Mac Mini or Imac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Big Bone, May 14, 2012.

  1. Big Bone macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2009
    North Salt Lake
    I'm trying to decide between two computer and I'd like your feedback. First off I'm a graphics designer and photographer for firearms company but I'd like to start doing side jobs from home. I currently sporting a 2007 Macbook Pro as my personal computer. The Macbook is way too slow for the programs I use and I'd like to upgrade but I'm on a budget ($1500 to be exact). I was thinking about going one of two ways and thats what I need your help with. Here are my options-

    New Mac-Mini Server model w/ 2.0 quad core i7, 2x 750gb HD's and buy two decent monitors (this one to be exact-
    Total $1472
    21.5 inch Imac w/ 2.7 quad core i5 and 1tb HD
    Total $1500

    It would suck not to have dual monitors (it's what I use at work already) but I could always pick one up down the road if need be or get the lower end imac . I'm leaning toward the mini but I'd love to know what your thoughts are.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    Well in my opinion the glossy screen of the iMac is incredibly bad for photography work and graphics design. The colours are much more vivid on the glossy screen so what you end up printing out will be different. :( Also the reflections are a real pain in the ***. I had a glossy iMac for exactly one day before I gave it back because the reflections made it unbearable to use.
    That however is up to you. You should use an iMac at a store and see for yourself.

    I'd recommend looking at the refurbished iMac and Mac minis:
    There aren't any mac minis currently however the base iMac is 999, the model you are looking at is 1249, and you can even have a 27" for 1419. Refurbished models are great, they come with all the warranty etc and are technically just as new as the new ones :D

    You need to consider, the iMac comes with keyboard and mouse all ready, mac mini doesn't. I don't think you would benefit from the i7 in the server mac mini because graphics design and photography apps don't use that many cores. So technically the i5 mini with the discrete 6630M is the better option, I would think. The 2.7 i5 iMac has slightly less cpu power then the i7 server mini but not really noticeable difference. The iMac does have a much better graphics card then the minis, aswell as other features like camera speakers etc. Stuff you should think about because otherwise you might end up buying it for the mini.
    Also factor in the costs of extra RAM. DONT BUY IT THROUGH APPLE!! You will definitely need more than 4GB RAM for graphics design and photography work. You can get 8GB (2x4GB) for 40$ or less now. In the mini you would replace the standard 4GB with the 8GB, so you'll have 8GB. However in the iMac you have 4 RAM slots. So what ever you buy will be added to the standard 4GB. Buying an 8GB kit will effectively bring you to 12GB.

    IM not specifically suggested the iMac or the mini because I don't really know. Just some info and advice to help you with the decision.
  3. Big Bone thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2009
    North Salt Lake
    Thank you, you've given me a lot to think about.
  4. Medic278 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2012
    New York
    Just to give you an idea I am running a quad core iMac with 8GB of RAM and I currently using Adobe CS5 extended, Lightroom, Aperture and Final Cut Pro for video work. The adobe programs work just fine on my machine without any real bottleneck or slow down with the 8GB of RAM. Personally I would buy another iMac for graphics work as I just love the way it handles everything and its never left there sitting with a spinning pinwheel rendering. If you choose to get the iMac as long as you upgrade to 8GB of RAM you'll be very pleased with the machine and its power and capability. That all being said, just a thought for you I use all of the listed programs on my late 2011 MBP and hook it up via TB display in bedroom to work on as well. So you could go the portable option if you were so inclined the machines are just powerhouses.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Whatever choice you decide, just be aware that within the next 2-3 months the entire Mac product line is going to be revamped with new models coming out.

    If you can "hold out" until the new iMacs and Minis are released, you may be very glad that you did.

    Having said that, I didn't care for the monitor choice you put up -- it's probably got a "TN" panel, not nearly as easy on the eyes as are IPS type panels. I suggest you give this page a look-over:
  6. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    My advice puts together the points already mentioned.

    Avoid the iMac if the reflections bother you (they do me, so I'm avoiding the iMac in future choices until that changes).

    Get an IPS screen rather than a TN (if it doesn't say, it is probably TN) unless your main use is gaming (where response time is more important than viewing angles).

    Wait for the updates if you can, there looks to be lots of nice things on the horizon (even an anti-reflective iMac has been rumoured).
  7. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    A bit more to think about - your money will go a lot further on your mini if you get an external drive and you do your memory upgrade yourself.

    When I bought my mini I paid $200 to upgrade from 4 to 8 GB. But with 3rd party RAM I could have done it for about $60, or $100 to upgrade to 16 GB.
  8. The Tech Fish macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2012
    United Kingdom
    Personally, I would go for a Refurb 27" iMac, (I think that should just be in budget).


    The screen on that thing is huge, and very good quality, so hopefully you will not miss dual screens too much.

    Very powerful, both CPU and GPU.

    Can upgrade RAM yourself.

    Comes as standard with good HDD.

    Anyway list goes on, but i can say from personal experience (doing very intensive 3D renders on a base 27" iMac) that it will easily handle any graphics stuff you throw at it.

    Although it's a refurb, it will be as new, and if you get a 2011 model, it's going to be the same as what you would get now, new anyway.

    Sorry to add another option to the mix! but that's what i'd go for anyway.
  9. Big Bone, May 17, 2012
    Last edited: May 17, 2012

    Big Bone thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2009
    North Salt Lake
    Currently I use an Imac at work with a second monitor. There are a few things that irritates me with it. Its glossy screen picks up everything behind me, the picture quality is great but it is not what everyone else sees on there "normal" monitors (and when building online banners thats kind of important), and I would like to have my monitors the exact same size (right now I book lifting my 2nd monitor so it be at the same hight as my Imac). I'm still open to buying an Imac but it would have to be a sweet deal and way faster than the Mini to make it worth it.

    So Apple is doing some upgrades on the Macs eh? I just did a little research and it sounds like they may release the details during a conference on June 11. Any idea how long it normally takes them to come out with a product once they release the details and are there any rumors how the mac mini will fair with this upgrade?

    I suppose I can be patient but I'm soon starting a huge personal project and this is something I'd like to handle before I get moving on that.

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