should i buy a new mac mini or...

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Ropes27, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. Ropes27 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    #1
    Okay, so my two options would be:
    New Mac mini 2010: £540 (discounted ;) )
    some fairly decent 21.5inc hdpc monitor: £200-£250
    Mighty mouse: £35
    Apple wired keyboard: £30

    which comes to about £800ish

    Or

    The 21.5 inch imac that i can get for £860

    Which would you choose?
    Its going to be in my bedroom- used mostly for coursework etc and most likely some video editing. I'd like to watch tv on it as well either through the pc monitor with the mini- or however you do it with the imac :)

    Thanks
     
  2. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    #2
    I would go for the iMac, but honestly, I'd get the new mac mini as it has a better gpu than both of those options you listed.

    To give you an example, the nvidia 320m scores a 4600 in 3dmark06 and the iMac or the previous generation mac mini's nvidia 9400 scores 1800 at the most. Trust me the 320m feels like a dedicated GPU! Well worth it.
     
  3. LeeTom macrumors 68000

    LeeTom

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    #3
    I would go iMac. Roughly the same price and you get a full size HD.
    Actually, above poster has a good point about gpu. Hmmmm....
     
  4. clickgr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    Germany
    #4
    I use the old Mac mini for exactly the same use as you described.

    In your case, I would choose the new Mac mini. You can do with this pretty well the same as you could with an iMac plus it is monitor upgradable for the future, it is portable so you can move it to your living room when you want to watch movies, or you can take it with you to your work place or to your country house when on holidays.
     
  5. Ropes27 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    #5
    the mac mini listed above is the new one ;)
    Whats the quality of the imac's display- i mean how much would i have to pay for a pc monitor that is of equal or better quality
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #6
    ~300£. IPS displays are expensive but unless you do a lot photography, just get sub 200£ display, it does the job fine for you.

    BTW, if you don't do any gaming and your video editing is just something simple with iMovie, the GPU does not matter
     
  7. Ropes27 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    #7
    It's doubtfull that i would do any gaming... the xbox 360 provides that for me ;)
    Can you use a pc monitor to watch normal tv by plugging in a freeview box?
    Would i really notice the speed increase with the imac?
    and... I've not got the money now... i will do in about 4 weeks with over time at work... am i likely to be re-evaluating my choice when the new imac comes out?
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    Finland
    #8
    If your FreeView box and monitor have the necessary outputs, yes. If it's old, you need a monitor with VGA (most monitors have al three, DVI, VGA and HDMI) but if the box is newer and has e.g. HDMI, then there are no worries.

    When new iMac comes, it's likely that it'll be a lot better choice as the GPU will be equal or better plus better CPU
     
  9. opeter macrumors 65816

    opeter

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Location:
    Slovenia, EU
    #9
    To the OP - don't forget, the base 21,5 "iMac has:

    - 3,06 GHZ CPU
    - 4 GB RAM
    - 500 GB HDD, full-speed
    - WL keyboard and WL Magic Mouse

    The Mac mini has:
    - slower CPU
    - only 2 GB RAM
    - faster GPU
    - smaller HDD
    - no mouse, no keyboard, no IPS monitor
     
  10. scottness macrumors 65816

    scottness

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Location:
    Room 101
    #10
    Because I can wait, I'm waiting for the iMacs to update. If I needed it NOW, I'd get the Mini.
     
  11. clickgr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    Germany
    #11
    Nowadays RAM and GPU are more important than processor's clock speed. So no problem for the mini which can get up to 8GB RAM.

    Lack of mouse, keyboard and monitor from my point of view is a (+), not a (-).
     
  12. Ropes27 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    #12
    i don't need it now really, i've not even got the money yet- so i might wait and see what the update is like, whens it likely to be?
     
  13. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Finland
    #13
    GPUs are still useless. They can be used to speed up SOME things but most work is still done by the CPU. 320M is anyway too slow to be an advantage in e.g. OpenGL. Biggest difference is in games, in other tasks the GPU just more or less sits idle and produces the picture
     
  14. ecks618 macrumors 6502

    ecks618

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    Location:
    NYC
    #14
    I like the imac for the all in one package. The mini is deceptive because it requires additional purchases to get it up and running.
     
  15. TennisandMusic

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    #15
    For me, the biggest gain would just be the GUI stuff in OSX. On my 9400m mini it's choppy. It feels like a different OS when the GUI is a smooth 60fps all the time. When I plug in a firewire device, graphics performance drops even more for some reason. If the 320m kept things zippy all the time, and worked better for h.264 decodes, I could see myself getting the server version.
     
  16. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #16
    Could be drivers too. I have GT 130 in my iMac and opening e.g. Applications stack has always been laggy and so is Expose. Sometimes even moving windows seems to be struggle, especially if I have more of them open.

    320M could handle GUI better but I think it's an issue in the driver rather than in 9400M. Even Intel IGPs run OS X fine what I've heard from 2010 MBP owners and those are pretty hand in hand with 9400M

    Maybe 10.6.4 has fixed something ;)
     
  17. TennisandMusic

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    #17
    I did the update. It hasn't. :p

    That was one thing I loved about the iMacs with the 4850 in it. Everything was so fast and awesome looking (aside from the appearance of urine on the lower half of the screen). It feels like a completely different OS when it's responsive in that way. The mini as it is gets the job done, but it feels like a chore.
     
  18. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    #18
    Well in this case the nvidia 9400m vs. the 320m is a huge difference. Basically the faster CPU doesnt mean too much because I could say that the mini would have been better off with the i3 + the intel integrated GPU which is even slower than the 9400m (makes the 9400m look like a godsend)!

    IMO the GPU is an even more crucial portion of the computer than the CPU. I've owned the i7 and the core 2 duo of the 13" macbook pro and to be completely honest, in overall usage on OSX (and I do alot of demanding things using 9 spaces) I dont see a much of a difference if any at all in real world usage. I suppose if your rendering something and want to shave off 20 minutes or so then the faster CPU would be the right choice.

    Also I moved from an nvidia 9400m to the 320m (mac minis) and it made a difference of night and day. 320m literally feels the same speed as the nvidia 9600m gt of the previous generation 15"/17" macbook pro! Its performance is amazingly fast.

    You dont understand how slow the 9400m is compared to the 320m. Not only does the GPU just sits idle producing picture, I can play anything on the 320m (bluray mkv files of 10Gb or higher and any 1080p content) that would stutter under even plex player with the 9400m. Now I can even run 9 spaces without it showing a hint of stutter and even run more applications without messing up my workflow because the gpu isnt too weak to hinder my workflow.

    I know the plex player relies on the CPU but when connecting it to an hdtv, the GPU helped the most. Because on my 23" monitor the 9400m handles bigger mkv files just fine because the gpu is driving a small monitor but when I connect the mac mini with the 9400m to my 52" sony bravia xbr6 the frame rates slow down to a crawl and stutters greatly with the lips that doesnt match the action in the movie.

    I find the 320m amazing because it gives you the roughly same performance as an nvidia 9600m gt with the much cheaper price. Basically buying the 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, nvidia 320m mac mini or 13" macbook pro is roughly getting you the last generation 15"/17" macbook pro with the nvidia 9600m gt in overall speed. Thats a great deal as the last generation mbp still cost around the $1800.
     

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