Help with first Mac purchase (iMac or mini)

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Hi everyone. I'm looking at buying my first Mac. I'm pretty certain that I'm going to get an iMac, but still tossing around the idea of a mini. Anyway, I'm trying to decide which model of iMac or mini to get. Since it is my Mac I'll be learning as I go. My main use for the machine will be typical home/office stuff, picture editing with iPhoto & Photoshop Elements, home movie editing with iMovie or something similar, and running a couple of VM's with Parallels or something similar. I won't be playing any games except for the occasional online poker or something of that nature. I also wanted to keep the price somewhat reasonable. So my choices are...
  • Previous generation 24" iMac. Club Mac has it for $1199 ($1099/AR). I'll upgrade to 4GB of RAM afterwords.

  • Present refrub 24" iMac for $1549.

  • Or entry level current generation mini for $599 and upgrade to 4GB RAM after I get it.

I'm leaning towards previous generation iMac because it seems to be a great value. But it's not using the newer video card, and the RAM expansion is limited to 4GB. I don't know if that will really be an issue since this will be my first Mac.

I've also heard that the performance of the new mini is pretty impressive. Does anyone know how it compares with the previous generation iMac? I'd still need to buy a keyboard, mouse and monitor. This combo would still be cheaper than the previous generation iMac, but only by about $200.

The only reason I'm considering the current version of iMac is because it's using the newer technology. It's a little over my price range, but if need be I can swing it. Just have to give up Starbucks for a couple of months.

So any advice that people can give would be greatly appreciated. Being that this is my first Mac, I want to get the most bang for the buck and not over spend. Thanks to everyone for their input.


  • Reply 1 of 4
    lil_blil_b Posts: 4member
    I think the iMac is the better deal by far. The mini is a great computer if you have a good display setup already but the 24 inch iMac has an excellent display. They use an IHPS panel which you will not find in most consumer displays. Before the iMac I had a PC with a 22 inch Acer monitor. The difference in picture quality is astounding.

    That previous gen 24 is probably the best deal. I don't think you will see a performance jump between the previous gen and current gen. Also you get discrete graphics on the older iMac, versus integrated on the lower end current generation iMacs.
  • Reply 2 of 4
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    I only read the title = iMac.
  • Reply 3 of 4
    To me, the iMac with the 9400 is a mini with a big screen. If I get the current generation of iMac, I'd get a refurb and the GT120. It's a little out of my price range, but I could swing it if I have to. But I'd like to keep the cost down which is why the previous gen iMac is appealing. I'm also not sure if I'd really see the benefits of OpenCL with the stuff that I'd be doing.
  • Reply 4 of 4
    kennethkenneth Posts: 832member
    I have a 3.06Ghz iMac (Early 2008) with nVidia GeForce 8800 GS and 4gigs of RAM and 2.26Ghz Mac mini with 4gigs of RAM. I love my iMac since opening the box, it is quiet and the screen looks stunning. Meanwhile, I use the Mac mini as a HTPC along with an Apple TV.

    For you need, I think the iMac will serve you better.
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