Mac mini or iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by 76Nico, Nov 23, 2014.

  1. 76Nico macrumors newbie

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    Nov 23, 2014
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    UK
    #1
    I'm a windows user and currently saving for a Mac. I roughly have £1k saved so far (its taken a while to do that) but I was wondering if I should buy a Mac mini now or keep going for a retina iMac?

    I do the normal everyday computer activities plus the occasional Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Word and Excel. Of them all, Photoshop is used the most frequent and Word/Excel the least frequent.

    I was thinking of buying a top end 2014 Mac mini because it at least has FD as standard and upgrading the ram, pity I can no longer do it myself but hey ho. I've looked on eBay for 2012 i7s but they either have smaller hard drives than I'd like or the sellers want stupid money for them or even both.

    I haven't entertained the idea of a MPB as I have no need for the portability and the size I'd want (15") doesn't have any price difference (with exception of refurbished) to the 27" iMacs so I may as well bypass them go straight for an iMac.

    So this brings me back to my question at the start, should I buy a MM or keep going for a retina iMac?
     
  2. jamesjingyi macrumors 6502a

    jamesjingyi

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Have you got a monitor that you will be using with the Mac Mini? That is the real question. If you have a 1080p or even 4k display lying around I would say go for the MM. Oh also are you thinking of doing upgrades later? The new MMs have RAM soldered to the Logic Board so you won't be able to upgrade them later.

    Do you really need the Retina on the iMac? Why not go for a 27" refurb model? The Retina may look nice but most people will be well suited with the QHD (2k) display on the 27" any day.

    I know you discounted this but the 15" MBPr would be a great machine for you, it has the display you want, the power and also will have a battery so you could (potentially) take it with you. The only reason I would have to discount it is if you already had a MacBook Air or and old Pro meaning you didn't need it.

    Just a thought...

    Anyway, if it was my money I would go for the iMac just because it has a nicer display (even the non-retina ones). I had a MacBook Air that I used to use with an external monitor but I have since not touched the monitor because I feel that the MacBook Air's screen, although smaller, has better colour accuracy and just feels nicer. Every time I started the monitor I had to adjust settings and even then it wasn't perfect. The iMac has a beautiful display which is laminated which makes it even better.
     
  3. 76Nico thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 23, 2014
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    UK
    #3
    I have two 24" Samsung monitors so I'd be using both if I got a MM.

    I get what you're saying about non retina vs retina, I looked at both in store and like most people, I was hard pushed to tell the difference short of pressing my nose up to the screens. Personally I would be more than happy with non retina, I only mentioned retina because after upgrading the hard drive to FD, for an extra £240, I'd get a slightly improved processor, a different graphics card and of course the retina display.
     
  4. jamesjingyi macrumors 6502a

    jamesjingyi

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    UK
    #4
    Did you need 27" by the way? I think 21.5 is big enough for most usage. I also get what you mean about the price, I would only suggest the non retina if you were going refurbished or if you were going for the base model. If you were going to go higher, you can see that if you spec the top end iMac with a 3.5GHz processor and a fusion drive there is £50 in it between the two, in which case I would get the Retina definitely. And with that you also get a better processor.

    The Mac Mini is really cheap compared but doesn't have the beautiful display or any type of graphics card apart from Intel Iris which isn't gonna be amazing.

    You might have to wait a bit and save up an extra grand!
     
  5. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

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    Oct 26, 2014
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    The Netherlands
    #5
    If you can get your hands on a 2012 i7 Mac Mini I would get that, if not I would go for the base 15" Macbook Pro with quad core, 16GB and Iris Pro. I would use the two 24" monitors with the Macbook Pro.

    You said daily tasks with photoshop, you'll benefit from the quad core processor.

    If you can pick one up refurbished they are a bargain.
     
  6. 76Nico thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 23, 2014
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    UK
    #6
    The majority of people I know who have 21.5", wished they'd gone for the 27" instead, I didn't want to be in the same position myself.

    I think you're right, it's best to wait. When I get to about £1.5, I'll have a look at the refurbs to see if anything is available.

    I didn't want a MPB because like I said, I have no need for the portability and because I've used a 17" laptop before with a monitor connected and it wasn't ideal. I may buy MPB in the future but that'll be ong way off yet.
     
  7. qcmacmini macrumors 6502

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    Oct 26, 2014
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    The Netherlands
    #7
    I was in your situation and returned my 15" MBP order unopened and went for the 2012 Mac Mini once the 2014 model came out. I also don't need the portability.

    Considering you have the screens already the iMac will be a much more expensive exercise.

    I agree with what you posted above, you'll probably regret buying the 21" iMac.
     
  8. imaccooper macrumors regular

    imaccooper

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    May 29, 2014
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    North Carolina
    #8
    Considering the fact that you own two monitors then I would go for the mini. I would also suggest the 2012 i7 maybe refurb off the apple store or if you keep watching ebay then you might catch a deal on one. For your uses and considering the equipment/money you have, that make the most sense to me.

    As for the size of the hard drive, how much size are you really wanting to have? You can always swap the hard drive for a larger or my suggestion would be to buy a 1TB external for storage of (I'm guessing) music, videos or a lot of pictures.
     
  9. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #9
    I know you said mini, but that is really a laptop without a screen in many ways. And there tend to be lots of refurb'd MBPs in the UK Apple Store. Usually a better bargain for similar specs, AND you can get retina in addition to your existing monitor (not sure about two though).

    And the iMacs are a good value, except for that cheap one they just came out with.
     
  10. 76Nico thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 23, 2014
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    UK
    #10
    I know I said I would wait and carry on saving for an iMac but funnily enough I looked on eBay this afternoon and saw a 2012 i7 with 16gb ram, FD and Yosemite for £700. I didn't buy it straight away because I was looking to see how easy it was to change the registered owner. By the time I found that out and thought, I'll buy it, it had gone :( At least I now know and wont miss out if I decide to buy a MM.

    I've looked at a guide on iFixit for changing the hard drive but it seemed a bit of a faff and knowing how impatient I can get, I'll probably end up damaging something which obviously wouldn't be ideal.
     
  11. imaccooper macrumors regular

    imaccooper

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    #11
    Hate you missed on the deal.

    As you obviously know iFixit has the best guides so if you don't feel confident in following theirs then there is no shame in knowing your limitations and not going for it. I would keep saving (no matter what its for) and keep looking on eBay until you find a deal that works for you.
     
  12. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Location:
    Milwaukee
    #12
    I think you've the right idea with the specs you're talking about. I'd say the whole thing is pretty much going to be overkill. I bought the 2012 MM with the 2.3 i7, but didn't get the fusion drive. That was a year ago, but now, if I were to do it today, I'd get the 2014, mid range with fusion drive. Comes out to basically what I paid, but with fusion drive is probably the faster machine for what you are doing.

    You might want to consider a wireless trackpad and keyboard. I used old windows based ones for my first MM, but paid for proper Apple ones the second time. It's not cheap at $140 for the two, but I thought worth it for the multitouch and correctly labeled keys. These come with the iMac BTW. Also, having something for Time Macine to backup to is a must.
     
  13. 76Nico thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 23, 2014
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    UK
    #13
    Since I last posted about the MM I missed out on, I found a lesser specced one and bought that. It's a 2012 i7 2.3ghz, 8GB ram and 1TB standard drive plus wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse and it cost me £550. The money I've saved can be used to buy more ram and possibly a SSD further down the line if I'm feeling brave. I've also bought a wired keyboard as I wanted the number pad but that has to go back as it has a sensitive 9 key, I literally just have to look at it and it shows up.

    The ram that's installed is a single HyperX 8GB stick which according to the sticker on it, is part of a set, god knows what happened to the other one :rolleyes: Anyway, I was wondering I could put this one in as it's the updated version or should I just buy a new pair?
     

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