No Mini refresh, is refurb 2012 iMac a better option?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by tgrays, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. tgrays macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    #1
    My sister's old iMac is on its last legs and she was originally planning to get the 2.3 i7 Mini with SSD or Fusion, but things got a bit iffy with no refresh in 2013 and she's not sure how much longer she can wait. Now, we just spotted a 2012 refurbished 27" 3.2 i5 iMac at our Apple Store and wondering if that might be the better option if it's all "old" 2012 hardware anyway.

    Some comparison:

    The price for the said Mini in our country is $890 and with SSD would be $1078. The iMac on the other hand is $1655 but with the standard 1TB, so she'd lose out on the SSD in this case.

    However, she'd need to get a monitor for the Mini since she was previously using an iMac (but she'll be using her old mouse and keyboard), which would be an additional cost of roughly $350-$550 (she's still deciding which 24" model to get). So in the end, the price comes out pretty close.

    Points of concern:

    1. With similar pricing and by comparing hardware from the same year release, is getting the 2012 iMac refurbished the smarter idea? We're considering the fact that the iMac in general is more powerful, has a dedicated graphics card, and more ram off the shelf.

    2. Is losing out on the SSD/Fusion worth it in this case?

    3. There's also the i5 vs i7 thing to consider...

    She initially decided to go with a Mini this time around because she thought it might be better if she weren't chained down to an all-in-one config like her current iMac. That way, she could just keep her monitor and change out her Mini in maybe around 3 or so years... but with an iMac, she feels like she'd want to get more life out of it to make it worth it.

    (As a side note, she's a fashion designer and uses Illustrator, Photoshop, CAD, and so on... and she works with huge files.)

    Please help! She's in a dilemma and I'm all stumped myself. :( Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

    Edited to add: Also, is getting a refurb 2012 even a good idea at all considering all the screen issues a lot of people on here seemed to be having with it?
     
  2. Acorn macrumors 68020

    Acorn

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    Jan 2, 2009
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    macrumors
    #2
    The mini has a notebook cpu and the Imac has a desktop cpu. so even though its a i5 it still beats the i7 because its a desktop processor. People have shown benchmarks to show this.

    I have retention on my imac screen so I cannot recommend it though. I would go with a dell IPS + mac mini.
     
  3. COrocket macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    #3
    Really?

    iMac 3.2 i5 Dual core benchmark http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i5-3470+@+3.20GHz

    Mini 2.3 i7 Quad core benchmark http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7-3615QM+@+2.30GHz

    Mini looks to be about 10% quicker.
     
  4. Acorn macrumors 68020

    Acorn

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    #4
    I already know there are conflicting benchmarks. I have seen geekbench benchmarks that show mac mini is significantly faster especially multicore tests and ive seen the exact opposite favoring the imac from someone else. specifically when its tests of actual mini against an actual imac not general averaged results from every computer including windows machines that has those cpus like youve shown.
     
  5. tomwvr macrumors regular

    tomwvr

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    Location:
    Frederick Maryland
    #5
    I would get the iMac however ---

    The I7 is not a big deal

    The things I would need to know however -what video card is in the iMac if it is not the 680 it would make me say no

    If it does not have a fusion drive I would have to think hard about it

    So in my mind - a 27 inch iMac 2012 with a FD and 680 (my config) would be a very solid machine -

    Tom
     
  6. tgrays thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    #6
    It has the 675 and not the 680, with the standard 1TB hard drive, hence my wondering whether losing out on SSD or Fusion was worth it.

    Another 2012 iMac just showed up on the refurb section, and this one is i7 3.4 with 1TB Fusion and 680 graphics card... except this one costs about $2120, so this is no longer a close comparison price-wise. In your opinion, is that price worth it?
     
  7. tgrays, Jan 8, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014

    tgrays thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    #7
    Hi, is your iMac a 2012 one? I'm trying to understand if this retention issue is mainly isolated to 2012.

    She was planning on getting a Dell IPS, either U2412M or U2413, which was in the price range I mentioned in the first post (they're more expensive here). The main thing that's holding her back now is the fact that the Mini is over a year old and knowing that there's a similarly priced iMac with a larger screen and generally better specs sitting in the refurb. :\

    By the way, thank you for note regarding the CPU. I keep reading conflicting stuff about this. In general, do you know what it is that usually makes the most difference when it comes to desktop vs mobile CPU?
     
  8. iSayuSay, Jan 8, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014

    iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

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    Feb 6, 2011
  9. tomwvr macrumors regular

    tomwvr

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    Location:
    Frederick Maryland
    #9
    What type of SSD drive does it have - my 2012 is an Awsome machine - I have never had any problems with it.

    What I have is the I5 1TB Fusion and the 680 - I installed extra ram, bought a 2tb time capsule and windows 7 with the savings from the I5 to the I7.

    Currently I could get about 1900 for my machine I payed around 2300 for everything (got a good discount from the company I purchased it all from)

    Tom
     
  10. tgrays, Jan 10, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014

    tgrays thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    #10
    Just wanted to say thanks for all the replies and that the matter "resolved" on its own... sort of. :rolleyes:

    A refurbed 2012 i7 Mini showed up today, so she decided to get that. It was a nice surprise because we generally don't see Minis show up in the refurb store very often unless they're server models or the 2011 ones.

    All in all, I guess between two refurb models of the same year, it was an easier decision to make.
     

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