Another iMac vs. mac Mini question

Started Jan 2, 2013 | Discussions
johnwt44137
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Another iMac vs. mac Mini question
Jan 2, 2013

Everyone on these forums has been really helpful with things I have asked in the past, so here goes another question.

Should I buy an iMac or mac Mini? I will be using this computer for day to day stuff but mostly and mainly photography. No video editing needs for now, perhaps I will do that in a year or two when upgrading the DSLR. I am planning on purchasing LR4 as well. I'm trying to stay as close to $2,000 as possible. I have a Rebel XS, 10 mp raw files, currently have a library of over 10,000 photos. I'm looking for something much, much faster than my current, old Macbook.

Comparing the base 27"iMac, 1TB HDD, I will be upgrading the ram to 32GB vs. $799 mini, upgrading to 2.6ghz i7, will be upgrading to 16gb ram and upgrading to a Fusion drive, then buying a display separately.

Which is the best solution? First concern, I know the iMac has a dedicated graphics card, the mini does not. What affect will that have on performance, if any? Second concern, the monitor to pair with the mini? Is there a great monitor in the $300-$400 price range that would be comparable or better than the iMac?

I want performance, the ability to upgrade in the future is a little concern but I want the best bang for my buck.

Thank you!!!

probert500
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Re: Another iMac vs. mac Mini question
In reply to johnwt44137, Jan 2, 2013

My suggestion is the iMac.  The mini's integrated graphics will really hold you back - more applications - particularly apple but also adobe - are using the gnu for processing - the imac'c will be much faster in this regard. This affects still image procesing ut will really screw up video rendering.

Get the best card on offer, as much memory as you can afford - don't worry about the cpu.

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golf4food
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Re: Another iMac vs. mac Mini question
In reply to johnwt44137, Jan 2, 2013

The Mini is a Great machine!  If you have limited funds, then get the Mini.  Get a Fusion Drive, add some ram and you will be fine for still photography.

If you have the money, then the iMac is better.  I have both a Mini and iMac and they are both great machines.

Get the Mini with Fusion drive and then by a new iMac in 3 years.  Truly you can not go wrong.

Kevin

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Mouser
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Re: Another iMac vs. mac Mini question
In reply to johnwt44137, Jan 2, 2013

I purchased a Mac Mini for a relative recently, and it is an excellent piece of kit.  However, this was to replace an existing PC and retain the keyboard, mouse, external webcam (new), and excellent monitor (expensive).  All worked perfectly, and we are very happy with the Mac Mini.

However, had that relative not owned those peripherals we would have purchased an iMac for him.  Performance aside, it's simply a neater, all-in-one solution.  Have a good look at the iMac screen in an Apple store first though, and make sure you are happy with it (especially with respect to glare/reflections).

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johnwt44137
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Re: Another iMac vs. mac Mini question
In reply to Mouser, Jan 2, 2013

Thank you to the three of you for the insight. I was leaning iMac and that is the way I think I'm going to go.

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henryk1
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Re: Another iMac vs. mac Mini question
In reply to Mouser, Jan 2, 2013

If you have a keyboard, mouse and monitor you like, the mini will do very well. I just upgraded from a 2009 mini to a 2012 mini, 2.66 i7, 8 gigs RAM, 256GB SSD, and USB 3.0 2 TB hard drive for data. Lightroom and PSE work very rapidly on 22-25mb photo files and Lightroom's catalog handles 11 years' worth of photos easily (that's about 33,000 pictures).

For future upgrade there's still room for another HD inside plus 16 gigs of RAM. (8 gigs works fine so far.)

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linetest
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Re: Another iMac vs. mac Mini question
In reply to johnwt44137, Jan 2, 2013

I bought a mini recently. Already had the wireless KB and wireless mouse. Also have a Dell Ultrasharp monitor (I use either machine with the one monitor). I like this setup more than the iMac. Really personal preference.

As far as performance, I bought the i7 with SSD and upgraded ram to 16GB. While it may not have a discreet video card, the newer 4000 chips from Intel are way faster than the discreet chips on the pervious model. If anyone would think the mini is slow, with any app, they would be flat out impatient. You can't lose with either choice.

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Tom_N
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Re: Another iMac vs. mac Mini question
In reply to johnwt44137, Jan 2, 2013

johnwt44137 wrote:

Second concern, the monitor to pair with the mini? Is there a great monitor in the $300-$400 price range that would be comparable or better than the iMac?

Not with the same specifications (27", 2560x1440 pixels, IPS) and the same quality.  For that, you would be looking at something more like the Dell UltraSharp U2711 ($999 normally, but sometimes can be had for $100 or $200 less than that on sale).  (There are also high-end photo monitors from the likes of NEC and Eizo, but those can cost even more than the Apple and Dell ones.)

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hjr13
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Re: Another iMac vs. mac Mini question
In reply to Tom_N, Jan 3, 2013

I bought the mini 2.6 to replace an imac 27". Couldn't be happier, gave the imac to my grandson. I bought the dell u2410 before xmas for $399 on sale. Though the monitor is only 24" it calibrates a lot better than the imac.

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TheEye
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No more iMac or any all-in-one device for me!
In reply to johnwt44137, Jan 3, 2013

After my last two iMacs I have moved to a Mac-mini, which I prefer. Whenever something went wrong with my iMac, everything went down. Repairs were inconvenient due to the iMac's size and weight, tedious and costly due to the all-in-one design.

I much prefer the Mac-mini, which lets me use the monitor of my choice, and which has conveniently detachable peripherals (external HDs and optical drive).

I don't do much video editing an stick mostly to photo editing, so the Mac-mini may not have enough ooomph depending on your needs.

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johnwt44137
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Re: No more iMac or any all-in-one device for me!
In reply to TheEye, Jan 3, 2013

Ugh, now based on the last few replies I'm doubting my iMac choice and thinking mini.

I know some recommendations have been thrown out there, but if I go mini. What is the best monitor for $400? $500 tops?

Is the ram easy to upgrade on my own with the mini? More importantly, with no dedicated graphics card on the mini, what will that limit or prohibit me from doing?

And even though the mini is a 2.6ghz vs the iMac's 2.9ghz, the mini is better/faster because its an i7?

Thanks again everyone!

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seeblue
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Re: Another iMac vs. mac Mini question
In reply to johnwt44137, Jan 3, 2013

Even a base $699 Mini with 8 GB RAM will be more than adequate for your needs (you'll also need a keyboard and mouse/trackpad).

Put your cash in the best monitor you can buy.

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MtnGoatJoe
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Re: Another iMac vs. mac Mini question
In reply to johnwt44137, Jan 3, 2013

I went with the iMac for longevity purposes. My first gen MacBook Pro is 7 years old this month, and I expect my iMac to last a good, long while as well.

Also, I have a four year old, so I do find myself taking (and editing) a bit of HD video. The Mini can probably handle HD fairly well, but when I'm working with multiple clips and want to export a 10 minute video, I want things to get done fast!

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Satish Atmuri
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Re: No more iMac or any all-in-one device for me!
In reply to johnwt44137, Jan 3, 2013

Take a look at this one, its in the same price range ...

http://www.microcenter.com/product/384780/EQ276W_27_IPS_LED_Monitor

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Tom_N
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Re: No more iMac or any all-in-one device for me!
In reply to johnwt44137, Jan 3, 2013

johnwt44137 wrote:

Is the ram easy to upgrade on my own with the mini?

RAM is easy to upgrade either on the latest Mini, or on the latest 27-inch iMac.  (It's sealed in on the latest 21.5-inch iMac; a downgrade from the previous 21.5-inch model.)

The iMac can take more of it, because it has 4 slots to the Mini's 2.

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Marco S Hyman
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iMac memory upgrade
In reply to Tom_N, Jan 3, 2013

32 GB ram for the iMac 27 was < $200 at OWC. I bought my iMac with minimum memory and put the OWC memory in as soon as I pulled it out of the box. I'm saving the 8 GB that came with the iMac for a possible future use -- if my wife gets new iMac with 8G, I'll add my saved 8G giving her a total of 16G. For < $100 you can get 16 GB ram and add it to the 8 GB that comes with the 27" imac for 24GB which may be enough for your needs and you can still upgrade in the future.

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xx573V3xx
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Re: No more iMac or any all-in-one device for me!
In reply to johnwt44137, Jan 4, 2013

Most posters here are assuming you want/need a 27"..

But for $500max, rather than get an OK/bad 27", put your money into a good/excellent 24".

If funds allow, you can add a second 24" later.. or you may find that 24" is quite enough.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824260047 (or aluminum http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824260059)

http://www.adorama.com/ASPA246Q.html?utm_term=Other&utm_medium=Shopping%20Site&utm_campaign=Other&utm_source=pgrabl

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johnwt44137
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Re: Another iMac vs. mac Mini question
In reply to MtnGoatJoe, Jan 4, 2013

Well, after considering feedback I received and much deliberation, I went with...

Mac Mini, i7 2.7ghz, upgraded to the 1TB fusion drive, buying 16gb ram upgrade from crucial, the  HP ZR2440w 24.0" LED Backlit IPS Monitor.

I think this will serve me well now and give me upgrade options in the future. Thank you all again for your feedback!

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Steph Kimball
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Re: Another iMac vs. mac Mini question
In reply to johnwt44137, Jan 4, 2013

Interesting read for those considering a 27" iMac

New Apple 27" iMac — Buying Advice

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linetest
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Re: Another iMac vs. mac Mini question
In reply to johnwt44137, Jan 4, 2013

johnwt44137 wrote:

Well, after considering feedback I received and much deliberation, I went with...

Mac Mini, i7 2.7ghz, upgraded to the 1TB fusion drive, buying 16gb ram upgrade from crucial, the HP ZR2440w 24.0" LED Backlit IPS Monitor.

I think this will serve me well now and give me upgrade options in the future. Thank you all again for your feedback!

REALLY nice setup.

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