Mini Server + Thunderbolt Display vs 2.7 27" iMac

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ben2e, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. ben2e macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2007
    The iMac has some advantages on paper with a
    -Faster HDD
    -more memory
    -better GPU
    -faster CPU
    -$400 cheaper

    For the Mini Server with Thunderbolt Display
    -Core i7 (I'm not sure how this compares to a 2.7GHz i5)
    -Far easier to upgrade discs to SSD
    -cheaper to replace the mini

    I know you can put an SDD into an iMac. I've done it and it wasn't at all fun. I wouldn't again. I'm assuming the mini is a far easier job and with an SDD would be a screaming little machine. I may be off on my cost comparison but I believe the Thunderbolt display is equivalent to the iMac's. Someone correct me here if I'm wrong.

    I did see the previous thread comparing the iMac to the Core i5 mini but the server seems the better comparison. I've heard the new Intel discrete graphics are pretty decent. I don't game, mostly Lightroom and other standard apps. Not much video editing yet.

    I know this is the mini forum but am curious what choice people would make today. I have the choice because Apple replaced my iMac and I have the chance to switch.
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    2.7GHz iMac scores 7882 on Geekbench while i7 Mini scores 8573. iMac would give you a faster GPU but all other parts can be upgraded.
  3. jeffkempster macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2008
    I am almost 99% on a Mac mini server + TB display. The only reason I'm waiting is the display isn't available for purchase yet.

    We do lose the gpu of the iMac, but thunderbolt is promising external graphics cards so even that may be answered.

    I will probably stick with the two 750gb interenal drives and put raid 0 on for a bit of a speed boost. Maybe add ssd or external TB drives later.
  4. ben2e thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2007
    Wow, Core i7 is surprising !

    Anyone know how an SSD affects those numbers ? I suppose if I was going to compare an iMac, I should have use the i7 model. I originally thought the extra $500 was a bit steep for something that would be faster a small percentage of the time so I originally decided on the 2.7GHz i5.

    The mini server looks like a great option. I had a little bit of sticker shock looking at the $50 for the thunderbolt cable.
  5. EmpyreanUK macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2011
    I'm currently facing the exact same decision —*my late 2008 MacBook, which has been my only computer since I bought it, is no longer capable of keeping up with everything I need to be able to do. My plan is to buy a desktop, then buy a Lion upgrade for my MacBook, do a clean install and then use it purely for light/mobile computing.

    But, like the OP, I'm unsure of whether to go with an iMac or a Mini and a TB display. The iMac works out cheaper, and I like the idea of just having a display on my desk with just the power cable running to it. But, similarly to the OP, I also like the idea that with the Mini + TBD, it's far easier to upgrade the actual computer component, whilst keeping what is an excellent display (one which I don't see myself needing or wanting to display until such time that 300 DPI displays are available at a reasonable cost).

    Until reading this thread, I had been thinking to go with the iMac with an SSD, but was concerned over the cost of the SSD upgrade. However, I like jeffkempter's suggesting of getting a Mini Server with the two 750GB HDD option, configured for a striping RAID setup (whichever number that is). Then, whenever I next need to upgrade my computer (four to five years I imagine), the cost of SSDs should have dropped quite significantly, resulting in a cheaper upgrade (not having to buy a computer and display that upgrading from an iMac would entail).

    I'm still not certain, but one thing that I have been thinking about is just how significant the presence of Bluetooth 4.0 in the Mini is, and what Apple's plans are regarding the technology, especially for iOS device integration. Does anybody have any thoughts on this? And am I right in my assumption that the Bluetooth chip in the current iMacs are not upgradeable to the 4.0 profile through a firmware upgrade?

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