New mini or 2017 imac help me decide

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Stoutman11, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. Stoutman11, Oct 31, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018

    Stoutman11 macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010
    hi guys, haven’t posted here in forever!

    Was really hoping for refreshed imac but we know that didn’t happen. I need a desktop now, no more waiting. I have been using a late 2013 macbook pro with 8gb and 512ssd which i love and will continue to use. The storage is full. I do NOT want to use any external drives at all. I want all my data stored locally on my devices. I want the desktop i buy to be the hub that stores everything. Im not using icloud nor do i want to.

    My main uses are blogging, photo editing and non 4k video editing. I want the device to last at LEAST 5 yrs if not longer.

    My 2 two options using my work discount are:

    2017 iMac 3.8ghz i5, 8gb ram( would update to 16 later on my own), 2tb fusion drive, magic mouse 2 and magic keyboard with numeric keypad= $2188


    New mac mini 3.0hz 6 core i5, 8gb ram ( would update to 16 later on my own), 2tb ssd, 10gb ethernet= $2433

    I would need to buy a keyboard and already have a cheap 22 inch 1080p monitor for the mac mini

    A cheaper third option is to buy a 1tb ssd for around $450 and have that hold me over for another year but if im gunna spend $400 i would just rather put it towards a new desktop.

    Based on my uses let me know. Please keep in mind i want at least 2tb onboard storage.


    Edited to add

    Sorry if i wasnt clear up front, i do use an external drive to back up using time machine once a week with my macbook pro. I would continue to back up using external drive on my desktop. But its out of sight when im done backing up. I dont want my data segmented across different storage devices thus i dont want to say put my photos on an external drive.
  2. Malus120 macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2002
    If you want to last, and you want it to be fast, go for the Mac Mini.

    While I'm sure people will bring up good arguments for the iMac (it does have the best screen in the industry for example), at the end of the day, aside from that wonderful screen, the iMac is stuck with circa 2016 hardware (quad cores, Polaris GPUs, "Fusion" drives), the new Mac Mini, as you've configured it with hex-cores, 10G NIC, and a 2TB SSD is a 2018 machine with a foot in 2019.

    To be fair, you really should be factoring in the cost of a decent screen, and maybe even an eGPU down the line. That said, even still, I honestly can't recommend anyone (let alone someone who wants to use the machine for FIVE years) invest in the current iMac when the Mac Mini just so much more future proof.

    Another important point for your use case is that the Mac Mini, by virtue of NOT being an "all in one" with a built in screen, is less likely to suffer catastrophic failure as it ages, which is relevant if you plan to use the machine beyond the AppleCare window.

    That said, given that after almost half a decade of stagnation, computing (CPU) performance is finally trending upward again (we've gone from 4 to 8 cores on the i7 in less than two years and AMD is likely to push even further on consumer parts next year), I would say the five years spanning 2018~2023 may feel much "longer" than the five years from 2013~2018. This will be doubly true for the Mac if Apple ever pulls the trigger on A series chips in Macs... Just some food for thought.
  3. xgman macrumors 601


    Aug 6, 2007
    Main difference (aside from the imac built in monitor) is only integrated graphics on the mini. Other than that you can get pretty close performance between them I would suspect.
  4. Scrapula macrumors 6502

    May 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    I'm in the same boat. I really wanted a new iMac. Mine has been dead for a couple of months. I have decided to go ahead and order the Mac Mini. If I need more graphics processing power, I can add on an external eGPU. The fact that it is expandable is a plus for me. I'm a software developer and need a lot of screen real estate. I'm not sure the on board graphics will do the job, and I probably will want to run at least 2 monitors at high resolution.

    If I were you, I'd go for the Mac Mini. It has plenty of ports to expand if and when you need it.
  5. MBM007 macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2006

    What monitor are you going to get? My 2011 27" iMac died 5 weeks ago so I shamefully went out and bought a 27" iMac yesterday right after the keynote. It's nice, but hardly feels like much of an upgrade from my spec'd out 2011 model so I'm considering returning it and buying a Mac mini to hold me over but would need to find a nice looking 4k display before pulling the trigger.
  6. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    Video editing? Go for the i7, whichever you decide.
  7. marclondon macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2009
    What are you going to do for backup?

    At least with the old Mini you could put two drives in and use one for backup (which I do, but i also use Dropbox and external drives).

    I'd say the next iMac is the one for to get the best screen and graphics for a more powerful and pleasurable long term experience. It will be better value than the Mini, which is now overpriced (certainly here in the UK).

    Mind you I've never had an iMac but there could be a first time.
  8. Stoutman11 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010

    I will be using external drive for weekly backup but then i put it away.
  9. SkiHound2 macrumors regular

    Jul 15, 2018
    I'd actually say your best option is to buy something like a Samsung T5 and move a bunch of your data to it. And you really need to have at least some backup plan. Whether that's time machine or something like carbon copy cloner? I know it's convenient to just let the computer put stuff where it wants, but eventually you're going to run out of local drive space. The Apple prices for 2 TB ssds just seems crazy to me. I think the question between a current iMac and a mini is more challenging. The iMac gives you a very nice integrated unit with a very nice screen. It will also come with a discrete gpu. How much advantage that offers will depend entirely on what software you run. The current iMacs use 7th generation cpus and the 8th generation cpus are significantly faster. Whether that translates into a meaningful difference is again, going to depend on what software you're running. I've been eying the iMacs for a while but have been waiting for the upgrades. Frankly, the idea of paying full price for a computer released in June of 2017 bothers me. More the principle than the actual machine. I had a old iMac. Don't recall what year but I believe a 24" model. It was getting long in the tooth and after the 2012 minis were released I thought that was the way to go. My plan was to upgrade the mini every now and then and not trash a monitor every time I upgraded. I bought what was, at the time, a very good monitor. It's still a good monitor. It's not 5k good, but it's still darn good. At this point I'm leaning towards the mini. But when you think it doesn't come with a monitor, or keyboard, or mouse, the iMac makes compelling case. The lack of any kind of discrete gpu curbs my enthusiasm regarding the mini. I know one can add an egpu, but that's a significant amount of money and another ugly box to contend with.
  10. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011

    I don’t mean that snarkily - but by drawing that line in the sand you’re committing yourself to paying a whopping great premium for a super-fast 2TB SSD in the Mac Mini, which might otherwise suit your needs nicely, so you need to think it through. (Maybe you want to use it as a semi-portable? That would be one good reason.) In any case, you’ll need external drives or NAS for backup (if any part of the Mac Mini dies and leaves it unbootable that SSD is likely to be unrecoverable).

    Give it a few months and I’m sure there will be space-grey TB3 external HDs that stack neatly with the new Mini (of course, Apple should have made sure that happened on Day 1 but they don’t do joined-up thinking any more).

    Also - the 10Gb Ethernet May be worth it for future proofing, but only if you acquire 10Gb switches, routers and other 10Gb devices (which tend to be quite rare and pricey at the moment).

    Apart from that, if you don’t want a 5k display and are OK with a so-so integrated GPU then the mini might be the way to go. Otherwise, the iMac comes with $1000 worth of display and even the 18 month old dGPU will probably thrash the Mini’s iGPU - whether the Mini’s two extra CPU cores offset that may depend on your workflow.

    NB - it’s yet to be confirmed whether the RAM in the Mini will be DIY upgradeable without voiding your warranty.

    It’s frustrating that the iMacs didn’t get a bump to 6-Core processors etc. but Apple are only a small mom & pop company so you can’t expect them to update half-a-dozen product lines to use current components every year.
  11. Stoutman11 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010
    I think after long thoughts i think i am being an idiot. I love my macbook pro and all i need is more storage. I have an upgradable device. I think im just going to purchase a 1tb owc aura pro X for $400. I can then sell my 512gb ssd already in my laptop for at least $100- $150 im guessing. So maybe out of pocket $250 and i have enough storage for a while. By then then the new imacs would be out and if i really need a desktop i could go for the updated imacs next yr if need be.

    I think thats the smartest most prudent thing to do.
  12. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    An Aura is ok but a system pull might be less expensive. As MBP owners are upgrading to 2T (under $600 for a 2T 970 EVO plus adapter), used 1T and smaller Apple blades are readily available.

    NVMe SSDs from 2013–2014 MacBook Pro; 2013–2015 MB air and iMacs are interchangeable.

    Look out for pulls from 2015 iMacs. Although the buss is PCIe 3x4, Apple installed the slower NVMe PCIe 2 SSD. As those owners upgrade to double their speed, used PCIe 2 SSDs are beginning to flood the market.

    BTW, you can install the 970 EVO + adapter into your MBP if you like the price (well under $400 for 1T) and/or really want 2T on board.. The only two issues are a) High Sierra is the minimum OS and b) some 2013–14 Macs have a wake from sleep issue that is solved by running a Terminal command. Sorry, you won’t enjoy the double speed that 2015 and later owners will. That’s ok.
  13. alien3dx macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2017
    i'm a software developer .. onboard intel no issue on 1 monitor.. Only if gamming a little bit issue low ram for base line. The best choice for base line is mac mini with no keyboard but still you can re-used old item.But beware, usb c cable at the back extended monitor a little hot.
  14. Dreday24 macrumors regular

    Apr 30, 2012
    i got the i7 mac mini and an egpu. My monitor is already really nice. Also i can reuse my egpu next year when i get the mac pro
  15. catskull macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2018
    I just made this decision. Here was my thought process:
    I was comparing the upgraded 2018 Mac Mini to a refurb 2017 iMac 27. Here's the specs:

    Mac Mini ($1,099):
    3.0GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i5
    8GB 2666MHz DDR4
    256GB SSD
    Gigabit Ethernet
    No dedicated GPU

    iMac ($1,529):
    3.4GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor
    8GB 2400MHz DDR4
    1TB Fusion Drive (1TB HDD/32GB PCIe SSD)
    Gigabit Ethernet
    Radeon Pro 570 4GB

    To me the only huge benefit of the mac mini is the 8th gen CPU with 2 extra cores, and a larger SSD. However, the 5k display also has a huge value for me. And that's what this essentially boiled down to for me: value considering accessories. So let's spect out a mac mini setup that would be roughly equivalent.

    Mac Mini - $1,099
    LG UltraFine 5K Display - $1,299.95
    Logitech C270 Webcam - $21.75
    Logitech S120 Speakers - $9.99
    Magic Mouse 2 - $79.00
    Magic Keyboard - $99.00
    Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Puck Radeon RX 560 - $399.00
    Total: $3,007.69
    Total (without eGPU): $2,608.69

    At that point, I have to ask myself if a marginally better CPU and faster storage is worth $1,500. Keeping in mind that I always have the option to spend a few hundred bucks and upgrade the iMac's internal PCIe drive, or just throw a SATA SSD in for about $50. I also have the potential to upgrade the CPU to an i7 7700K. Bundle all that in with the sleek all in one form factor so I don't have cords hanging around, yeah the iMac was a no-brainer to me.

    Now let's say you don't really care about the screen that much, which is totally valid and the LG UltraFine is just stupid expensive. For me personally the 16:10 aspect ratio and 5k resolution is very desirable. But for others, we could just ballpark maybe $500 for a good 4k display. We could also assume you don't care about GPU performance, and already have all the peripherals you'll need. Now the prices are basically equivalent, so if you're in that ballpark, the mac mini makes a lot of sense. I can see for example a recording studio that already has everything in place and just needs to upgrade. But for a new setup, I think the iMac has a lot higher value for the average user, which is why I ended up going with that.

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14 October 31, 2018