Time to upgrade... but to what?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Utterchaos23, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. Utterchaos23 macrumors member

    Utterchaos23

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Location:
    Brighton UK
    #1
    Ok, so it looks like my early 2008 20” is slowly expiring and it’s time for an upgrade.

    I cannot fit a 27” screen comfortably on my desk so it looks like my choices are limited.

    My usage tends to be:

    Photoshop RAW editing LOADS of layers & filters and rendering. (35k photos)
    HD Video editing.
    Transcoding in handbrake.
    Logic Express.
    Serving my RPi, Squuzebox, TV and xbox with music, HD Video and pics.
    Very little gaming.. that’s what the Xbox is for..
    And obviously Surfing/Torrents/email/ms-office blah blah

    I have a stipulation though… nothing less than a 7200 drive. I work with some hi res photos so anything less would defeat the object in upgrading!

    So, I figure my choises are:

    An un-upgradable 21.5” (i5 or i7?) with a fusion drive @ £1449.00 - £1609.00

    or

    2.6 i7 Mac Mini with 256 SSD and a Dell ultrasharp u2412m @ ~£1200.00
    I already own an external USB3 4tb Drive for storage.

    Is the mac mini really going to be comparable to the iMac?

    Will the graphics via HDMI be as good as the iMac’s screen for my uses?

    Are there any downsides to the Mac with a non-mac screen, other than the fact that I won’t really look like a mac?

    I did consider a thunderbolt display but it’s too big and too expensive.:eek:

    Has anyone got a mac mini and regretted not getting an iMac?:mad:

    I’m not worried about audio as I have a cakewalk I’m happy with.:D

    Thanks all….

    J
     
  2. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    #2
    I was in the market for an iMac and waited ALL 2012 for one. When they came out, I got the Mini.
    The 2.6 GHz i7 with Fusion is just ridiculously powerful. I run Creative Suite 6 on it with on problems. Also Logic Express, Finale, various other stuff.
    The Mini still has FireWire, InfraRed for Apple Remote, and audio out, which the iMac does not.
    I run two 20" Apple Cinema Displays, one off the HMDI port, the other off the Thunderbolt/MiniDisplayPort. Both use an adaptor to DVI.

    Some people will say that the integrated graphics card is underpowered. Perhaps for serious video editing, you might want the iMac. But I've had no problems with it, running light 3D design apps and some games. As said, it handles Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, DreamWeaver effortlessly.

    I would get the Fusion drive over the 256Gb SSD. It's cheaper, and you get more storage. You can then use your 4TB drive for backup. (Otherwise, presumably, any data on the 4TB drive gets backed up somewhere else....? :p)

    The iMac is more expensive, and you might get more, but you pay more. You definitely want the i7 if you're using Handbrake.

    If you have the extra £400, burning a hole in your pocket, and a faster response when video editing is essential, then go for the iMac. If you want a very decent machine for a very decent price, go with the Mini.
     
  3. Utterchaos23, Apr 29, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013

    Utterchaos23 thread starter macrumors member

    Utterchaos23

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Location:
    Brighton UK
    #3
    Time to upgrade... but to what?

    Thanks for the response... pretty mush what I though too so that's good.

    LoL - you're quite right... but I do have a 1TB and a 2TB firewire and a 2 TB USB2 as well for my backups!

    Oddly enough my USB3 is really wasted as a Time machine but I'll do nicely when i had a USB3 port to stick it in to!:rolleyes:

    J
     
  4. Luap macrumors 65816

    Luap

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    #4
    I was in a similar position. I've had a bunch of iMacs over the years, and was eagerly awaiting the new ones, only to get a new 2.6 i7 Mini instead for much of the same reasons benwiggy mentioned.
    My thing is audio rather than graphics, so the better graphics spec of the iMacs is of little interest to me. But still, the HD4000 isn't half bad. Indeed even the stock 5400rpm drive was faster than I expected (It's quicker than a good few 7200rpm drives Ive used in the past)
    I popped in 16gb of Crucial ram, and a 512gb Samsung 830 SSD (stock 1tb drive is still in there also) Plus a 23" Samsung HDMI display. Its a great little rig :)
    I still like the iMacs, but my setup works out just as good, if not better (for my use) and also cheaper. Ontop of that, Mini's are at least a little easier to get in and out of, if you want to tinker with ram/HD's yourself.
     
  5. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    Howell, New Jersey
    #5
    never mind the idea does not work with uk price structure
     
  6. jouster macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Location:
    Connecticut
  7. Utterchaos23 thread starter macrumors member

    Utterchaos23

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Location:
    Brighton UK
    #7
    I don't believe so, not a dumb one anyway.

    Thanks all.

    Might even RAID my two external firewire drives and "fuse" a new internal onto the SSD?

    J

    ----------

    Luap,

    Thanks for the reply. Good to know.

    Did you move your OS to the SSD?

    J
     
  8. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #8
    If you only have space for 24 inch, and consider the 21 inch iMac, go for the Mini.
    The 21 inch iMac only has graphics up to GT650, not the really powerful 980MX of the 27 inch model. So there is not much win over the HD4000
    The 2.6 i7 quad is only a tad slower than the 3.1 i7 in the iMac, yet much faster than the i5 option.
    The mini is easily upgradable. You can update to 16Gb at half price, and maybe to 32 in the future (nobody has 16Gb bars to test). Hard drive access is pretty easy too. I have a Samsung 830 256Gb+Scorpio Black 750Gb and it works great.
    IMO 1920x1200 screens are still the best. 27 inch is often too much screen estate, where 1200 vertical is a big plus compared to the 1080 of the iMac. Your screen choice sounds great.
     
  9. Luap macrumors 65816

    Luap

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    #9
    Yes.. I put the SSD in, and reinstalled the OS from scratch onto it (Its useful to keep a copy of 10.8.3 on a thumb drive for this kind of thing), I had already imported my old iMac HD contents onto the stock mini drive a few days earlier, so then I had to re-import it again from the mini's stock drive, onto the SSD. The setup/migration assistant took care of that swiftly enough.
    The stock 1tb drive now has 2 partitions on it. 1 for win7 and the other i'll probably use for my iTunes library or something like that. I only have OS X on the SSD now, not the stock drive at all.

    It all works very nicely :)
     
  10. toddzrx macrumors 6502a

    toddzrx

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    #10
    One of the other benefits of the mini (not sure if this works for you or not) is that it's less of a PITA to upgrade every year, if you want to go that route. That way you're staying updated on GPU capability.

    I've got a 2010 iMac that's souped up with an SSD and it's a setup that works great for me right now, but plan to go the Mini route when this machine is up for replacement in a few years since it looks like the road the iMac is taking is one of non-user upgradeability. That's assuming the Mini is still around of course. Hopefully by then 4K screens will be the norm, and I'll just replace the Mini every couple of years (or every year if the resale values remain high like they do now).
     
  11. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #11
    This is actually exactly what I'm doing in the next month or so.

    I'm currently on an ollllllld iMac (2007 with SSD that still runs surprisingly well) but I'll be getting a 2.6 i7 mini with SSD and a display. In a year or two I can sell the mini for a couple hundred bucks and buy the latest CPU version without much hassle.
     
  12. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    #12
    If you're buying the SSD from Apple, it's cheaper to get the Fusion drive, which is much better value. (SSD + HDD costs less than SSD!)
     
  13. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #13
    I realize it's cheaper, but the lack of a track record for reliability behind the Fusion drive concerns me a bit. I'll look at it but I'm leaning SSD at this point as I don't have a huge need for storage space.
     
  14. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    #14
    The "Fusion magic" is in software. The hardware is a standard SSD and a standard HDD. The reliability of the system is the same as if you just had those two drives.
    And you'll have a backup in any case, because you should expect and be prepared for any hardware to fail.
     
  15. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #15
    I'll keep that in mind, thanks. And always back up :)
     
  16. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #16
    "I cannot fit a 27” screen comfortably on my desk so it looks like my choices are limited."

    I'd say, get a bigger desk.

    More choices... (really)
     
  17. Utterchaos23 thread starter macrumors member

    Utterchaos23

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Location:
    Brighton UK
    #17
    Thanks guys... Mac mini it is!

    Fisherman- new baby=smaller desk!
     
  18. Utterchaos23 thread starter macrumors member

    Utterchaos23

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Location:
    Brighton UK
    #18
    Another quick question....

    What's the best way to connect the max to the monitor?

    HDMI or display port (whatever that is?) and what cable do I need?

    J
     
  19. opinio macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    #19
    I have the 2.6Ghz with a Fusion. Runs a little warm, but that is normal. Much faster than my 2.0Ghz 2011 quad. You will not be disapointed with the 2.6Ghz
     

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