Mac Mini with TB Display vs iMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by FlatlinerG, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. FlatlinerG macrumors 6502a

    FlatlinerG

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #1
    The mrs. gave me the approval to get a new desktop computer this holiday season so I started looking through the Apple Online Store. :D

    I need the advice of the MacRumors folks. I could get a base Mac mini with a thunderbolt display (I also have a MacBook Pro so this would serve a dual purpose) or I could get a 21.5" iMac. Both choices would end up costing me around the same price aside from having to buy a keyboard if I were to go the Mac mini route (I already own a magic mouse).

    The typical usage for this setup would be mostly in typing up documents, mild excel/numbers work, and a splash of gaming here and there.

    Pros/Cons of each?
     
  2. designs216 macrumors 65816

    designs216

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Down the rabbit hole
    #2
    The Mini + Thunderbolt combo is the way to go, although I'd wait until the display sees it's fast-approaching refresh -- the TB display is likely to gain USB3 and the new reduced glare screen of the latest iMac. I like the idea of being able to do my own upgrades and the Mini is easier to work on than the iMac. Plus, if the Mini goes down, you'll still be able to use the TB display w/ your MBP.
     
  3. bt22 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Alabama
    #3
    I agree with designs216. I have the 2011 Mac Mini and TB display. I also chose this option because I can purchase a new Mac Mini when they refresh them, such as now. Then I can use my 2011 mini as a media server or pass down to my daughter. Replacing a 27" iMac would be much harder to do. I do wish Apple would make a tower option like that Mac Pro at a price point more affordable and useful for the non-pro users.
     
  4. Liquinn Suspended

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    #4
    Yep. I 100% agree with you here. I can't see them ever releasing an upgradable more affordable tower but we'll see. ;P XD

    What turned me off with the iMac is - if something goes wrong you're stuffed. If my mini broke then I can still use the TB display with my Macbook Pro. :)
     
  5. wlossw macrumors 6502a

    wlossw

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    #5
    I doubt that this is going to happen with the current design emphasis being on smaller, thinner, and lighter at the expense of upgradability/repairability.

    Frankly I never upgrade my pcs.. and I have bought a few with the intention of doing just that.
     
  6. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #6
    The 27" screen of the Thunderbolt display is obviously larger than the 21.5" screen of the 21.5" iMac, yet the 27" screen does appear to have more glare than the 21.5" iMacs of new will have. Barring that, it really depends on what games you want to be playing. If you're sticking primarily with Blizzard and Valve games (WoW, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Half-Life 2, Portal 1 or 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike: Source, Left 4 Dead 1 or 2, etc.), then a Mac mini will provide you with sufficient graphical power. If you are going to play any other type of game, then, depending on the game, you might want to look into whether the Intel HD 4000 will be sufficient or whether the GeForce GT 640M/650M will be better and make your decision based on that.

    If you do decide to go the 21.5" iMac route, just be sure to max out your RAM to 16GB of RAM at the time of purchase as you will not have the luxury of doing so later.
     
  7. FlatlinerG thread starter macrumors 6502a

    FlatlinerG

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #7
    Seems like you all have the same general thoughts as me. For light gaming, the GT 640M pushing only 1920x1080 will easily outperform the Intel 4000 going at a whopping 2560x1440.

    The thunderbolt/mini combo definitely is the best for the future, but there is still something about the new iMacs that are just so nice.

    I guess by the time I drop the hammer on the computer, there might even be an update to the TB displays? One can only dream.
     

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