Which would you buy --- 2012 i7 mini or 2011 refurb i7 iMac?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by HF7035, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. HF7035 macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2012
    All - I am in the market for my first Mac and need advice. I will be digitizing some VHS tapes, editing them, and then rendering them to DVDs. Guy at Apple store suggsted i get handbrake and then use imovie to begin with. Everything else I do is standard stuff other than I usually have lots of browser sessions, some word docs, etc open. I also expect to install either VMFusion or parallels for some carryover MSFT programs that will not run on Mac.

    I am looking at a new Mac mini 2.3 i7 with a fusion drive. With my company discount, it comes to $1,004 excluding the cost of a new 23 or 24 inch monitor and a DVD read/write drive although I know it's cheap. I do not own a track pad either. I do little if any gaming. My office cannot accommodate the 27 inch screen so please do not suggest that as an alternative.

    Alternatively, for $1229, I can buy the following:
    Refurbished iMac 21.5-inch 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    Eligible for OS X Mountain Lion Up-to-Date Program

    Originally released May 2011
    21.5-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display
    4GB memory
    1TB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    AMD Radeon HD 6770M graphics with 512MB memory

    Built-in FaceTime HD camera

    In both cases, I will upgrade the RAM to either 10 or 16 gb. Cost wise, it looks like they are very close, with the iMac possibly being cheaper.

    If it helps any, I believe Apple just Implemented their holiday purchase policy so I have until the first week of January to try out whatever I buy.
  2. Spink10 Suspended


    Nov 3, 2011
    Mac Mini

    Are you aware the iMacs are being refreshed Mid-November / December?
  3. HF7035 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2012
    Thank you and yes I am. The cost of a new iMac with an i7 is far more than I wish to spend. I would not even consider a fusion drive either as I believe the cost of an i7 with a fusion drive would be in the $1600-$1700 range or higher even when accounting for my company discount.

    I do believe I should get an i7 because of its hyper threading although I don't actually know if I will need it but bett safe than sorry.
  4. Dduval macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2012

    I was kinda in the same position as you. I went with the mini just due to upgradability...
  5. k.alexander macrumors regular


    Jul 14, 2010
    I was in the same boat except that I was looking at the base 2011 21.5 i5 iMac. I am still trying to decide and I'm testing the 2.3 mini, but so far it is very impressive to me. I will primarily be using it for photography, Aperture/Photoshop, and regular computer usage. I've chosen the mini, without the fusion Drive, over the 2011 refurbished i5 21.5" iMac.

    It's a tough call especially bc I still needed the kb and the trackpad.
    Upgradeability of the mini was a large factor in its favor. Also reading a lot re iMac's reliability kind of scared me.
  6. HF7035 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2012
    Thanks. What have you read about reliability on the iMac that concerned you?

    For what it's worth, I am buying AppleCare+ as it is only an extra $119 through my company.
  7. k.alexander macrumors regular


    Jul 14, 2010
    If you read the forums, seems to be lots of people who've had their iMacs fail and then need to be repaired. Be it HD failure, motherboard, or burn-ins on the screen. If you're buying AppleCare and only plan on keeping the computer for 3 years, that's fine. I kept my last MBP for 6.5+ yrs, never planned on it, but it lasted me that long. Number of people talking about their iMacs failing and needing repair both in the first few yrs and then after the 3 yr mark. Seems like they overheat and that causes failure of various parts. Even one or two individuals who claim to work for Apple repair, say that the iMac is the model see in most for service.
    Then again, you probably shouldn't go by what people write on forums where they mostly come to complain about something.

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