Mac mini vs. iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by billyb, Nov 12, 2006.

  1. billyb macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2003
    I'm looking for a new desktop, and comparing the 1.83 CD Mac Mini ($847 edu) with a 17" iMac Core 2 Duo 2.0 ($1100 edu; the extra RAM and better graphics make the $100 iMac bump a no-brainer).

    These things don't matter:

    hard drive space (external is cheap)
    monitor (already have a 20" widescreen)

    The most intensive things I'll do on the new computer are:

    RAW image conversion (using CaptureOne; this is the slowest thing on my PB12" 1ghz g4)
    iMovie-like editing and DVD making from a miniDV camcorder.

    I don't play games on my computers.

    So, which would you recommend? How much difference would be apparent between the 1.83 CD and the 2.0 C2D+better graphics? My understanding is that even not playing games, the non-integrated graphics will speed up the general user experience (please correct me if I'm wrong on this).

    You can assume I'd bump the mac Mini to at least 1 gb in RAM (hence the price above). I'm also eligible for the education discount and perfectly happy to buy refurbished. But with refurbished, I'd probably have to buy 3rd party RAM for the Mini.
  2. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    Sounds like you answered your own question. If you have a monitor and you don't have the extra money, the mini is fine. As you point out, the iMac is a better value. Plugging your existing monitor into the iMac will give you a better video editing experience.
  3. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    iMac, no question. It's by far the better deal.

    For your uses, the iMac would be the best choice - you can run two screens with an iMac (the built-in and your external), it has a faster and larger HDD and you'd get a nice performance boost from the Core 2 Duo.
  4. billyb thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2003
    I hadn't even considered the fact that I could run two screens--great idea. I was thinking of connecting a TV tuner or DVD player to the extra monitor (if I went with the iMac) and putting it in the kitchen!

    But the basic question is...for my uses, is the iMac really going to be that much faster? I've looked for benchmarks on the subject but haven't really found a direct comparison.
  5. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    I have to agree that the C2D iMac is the better choice.

    Faster processing, storage, VRAM options and ease of DIY upgrades as your needs

    You also get that beautiful WS display and improved connectivity to other external devices.
  6. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    I just got a 1.66 CD Mini refurb and it is great. I was upgrading from a G4 450 'sawtooth' 768MB RAM and also the use of my wife's 12"PB 867mhz 640MB RAM. The Mini is a huge jump compared to both. I haven't used iMovie on it yet so I can't tell you what performance is like, but I did do some @ The Apple Store comparison tests importing .mov QT clips into iMovie and running some rendering tests. A 24" C2D iMac was barely faster than a 1.66 Mini (both running 1GB RAM). I only noticed a real difference between the iMac or Mini and a Mac Pro. I for one wouldn't consider the 17 because I would want a bigger screen, and even if you have an extra 20", your main screen is still only 17". But then again, I'm getting rid of my Mini come Leopard and iTV and replacing it with a 24" iMac, I just needed something for a little while.

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