New Mac Mini Server vs New 21" iMac

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Fr3d, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. Fr3d macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2008
    Hi There,

    Up until today, I was decided that I would get the new Mac Mini Server and run OSX client on it (using two 20" displays I already own).

    Having just seen the new iMacs I am now wondering if I would be better off getting the new iMac - I can just stretch to the lowest model (3.06GHz i3).

    I want to use it for web development (mainly Coda, TextEdit and some Adobe CS5). I'm pretty sure both systems can handle this fine, but would be interested in which is more powerful, and which will hold it's value better.

    I had not previously considered an iMac as I want to use my existing displays (though I'm sure the built in one is much nicer than mine!), however I am assuming I can still connect one of them using the mini display port? - are there any other options (aside USB) to get two additional displays.

    I'm very much leaning towards the iMac as I think it's more future-proof being i3 rather than C2D.

    Any advice is much appreciated! :eek:

    EDIT: I think going for the iMac over the Mini would also qualify me for a £130 iPod touch rebate (this is an education purchase) :)
  2. DannySmurf macrumors 6502a

    Jul 7, 2005
    Obviously the iMac is more powerful. However, the mini will hold its value better. Few people sell their minis, and I've never even SEEN a used server model available for sale, so it would probably fetch a larger percentage of its value on the classifieds market a year from now (iMacs are a dime a dozen these days).

    Neither of these machines is particularly future proof. The Core2Duo is an older technology, but the i3 probably won't be around that long either (when the i9 - or whatever - comes out next year, the i5 will probably move into the budget slot, and the i3 will replace the Core2Duo as the ultra-low-end chip.)
  3. Maks macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2009
    The iMac is definitely more powerful, but it doesn't sound like you'll necessarily need it. I'm in a similar boat, I have an older MBP (2008) and was debating upgrading to a new Mini + Dell monitor or an iMac. While the iMac is more powerful, I'm stuck with only 2 choices for monitors. The Mini will be slower, but I can pick the monitor I want, which to me has value. If I need to upgrade to a newer Mini in the future, I can sell it without having to replace my display.
  4. Vic 20 macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2010
    I went down a similar route as Maks.

    I have a MBP and was looking for a new desktop

    While the iMacs are more powerful, I already had a spare monitor, keyboard, mouse etc. and for what I use my computer for I don't really need the latest and greatest technology. (If the printer prints I'm happy, trust me ;) )

    I had a look at the mini server and while I opted for a 2.66 4GB standard mini, I will consider adding one in the next year or so.
  5. Fr3d thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2008
    Interesting, I hadn't thought about it that way. I was working on the idea that the iMac is a consumer product (therefore more people would want to buy them) whereas the Mini Server is aimed more at businesses.

    Think I'm going to have to go in to the Apple Store and take a look at both options - I really can't decide!

    Thanks for the advice.
  6. DannySmurf macrumors 6502a

    Jul 7, 2005
    That's exactly the point. Few people buy the servers, and even fewer (close to zero) resell them later. This makes a discounted mini server hard to find, which increases the price you'd probably be able to get for one if you ever did decide to sell it. It might be more difficult to sell, for exactly the same reason (not as many people are looking for that particular machine), but IF you did sell it, you'd almost certainly get a larger percentage.

    Minis generally fetch a larger chunk of their brand new value than other machines. I just sold a 2.0 GHz mini with the Intel 950 graphics for $450 (could have got almost $500 on eBay, but sold to a friend for a discount), and a 1.83GHz from the same generation for $300. They were $750 and $600 when bought new, respectively (so 50 to 60% of original values for the minis, three years later). The best price I could get for my 2008 iMac was $650; originally priced at $1500 (43% of its value after 2 years - this was before yesterday's releases).
  7. indg macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2007
    in terms of resale value, you will save more money with the mini. for example, if you plan to buy a mac today and sell it 3 years from now, it will have cost you about $8-$10/month to use the mini. the imac will cost you $25-$30/month, but you're also paying more for better specs with the imac. up to you to figure out which fits your needs better.

    btw i've run all the apps you mentioned (as well as FCP, lightroom and other pro apps) on a nearly 4 year old slower macbook pro with 4GB of ram, so the mini would handle them just fine. by the time i sell my mbp (at the 4 year mark), it will have cost me about $34/month to own. suck!
  8. ADent macrumors 6502a

    Sep 9, 2007
    The iMacs are a better value. More bang for the buck. But I hate all-in-ones, and if a mini is not powerful enough I would rather get a MacBook.

    - I hate the Apple keyboards and mice, so no savings there.
    - I have a nice 24" monitor, so no savings with the iMac screen. Plus I typically recycle the monitors so having it separate is an advantage.
    - Using an older iMac as a HTPC looks stupid/hard (can't turn off main screen), using a mini is fine.
    - Monitor problems, no problem. The iMac folks need to backup the machine and decide if they need to wipe the sensitive data if it goes in for service, when my monitor broke I shipped just it for repair and grabbed and old CRT from the basement.
    - Resale. I have a G4 mini that is basically dead. A used G4 mini motherboard or unit are still way to expensive, even though they haven't been made since 2005.
    - Speaking of G4 - when it died I just replaced the mini. If I had bought a 20" iMac, I would be out a lot more money.
    - Upgrades. You can upgrade to the latest unit for $600-$999.

    iMac pluses:
    - The hard drive is the downfall of the Mac mini, but a mac mini server or eSATA hack makes it much better.
    - i5/i7. I really don't need quad core, but I would probably buy a new mini if came with either, esp since the kids could use an intel mini to replace their eMac.
  9. TheBritishBloke macrumors 68030


    Jul 21, 2009
    United Kingdom
    Personally I would go for the iMac. The only benefit you get from the mini server is the dual hard drives so you could run a RAID setup for example, but not everyone needs this.
  10. Fr3d thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thanks again for all the responses.

    I went for the iMac in the end and I'm very happy with it.

    I decided all the benefits (free printer, ipod touch & cheap applecare) were too much to resist. I also think on balance I would prefer to have the more consumer based product as it will be easier to sell when it comes to it. (not to say the counter arguments aren't completely valid.)

    Thanks for all the advice :)
  11. Baby Mac macrumors regular

    Baby Mac

    Jul 28, 2010
    Factor in the energy costs

    The Mac mini has 1/3 the energy cost (but unknown if it factors in the monitor for the Mac mini) of the iMac. $52/year versus $161/year.

  12. mangrove macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2010
    FL, USA
  13. Baby Mac macrumors regular

    Baby Mac

    Jul 28, 2010

    Thanks, mangrove. Just 495 posts to go before I get an avatar :p

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