Why did you choose an iMac over a Mini?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mstgkillr, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. mstgkillr macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2012
    I've been debating between a 27" iMac or a Mini with a 27" Thunderbolt display.

    Why did you choose an iMac over a Mini?

    Would you make the same choice again?
  2. IA64 macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2013
  3. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    GPU (4GB GTX780M on mine). You can't get discrete graphics on the Mac Mini.

    CPU (3.5GHz i7-4771).

    RAM (32GB RAM). I always run several VMs together. 16GB of RAM doesn't cut it for 3 VMs together. Besides, I always create RAM disks as a workspace disk to reduce writes to my SSD. I do this when I'm editing photos or videos.
  5. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    The GPU and Haswell
  6. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I have used iMac, Mac Mini and Mac Pro.

    The iMac is a very good general system that is self contained and very useful until ....

    You need a well calibrated monitor.

    I use a Mac Mini 2.6 with my NEC calibrated monitor because it is a better fit for the work I do. Of course I could use an iMac and add the NEC monitor but for me, it isn't a good fit.

    One item I have found is that a glass front screen that is 21-24" works okay for me but 27" starts to catch more glare and tires my eyes and again, the NEC is (non-glare screen) a better fit for my needs.
  7. Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2012
    GPU, CPU in that order.

    Neither is ideal imho and it would be better to be able to choose your own screen. The iMac screen varies in quality (depending on the one you get) from utterly terrible to "ok-ish".

    Unfortunately the Mac Pro is too "Pro" and the Mini is weak. It's a shame there is nothing in between. A Pro-size box (no screen) for £1.5k ~ £2k with i7 and Geforce or Radeon GPU (not Quadro or Firepro which are too expensive and crap for gaming) would sell in bucket loads, imho. I would buy one tomorrow. It's little wonder people turn to Hackintoshes.
  8. mstgkillr thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2012
    At what point would the integrated graphics of the Mini become a bottleneck?

    My main uses will be internet browsing, Word, Excel, YouTube, Aperture, EyeTV, HandBrake, and iTunes.
  9. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    Price, GPU, CPU, and faster storage

    If you think about it for just a little more than the price of a mini+TBD you're getting a desktop class quad core which blows away the outdated ivy bridge dual core CPU , easier and cheaper to upgrade ram (you get to keep the 8gb and use it as it has 4 memory slots) and the stock desktop class HDD is much faster than the pathetic 5400 rpm laptop HDD in the mini. The pcie ssds are also much faster. The comparisons just get worse when you start adding upgrades like a fusion drive and especially if you get a refurb iMac which has a much better discount than the pathetic refurb discount on minis...
  10. Nismo73 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2013
    GPU and what it would have cost with a decent spec mini compared to buying a refurb imac.

    For the $1999 refurb 680mx with i7 and a great 27" monitor included all-in-one, couldn't put together a mini and big monitor for the price and performance that I was looking for.
  11. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    With the TBD, the price is nearly equivalent. Where they differ is utility. The iMac has the immediate benefit of the video card. The mini has the long-term benefit of easy upgrades without having to replace the screen. If you like a new CPU and set of ports every two years, the mini is better.

    Without the TBD (see nec post above), the mini offers several advantages. It would be nice to have a model with the dedicated GPU again. Far easier than creating a third model just for that purpose. But it will still be nice to have improved integrated graphics.
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    [[ I've been debating between a 27" iMac or a Mini with a 27" Thunderbolt display. ]]

    Even if you decide on the Mini, DON'T buy the existing thunderbolt display.
    It's out-of-date, overdue for replacement, and the price is far too high compared to other displays of equal quality.

    For years I was a "tower" guy, my last one being a PowerMac g4 MDD. But I picked up a white 24" Intel iMac back in 2007, and liked that, too. Almost made me "an iMac guy".

    But after 9 years, the g4 needed to be replaced. The new 27" "thin iMacs" looked nice, but I didn't like the idea that it was difficult to get into them, and I'd read enough reports of screen problems to make me unsure about that.

    So... I bought the 2.6ghz Mini, and have been satisfied with that. Quite a nice "jump up" for my "main" computer, after the g4.

    That was my decision, you have to make your own.
    The new iMacs certainly look attractive, but they'll cost you a good deal more.

    Be aware that the release date for a new 2014 Mini could be drawing near. Could be as early as the end of the month, but no one can say for certain. It will probably still have "built-in" graphics (no dedicated GPU), but they should be MUCH improved. Aside: I have no complaints at all about the graphics on my late 2012 Mini -- but then, I'm not a gamer, no interest in that whatsoever...
  13. andycho7 macrumors member

    Dec 2, 2013
  14. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
  15. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    All in one design.
    I'd wanted one for ages.
    It suited my needs at the time.
    Because I had the money, and didn't want to go down the separate route.
  16. fig macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2012
    Austin, TX
    For you, it won't.

    I work as a professional graphic designer and a loaded Mini is just fine for me. Unless you're doing a lot of gaming or high end 3d/editing work you probably won't notice the lack of graphics card.
  17. tbloomq macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2013
    Since most hard disks need to be replaced in 3 -5 years, how much of a concern is that for the iMAC? It seems to be more difficult to repair than the Mini.

  18. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Yes it is much harder to repair than the mini. Go for an SSD or Fusion Drive if its a big concern. Although the Fusion still has a traditional spinning drive, it doesn't spin up that often so should last longer.
  19. tbloomq macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2013
    Thanks for the feedback.

    Does it make more sense to buy the 1TB Fusion and a 2TB external drive? Or bite the bullet and get the 3TB Fusion?

    Can an iMAC boot from an external drive? I'm thinking that you could work around an internal HDD failure. I would prefer the iMAC over the Mini but I am trying to optimize the decision. There isn't an Apple Store in my state so repairs and warranty work is challenging.

  20. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Yes an iMac can boot from an external. Go thunderbolt if you can or at least USB 3.
    I have the 1 TB Fusion with a 2 TB Time Capsule. Works great. If you are planning to have the external as a bootable back up drive you will need to use either Carbon Copy Clone or Super Dooper to back up with. Time Machine is not bootable as it just backs up your files etc.
    I use the Time capsule as my Time machine back up (hourly) and then an external Buffalo 500 GB Hard drive every week or so using CCC.
  21. Dav1boy macrumors member

    Mar 12, 2011
    Aside from the GPU, cost was a factor for me at the time. Mac mini plus, keyboard, mouse, superdrive and ACD. I was using my mac mini with a 1080p display but I longed for the higher res and screen real estate. So I sold the setup and was able to purchase a i5 27" iMac that was preowned with no added cost. The iMac still has warranty on it so I didn't mind buying second hand
  22. The Economist Suspended

    The Economist

    Apr 4, 2011
    Because the iMac had everything I need, including a monitor, a mouse and a keyboard. No extra cables needed.
  23. martinm0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2010
    Fan Noise

    I agree with everything everyone has said thus far. One of the other major differences that pushed me towards the iMac was fan noise. The mini is silent until you run Handbrake and then everything changes. I kept the mini on my desk in front of me and it was just too noisy to sit there on conference calls or do other work.

    The iMac stays much cooler, thus making the fan work less hard and is less noisy. At full blast the iMac fan is still somewhat noisy to me (20 inches away), but I've never had it run full blast as of yet (and that includes running Handbrake for a solid day).

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