Mac Mini vs iMac vs Macbook Air

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by brserc, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. brserc macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2013
    #1
    Hi there!

    You might think the title is kind of stupid because there are a lot of differences between these devices, but please read before you decide.

    The main reason I want to buy a Mac is to develop applications for iOS using XCode. Also I'm an engineering student so I will use programs like Matlab and write a lot of other code. Also I might be thinking of doing a little bit of web design and using photoshop. Finally the device must be good for another 2 years, because I will not have another chance to buy another computer before I graduate.

    I need to say that I have an i7 notebook with gt630m graphics, I use it around 1,5 years and it is really fine. My main aim is to be a developer. My first thought was to buy a MBPr but it costs around 2600$'s so that was out of question.(Maybe you guys can convince me to buy one :D)

    The prices I will write are from my country, not in U.S.

    So here are the PRO's and CON's of each device:

    Mac Mini:

    i7 version of Mac Mini is about 1000$. It comes with 4gb of ram and 1TB 5400rpm hard disk. I will need a monitor to use with it, which will cost about 250$. Also in time my main aim is to upgrade the system with an SSD(200$) and 16gb of ram(150$). So the total cost of the device would be 1600$, but I will have a hell of a good Mac, I can sell it separate from the ram and ssd and use them for other purposes, also I will have a great monitor.
    The con side is of course I can only use this device at home. Also another con is the hd4000 graphics processor, I'm not sure whether can it handle a big HD screen nicely without any lags.

    iMac:

    The entry level 21,5" iMac interested me, it's around 1435$ in here. But it's all in one so I won't pay anything extra after buying it. The con side is I can't upgrade this guy(the harddisk mainly) and of course it's only usable at home again. Also maybe after 2 years I could still want to use this device but what if 8gb of ram is not enough? Another pro would be 640m graphics.

    Macbook Air:

    I'm thinking about the new haswell entry 13" model. It's about 1440$.
    This guy is the slowest of all three and have a 4gb of ram.(8gb of ram is not sold around here right now.) The pro side is it comes with an SSD and I can work with it wherever I want. But to develop I would probably need another monitor to work with. The main reason I don't want to buy this is 4gb of ram, and I don't know whether the i5 in this machine can handle hard developer work. Also 13" seems a little bit of small to work with. But I really like the Air so it's one of the options, and the only option that gives mobility.

    Also as a one more question to help me decide: I've never used a SSD before, how much difference is there between a SSD and a 5400rpm HDD.(I think my notebook has one of these right now)
     
  2. glutenenvy macrumors regular

    glutenenvy

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Location:
    WA
    #2
    I would consider memory soldered to the board to be an absolute CON so MacBook Air would be out for me. What you bought is what you are stuck with. I have a recent MacBook Pro with memory that is not soldered in. I believe that MBPr is soldered too. I'm talking about a non-retna MBP which is several hundred dollars cheaper and available as a non glare screen. I'd suggest that for you. It's quite likely you'll never see BluRay coming from Apple. Other than that it makes for a nice rounded machine that you can take to clients offices or climate controlled buildings when your power goes out.
     
  3. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    #3
    Huge. Depending what you're doing.

    I'd be really leery of buying a 4 GB machine for development though.

    My Mac Mini runs two 2560x1440 Thunderbolt displays. One is used for non-intensive stuff (web, word, spreadsheets, email, etc.). The other is used for full-screen video playback. As long as you're not doing intensive gaming there's no problem.
     

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