Mac Mini (Summer 2011) vs. iMac (Spring 2011)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mperkel, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. mperkel macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2009
    I am currently looking for a new desktop for graduate school in fall. I currently have an iPad that works great for portability, so I'm looking for a decent desktop.

    Sorry, if this thread is repetitive, I tried searching, but didn't find what I was looking for.

    My options are an iMac that was released in February or an iMac released in summer and purchasing a nice 20ish inch had monitor to go with it, probably not going for the $999 new Apple Display.

    Will I be disappointed with the iMac, how soon will there be a refresh?
    Can I get more for my money going the Mac Mini method.

    Thanks for any input or suggestions. I plan on using the educational discount, so it should be cheaper, free printer, and the $100 Mac app store card.

    -Marc :p
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Probably not, and nobody knows.

    Depends on what you do with your machine.
  3. mperkel thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2009
    In all honesty, I don't know the difference between iMac and Mac mini. My only assumption is iMac is all built on with the screen and iSight and speakers.

    I'll be using it for school work, research, music, maybe some of those new games, watching video, doing a lot at once I guess.
  4. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011
    The mini will be able to handle everything you've listed without a problem with the exception of games. What games you play and the graphics settings you use would determine whether you'll be fine with the Radeon HD 6330M in the mini
  5. rogan macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2009
    AFAIK you dnt get a free printer or the $100 gift card with the mini
  6. glennsan macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2002
    San Diego
    New iMac or Mini?

    I purchased the entry level iMac a couple months ago. It is fast and does not take up a lot of room on my desk. They were just updated so it will most likely be a while before it happens again. I really like it. The mini is nice as well but it's advantage is that it is smaller and cheaper especially if you already have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Since you do not my advice is to get the iMac. Mini is slower then the iMac as well. I will eventually get a mini for a media center for one of my tv's because it is now being designed in that regard in my opinion. Have fun with your decision, I always do.

  7. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    iMac was updated in may, not february, so it'll be a while til another upgrade.

    I say iMac. I have a high end 2011 21.5", and it's a stunningly good computer. Really fast, dead silent, very compact, actually plays games pretty well.

    If you want to play games, the high end mini is a must. Add a display to that and the price difference to the low end iMac is not a lot. And the iMac has a quad core processor (vs dual), better graphics, and a faster hard drive. Plus the iMac has an optical drive - dunno if that's important to you. And if you actually do get a monitor for the mini that's as nice as the iMac screen, the mini set up would probably cost more, too.
  8. ssmed macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2009
    An different point of view

    Consider that you can put an ANTI-GLARE display with the Mini, whereas you have to tolerate the vast amount of glass with the iMac. If you are working for long hours at your desk this makes a real difference if there is extraneous light.

    Also consider a decent monitor bought now might last through 2-3 computer upgrades, allow you to swap to PC (just kidding) and can have inputs for cameras and other devices (including gaming devices and your iPad which cannot send video to an iMac display).
  9. VeganHipster macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    I think in the end the iMac will be better overall. IPS screen included, mouse and keyboard included. Mac Mini is nice, if you already have a monitor and keyboard and mouse (and trackpad if you want to do cool gestures in lion), but that adds to the price more and doesn't make it seem as good of a deal. Factor in a 21" monitor on the high end, the apple wireless keyboard and magic mouse and you are already nearing the price of a 21" iMac, but you have a weaker GPU, only a dual-core processor (iMac is quad-core), and no optical drive.

    But buying those things seperately is a good investment if you intend on buying other computers or Apple products in the future.

    I would say just get the iMac. You won't be disappointed!
  10. hsj2011 macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2011
    I'm too thinking about buying the new Mac Mini.

    The specs are a huge improvement over the older model, however, I agree with what others are saying. If you also need to buy a screen, keyboard and mouse, you might be better off with the 21.5" iMac. For me, that isn't really an option because I don't think I could manage with a 21.5" screen. In the UK, a Mini, a budget 24" screen, External Superdrive, Apple Keyboard and Apple Magic Mouse comes to about £80 less than the 21" iMac so would make the iMac a no brainer.
  11. mperkel thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2009
    Thanks for all your responses. I think at this point Im probably looking for an iMac.

    I just love that beautiful display.

    Any recommendations on the memory, hard drive space, etc?

    I'm looking at 21 inch, any preference if 4gb mem is good or should I splurge for 8. Also, upgrading the HD or instead buying a backup drive.
  12. AcesHigh87 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2009
    New Brunswick, Canada
    I just purchased a high end 21.5" iMac yesterday with the upgrade to an i7. From my experience researching it I can tell you NEVER pay apple price for RAM. For what you want, the 4GB would probably do but if you do want to have more look over at newegg or macsales (where I got mine) you can get 4GB of RAM that is designed to work with mac for like 35 bucks (compared to the 180 apple charges) and can put it in yourself in about 5 minutes.

    As far as HD space, the high end model comes with 1TB built in which is a tonne of space. I have that and a 1TB backup myself but I plan to hold a lot of HD video so that takes up space. For your purposes the 1TB built in should be plenty. However, having a time machine backup is never a bad thing so I would say picking up a decent HD somewhere might be worth it.

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