Mac mini or iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by seong, Feb 1, 2012.

?

Which one?

  1. Pay $400 more for iMac (CPU,GPU,RAM advantage)

    30 vote(s)
    78.9%
  2. Pay $100 more for Mac Mini setup ($300 cheaper than iMac, but spec disadvantage)

    8 vote(s)
    21.1%
  1. seong, Feb 1, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012

    seong macrumors 65816

    seong

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #1
    I just sold my MacBook Pro 13" 2009, with the specs below, for $800. I have no clue if this was a good decision or not, but since I figured that I can live with iPad 2 for a long time, I've decided to sell it and wait for the next refresh of iMac or Mac mini.
    Looking at the buyer's guide, both the Mac mini and iMac is due to have a refresh pretty soon, and I haven't been able to decide on which to get.

    Unlike what I've found through here on Macforums, where many of the people who had the same problem had the monitor, mouse ,keyboard, I don't have any of those. None. However, I do have some extra money in the bank, but I'm not willing to spend those extra money as I'm looking having it saved.

    This is when I found myself to be in a difficult situation. If I bought Apple's keyboard/mouse, and a 3rd party 21~23" monitor, along with base model Mac mini, it would cost me extra $100.
    However, if I do decide to go with iMac, I won't have to buy anything extra, but I would have to pay $400 more just for the all-in one look, dedicated GPU, faster CPU, and more RAM.

    Just for your information, all I do is web-browsing&all those daily stuff, some movie importing&exporting&editing, playing SC2 occasionally, watching movies, etc.
    So, what do you think is the better choice? Pay $100 more for Mac Mini setup, or pay $400 more for iMac setup?
     
  2. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #2
    SC2 + movie editing would really make me go for the iMac..
     
  3. DFWHD macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2011
    #3
    I tried the Mini and ended up selling it as it did not handle games or photography work flow efficiently. Waiting on the new iMac to be released now...
     
  4. seong thread starter macrumors 65816

    seong

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #4
    Yea, but even so, I would have to dish out $400 for that. Although I love playing SC2, I've been playing on low for too long, so medium will do absolutely fine.
    What I'm not liking is that iMac seems gigantic for me. Mac mini can be set away and have the cable and monitor only on my desk, iMac would take two or three times more than the mini setup. Correct me if I'm wrong, because this is just from what I've seen at the Apple store.

    ----------

    Hm, but what kind of gaming were you expecting? I'm not expecting some 60fps on RTS game, and I'm not a heavy video editor too.
    Also, I have no clue what kind of upgrades the next iMac or Mac mini will get, such as iMac base model getting 1GB of vRAM, or Mac mini base model getiting dedicated GPU.
     
  5. seong thread starter macrumors 65816

    seong

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #5
    How much is the display port to display port cable?
     
  6. Motliest Crue macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Location:
    New England
    #6
    I have a 2011 Mac Mini (high end), I already had all of the Apple accessories and a nice Dell IPS monitor, so it seemed like the best buy. I upgraded the RAM to 8GB for $39.00 on Amazon. I use the Mini for photo editing and SC2 (every night). I have 0 slowdown, run SC2 on high with 30- 45 FPS in 4v4 match games. The other reason I went with the Mini is the glossy display on the iMac. My desk is right next to a large bow window and the glare would be awful.
     
  7. penguy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    CA
    #7
    I'm curious...what software were you using for photography? For the most part I use Aperture 3...and even my older Mini has no troubles with that (especially now that I have 8 gb of ram). And the current generation Mini is at least 2x as fast, and over 3x if you buy the server...was it photoshop?

    I don't question gaming performance, but I don't use mine for that
     
  8. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #8
    I think the make or break for you might be the monitor. The iMac screen might be worth the extra $$ depending on what you're comparing it against. But some don't like glossy.

    My personal pref is to go with parts that can be replaced, which in this case is basically the monitor. If the mini is speedy enough for you with the CPU/graphics combo it has, and you can get a monitor you like, I'd save the money.

    Rob
     
  9. seong thread starter macrumors 65816

    seong

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #9
    Yea, that's what's concerning the MOST.
    Even if I was to get something like Dell Ultrasharp monitor AND the Mac mini with AMD GPU, then it would cost $100 less than buying an iMac. Hard decision.
    For me, at this point in time, the best thing to do is wait for the next refresh of iMac and Mac mini, and see if the refresh on Mac mini is enough for me to buy.
     
  10. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a

    Pharmscott

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    #10
    Dirt cheap. Check out monoprice.com. There is no reason to buy fancy digital cables.
     
  11. Kungshi macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    #11
    It sounds like better specs would benefit you the most. I would hate for you to buy a cheaper option but wish you had the iMac after being frustrated it isn't fitting your needs.
     
  12. seong thread starter macrumors 65816

    seong

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #12
    Yea, well, if I get to sell all my previous iPods, etc, then I suppose I can use that money plus the money I got from selling my MBP to get myself an iMac.
     
  13. DFWHD macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2011
    #13
    It was a 2010 mini with 2.4GHz and 4GB ram. I didn't do much research, just listened to all my Mac friends tell me to get off of Windows and checked out a few of the systems in the Apple store. I was using Photoshop and Lightroom (that is what I learned my workflow on - but would be open to Aperture once I get another Mac). I had just moved over from using those packages on Windows and wanted to get out of the Windows world as fast (and least expensive) as I could, once I fell in love with the Mac OS. Processing was really slow on that Mini for me, so I switched back until I could afford the iMac. Afterwards, I missed the Mac OS so much I felt like I'd gone through a divorce!

    I wasn't expecting much and frankly don't play games that much on the computer. I picked up a couple of used games (star trek and civilization) to check it out, but they seemed to lag.

    When I sold the Mini, I banked the money and have been saving since. I figure the upper end of the new iMac's should handle most anything I could throw at it photography wise...
     
  14. seong thread starter macrumors 65816

    seong

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #14
    Well, different games require different amount of CPU/GPU/RAM power, and from what I've seen on my MacBook pro, Starcraft 2 at medium graphics runs better than Civilization.
    My friend is a photographer, and man it seems like a faster computer will do a much better job, especially when importing RAW files, editing them on Lightroom, etc.
     
  15. HabSonic macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    #15
    >95% of the people won't see any speed difference between 2011 Mac Mini and 2011 iMac in day to day operation. The bottleneck is the hard drive. Just keep in mind that you will have higher FPS in games and encoding if you choose the iMac.

    One other thing to consider is that if you buy a Mini with a monitor/keyboard/mouse, you will already have all of that for your next computer. So if you buy another Mini in 3-4 years, the price difference between the iMac and the Mini will be higher.
     
  16. penguy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    CA
    #16
    The hard drive bottleneck depends on how you configure the mini...or which model you buy...the server comes with 7200 rpm drives and they are options on the other models...so hard drive speed isn't really a factor.

    Also, if you purchase the server (about $850 refurb), it uses a quad-core i7, which outperforms the iMac at least on benchmarks. Even with that, for most tasks other than games, the performance will be comparable.
     
  17. auhagen macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    Denmark
    #17
    The Mac mini i7 quad 32 bit is about: 8700 points at benchmarks
    The Mac mini i7 quad 64 bit is about: 9700 points at benchmarks

    The iMac i7 quad 32 bit is about: 10800 points at benchmarks
    The iMac i7 quad 64 bit is about: 12800 point at benchmarks

    I dont see how thats outperformed?

    I know the speed of the two processors is different, but hey it way you who compared them :)
     
  18. penguy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    CA
    #18
    sorry, I should have been more clear. I was referring to the base iMac models. I acknowledge the higher end models are faster. :(
     
  19. auhagen macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    Denmark
    #19
    I just think it would be unfair to compare to a dual core, so I had to take you up on it :D
     
  20. seong thread starter macrumors 65816

    seong

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #20
    Good point about getting an upgrade from just buying a new Mac mini. I should also consider that.
    Also, would it be worth buying a refurb of the Mac mini with AMD GPU, or the next refresh (although I know that no one on this forum knows what the next Mac minis will ship with)? If I do remember correctly, this design came out back in 2007 or 2008? I was expecting for all Mac models to be getting a refresh this year.

    ----------

    And, about getting the quad core Mac mini.....
    If I were to even consider getting a Mac mini server, then it would be better for me to purchase an iMac, because the price difference (remember, I don't have any peripherals, long MacBook pro user) is very very minimal.
     
  21. TrollToddington macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    #21
    In my opinion, It's all down to whether you like the all-in-one design. In my opinion, having an iMac is very convenient, no cables, no cluttering on the desk. However, the disadvantage is that you always have to sell the whole computer whenever you want to upgrade (with the mini you sell just the mini and keep the monitor, keyboard and mouse). Besides, if something goes wrong with any part inside the iMac a visit to the repairs is unavoidable unless you are brave enough to disassemble the thing yourself. The minis look easier for user-servicing, you can add/replace a hdd yourself. You might also not like the glossy screen of the iMac.
     
  22. Medic278 macrumors 6502a

    Medic278

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Location:
    New York
    #22
    I also agree that it comes down to design. With the iMac you get a very nice clean setup with one power cable and it looks great. While the Mac mini is nice however you have then take on the added expense of getting a monitor and keyboard and mouse. I think the Mac mini is great for someone who wants an entry level Mac experience and has to replace the tower for their desktop PC but already has the Monitor keyboard mouse etc. It would be a travesty to use the Mac Mini with a crappy monitor keyboard and mouse as it is a really nice setup. I personally have the iMac and I love it. I made the switch in late 2011 to an all Mac household, having an iPhone iPad and multiple iPods and now a Macbook Pro I love my new setup and haven't looked back. I personally love the 27" display on my iMac and love how easily all my devices sync up. So in my honest opinion iMac is the only way to go for a clean sleek and powerful machine.
     

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