GHz Mac Mini
    +add 2.66GHz CPU option
    +add 500GB HDD
    +add Magic Mouse
    +add Wireless KB
    = $1187

    Lowest end iMac
    everything is the same as the mini, except it has a 3.06GHz CPU and a built in 21.5" display
    = $1199

    The prices are for all practical purposes equal, and you're getting a better CPU and a 21.5" IPS display (which is pretty significant) for free.

    Thing is, even if you had your own display to use, you could still use it on the iMac as a secondary display.

    I dunno, just seems like unless you're going for the low end, entry level mini and not upgrading it at all, it's not really a good buy. Its compact form factor is one thing but once you factor in the size of a display, the iMac is probably less footprint.

    Is this just me or does it not seem to be a good buy for someone who's looking for a reasonably powerful mac?

  2. jeremyblevins macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2010
    and i believe the mac mini has a 5400 rpm drive while the imac has a 7200 rpm drive.
    i was recently looking at buying a mac mini as a desktop computer/tv.
    now i've decided on a 27 imac with a i7 :)
  3. mcruzader macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2008
    Yeah I think you should go with the iMac, personally I use the Mini for the Home Theater and to backup my other mac, but I have been thinking more and more about getting an iMac for the desk. But I do I have to say those mini's are great little machines.
  4. Vanilla Thunder macrumors member

    May 18, 2008
    But the Mac Mini is so VERY small. It fits in the palm of Steve Jobs' hand. Isn't that alone worth at least $500 to you?
  5. Ruahrc thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Not exactly sure if you're being sarcastic or not, but once you consider total footprint after adding a monitor the Mac Mini, the iMac actually has a comparable (or even smaller) footprint than a Mac Mini plus a monitor of comparable size.

  6. Vanilla Thunder macrumors member

    May 18, 2008
    Yes, I was being very sarcastic. Get the iMac. I bought two of them in December as gifts and they are fantastic machines.
  7. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000


    May 22, 2009
    2.66 GHz processor is not worth it.
    Add a 500GB 7200RPM hard drive yourself for cheaper.
    Your not suppose to need a mouse/keyboard when buying a Mac Mini. BYODKM.
  8. belltree macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2008
    Tokyo, Japan
    I think it is a great buy for those who do not want their system tied to their display. I am one of these people.
  9. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010

    Yeah, it's certainly a quandry, isn't it...?! I've been caught between these same two stools, myself.

    The whole 'upgrading' bit just costs a fortune, on a new Mac. Upgrading the Mini from a 320GB drive to a 500GB drive costs £82 here in the UK - I could buy one of those 500GB drives retail for less than that price, never mind 'upgrade' from a smaller one. And £122 to go from the 2.53GHz Duo to the 2.66GHz Duo...? Nonsense, also.

    I say choose the machine with the spec that more closely matches yours needs out-of-the-box. Buying upgrades on a Mac is monetary suicide.
  10. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Can I chip in slightly off-topic and ask how you find it as an HTPC? Does it run 1080p content smoothly? Added to which, will it run .M2TS video files?
  11. Patmn macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Mississauga, ON
    Based on all the posts I see on here with all the problems with the new iMacs, I think the Mini is a better choice if you want something that is going to be rock solid reliable for you.
  12. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    I think with the cost of the DIY upgrades and the mid level model at 2.53 Ghz, 4GB RAM and the 320 HDD you have the best value and its all covered under your applecare... to upgrade, get an external HDD for plenty of space...
  13. JoeG4 macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2002
    Bay Area, Ca.
    The mini isn't such a terrible deal when you consider the price of an 'eeebox' or similar 'nettop', how they compare in size, and how much power they pack in comparison.


    Other than that, I dunno. Your choice. If you get a base model mini for $600, they hold their resale really decently. Even if you keep it for ages, it'll still be worth $350-ish (and that's 3 years!).. I think even G4 minis are in the high 200s, which is crazy.

    So you lose $200-ish in 3 years. What other computer depreciates that slowly?
  14. yamawho macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2010
    Rosemere Qc Canada
    I own 2 minis now ...

    Buy the basic model 2.26 Ghz cpu 2GB ram 160 hdd in November, the 2nd I bought used 1.83 Ghz 2 GB ram and 80GB hdd. I upgraded the hdd myself to 320GB for 65$.

    These two cost me less than an iMac and since I already have keyboards, mice and LCD screens to spare, it was a no brainer for me.
  15. Jason Beck macrumors 68000

    Jason Beck

    Oct 19, 2009
    Cedar City, Utah
    I sold my Macbook Pro for my Mac Mini and could not be happier. Seems
    my wife thinks so too. I did this because I am a graphic design student and
    I got sick of plugging and unplugging my macbook pro to my 23" display.
    I was worried about the cable/jack because I did this numerous times a day
    and didn't want it to be loose. I also needed a desktop solution.

    Selling my MBP also gave me extra funds to "upgrade" the mini nicely.
    I upgraded the ram, and the hard drive to a 7200. The hard drive was a
    clicker and constantly parked its heads while idle so I had to get a 5400 rpm
    drive. Slight downgrade in speed, but honest after owning both a 7200 and
    a 5400 in my Mini, I don't notice too much of a difference. I am planning on
    purchasing a new Mini later this year when they refresh the line, but until
    then I am more than happy with my machine.

    It handles Photoshop with ease, and the difference an extra 2 gigs of DDR3
    makes is pretty phenomenal. Simple upgrades to the basic low end Mini
    really make a great machine, that right out of the box seemed to out
    perform my Macbook Pro. Macbook Pro had the same Intel Chip and the
    same ram, and OEM the Mini did better, by far. Just my experience.

    When i get a new one later this year, in fall or something, I will put the
    Mini perhaps under my HDTV to use with the last generation Apple Remote
    I purchased for 7 bucks on eBay. I also got an external WD 500GB drive,
    although I have been looking at the 1TB ministack lately.

    The Mini is an awesome, fast, quiet machine that performs for what I need
    it to. I would recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone. All I really needed
    my Macbook Pro for was surfing the web, doing light Word Processing, and
    showing my digital photos off to people. Apple has made a real capable
    low cost machine that will be out in March that can do those functions
    nicely too. That's why I will be getting an iPad. Light web browsing on
    the go, light word processing, digital portfolio on the ready with an elite
    and vivid screen, for under 500 bucks.

    Mac Mini plus an iPad is my ultimate setup. I am halfway there. ^_^
    Works for me, but to each his or her own. Evaluate your needs
    first and foremost. Plus with my student discount, I got the Mini cheaper.
    I had like a few hundred left after the sale of my MBP.

    Sold 13.3" MBP for: 23" Acer H233H (1080p with vga, hdmi, and dvi, display ports,
    and a vivid display almost as crisp and pretty as the MBP was), nice
    speakers and sub, Mac Mini 2.26, 4gb memory upgrade, 7200 HD-later
    5400 500gb, wireless KB and Mouse, Printer+Scanner MP250, Cheap desk,
    iPod Shuffle.

    I got what I wanted. =) Plus the wife likes the Mini.

    **edit, the upgrades are damn easy too. And you can sell your old parts to even lower the cost of everything. I sold my
    160GB HD and now have my 2gb of ram from the mini that came stock for sale.

    Attached Files:

  16. Jason Beck macrumors 68000

    Jason Beck

    Oct 19, 2009
    Cedar City, Utah
    1080p runs flawless for me. Did so, out of the box stock 2GB, 2.26 C2D.
  17. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010

    I originally had to sights (for my 1st Mac) on the Mac mini. Great entry price and since I have lots of spare USB keyboards, USB mice, spare speakers and spare decent quality 19" - 22" monitors. To me, the Mac mini is a good starting point & price - for Mac newbies like myself. Especially if I get a refab Mac mini at a reduced selling price. For me, the Mac mini with lots of existing "add-ons" would be good enough. Especially for my home user "general usage" power needs.

    Then, my wife "the banker" (who's also a certified interior designer) gets involved in product evaluations. She wants the "1 box does it all" design. She likes the built in SD slot (for our digitial camera cards) and she likes the near wireless single solution. re: 1 wire for electricity and 1 wire for ethernet cable. And, she likes the iMac monitor with its own built in speakers as well. No more wires dangling around and looking ugly either. The iMac "all in one" box design was the visual attraction for her.

    Guess what we're going to have under the Christmas tree this coming year? A brand new i5 27" iMac system with external USB HD (for data backups) - which will be hidden behind the large 27" monitor. Yes. The Mac mini would do me fine. But for my banker, its her call. Especially when it comes to room cosmetics and layout. The "all in 1 box" design of iMac platform did it for her.... As they say, its gotta work and its gotta look great as well....

  18. Tilpots macrumors 601


    Apr 19, 2006
    Carolina Beach, NC
    Christmas, 2010? Man, that's a long wait!:D

    I'm going to be getting a mini in the next month for HTPC duty. It's going to do everything I need extremely well. For me, it's a great buy...
  19. Jackintosh macrumors 6502a


    Mar 21, 2009
    I agree with belltree and patnm. This forum is filled with angst from iMac owners about their displays that they're forever joined-at-the-hip with in that configuration. Yellowing, dead/stuck pixels, shadowing, dead areas, overly glossy surface, etc.

    I'm couldn't be happier with the Mini, where I (underlined) can choose, decide, and opt for whatever display I want at ANY time. If my display has problems or I'm in any way dissatisfied with it, I don't have these sleepless nights that many of our fellow iMac forum posters seem to have. I just replace/upgrade it - quality displays are not expensive these days.

    To me, the all-in-one concept lacks a whole lot of practical common sense.
  20. Spike88 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
  21. dh2005 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Great. Thanks for that.

    Does it play .M2TS files, do you know?
  22. turbineseaplane macrumors 68040


    Mar 19, 2008
    The Mini will play everything.

    That's why it's the best HTPC in my opinion. Since it's a full blown computer, you can load it up with any codec support, players and external drives that you want.

    It is especially sweet with the latest Boxee running on it!
  23. someoldguy macrumors 68000

    Aug 2, 2009
    About 6 months or so ago ,I was in the same position as you are . I wanted to upgrade from my 17" C2D iMac to something better . Ran the numbers like yourself and the (at that time current) iMac won. Went to the local Apple Store to check it out and ended up walking out with a base Mac Mini . Found the glare off the iMac's screen rendered it pretty much unusable for my purposes . (photography and AutoCAD apps under Boot Camp) .Opened up the mini and put in 4 gig memory , a 500 HDD , and coupled it to a 23" ACD which I was able to find reasonably . Anyway , my point is ... see the iMac in the flesh before you get it ,and make sure the display's reflections won't render the machine unpleasant for you to use.
  24. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    I bought an early '09 24" iMac. I did not care for the quality/uncontrollable brightness of the screen and returned it. I now use a late '09 Mac Mini and am very happy with it.

  25. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000


    May 22, 2009
    100% agree! You can always get a new monitor with a Mac Mini and not have to return the whole computer just to get the screen replaced *cough* iMac *cough.* I am actually thinking of getting a new monitor to replace my HP 2009M because it is too small.

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