Imac or Mac mini?

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
I have an old imac that I use primarily for digital photo, digital video and itunes. The OS is too outdated and I ran out of memory.



As a replacement I am considering the (A) 27" 3.2 GH imac ($1700), or (B) 2.4 GH mac mini $699 + 27" monitor ($999).



The mac mini has a slower processor and the two alternatives are the same price, but I'm wondering if it makes sense to buy the mini so that I can continue to use the monitor and just upgrade to the latest mini (rather than buying a brand new imac) in the future when the current mini is outdated?



I'd appreciate any thoughts on the two alternatives. Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by applemag View Post


    I have an old imac that I use primarily for digital photo, digital video and itunes. The OS is too outdated and I ran out of memory.



    As a replacement I am considering the (A) 27" 3.2 GH imac ($1700), or (B) 2.4 GH mac mini $699 + 27" monitor ($999).



    The mac mini has a slower processor and the two alternatives are the same price, but I'm wondering if it makes sense to buy the mini so that I can continue to use the monitor and just upgrade to the latest mini (rather than buying a brand new imac) in the future when the current mini is outdated?



    I'd appreciate any thoughts on the two alternatives. Thanks in advance.



    For this scenario, get the iMac. If you're considering the new Apple display, you must not mind a glossy display. Personally I'd get a refurbished 27" iMac with the quad i5, this one is nice as well, but the 3.2 ghz i3 will be much faster than the mini with the 2.4 ghz C2D. A mini will eventually get a cpu comparable performance wise to todays iMac... one year, two years..who knows? Why wait when you can have it now?
  • Reply 2 of 9
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,195moderator
    I would agree with the above comment. As much as I prefer the Mini, if you want a 27" display, you'd be as well shelling out for the iMac. The cheapest 27" IPS display you will get is $899. You will be hard-pressed to find a quad core i5 machine for $630, even in a PC tower.



    If you want to go the Mini route, don't get a 27" screen, get 2 smaller screens for about $200 each.



    You can also get a laptop with an external and the laptops are the easiest to upgrade drives if you decide to get an SSD later on.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    gordygordy Posts: 968member
    I decided a long time ago to ditch the iMac setup (1999 iMac DV SE, holla!) and return to a traditional desktop/monitor set up. Don't think about the purchase in terms of your current need. Instead, think about two years from now, when your computer is starting to show its age, but the monitor is fine.
  • Reply 4 of 9
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gordy View Post


    I decided a long time ago to ditch the iMac setup (1999 iMac DV SE, holla!) and return to a traditional desktop/monitor set up. Don't think about the purchase in terms of your current need. Instead, think about two years from now, when your computer is starting to show its age, but the monitor is fine.



    You can always recycle the iMac and just use it as a monitor. Just saying. To me, thats what makes the current iMacs, 27" ones at least ( do the 21.5" iMacs allow this?) so appealing. Use them as a computer until the cpu and gpu are outdated and then use them as monitors.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    zinfellazinfella Posts: 875member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by backtomac View Post


    You can always recycle the iMac and just use it as a monitor. Just saying. To me, thats what makes the current iMacs, 27" ones at least ( do the 21.5" iMacs allow this?) so appealing. Use them as a computer until the cpu and gpu are outdated and then use them as monitors.





    Good point, but not a lot different than the OP's original idea of buying Mini and Display (although way different performance wise). Once the iMac is that outdated then what to use as a computer becomes a possible issue. Do you then buy the Mini of the time, which would still be short of the performance of other models of that time period?



    I have nothing against the Mini, save to say it's performance just doesn't excite me for photography. My personal choice would be to get the iMac to start with, and as you say, have the better performance right now. One should not pass up the best performing machine that they can afford, as lower end end models will be obsoleted sooner than higher end models. My wife's G4 Quicksilver still runs very well, but it's stuck at the Photoshop CS 3 level due to it's age and inability to accept newer software such as CS 5. Non-Intel Macs are now becoming less and less useful if one wants to use modern software. Just food for thought.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zinfella View Post


    Good point, but not a lot different than the OP's original idea of buying Mini and Display (although way different performance wise). Once the iMac is that outdated then what to use as a computer becomes a possible issue. Do you then buy the Mini of the time, which would still be short of the performance of other models of that time period?

    .



    Could be a mini, it could be a MP. Who knows what they'll be like at that time? You could buy another iMac and have two monitors. There are plenty of options.



    The mini is a fine machine for what its intended to do. But its pretty lightweight cpu wise. It main advantage is that it allow you to choose whatever monitor you wish. For those who dislike glossy monitors its a reasonable alternative to the MP given its cost.



    But if you've no objection to a glossy monitor and are inclined to get computer with a 27" monitor the iMac is tough to beat IMO. I have three of them at my office. When I decide to replace them with a more powerful iMac I'll keep at least one and use it as a monitor for my laptop.
  • Reply 7 of 9
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    I have the current Mini and the current iMac, and the iMac is so much faster it's not even funny.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by backtomac View Post


    Could be a mini, it could be a MP. Who knows what they'll be like at that time? You could buy another iMac and have two monitors. There are plenty of options.



    The mini is a fine machine for what its intended to do. But its pretty lightweight cpu wise. It main advantage is that it allow you to choose whatever monitor you wish. For those who dislike glossy monitors its a reasonable alternative to the MP given its cost.



    But if you've no objection to a glossy monitor and are inclined to get computer with a 27" monitor the iMac is tough to beat IMO. I have three of them at my office. When I decide to replace them with a more powerful iMac I'll keep at least one and use it as a monitor for my laptop.



    Adding an additional iMac to the available real estate may not be possible for everyone. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea fine, but, two won't fit in my limited space. I had not seriously considered running the iMac display with a MP, but it's something to think about, especially when 27" displays are going for $1000 all by themselves. I've not any info about the expected lifespan of the current model iMacs with their IPS displays, could be that they will out serve earlier displays. Does using the iMac in a display only capacity negate the iMacs internal computer guts? IOW, could one expect to have issues from aging components inside that aren't in a plain display?
  • Reply 9 of 9
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    I have the current Mini and the current iMac, and the iMac is so much faster it's not even funny.





    Bare Feats has some testing posted that includes laptops, and they too lag behind the iMacs and Mac Pros. OTOH, a lot depends on what one is using the laptop for. Many folks expect that they will replace a desktop, and that just ain't happening for every task that one might do.
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