New Mac Mini vs. New iMac

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by CuriousMacster, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. CuriousMacster macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    #1
    I'm looking to replace my old Powerbook G4 with either a Mac Mini or iMac. My question would be what is the best fit for how I use a computer? I mostly use it for internet, music and photos (some photo editing). I also do some moderate gaming like C&C, Age of Empires and also Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 when they come out. Will the Mac Mini with the 9400M be powerful enough for my needs or should I go with the iMac with the GT130 (or maybe even the 4850 if necessary)? Thank You
     
  2. tbrinkma macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    #2
    Obviously, I can't speak for games that have yet to be released, but I'd think the Mac mini is more than capable of what you're asking of it.
     
  3. txnoob macrumors 6502

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    Mar 12, 2009
    #3

    If you want to game, build a cheap windows gaming box for that, and get a Mac Mini. Share the new 24" monitor between the two. Best of both worlds. :D

    IF the 4850 is the desktop version, and you want to game on a Mac, I'd get that if you can afford it.
     
  4. dongmin macrumors 68000

    dongmin

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    #4
    If you're do light gaming, which is what you basically described, you should be fine with the 9400M. The choice, then, should be between the low-end iMac ($1200) and the Mini ($600). If you have all the peripherals you need (display, keyboard, and mouse), then by all means get the Mini. Otherwise, I'd go for the iMac for it's bigger/faster HDD and 33% faser CPU.

    If you plan on doing more serious gaming, then consider the GT120 iMac for $1800. But realize that you're paying A LOT more extra to get that extra gaming capability.

    P.S. The 9400M will give you decent frame rates on Halo UB, Quake 4, Prey, etc.
     
  5. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

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    Feb 22, 2009
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    USA
    #5
    Isn't Starcraft 2 going to be pretty intense? Especially if you're playing at higher resolutions?
     
  6. bchreng macrumors 6502a

    bchreng

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    #6
    Even though Blizzards games typically scale pretty well with a wide range of system configurations, I agree with this. Both SC2 and D3 are probably going to be real system hogs. Knowing Blizzard though, we'll probably have 2 or 3 more Mac Mini and iMac revisions before those games are released. :D

    Either way, you're probably better off buying both a Mac and a gaming PC like txnoob mentioned.
     
  7. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

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    Feb 22, 2009
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    USA
    #7
    QFT :p

    ...IF AND ONLY IF you require the best gaming experience.

    If you want to play on medium quality without AA/AF on something smaller than a 24" monitor, I bet you could get by with the 9400 and 4GB of RAM.
     
  8. fleeglegeep macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    #8
    I build gaming machines on the side, and IMHO a single ATI 4850 is an entry level video card, along with the Nvidia 9800 GTX+/GTS 250. Yes you can play games at lower quality settings, but once you have seen the difference a good graphics card can deliver, you won't want to look at the crappy graphics.

    The Blizzard games you mentioned may be DX10/11 games (Blizzard hasn't confirmed, but that is the skinny). While the Nvidia 9400 is DX10 compliant, good luck getting all the eye candy out of it. The newer version of Direct X takes serious GPU horsepower to run well.

    The good news is that my new mac mini ran a humble 1900 on 3dmark, which should give it the power to chew through the older games you listed with ease. If you can have two machines, txnoob's advise sounds good. Wait until the new Blizzard games come out, and get a cheap Windows box, $750 to $1000 should cover it. Until then, get a new Mac Mini; I really like mine (I did upgrade the hard drive, the one it came with was anemic).

    If you can't or don't want two boxes, and have the cash, upgrade to the iMac with a 4850. Besides, the size difference between the 20" and 24" is huge. The 24" is so worth it.
     
  9. bchreng macrumors 6502a

    bchreng

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    #9
    If he really needs something now, he should buy this Dell for $420 (+tax & shipping). It comes with a keyboard, mouse and 19" LCD so he could use those for his Mac Mini as well. Toss in a $200 videocard and he'll have a more-than-adequate gaming system.
     
  10. jmpage2 macrumors 68030

    jmpage2

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    Sep 14, 2007
    #10
    Keep in mind that not everyone wants to keep two full machines at their desk, deal with belkin switches, etc.
     
  11. fleeglegeep macrumors newbie

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    Mar 19, 2009
    #11
    Wow that is a really good price. Some name brand computers have problem with full size video cards. That looks like a standard micro-ATX case though, so it shouldn't be an issue. If you could, I would pay the 30 buck for the full version of Vista, and upgrade to a 22" monitor for 60 more.

    Still at $510 you'll be set for the mini like bchreng suggested.
     
  12. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

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    Feb 22, 2009
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    #12
    I don't think this thing would fit a 4870x2 :confused:
     
  13. petermcphee macrumors 6502a

    petermcphee

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    Aug 20, 2008
    #13
    I have an iMac. I have never owned a mini. That said, it's hard to beat the quality of the screen that you get with an iMac, especially a 24".
     
  14. txnoob macrumors 6502

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    Mar 12, 2009
    #14
    It's easy to beat the quality of the 20".......
     
  15. Jackintosh macrumors 6502a

    Jackintosh

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    Mar 21, 2009
    Location:
    Illinois
    #15
    As I see it, the downside with the iMac (as good as it is) is you have to be married to your monitor for the rest of your life (or your processor's life).
     
  16. CuriousMacster thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 24, 2009
    #16
    Thanks for all the info folks. I'm still in a bit of a limbo though. Even though the iMac looks great I'm still hesitant because I am pretty much married to the monitor (as Jackintosh said). Also I know the iMac is just a Macbook without a screen or battery. If only they made a more consumer friendly and basic Mac Pro, then my choice would be much easier.

    I'm just want something that is some what future proof, mainly for those two Blizzard titles. I do the majority of gaming on my PS3 so I'm not looking for a beast of a gaming machine. I also don't want to have two computers just for a little light gaming. C&C 3, D 3 and SC2 would take up the bulk of my computer gaming, but maybe some other real time strategy as well, depending on what may come out.

    Again thanks for all the info that's been given, but of course more is always appreciated.
     
  17. txnoob macrumors 6502

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    Mar 12, 2009
    #17
    If your main concern is games that aren't released yet, I would wait until they are before you buy the computer....
     
  18. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

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    Feb 22, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #18
    The 24" sports a 1920x1200 S-IPS panel (high resolution, unparalleled viewing angles and color for the price). Go try to get a monitor like it for less than $400 and report back...

    http://www.newegg.com
    http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/panelsearch.htm

    Best I can do is here for $470 after rebate.

    Of course, if you would be perfectly happy with a TN panel @ 1680x1050 or less, that's a different story.
     
  19. bchreng macrumors 6502a

    bchreng

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    #19
    It may not sport a fancy S-IPS panel, but for $350, this Samsung 24" gets the job done.

    For what it's worth, it doubles as a small TV too.
     
  20. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

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    Feb 22, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #20
    See a quick TN vs. S-IPS comparison for yourself:

    http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/10884.jpg

    Also be wary of color shift while looking straight at the screen. I had a cheap 22" TN panel where you couldn't get a neutral gray to save your life, even staring straight at it!
     
  21. reebzor macrumors 6502a

    reebzor

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    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #21
    Also, if you already have a monitor keyboard and mouse, the mini will usually be a better deal. If you need those things, then I'd get an iMac.

    That was the main reason I had to get a mini
     
  22. CuriousMacster thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 24, 2009
    #22
    How about the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS? How does that GPU hold up in the intermediate gaming world?
     
  23. bchreng macrumors 6502a

    bchreng

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    Jul 26, 2005
    #23
    I don't think it'll run SC2 or D3 too well. At least not with everything on high and at a high resolution. I have a 8800 GTS in my PC and it barely cuts it running Left 4 Dead.
     

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