My price comparison" 2018 Mac Mini vs. 2019 21.5" and 27" iMacs

purduealum91

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 15, 2018
20
22
Hello everyone,

If I were to spec out each machine, I would do so as follows:

upload_2019-3-21_13-18-55.png


To me, it seems the 21.5" is a poor value proposition when compared to the Mac Mini and 27" iMac. To me, the Mac Mini seems to offer the most bang for buck.

Your thoughts?
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,827
14,067
Central U.S.
Hello everyone,

If I were to spec out each machine, I would do so as follows:

View attachment 827498

To me, it seems the 21.5" is a poor value proposition when compared to the Mac Mini and 27" iMac. To me, the Mac Mini seems to offer the most bang for buck.

Your thoughts?
I'd likely have gotten the Mac Mini if it had a moderately spec'd discrete GPU. Now I have a Vega 48 which is between moderate and high spec'd, an amazing 5K display, and a blazing fast i9-9900K. I think this machine will last me longer than the Mini would, though I could save that money and maybe update the Mini more often. But when I factored in the eGPU and display it just didn't seem as economical. I think the real value is comparing that top end iMac against the Mac Pro. Looking at benchmarks it seems like it would be around the performance of the 10-core or maybe a little better and with upgradable RAM I can get 40GB total (2x4GB included) for $200, meaning you can get an i9 with 40GB RAM and Vega 48 for $2000 cheaper than a 10-core iMac Pro with 32GB RAM and Vega 56. The question is how long it can sustain that i9 performance since it has a lesser cooling system, but the i9 uses a lot less power than the Xeon W and is also soldered to the heat sink so it could dissipate more efficiently so we'll see what the results are. It will probably be a lot louder and a bit more prone to throttling after a long time, but should be fine for my work.
 
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padams35

macrumors regular
Nov 10, 2016
226
106
The 4K iMac looks optimal for someone who needs:
1. Any basic dGPU better than an Intel Iris Plus.
2. No more than 16GB Ram

That person would need to invest in an expensive eGPU if they went with a mac mini and would be paying a lot more for a 5K than they would save on user up gradable ram.

Otherwise if they need pro-levels of RAM, don't need a dGPU (or will need better than an RX 560X anyway) then I agree that the 4K is probably not for them.

PS: You need to add a WebCam and speakers to the Mini price list, not that that the extra $100 will change anything.
 

dimme

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2007
1,575
3,656
SF, CA
Here is my cost comparison for what I would want for each setup
Mac mini $4,415
iMac $3,900
I will not have speakers for the mini so that will be a few extra dollars. I am still on the fence I think I may get a longer life out of the mini. Or I would fell better about upgrading. Not ready to pull the trigger on either one yet.
 

SkiHound2

macrumors regular
Jul 15, 2018
164
111
I'm not sure I fully agree. For someone who has a nice monitor and who doesn't need a discrete graphics unit, the mini offers considerable merit. Though it sure as heck ain't cheap if compared to Window's boxes. And in some way the "all in one" box is not desirable. Trouble with anything mean trouble with everything. But that 27" 5k monitor offers considerable appeal. It's a really nice monitor and I'm not aware of any 27" 5k monitors that are reasonably priced. Plus, I'm not sure how well the integrated graphics in the mini would drive a 5k monitor. I do agree the 21.5" doesn't seem like a good value unless 8mb of memory and a 1TB fusion drive meets your needs. The lowest end model shouldn't even be on offer.
 

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTVWXYZ

macrumors newbie
Feb 6, 2019
25
0
in my opinion, the deciding factor is whether or not the GPU in the iMacs are good enough. if you need more GPU power, then get the mac mini and add an eGPU. if not, go for the iMac. one thing you should also consider is whether or not a 5k monitor is better than a 4k monitor. 4k monitor allows you to watch 4k videos natively, while the 5k would involve some scaling which may hurt your picture slightly.
 

dimme

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2007
1,575
3,656
SF, CA
It's my understanding (and please correct me if I have it wrong) you need to to tell the application to use the eGPU. So do all the apps utilize the eGPU? Is a eGPU setup as good as a PC with a video card attached?