New iMac or Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jpa66, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. jpa66 macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2012
    OK, first-time post. I've used this site many times in the past to help me through my iMac-related questions. I'm not very knowledgeable about computers at all, but I do know the basics. I've been needing to buy a new computer for awhile now. I currently have an iMac G5 from 2004 ( yes, you heard it right: 2004 ). Obviously, I need a newer one, since I can't run a lot of programs on mine currently ( I get by for work by using my wife's pc ).

    If I knew enough about computers ( and wasn't afraid that I'd lose all of the data on mine ), I'd swap out a different hard drive for my current iMac. The reason that I haven't gotten a newer iMac yet is because I prefer the non-glare screen of my current iMac to the reflective ones of the the machines that came after it. I've also been waiting for an all-around upgrade, which I thought would have come around this time last year. I would like an optical drive, but I realize that the Mini doesn't have one either.

    Anyway, I'm torn between getting an iMac or a Mac Mini. I'd like the opportunity to add more memory to it on my own, so I'd have to get the 27". However, I don't need nor like that size screen, and the amount of money that it costs is too much ( IMO ). I only use my Mac for surfing the internet and working in Photoshop ( I'd say that I have a moderate amount of photos ), and also some scanning/storing of art images. I also need something that runs Windows ( my office only uses Windows, big surprise there ).

    So, to make a long story short, would I be better off getting a Mac Mini or the new iMac? I have researched a lot of the pro's and con's of this, but wanted peoples' opinions now that the new products are out.

  2. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    If the 27" iMac is overkill, why don't you just get the 21.5" iMac and order it from Apple with the maximum memory capacity pre-installed (thereby eliminating the need for accessible RAM)? If that were your course of action, I'd recommend the higher-end one and with a Fusion drive. I think that'd be a good machine, plus these new iMacs are supposed to have drastically reduced glare, so that satisfies your glare concern.

    Though if you prefered a Mac mini, it's not like even the lowest-of-the-line Mac mini isn't an upgrade in every possible way from what you currently have (though, I'd get that with a Fusion drive as well).
  3. jpa66 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2012
    Right now I seem to be leaning towards a Mini - I like the fact that I can add more memory as needed on my own, and that hopefully it'll be easier to upgrade. I do, however like the idea of an all-in-one ( I was never, and am still not, a fan of laptops ). I'll get a fusion drive regardless of which one I get.
  4. kthnxshwn macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2010
    No one in the world would pick a Mac Mini over an iMac. If all you're going to do is browse the internet and use Safari, get last gen's 21.5" iMac, if you need to upgrade RAM. You'll never, in the foreseeable future, need to go past 8GB of RAM. Combine that with a Fusion Drive, you won't ever need more.
  5. jpa66 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2012
    Actually, I need it to run Photoshop ( Elements ) and Windows, as well. I have given thought to the last gen iMacs, but I just hate that shiny screen.
  6. ManUMark macrumors member

    Apr 28, 2012

    The link above is for a Mac tech guy giving totally unbiased reviews of all Mac gear. He has put me off getting the new model and the new mini fairs only slightly better.
    Paying good money for a iMac one should expect more than a scaled down basic line and the componants are ALL from the laptop range.
  7. MatthewAMEL macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Well, this guy is an idiot or just not paying attention.

    The i7 used is a 3770 which is a desktop only model.

    The Nvidia 680MX is 'barely' a mobile part (called the worlds fastest mobile graphics).

    The iMac also houses a 3.5" HDD which is certainly not a mobile form factor.

    The iMac has always been a hybrid desktop/mobile. It's constraints have historically been thermal.
  8. throAU, Oct 30, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012

    throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    640k should be enough for anyone.

    If you run games, the iMac has a discrete GPU - and would be my pick.

    If you just run facebook, email, movies, etc - get the mini and a nice display.

    In a year or two (or whenever the new mini comes out), you can replace the mini (and keep your display) for something faster for FAR less than you will be able to replace the iMac.

    Alternatively, you'll be able to replace the display with something "retina class" without needing to replace the computing components at the same time.

    The mini is easier to upgrade the storage on, the memory is user upgradable, etc. If you don't need a discrete GPU and aren't dead-set on all-in-one, it's a no brainer. Get the mini.
  9. xVeinx macrumors 6502

    Oct 9, 2006
    I have both, at least in the 2011 variety. Both would work for your applications, so it really just comes down to a matter of the screen. The newer Mac Mini should be a very nice machine that can be paired with a matte screen that you deem sufficient. On the other hand, it may be worth waiting just a little longer until you can wander by an Apple store to see if the 21" model does have significant glare reduction in the new model. I have a matte IPS display at work and the iMac at home, and I actually prefer the iMac (I don't have a major issue with glare).
  10. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Are you talking about the 2011 iMac? The new one uses 2.5 inch drives.
    If you get the mid-mini, you get a much faster machine than any off the shelve iMac. And the graphics is overrated. HD4000 does everything like casual gaming, HD playback, driving 2 2560x1600 pixel screens etc. Not the hard core gaming though, but if you are into that, an iMac is a slouch too. Nothing beats the 2-slot stoves from tower PC's.

    And the mini's are cheaper than iMacs too now. You can up the RAM yourself with ease, 16Gb costing under a 100 bucks (try that with Apple). A better IPS (matte) on 1920x1080 is 250$, and a 27 inch is 550$. The 300 one is a 23 inch as well, so a little more comfy on the eyes. So for better than 21 inch mini specs you can stay under 1000$ including keyboard/mouse/screen.
    Oh, and skip the Fusion, and pop in a real SSD yourself. It is 200$ for 256Gb including mounting kit, and you can screw it next to the 1TB drive.
  11. google0912 macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2012
    Is this really possible with the new mini? I thought theres only room for either ssd or hdd?!
  12. Lancer macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2002
    We suspect the 21.5" might have a laptop HDD but don't know until someone tears one done next month. Either way the 27" uses 3.5" HDD.

    ETA - the Mini has room for 2x HDDs or SSDs, or one of each. The server model comes with 2x 1Tb HDDs.
  13. jwjsr macrumors 6502


    Mar 15, 2012
    Fairhope, Alabama
    If you forego the fusion and pop in an ssd yourself will the software or whatever still put the apps etc you use the most on the ssd automatically?
  14. CASLondon, Oct 31, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012

    CASLondon macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2011


    Value for money quad core, user upgrade SSD and RAM path, pick your own monitor (24 inch IPS like crossfire? Dell? ), good long life then it can retire to a life as a media server in the house.
  15. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Uh, the Mac Mini has a lot of advantages over an iMac:

    - You can use whatever monitor (or TV) you want with it (as the OP mentioned, he can't stand the glossy monitors that are standard with the iMacs)
    - Since the Mini has a 2.5" drive, it's almost certainly quieter than an iMac
    - The Mini gets an 8/10 score on iFixIt for repairability... very easy to disassemble and replace the RAM or hard drive(s) so you don't have to pay the huge (frankly embarrassing) Apple tax on BTO upgrades
    - Obviously the Mini is more transportable, possibly important depending on your travel habits
    - Based on its Geekbench scores, the new Mini with the 2.3GHz i7 upgrade may be fairly comparable or even faster CPU-wise than a base-model 27" iMac (not that you necessarily need that much processing power)

    Frankly I recently purchased a 27" iMac (2011) and am thinking I'd prefer a new Mini + Thunderbolt display.
  16. google0912 macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2012
  17. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    The 2.3GHz model turbo-boosts up to 3.3 and the 2.6 model goes up to 3.6, so you will see a 9% to 13% increase in performance. I doubt most people would be able to tell the difference between the two and personally I certainly wouldn't pay money for that difference.
  18. Lancer macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2002
    I would say no.

    Reports are OS X knows when there is a Fusion drive being used and does it automatically as is sees the SSD as part of the HDD ie one partition/drive.

    SSD will be seen as one drive, separate to any HDD being used.

    ETA the iMac LCD, it's reported to be way less glossy on the new model, I'm kinda hoping when it gets to the stores they have it next to a 2011 model so we can see the difference better.
  19. ihuman:D macrumors 6502a

    Jul 11, 2012
    Get the iMac(2012 because of the less glossy screen), the mini only has Intel graphics :)eek:) .
  20. Scrapula macrumors 6502

    May 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    When I replaced my G5 in 2009, I chose a Mac Mini over an iMac. I already had a monitor, keyboard and mouse. I didn't need to pay for items that I already had. Since then, I've changed input devices and upgraded my monitor. I'm still on the same Mini and it works great for everyday computing use.
  21. MatthewAMEL macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    There are no 2.5" 3TB 7200 RPM drives. Apple is still using 3.5" HDD's in the iMac. My guess is that the iMac supports a 2.5 and a 3.5 in two different mounts.
  22. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "No one in the world would pick a Mac Mini over an iMac."

    I would. And that's what I'm going to do.

    I'm looking to replace my old (but trusty) PowerMac g4/1.25 MDD in a couple more months.

    I -prefer- a "modular" system approach on my desktop to an all-in-one, hands down. I'm very leery of an "appliance" device which I can't get into -- having said that, I do in fact have a 2007 24" white Intel iMac on the other table, and it's been a steady performer. But I'm just not interested in another iMac at this time.

    Instead, I'll wait until the 2012 Minis "go refurb", and then pick up a refurbished Mini Server with twin drives inside. Just hook up my existing monitor, keyboard, mouse, and I'll be good to go. I may even add an external SSD drive in one of the USB3/SATA docking stations that I already have.

    A Mini, coupled with the right monitor might be the way to go. Especially when you don't have to pay extra for Apple's almost-unusable keyboard and the mouse/trackpad that I don't care for, either.
  23. jpa66 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2012
    Thanks for all the replies, people.

    So how cheap/difficult would it be to add an SSD to the iMac or Mini? I'm relatively technologically UN-savvy, and wonder which would be easier/more efficient/etc.

    PS - I can ( and did ) upgrade the memory in an iMac, and a few other easy changes ).
  24. RG129 macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2007
    I like the 27" iMac, but it's definitely overkill for my needs. I would probably get the 21.5" iMac aside from the fact that the memory is not user-upgradeable (I refuse to pay Apple for RAM/Hard Drive upgrades).

    I was able to get the mid-range Mac Mini, 23" IPS Monitor, 16GB RAM and a 256GB SSD all for $1224...under the $1299 price of a base 21.5" iMac (which is only 8GB RAM and no SSD).
  25. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    For running Photoshop Elements the OP would be just fine running a mini, the HD4000 is more than capable enough for basic graphics work with no issues.

    I'm a designer and I'm seriously considering a mini myself, it's quite capable in comparison to the iMacs except for with seriously GPU heavy applications.

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