Do I go for the imac or mac mini? Advice needed

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Hiya,



I'm new to the forums and am on the same boat of choosing between the new 20inch 2.66ghz imac or the new 2.0ghz mini.



I'm currently on a 10 year old Mac Cube 500mhz with 1.25gb ram and a 20gb hdd! This is my first mac and have simply fallen in love with OS X, never going back to windows for my day-to-day stuff!



So, basically whatever upgrade I get will be an awesome speed boost from my cube!



Basically I would like to know what you're capable of doing with your mini. I already have a lovely 22inch moniter, mouse and keyboard and also an external 500gb hard drive (unfortunately without firewire). I want to know what you can do on it before it starts to bog down on the 2.0ghz cpu.



I have been on an imac and I have to say that I love it! Really fast and snappy. I will definitely being upgrading the ram to 4gb myself if I was to get the mini. This brings the price to £530 for the mini or £800 for a refurbished new imac. Obviously, the imac brings the advantages of 8gb expandable ram, twice the L2 cache, 7200rpm larger hdd, eye sight and mouse & keyboard. All of these apart from the cache and hdd speed don't worry me. How much of a difference will the speedy hdd make? Will the fact I will be upgrading the ram to 4gb have any effect on the slower hdd?



I will be wanting to be running fusion/parallels/bootcamp regularly on my mac. Along with very mild photo and video editing. I want to have snappy performance running multiple O.S and multitasking, also using a few spaces. My main question is will the mini be up for the job?



I will also be playing a couple of games (counter-strike source, team fortress 2, left 4 dead). I think the mini will have no trouble with these running with bootcamp. Correct me if i'm mistaken.



Also, would booting off an external fw 800 hd make a significant difference to booting off the 5400rpm internal?



Also what about snow leopard? Should I wait for the release? Will it make the mini run faster?



Oh and my absolute maximum I can spend is £800. And with the imac I am eligible for the free ipod touch, I don't think the mini is included in this offer



I'm sorry for all these questions but it's a very big decision for me



Thanks in advance and I really appreciate any help whatsoever.



James

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    Really, the only advantage the iMac has over the Mini is a discreet graphics card. If you're not into graphics intense applications (some games, real-time video editing) then the Minin will do everything the iMac will do.

    Any incremental increase in CPU speed will make the machine faster, but will you actually be able to notice it?... or will you ever reach the full potential of even the slower CPU?
  • Reply 2 of 20
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post


    Really, the only advantage the iMac has over the Mini is a discreet graphics card. If you're not into graphics intense applications (some games, real-time video editing) then the Minin will do everything the iMac will do.

    Any incremental increase in CPU speed will make the machine faster, but will you actually be able to notice it?... or will you ever reach the full potential of even the slower CPU?



    Normally I agree with you King, but if the OP intends to use a virtualization solution, I can assure you he'll appreciate the faster cpu of the iMac (vs. the mini).



    I have a last gen iMac 2.6 ghz 20" model and I definitely don't think it's 'too' fast. I still get the beach ball on occasion and ripping CDs into iTunes was surprising slower than I expected.



    If the OP doesn't object to an AIO design, I think the iMac is a better value. The mini is best for those who want a choice in the display.
  • Reply 3 of 20
    futurepastnowfuturepastnow Posts: 1,772member
    I think it comes down to what kind of display you want. You can get a mini and a nice 24" monitor for the cost of the 20" iMac.



    Personally I also suspect that the mini is one of the most reliable computers ever made, because I don't think I've ever seen anyone complain of a problem with one, and Apple almost never has refurbished minis for sale.
  • Reply 4 of 20
    barney0barney0 Posts: 19member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    I think it comes down to what kind of display you want. You can get a mini and a nice 24" monitor for the cost of the 20" iMac.



    Personally I also suspect that the mini is one of the most reliable computers ever made, because I don't think I've ever seen anyone complain of a problem with one, and Apple almost never has refurbished minis for sale.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by backtomac View Post


    Normally I agree with you King, but if the OP intends to use a virtualization solution, I can assure you he'll appreciate the faster cpu of the iMac (vs. the mini).



    I have a last gen iMac 2.6 ghz 20" model and I definitely don't think it's 'too' fast. I still get the beach ball on occasion and ripping CDs into iTunes was surprising slower than I expected.



    If the OP doesn't object to an AIO design, I think the iMac is a better value. The mini is best for those who want a choice in the display.





    Thanks for the advice, but unfortunately I'm still not decided.



    Does anyone know of anyone able to use virtulization software on their mini and if so does it run well? I thought that it would be fine seeing as I will be upgrading the ram and so can give the virtual O.Ss at least 512mb each if not 1gb.



    Also I didn't even know that the imac had a dedicated g.c?! I thought it had exactly the same shared g.c as the mini



    Nevertheless, it doesn't matter as I'll only be playing css, tf2 and l4d which I know the mini can handle.



    Also, the new 2009 models have the 1066mhz bus speeds which is a big boost for the mini.



    I have a moniter so while having the imac alongside it to create 42 inches of amazingness it is not a necessity



    I wish there was someone out there who owns both and could give an honest opinion in to how far behind the mini is in real day-to-day life compared with the imac.



    Thanks



    James
  • Reply 5 of 20
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,200moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Barney0 View Post


    Does anyone know of anyone able to use virtulization software on their mini and if so does it run well? I thought that it would be fine seeing as I will be upgrading the ram and so can give the virtual O.Ss at least 512mb each if not 1gb.



    I have a 2009 Mini and it runs virtualization software very well. Only use VMs for data apps. Gaming would be done on Bootcamp. I also recommend VMWare over Parallels now - it's more stable and has better support for hardware. It's got nice Direct X 9 support too so you can actually do some 3D games without dual booting but mainly older ones.



    I never really notice the 2GHz CPU to be a burden on the VM. The iMac would be at most 20-30% faster so it's not really going to be something you can observe easily.



    Comparing the iMac, the 8GB support is not important as someone correctly pointed out a while back because the upgrade kit costs £576. The iMac only has two slots so you need to buy 4GB DIMMs, which are very expensive. The price will drop but for now you're practically limited to 4GB on either system.



    The GPUs are the same as the Mini in the affordable iMacs.



    The iMac does have a 7200rpm HDD but the Mini 5400 rpm drive seems to use perpendicular recording as it achieves a 45-50MB/s transfer rate. I've tested 7200 rpm drives on older desktops that only get 40MB/s. You can put a 2.5" 7200 rpm drive in the Mini if you want - I put in a 7200 rpm Travelstar and it gets 65MB/s, 25% faster generally. With enough Ram, this doesn't affect much but games and the OS load a bit quicker. In the iMac if you decided to upgrade the drive, you have to disconnect the display panel from the motherboard.



    I wouldn't boot off an external - you may run into problems running Windows via Bootcamp - and it won't help much if you upgrade the internal drive to 7200rpm.



    The glossy panel on the iMac is pretty bad. I've use the glossy MBP for a while and I just wouldn't have one for heavy use. They are really bright too (kind of good but it hurts your eyes) and their response times tend to be higher than 3rd party displays. In the IPS displays this is sort of expected but even they have 12-16ms response times vs 5-8ms in 3rd party displays. TN panels go down around 2ms and they are good for gaming so the one you have should be fine.



    Snow Leopard should make it faster but I wouldn't wait for the release. Certainly wait until after WWDC on Monday as they may announce when it's coming but I wouldn't jump on a new release so soon because this is the jump to 64-bit and it may cause some compatibility problems. I upgraded to Leopard a year and a half after it was released and I'm glad I waited so that all the bugs were ironed out (well mostly) and 3rd party software had updates.
  • Reply 6 of 20
    barney0barney0 Posts: 19member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    I have a 2009 Mini and it runs virtualization software very well. Only use VMs for data apps. Gaming would be done on Bootcamp. I also recommend VMWare over Parallels now - it's more stable and has better support for hardware. It's got nice Direct X 9 support too so you can actually do some 3D games without dual booting but mainly older ones.



    I never really notice the 2GHz CPU to be a burden on the VM. The iMac would be at most 20-30% faster so it's not really going to be something you can observe easily.



    Comparing the iMac, the 8GB support is not important as someone correctly pointed out a while back because the upgrade kit costs £576. The iMac only has two slots so you need to buy 4GB DIMMs, which are very expensive. The price will drop but for now you're practically limited to 4GB on either system.



    The GPUs are the same as the Mini in the affordable iMacs.



    The iMac does have a 7200rpm HDD but the Mini 5400 rpm drive seems to use perpendicular recording as it achieves a 45-50MB/s transfer rate. I've tested 7200 rpm drives on older desktops that only get 40MB/s. You can put a 2.5" 7200 rpm drive in the Mini if you want - I put in a 7200 rpm Travelstar and it gets 65MB/s, 25% faster generally. With enough Ram, this doesn't affect much but games and the OS load a bit quicker. In the iMac if you decided to upgrade the drive, you have to disconnect the display panel from the motherboard.



    I wouldn't boot off an external - you may run into problems running Windows via Bootcamp - and it won't help much if you upgrade the internal drive to 7200rpm.



    The glossy panel on the iMac is pretty bad. I've use the glossy MBP for a while and I just wouldn't have one for heavy use. They are really bright too (kind of good but it hurts your eyes) and their response times tend to be higher than 3rd party displays. In the IPS displays this is sort of expected but even they have 12-16ms response times vs 5-8ms in 3rd party displays. TN panels go down around 2ms and they are good for gaming so the one you have should be fine.



    Snow Leopard should make it faster but I wouldn't wait for the release. Certainly wait until after WWDC on Monday as they may announce when it's coming but I wouldn't jump on a new release so soon because this is the jump to 64-bit and it may cause some compatibility problems. I upgraded to Leopard a year and a half after it was released and I'm glad I waited so that all the bugs were ironed out (well mostly) and 3rd party software had updates.



    Marvin, you are a legend my friend.



    That has pretty much settled it for me to be honest. All I wanted was someone who owned a mini to give me their honest opinion on one. You have done it beautifully, thank you very much for the feedback.



    I agree with the WWDC and the glossy screen. I already have a 22inch LG lovely moniter and i suppose i could even get another with the £400+ that i've saved by getting the mini.



    I will upgrade the ram to 4gb and like you said it should run very well. As for the gaming, it will be the occasional odd bit of css now and again which the mini will have no problem running.

    Seeing as I have my windows gaming machine, I think I'll stick to that being the gaming platform lol .



    As for the hd upgrade, that will come along a few months after the purchase as i already have an external 1tb drive. Once i fill the internal up it may be a good time to buy a 7200 drive and use the 120gb as another external in a housing.



    Just one more query though, what's your view on the 2.26ghz upgrade available? It would bring the overall cost to £642 along with the ram upgrade (ebay-roughly £60).



    Thanks again



    James
  • Reply 7 of 20
    barney0barney0 Posts: 19member
    The question is do I save up for another month and spend the £892 on the base iMac? I'm not sure the extra £362 is worth it? Although there are many, many advantages: (what the mini will be)



    > 2.66ghz (2.0ghz)

    > 320gb 7200rpm (120gb 5400rpm)

    > 2gb (4gb)

    > Twice the L2 cache

    > Mouse & Keyboard - not needed but would be nice

    > Would have the 20inch imac alongside my 22inch moniter, would look amazing

    > Also have the external hd for extra storage.

    > WOULD GET THE FREE IPOD TOUCH! which with my airport express would be awesome with my hifi.



    I have to say that the two screens is very appealing, and also obviously the dramatic speed bump and twice the L2 cache. Although the extra hd capacity isn't a necessity it isn't as appealing as the speed of it, 7200rpm.



    I just really don't want to buy the mini and then really regret it in a few months.



    And I know that with the iMac I won't have this concern, it will also last a lot longer.



    Do I save almost £900 for this beast of a computer and have a truly lovely setup or do I go for the sensible lower priced mini?



    I hate having to make this choice. But still I have a few weeks to decide.



    Thanks



    James
  • Reply 8 of 20
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,200moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Barney0 View Post


    Just one more query though, what's your view on the 2.26ghz upgrade available? It would bring the overall cost to £642 along with the ram upgrade (ebay-roughly £60).



    You can get the Ram upgrade from Crucial for £45:



    http://www.crucial.com/uk/store/mpar...7BB1EEA5CA7304



    You need putty knives to open the Mini - once the lid is off, it's not such a huge deal to do the upgrade:



    http://forums.appleinsider.com/showthread.php?t=96023



    Concerning the 2.26GHz upgrade, you will pretty much get the difference in clock speed improvement - about 10%. So if you were encoding a DVD that takes 15 minutes, the 2.26GHz model would only take 13.5 minutes or something like that.



    I think the small improvement would be seen during long rendering or encoding but I don't think it's worth anywhere near £120 as you will hardly ever see it. When it comes to a point where we get to use the GPU for processing, the difference will be negligible.



    BTW, don't buy the keyboard and mouse with the Mini for £62. Buy the wired keyboard separate for £30 and get a Logitech VX Nano or other Logitech mouse for £30-35. Apple's Mighty Mouse is a terrible mouse.



    I would get the base Mini (£499) + 4GB Ram from Crucial (£45) + Apple keyboard (£30) + VX Nano (£35) = £609 total



    You can get both the keyboard and mouse from Amazon and save on delivery.



    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Apple-MB110B...4313703&sr=1-1

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Logitech-Cor...4313651&sr=8-1



    The HDD upgrade certainly isn't urgent but remember that 120GB isn't the size you get - it's about 110GB due to the unit conversion, then OS X takes 15GB on a default install and if you use Bootcamp, you'll want about 20GB minimum partition for it. This only leaves 75GB for your stuff and you should always leave at least 10% of your drive free for swap space so I'd say 65GB is usable space for your files and apps.



    If that's going to be enough without having to rely on an external drive, the internal HDD upgrade shouldn't be needed. If not, I would recommend the following drive:



    http://www.dabs.com/products/hitachi...l?q=travelstar



    As I say, because the Mini is tricky to open, you generally want to upgrade it as much as you need just once and then never have to open it again.
  • Reply 9 of 20
    barney0barney0 Posts: 19member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by marvin View Post


    you can get the ram upgrade from crucial for £45:



    http://www.crucial.com/uk/store/mpar...7bb1eea5ca7304



    you need putty knives to open the mini - once the lid is off, it's not such a huge deal to do the upgrade:



    http://forums.appleinsider.com/showthread.php?t=96023



    concerning the 2.26ghz upgrade, you will pretty much get the difference in clock speed improvement - about 10%. So if you were encoding a dvd that takes 15 minutes, the 2.26ghz model would only take 13.5 minutes or something like that.



    I think the small improvement would be seen during long rendering or encoding but i don't think it's worth anywhere near £120 as you will hardly ever see it. When it comes to a point where we get to use the gpu for processing, the difference will be negligible.



    Btw, don't buy the keyboard and mouse with the mini for £62. Buy the wired keyboard separate for £30 and get a logitech vx nano or other logitech mouse for £30-35. Apple's mighty mouse is a terrible mouse.



    I would get the base mini (£499) + 4gb ram from crucial (£45) + apple keyboard (£30) + vx nano (£35) = £609 total



    you can get both the keyboard and mouse from amazon and save on delivery.



    http://www.amazon.co.uk/apple-mb110b...4313703&sr=1-1

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/logitech-cor...4313651&sr=8-1



    the hdd upgrade certainly isn't urgent but remember that 120gb isn't the size you get - it's about 110gb due to the unit conversion, then os x takes 15gb on a default install and if you use bootcamp, you'll want about 20gb minimum partition for it. This only leaves 75gb for your stuff and you should always leave at least 10% of your drive free for swap space so i'd say 65gb is usable space for your files and apps.



    If that's going to be enough without having to rely on an external drive, the internal hdd upgrade shouldn't be needed. If not, i would recommend the following drive:



    http://www.dabs.com/products/hitachi...l?q=travelstar



    as i say, because the mini is tricky to open, you generally want to upgrade it as much as you need just once and then never have to open it again.



    you have pm
  • Reply 10 of 20
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,200moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Barney0


    The question is do I save up for another month and spend the £892 on the base iMac? I'm not sure the extra £362 is worth it? Although there are many, many advantages: (what the mini will be)



    If you don't get hold of a refurb iMac it would be £950 for the base model, which only comes with 2GB Ram.



    Comparing the above Mini deal including the 250GB 7200 rpm drive, it comes to £654 and you get a spare 120GB drive + 1GB Ram. So the comparison becomes:



    > 2.66ghz (2.0ghz)



    > 320gb 7200rpm (250GB 7200 rpm - you can get a 320GB for £5 more)



    > 2gb (4gb)



    > Twice the L2 cache



    > Mouse & Keyboard - included with both assuming the choice above but you have to suffer the Mighty Mouse with the iMac or add another £35



    > Would have the 20inch imac alongside my 22inch moniter, would look amazing - sort of but dual monitors don't work that well as the menu bar only goes on one of them so you have to keep moving your mouse over to do anything. I tend to find that people only use a secondary display for palettes or email programs. Getting just a larger 24" display is better IMO because you will get the use during games whereas a secondary display just turns off.



    > WOULD GET THE FREE IPOD TOUCH! which with my airport express would be awesome with my hifi.

    This is an advantage but you can get a refurb 16GB for £155 and you are saving well over double that getting the Mini.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Barney0


    I have to say that the two screens is very appealing, and also obviously the dramatic speed bump and twice the L2 cache. Although the extra hd capacity isn't a necessity it isn't as appealing as the speed of it, 7200rpm.



    From the benchmarks here:



    http://www.primatelabs.ca/blog/2009/...ks-early-2009/



    the 2.66 iMac gets 3556 and the 2.0 Mini gets 2768 = 30% faster, which is the difference in clock speed. It's a decent improvement but still if you were doing an encode for 15 minutes, the iMac would do it in 11.5 minutes. Note, it's not 2/3rds of the time but 75%.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Barney0


    I just really don't want to buy the mini and then really regret it in a few months.



    And I know that with the iMac I won't have this concern, it will also last a lot longer.



    A few things to be aware of with the iMac is that you are buying into a closed system. If your display goes or your motherboard, you basically have to replace them or you risk losing the value in the rest of the machine and these cost half the price of the machine to replace. Inside warranty, this should be no problem but your whole machine needs to be sent away to do this and if you don't live near an Apple store, it means boxing up a fairly large machine.



    In the case of a hard drive failure, you have to do the same thing. What happens when SSD drives become affordable? For one thing they are generally 2.5" form factor but you can't upgrade to one yourself unlike with the Mini.



    Plus, when September comes round they may introduce quad core iMacs with the Clarksfield chip. If they do, your dual-core iMac's value will drop significantly. The Mini won't and the Mini is very easy to sell on Ebay should you decide to buy a quad iMac.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    barney0barney0 Posts: 19member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    If you don't get hold of a refurb iMac it would be £950 for the base model, which only comes with 2GB Ram.



    Comparing the above Mini deal including the 250GB 7200 rpm drive, it comes to £654 and you get a spare 120GB drive + 1GB Ram. So the comparison becomes:



    > 2.66ghz (2.0ghz)



    > 320gb 7200rpm (250GB 7200 rpm - you can get a 320GB for £5 more)



    > 2gb (4gb)



    > Twice the L2 cache



    > Mouse & Keyboard - included with both assuming the choice above but you have to suffer the Mighty Mouse with the iMac or add another £35



    > Would have the 20inch imac alongside my 22inch moniter, would look amazing - sort of but dual monitors don't work that well as the menu bar only goes on one of them so you have to keep moving your mouse over to do anything. I tend to find that people only use a secondary display for palettes or email programs. Getting just a larger 24" display is better IMO because you will get the use during games whereas a secondary display just turns off.



    > WOULD GET THE FREE IPOD TOUCH! which with my airport express would be awesome with my hifi.

    This is an advantage but you can get a refurb 16GB for £155 and you are saving well over double that getting the Mini.







    From the benchmarks here:



    http://www.primatelabs.ca/blog/2009/...ks-early-2009/



    the 2.66 iMac gets 3556 and the 2.0 Mini gets 2768 = 30% faster, which is the difference in clock speed. It's a decent improvement but still if you were doing an encode for 15 minutes, the iMac would do it in 11.5 minutes. Note, it's not 2/3rds of the time but 75%.







    A few things to be aware of with the iMac is that you are buying into a closed system. If your display goes or your motherboard, you basically have to replace them or you risk losing the value in the rest of the machine and these cost half the price of the machine to replace. Inside warranty, this should be no problem but your whole machine needs to be sent away to do this and if you don't live near an Apple store, it means boxing up a fairly large machine.



    In the case of a hard drive failure, you have to do the same thing. What happens when SSD drives become affordable? For one thing they are generally 2.5" form factor but you can't upgrade to one yourself unlike with the Mini.



    Plus, when September comes round they may introduce quad core iMacs with the Clarksfield chip. If they do, your dual-core iMac's value will drop significantly. The Mini won't and the Mini is very easy to sell on Ebay should you decide to buy a quad iMac.



    This has been incredibly useful Marvin, thank you so much for the info. I agree with you on everything apart from .66ghz speed increase and the double L2 cache. I just don't have experience with the 2.0ghz cpu. I've only been on the imac so i can't make a decision on how much faster the imac really is in the real world, not on paper and benchmarks.



    I hadn't thought about the hd, and especially when you can grab a 320gb for £50 it seems to be a winner. Along with the spare 120gb and my external I'll have all the space I'll ever need.



    I think what was making me like the imac was the thought it would be more 'future-proof'. But in the world of computing, i've realized that this is near impossible.



    Then again, the Mac Cube which I'm writing this very post now has been around for almost 10 years and it was this machine which brought me into the Mac world Any core 2 duo chip will provide an incredible boost to the 500mhz powerpc chip i've got currently.



    I've just jotted up the maths and because of the education discount it comes to slightly less.

    £470 (mini) + £45 (4gb ram) + £50 (320gb hd) + £30 (mouse) = £595. This being just less than £300 less. These will get me everything the imac has apart from the .66ghz cpu speed and L2 cache and obviously a screen (not a fan of the gloss i don't think).



    With that £300 I will be able to save for the future. You're right about the updates expected later on this year. Thinking about it I think I'd be truly gutted if and when the quad cores are released :|



    I really appreciate this advice, I wish I could buy you a pint or three sometime You've potentially saved me a lot of money!



    Keep it coming



    James
  • Reply 12 of 20
    bbwibbwi Posts: 812member
    I have a mini but it's only 1.66Ghz and 2 Gig RAM and my XP on Fusion runs like crap. I hate having to use it. I also have a MBPro with 2.4 and 4gig RAM and Vista on Fusion runs Ok. I prefer the full blown effect and peppiness of an OS and so I primarily use BootCamp nowadays
  • Reply 13 of 20
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,200moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bbwi View Post


    I have a mini but it's only 1.66Ghz and 2 Gig RAM and my XP on Fusion runs like crap. I hate having to use it. I also have a MBPro with 2.4 and 4gig RAM and Vista on Fusion runs Ok. I prefer the full blown effect and peppiness of an OS and so I primarily use BootCamp nowadays



    I found that Parallels ran batter than Fusion on the old machines for some reason but is almost unusable on the new ones, which is why I use VMWare now. The Penryn CPUs improve virtualization somewhat and the hard drive throughput got a large improvement ( http://arstechnica.com/hardware/news...ger-caches.ars ). The hard drives in the new one are over double the speed of the old one. The old 1.66 was also just the Core Duo architecture. The GMA didn't help much either.



    Here's a benchmark of the VMs with the 2.66 iMac:



    http://www.mactech.com/articles/mact...index-002.html



    The closest to the Mini would be the 2.16 Macbook but I don't know if it's the newer Penryn model. Anyway, comparing the green and yellow bars should give some idea about the difference in performance. Mostly there isn't much at all between them and VM performance is hard to judge as the apps run better on some models and OS versions than others.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Barney0


    I think what was making me like the imac was the thought it would be more 'future-proof'. But in the world of computing, i've realized that this is near impossible.



    This reason is brought up a lot when it comes to an iMac purchase but as you've said, the computing world changes so fast that it's near impossible to do. Next year, mobile chips will go 6-core and they are all hyper-threaded so show up as double that. So in just 12 months, an iMac will change from showing up in the system profiler as 2 cores to 12 - I wonder how they will display that in the Dock icon:



    http://diglloyd.com/diglloyd/blog-im...Pro-stress.gif



    The Mini is the ideal disposable computer - instead of buying a machine for 3 years and falling behind, you stay on top with the newest Mini every year or so and you only have to spend a small amount to upgrade.
  • Reply 14 of 20
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    The Mini is the ideal disposable computer - instead of buying a machine for 3 years and falling behind, you stay on top with the newest Mini every year or so and you only have to spend a small amount to upgrade.



    That's somewhat true if you're a patient individual.



    Apple have been somewhat slow to update the mini and always seem to keep it significantly slower than the iMac.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    barney0barney0 Posts: 19member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by backtomac View Post


    That's somewhat true if you're a patient individual.



    Apple have been somewhat slow to update the mini and always seem to keep it significantly slower than the iMac.



    But then again, with the new iMacs most probably being updated at the end of this year, the Mini can be used as an awesome enterntainment system. Then I could aquire a new iMac maybe then.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    encorencor Posts: 1member
    after 15 months, my imac got the vertical line disease, mac wouldn't fix it, the store wanted $700. so i bought a samsung moniter for less than $200.....

    now thinking the new mini is the answer, two screens take up too much space in my small area.



    the store will transfer all my files, but that means taking the big monster on a 6 hr bus ride, to my apple store.

    if i get the mini, which cable fits for the transfer of all my files from the imac to the mini?

    thanks for any help
  • Reply 17 of 20
    hudson1hudson1 Posts: 800member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by encor View Post


    after 15 months, my imac got the vertical line disease, mac wouldn't fix it, the store wanted $700. so i bought a samsung moniter for less than $200.....

    now thinking the new mini is the answer, two screens take up too much space in my small area.



    the store will transfer all my files, but that means taking the big monster on a 6 hr bus ride, to my apple store.

    if i get the mini, which cable fits for the transfer of all my files from the imac to the mini?

    thanks for any help



    Oh my! No need for a six hour bus ride. All you need is a simple Firewire cable such as this one:



    http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2



    Apple's Migration Assistant software (it's on every Mac) does just about everything for you. If and when you buy a new Mac and need help through the process, many here can guide you through what's a very easy process of making the transfer.
  • Reply 18 of 20
    messiahmessiah Posts: 1,689member
    I guess there are pros and cons to both machines.



    The pro of the imac is that it is a nice all-in-one machine with a minimum of cabling. The con is that if the computer part or the display part fail, both become useless to you.



    The pro of the mini is that you can select any display that you want, and if the computer part or the display part fail you only have to replace one part.



    On both machines 4GB of RAM is the practical ceiling at the moment.



    The iMac will have a slightly faster hard drive due to the fact that it is 3.5" instead of 2.5".



    So it's a pretty close call. I guess it just depends on whether you mind oodles of cabling down the back of your desk. If not, the mini does offer more options.



    For me, I would rather have a mini and a 30"/24" Cinema Display than a 24" iMac.



    Have you considered a MacBook? They're just minis with a screen. You could connect up your existing screen and you would have the benefit of a dual monitor setup (which I have come to appreciate recently is the ULTIMATE upgrade).
  • Reply 19 of 20
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    no help needed
  • Reply 20 of 20
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    If you even have the slightest desire to actually play PC games on Bootcamp you MUST get the iMac with the GT120 card. Anything less, and the 9400M, will NOT cut it.



    Left 4 Dead, CS, TF2 and other Valve games, particularly Left 4 Dead 2 which I absolutely can't wait for, is AWESOME.



    Get the iMac with the discrete graphics card, you will not regret it and it will stand you in good stead for at least 2-3 years, don't forget the AppleCare. The Mini is nice and affordable but for what you intend to do with multiple OS, PC gaming, etc. etc. some video, etc, go for the iMac. You can use that extra monitor, hard disk with the the iMac etc.



    Try and get the iMac 20" with the 2600 PRO 256MB card. Since the new GT120 iMac is only 24" and out of your price range.



    Good luck. Or, get a Mac Mini for your Mac use, build a "simple/affordable" PC for gaming.
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