Mac Mini vs. iMac vs. iMac (long post!)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by adh, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. adh macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2014
    #1
    I’m looking for a new desktop computer – I’ve built my own computers as long as I can imagine but my current Windows build is getting quite long in the tooth. I’ve recently started a migration over to iOS and OS X and this will complement my iPad and my MacBook Air.

    My uses for a desktop are pretty light by your standards, I presume. Usual office work, movies, HTPC work, no games. My workflow isn’t that intense and the computer will be used with a 24 inch ASUS IPS 1080p panel. My workflow usually requires lots of simultaneous programs running, and is only mildly graphically intensive at times when friends/relatives need basic iMovie or Photoshop work. Besides this work, Spotify, Dropbox, Evernote, Alfred, f.lux, Mail, and a few more programs I can’t remember of the top of my head are always running. More important for me is that this machine remains relevant for the long run.

    With this background out of the way, I have three possibilities of how this situation can play out for me, and I’d like your opinion on which best satisfies my use case. Hopefully this ridiculously long forum post addressed any questions you’d have for me, but don’t hesitate – I’m game for whatever gets me the best advice!

    CASE 1: MAC MINI + 2.3GHZ QUAD CORE I7 + AFTERMARKET 8GB RAM + AFTERMARKET SSD
    Pro: cheapest, best bang for the buck, powerful relatively, user upgradeable
    Con: bring your own monitor, and my OCD will need to buy a mac kb and mouse, also HD4000, really ancient, ivy

    CASE 2: IMAC 1.4 GHZ DUAL CORE (the new one that’s a joke) + FACTORY 256GB SSD + FACTORY 8GB
    Pro: factory ssd (makes up for ****** processor?), monitor, haswell, comes w/ everything you need
    Con: as powerful as my air, most expensive

    CASE 3: IMAC 2.7GHZ QUAD CORE I5 + FACTORY 1TB HDD + FACTORY 8GB RAM
    Pro: Best of the other two cases, haswell, powerful and beautiful
    Con: HDD??!?!?! Bottleneck.

    CASE 4: (current) MACBOOK AIR 1.8GHZ I5 + 8GB RAM + 256GB SSD (mid ’12) as a desktop
    Pro: Save my $$$$$$
    Con: don’t want to mess up my battery keeping it plugged in, lags w/ full workflow


    Thanks, hopefully you read, hopefully I don’t get yelled at for not providing enough information ;)
     
  2. iLondoner macrumors 6502

    iLondoner

    #2
    I'd go for #4.

    However... I can't see why it should lag given your light workload, especially with 8GB RAM.

    I have a 4GB MBA which I've just upgraded with the 480GB Transcend Jetdrive (quite a bit faster). My battery is halfway through its predicted life cycles; when it starts to be a problem I will replace it.

    .
     
  3. poorcody macrumors 6502

    poorcody

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2013
    #3
    I'd go with #4 as well.

    The performance difference between a mid '12 Air with 8GB/256GB-SSD and an iMac at this point I would not think would be worth the money. It's just too new a machine.

    I'm surprised you are seeing any lag as well. You may want to do some testing/experimenting to see if something isn't working properly. With Mavericks' "compressed" memory, 8GB should work very well, especially when combined with a SSD.

    I also wouldn't worry about the battery. They usually outlast one's resistance to updating the computer.
     
  4. Mopar66 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2013
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #4
    Why not a 5th option of getting a refurb iMac and saving a few dollars?
     
  5. Orr macrumors 6502

    Orr

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2013
    #5
    This is by far the most logical option. You can get a very good 2012 machine for quite a savings nowadays.

    It would be much easier to advise if you provided what your budget is. #3 makes the most sense from your options (especially if you upgrade to Fusion Drive).
     
  6. adh, Jun 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014

    adh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2014
    #6
    those who say number 4- not sure if it has something to do with the ULV chip or dual core but the air just doesn't keep up whenever the cpu load ramps up, as opposed to my aging core 2 quad windows build. I'm used to a bonafide desktop to come home to- tried using my air in its place hooked up to the monitor and peripherals but it just wasn't the same...

    so rule out the crappy imac, then

    @ the refurb guy, i'll probably end up buying refurb regardless

    thanks again. i'm thinking imac but ivy + hd4000 are hard to swallow.

    for 1099, i can pick up a late 2013 base (Current midrange) model refurb. only issue is, it's base and has a non replaceable hdd. adding a ssd or fusion gets things expensive fast
     

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