Retina iMac vs Mac Mini and Gaming PC

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by l1f35ux, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. l1f35ux macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I'm going to replace my dying 2011 iMac which I use for photo editing, 36MP files, and gaming occasionally. I was expecting my iMac to last a bit longer, but it has been crashing everyday. It works fine for about two hours after being powered. Then finder starts crashing and every goes down the drain. It's very frustrating for me to force shutdown everyday. I have been to the apple store twice about this and they could not help me with this, apple diagnostic tool says the system is fine.

    I'd like to know if having a dedicate gaming machine and the MM would be a better option than an all-in-one. Since if things go wrong for the machine, I can just replace it with a lower cost.

    Also, I'd like to know how the MM handles such large files in LR and PS. Would I be sacrificing too much computing power on the photo editing side? I sometimes do snitching and the file can become 1-2 GB easily. The MM option I'm going with is the 2014 i7 Mac Mini. Thanks for looking.
     
  2. dasx macrumors 65816

    dasx

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2012
    Location:
    Barcelona
    #2
    I recently bought a retina iMac to replace a 2012 Quad Core Mac Mini.

    I'm not much into photo editing, but I do lots of Video editing and the dedicated graphics card is glorious. I work with 2 or 3 video layers, keyers, several filters, single color corrections, subtitles... A render + export of a 1h video would take around 5h with the Mac Mini. Now it's around 20 minutes with the iMac.

    If you game occasionally, then I'd get the iMac. If you do game a lot, then get a PC + MM. Try the MM with your workflow and see how it goes. You can always send it back if you're not happy with the performance. The Windows PC will be better at gaming than the iMac for much less money, and you can always just change the graphics card in the future to make it catch up with newer games.
     
  3. Hirakata macrumors 6502

    Hirakata

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2011
    Location:
    Burbank, CA
    #3
    If you want to buy a new Mac, then I say go for it, but I would try and figure out what the issue is with your iMac now before spending the money. It could be an easy (and cheap) fix. (i.e. faulty RAM, re-install OS, etc.)
     
  4. l1f35ux thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    #4
    Yeah, I have cleaned install this machine several times already. I don't want to put any more money on this machine because I don't think it's going to work properly. Depending on days, I have literally experience 1 fps while playing Diablo.

    ----------

    I guess I can always try the mini first. Will probably go to this route.

    If anyone has experience with the 2014 Mini, please feel free to chime in
     
  5. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #5
    You should see what's wrong with the iMac first. It sounds like it's probably just a dying hard drive.

    Otherwise, a PC will always be a better gaming machine, though if all of your games are OS X native, then it sort of doesn't matter. That being said, most games are not fully retina-ready, let alone optimized for the retina iMac (and while some games may be optimized for the retina MacBook Pros, they are not yet for that iMac). Stuff to consider.
     
  6. l1f35ux thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    #6
    I have run the disk utility countless time and it turns out to be fine. The apple hardware test is positive also. Please let me know if you have any other way to check for failing hard drive. The problem is that I don't want to spend money on an this machine unless the hard drive is really failing. Thank you for your consideration though.
     
  7. boast macrumors 65816

    boast

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix
    #7
    To diagnose the hard drive, I would burn a cd with a Linux Live CD to run linux off the CD (skipping the hard drive) and check for logs if there are any segfaults/errors, etc...

    For diagnosing the RAM, I would hope you have more than 1 stick of RAM. I would remove one, and see if the issue is gone, or switch the other stick in and see if the issue still occurs.


    As for a new machine, I would keep a look out for a refurb 2012 i7 mac mini which would provide the flexibility of replacing the RAM and hard drive to suite your needs.

    If you're not a fan of opening up/tinkering with your computer, I would go with the 8gb 2014 mac mini in the refurb store right now.
     
  8. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #8
    Take it into the Apple Store. You don't have to get it repaired; them only diagnosing your issue is free.
     
  9. l1f35ux thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    #9
    I have taken it to the apple store several times and they could not find any issues with it. thanks though
     
  10. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #10
    I'm gonna guess either bad RAM or a bad hard drive. The hard drive is easily replaceable, you just need suction cups, a special lint roller for the screen and glass, a set of Torx and a special adapter from OWC so that your machine doesn't wig out with an aftermarket drive. The RAM is even easier.

    Otherwise, towards replacing the machine, I'd go with some form of MacBook Pro (provided it's not the 2012 13" model that they're still selling) and the dedicated gaming PC. You get the best of both worlds (which for Apple is the MacBook Pro and for Windows is the desktop PC) and that setup will be boatloads more flexible than a retina iMac (or even a Mac mini in any capacity) ever would've been.
     
  11. GreatDrok macrumors 6502a

    GreatDrok

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #11
    As others have said, it sounds like your iMac has bad RAM or disc so could be fixed.

    That said, my home system consists of a PC and a Mac mini, both connected to the same display, keyboard and mouse via a DVI KVM. This means I can bounce between the Mac and the PC just by pressing a button on my desk right next to my keyboard. Works a treat and even the audio goes through the switch so I have the best of both worlds - a nice Mac environment for work and a Windows 7 PC with Steam for my gaming needs. Far better solution than bootcamp IMHO because as others have said, a PC is way more expandable.
     

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