Mini Server or iMac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bld44, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. bld44 macrumors 6502

    Apr 21, 2007
    I'm looking into getting my wife a new mac for her birthday. She's a photographer and a pretty heavy user, so I want to get her a pretty powerful machine that will last for 3+ years. I have it narrowed down to the following:

    Mac Mini Server
    2.0 Quad i7 Sandy Bridge
    4 GB Ram
    Dual 500 GB 7200rpm
    Intel HD 3000 graphics

    iMac 27" mid 2010
    2.93 Quad i7 (not Sandy Bridge)
    4 GB Ram
    1 TB 7200 rpm HD
    Radeon HD 5750

    I've never had such a hard time deciding, so advice is appreciated.

    First, some thoughts.

    * GPU is not extremely important. She's not a gamer.
    * Thunderbolt doesn't make or break the deal.
    * Performance is about the same on both.
    * Both are great upgrades.
    * Server version isn't a plus, I'd install client

    Now, some pros/cons.

    Mac Mini
    + I can put in a SSD I already have and still have a second 500 GB drive. The second drive would be very nice scratch space to have.
    + Not tied to one display forever.
    - No display. She has a 21", I figure I could pick up a very nice 24" second display for $500. Puts me close to the iMac cost.
    - No new mouse or new keyboard, will probably have to replace

    + 27" display, which she'd love
    + Mighty mouse, new keyboard
    + GPU > Intel HD 3000
    - No second internal HD, also a pain to replace with my SSD
    - Last years model (not bad, but meh), but it's a new unit
    - Tied to one display forever
    - Will have to get a new desk (display is too tall to fit under shelves over current built-in), not a huge deal

    As I said, both would be good, but I'm just not sure which way to go at this point. I guess I'm leaning towards the server, since there's a little more freedom. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
  2. jmpnop macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2010
    Apart from SSD, the iMac will be significantly faster than the Mac mini. Also the huge 27" IPS screen is amazing. I don't think Mac mini will last you 3 years, I'd go with the iMac.
  3. will waters macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    Great Britain

    i go with the other person get the iMac, you can still addd a second and even a third screen with that version.
  4. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    I am with the previous posters. The performance of the iMac will far beat the Mac mini. Not to mention that to find a screen equivalent to the IPS panel in the iMacs isn't cheap. Putting an SSD into the iMac isn't all that hard, and is in some regards easier then the Mac mini, from what I remember.
  5. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    Get the iMac, its a lot nicer package all-round :)
  6. bld44 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 21, 2007
    Based on what? The two processors have essentially the same scores on geekbench.
  7. eric/ Guest


    Sep 19, 2011
    Ohio, United States
    Because of the GPU. Especially because you're going to be working with photos and Aperture.

    Definitely would go with the iMac as well.

    If you're willing to spend a little more, I would just buy a brand new 27 inch for $1699
  8. penguy macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2007
    I agree with you...the mini server is surprisingly really depends on what you want/ you have a monitor already?
  9. Michael383 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2011
  10. PeterRRRRR macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2011
    Easy -- if your wife would love a 27" iMac, decision over!
  11. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    The iMac is a great system. I agree, your wife will *love* the new iMac. Its a very 'wow' experience and its hard to get that from a Mini since its, well, so mini.
  12. bld44 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 21, 2007
    Alright, pulled the trigger on the iMac. Did the order through fat wallet for 3% back.

    I figured the display would be a big upgrade from what she has right now, and couldn't really find a quality monitor I liked in the 23-34" range for a price that didn't put me right back at the iMac.

    Now, just have to find a new desk...

    Haha... very true.
  13. RayK macrumors 6502

    Oct 13, 2005
    Sounds like you made a good choice. Hope she likes it.
  14. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2011
    the iMac much nicer than the mini with all those cables.. just my 2 cents though

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