mac mini vs imacG5 Question


macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 10, 2005
I need a computer within the next few weeks. I've never had one at home so I don't have any keyboard-mouse-display.

So, if I get mac mini 1GB ram and 20" display (would like a widescreen display) with BT keyboard and mouse.
but then I end up only about 100 Euro less than the imac G5 with 1 GB ram. :eek:

Assuming a useful lifespan of three years on the computer, is the Mac mini (+display) the better buy since I will only need to upgrade the mac mini box when that time comes (and intel switch is complete)?
Is the imac so much better right now that it is worth having to chuck the display with the computer when the time comes?

I welcome your opinions.


Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
Andover, MA
The iMac is faster with a newer CPU. It has more ports, is more easily expanded, and - counting the need for a monitor - takes up less desktop space than a mini.

If it were me, I'd pick the iMac. A keyboard and mouse cost nothing to replace, and monitors will only be cheaper in three years, so I think the iMac is a better investment.


macrumors newbie
Apr 8, 2005
The iMac also has a faster drive. (The mini uses a laptop-class drive.)

You might want to consider whether Apple's switch to Intel will shorten the useful as opposed to useable lifespan for either computer. (i.e. will there be a marked dropoff of application support for PowerPC-based Macs or new features in future versions of OS X that will only work on Intel-based Macs, etc., necessitating a new Mac sooner than has been the case traditionally.)

If you're a pessimist, the need to only replace the Mac mini while keeping the separate monitor would be an advantage. If monitors are indeed cheaper in the future, you could get a new one and have a dual-monitor setup (assuming your replacement box can control two displays).

Also, it is reported that Intel Macs will likely not run Classic apps. Since the mini takes up so little space you could easily keep it on your desk after getting an Intel-based Mac in the future, just to run the occasional Classic app.


macrumors 6502a
Feb 27, 2005
Northern California
It all depends on how long you want to use the computer. If you looking to use the computer for a good 3-4 years, then for sure get an iMac. If you want to use it for maybe two, and then you'll have the money to get an awesome machine, then it would make sense to get the mini, and in a few years, you could just get a power mac, to plug into that awesome 20 inch display.


macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2004
Mac since 7.5
I agree with those who say it's a matter of how long you expect to use this as your primary computer.
If you willl have the means to get a new box in 18-24 months, then the mini and 20" CD is a good combo to tide you over. The ongoing Classic support the mini (assuming you'd keep it) affords over future InteliMac releases is a bonus but, as you don't have a home computer now, the likelihood of your actually owning any Classic-only app's is rather small.

Seems more likely to me that you will be better off with the iMac. It is very fast, and will serve you quite well for many years to come. You can count on display technology to continue to improve while prices drop, so the lack of a stand alone display may not be as cost restrictive as you think, when it comes time to upgrade your system.


macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 10, 2005
Thanks Guys, Advice taken,

I'm not going to be a heavy user but as it's going to be a first computer I do need all the peripheral bits included.
I just know that in three years I will find it really hard throwing away 2 grand of kit (imac) even if devalued by three years and obsolete, compared to 500 bucks (mac mini).

Now to convince the GF that the bargain basement laptop she saw in the store will not be good enough.


macrumors 68030
Dec 30, 2004
I agree with most people...........go iMac..whjen you buy a computer these days buy one that has the 'newest' technology you can get, because the technology moves so fast...too fast to be stuck behind :rolleyes:


macrumors member
Jun 3, 2005
Brighton, England
iMac. Easy choice.

Bigger hard disk, better graphics, less wires, neater setup, faster by a fair margin too.

At that price range, I think going with a mini would be a silly choice. The only time a mini comes into its own is if you're a) using it with a cheaper display or b) already have the display and want to change the base unit only.


macrumors 68030
May 18, 2004
J-Low said:
....Is the imac so much better right now that it is worth having to chuck the display with the computer when the time comes?...
one thing to remember is that displays keep getting ....bigger, better, cheaper, etc.....just as computers keep getting better

5 years ago when I bought a computer, a 17" CRT display was a pretty impressive and expensive thing and a 19" display was out of the question for our little office....a couple of years later when we bought some new computers we found that the prices of CRT displays had dropped so much that we could buy 19" displays for just a couple of hundred dollars, nobody wanted the old 17" monitors that we already had......and look how prices have dropped so much on LCD displays over the last 2 years, a 19" LCD is quite affordable

so to some extent, it's a little misleading to think that a display you buy today will save you money because you can re-use it when you replace your computer in 3 may end up upgrading the display at the same time anyway just because there are much better displays to be had