Trying to decide on a good first Mac. Mac Mini or iMac?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Drucifer, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. Drucifer macrumors regular

    Apr 28, 2008
    So we are finally getting married and as a wedding gift to ourselves we are thinking about getting a new computer. My HP laptop that we currently have is very out dated (over 5 years old now) and does not perform well at all. The monitor is also starting to go so I'm guessing we only have a couple months left of it anyway so we are going to get a new computer.

    My question is what would be a good first Mac? My friend has a couple Mac Mini's which he swears by but I was thinking the iMac would be a nicer choice since I would love to clear up clutter on the desk. I have too many damn cables and whatnot. :(

    My big worry is that if I buy a iMac if anything happens to the monitor then the computer is basically done for. I would be very upset if I bought one and my monitor crapped out on me shortly after the warranty was up.

    With a Mac Mini I would need to buy a separate monitor to go with it.

    Also I'm guessing a Keyboard and Mouse is not included with either so I would have to buy them separately too.
  2. Diseal3 macrumors 65816

    Jun 29, 2008
    I would go with the Imac. It's an amazing computer by far and is built with quality. The mac mini's haven't been upgraded in such a long while and just arent worth the price for the performance. However, if you can wait, wait till sept.ish for the mac refresh with the new intel processor's (Centrino 2).

    Best of luck and congrats on your wedding.
  3. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Get an iMac unless you feel like over-paying for a non-upgradable product.
  4. BOSS10L macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2008
    Upstate NY
    iMac + Applecare = "teh win"
    Mac Minis are good for tinkerers, people wanting to see what OS X is all about without going "whole hog", and for use as a media server.

    The iMac is a great, capable computer. We just got one yesterday, and love it. Compliments our MacBook oh so nicely. Get Applecare which will give you a 3 (or would that make it 4?) year warranty, and you should be good to go. :)
  5. Drucifer thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 28, 2008
    So if I got the Apple Care wararnty, that is for 3 years correct? Also if it comes with a standard 1 year warranty does that mean the Apple Care wouldn't start until my first year was up or would it start from the date I purchased the Apple Care?

    Sorry, I'm just terrified that something may happen to it and I'll be screwed. Also does anyone happen to know the cost? I'm in Canada BTW.
  6. gibbz macrumors 68030

    May 31, 2007
    It will extend the warranty 2 years from the date your original warranty expires. iMac all the way.
  7. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    FWIW, the iMac does come with an Apple keyboard and the Mighty Mouse.

    Just helped a friend buy/setup her first Mac last weekend. She picked up the $1099 iMac and won't shut up about how much she loves it. :)
  8. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    yea, dont buy applecare until the original factory warranty is about to expire. otherwise, you pay for 3 years, you actually get 2, since the first year is factory warranty, and is included by default.
  9. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    AppleCare extends the warranty from the date of purchase of the Mac, so buying it later doesn't get you any longer warranty coverage than if you purchased it on day one. :confused:
  10. Drucifer thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 28, 2008
    Great news. Things are starting to look promissing.

    So if I get an iMac it will include a mouse and a keyboard (wireless or wired?).

    And Applecare from the sounds of things is a two year extended warranty which means I will then have a total of 3 year warranty.

    Does this sound correct? Just want to make sure before I decide to purchase one. I'm going to buy it locally and Futureshop doesn't know crap so I wouldn't bother asking a sales rep. there.
  11. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
    You'll get a wired keyboard by default, but you can pay a little extra to get the wireless keyboard and mouse. I prefer the wired keyboard considering it is a full desktop sized keyboard with the number pad and more F keys.

    You've got the idea about AppleCare.

    In my opinion you should totally go with the iMac if you've got a choice. The Mac mini just isn't powerful enough, it's the only Mac where there is a noticeable lag when you use it, all others operate like magic. What would you use the iMac for? Would you want some software recommendations? Is this your first computer running OS X?
  12. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Wired. Apple retail stores stock models with wireless, but I'm not sure if Futureshop does. (Also note that the wireless keyboard is different from the wired one in that it doesn't have the number pad. It looks exactly like the keyboard from the MacBook.)



    AppleCare info page:

    Futureshop may have their own in-house warranty that they try to sell you. If so, you'll have to figure out what suits your needs the best. If Futureshop offers you one, you might want to ask them who handles the software support (i.e. if you have a question about iMovie two years from now, you won't be able to call Apple directly if you have some store's in-store warranty like you could if you had AppleCare). Also ask how they handle the hardware repairs. A lot of time they just mail them out to Apple, which can add a few days of downtime vs. you working directly with Apple. Sometimes in-store warranties work out better than AppleCare, but more often not (from my experience over the years).

    Sorry to repost what jimmy just did. I got distracted at work for a few minutes before hitting save. :eek:
  13. Drucifer thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 28, 2008
    Honestly, after thinking about it I would probably just order online from Apple. I hate Futureshop with a passion and their extended warranty or service plans are just crap.

    The only reason I mentioned them is because they are the only local store that sells Macs here where I live. At least that I can think of.

    Right now I hardly use the computer just because it is slow and I hate going on it. I typically would use it for photo editing, word processing, browsing the internet, maybe a game or two if there was anything that interested me.

    I'm thinking along the lines of Gimp and Open Office for a couple common applications. I would also use it to transfer music to our iPods.
  14. ADent macrumors 6502a

    Sep 9, 2007
    Mini is the way to go. Yes it is only 90% as fast as an iMac, but for $500 (refurb) to $600 (new) you can pick a good 24" monitor to go with it and be a lot cheaper than a 24" iMac. The mini is less of a deal if you need the DVD burner (which costs Apple what $30 extra?)

    The Apple mouse is really bad - I've gotta have two buttons and the wheel.

    Haven't used an aluminum keyboard, but I went out and bought replacements for the earlier white ones - the wife and kids are OK with the white. Got a good Microsoft keyboard with the media keys and such but there are others.
  15. BOSS10L macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2008
    Upstate NY
    I have to agree there. As a longtime PC user, I just couldn't get into using the mouse I purchased for my MacBook, so I'm a little bummed that I now have 2 Mighty Mouse (or would that be Mighty Meeses? ;)) that are doing nothing but collecting dust.

    MS makes some great offerings. I'm using my Intellimouse Explorer with our newly acquired iMac, and it is flawless.
  16. Drucifer thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 28, 2008
    Thanks for the help everyone.

    One more quick question. I've decided to go for an iMac with the AppleCare but I don't think I need anything fancy. I was just going to get the low end 20" model but I read a review only that if you want to use your iMac for anything but just surfing the web he said you must get at least 2GB of RAM. Is this true? I don't really plan on doing too much else but this sounds discouraging. Stuff like photo editing shouldn't be a problem should it?

    My friends Mini runs photoshop fine and he only has 1GB of RAM.
  17. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    IMO, 1GB of RAM is fine for just surfing the web.

    Where having more memory is going to speed up your system is when you start to have lots of programs open at the same time.

    Say, you're surfing the web in Safari with iTunes open in the background (playing music) and iPhoto in the background uploading some pictures to your web gallery. Even then, 1GB is probably enough, but throw in a few more programs and you run out of that 1GB and your system starts to use the hard-drive as virtual memory, which can really slow things down.

    If you need it later, you can buy memory and easily install it yourself for a lot less than what Apple sells it for, so I think most folks would recommend not getting extra GB from Apple now. :)
  18. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    iMac, without question in your case. Not to mention it was also recently updated, while the Mini has been without any updates for over a year (although it sounds to be due for one by January).

    Since you would have to buy all of the accessories for the Mini, you will end up spending the same (if not more if you buy an Apple Display) for outdated hardware that is worse than what comes with the iMac.

    iMac, all the way.
  19. Drucifer thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 28, 2008
    Good point. There is a local shop near me that works on Macs that I could take it to. I just remembered that is where my friend took his Mini for a new HDD.

    If I took it to a shop and they installed the extra 1GB RAM would that void the warranty with Apple though?
  20. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Installing RAM does not void the warranty (unless you physically break the machine on your own... )
  21. Drucifer thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 28, 2008
  22. Trouble1 macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2007

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