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Deciding between mac mini and iMac

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January 17, 2013 2:33:17 AM

I am trying to decide between the iMac and the mac mini. I'm not sure if the gpu in the mac mini is good enough for my needs.

I'm mostly going to be using it for video editing (possibly iMovie depending on if it's sufficient, or pinnacle studio), photoshop, illustrator, indesign.

The mac mini only goes up to 2.6GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 and the iMac goes up to 3.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i5. Does it matter that the mac mini has a slower processor but is i7 and the iMac has a faster processor but is i5? What speed do I need? I don't really want to overspend.

Also, do I need 8gb or 16gb of ram? I would like to get an SSD, but it seems that I only have the option to get 1 hard drive and 256 gb isn't going to be enough. How does the fusion drive compare to the SSD?


Thanks

More about : deciding mac mini imac

January 17, 2013 2:38:25 AM

I think you'l find the vast majority on these forums are PC enthusiasts, this might be the wrong place to ask about Mac's.

Judging by the speeds, your basically comparing a laptop i7 against a desktop i5. Dont know which one is better to be honest, but have a feeling its the desktop i5.

An editing rig will ideally have 16GB of RAM, but knowing the ridiculous markup on RAM Apple have if you cant afford it 8GB will do.
No idea what the Fusion Drive is.
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January 17, 2013 3:56:47 AM

manofchalk is right. Most comments are from PC owners.

My comments though....I almost bought a iMac two years ago, but instead I chose a PC cuz Macs can't play games. However, for photo editing Macs are ok.

The price of a i7 iMac is a jaw dropping $1700+. Instead you could build a PC and buy a very good monitor for $1200. The major downside is you won't have the Apple software on it (I might be wrong but you can't buy Mac OS) and you won't be able to use the editing software that makes Macs so tasty.
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January 17, 2013 4:03:09 AM

It is possible to build a Hackintosh system, a custom build that will run Mac OSX. You will be somewhat limited in hardware choices (Intel CPU and AMD GPU I think) and I have no idea how to set it up on the software side. You'l have to research a bit about doing that if you decide to go that route.
So if using the Mac software is a must that's a possibility.
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January 17, 2013 4:37:56 AM

imac mini is laptop processors, too. It's basically a nice quad core laptop in a box with no screen.

The worst part about an imac is that they come with fantastic screens. Why is that the worst part? Because you are paying $400-1000 for that screen and it can't ever be used with any other computer hardware! The 27" imac is essentially the $1000 27" Studio monitor with a $700 laptop bolted onto the back. However if you bought that monitor with anything else you could probably use it through 2-3 computers over its life.

I think apple has had this big gaping hole in their lineup for a while. The Mac Minis are nice, but they aren't high end desktop hardware. And the imacs are great, but they are overpriced and have upgrade and value problems as mentioned above. It would be great if Apple had a nice $1000 desktop tower that could have higher end parts but not be integrated with a monitor.

Short answer, neither are a slam dunk.



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January 17, 2013 4:53:09 AM

A friend bought the mac mini and hated it. He said it was too slow! I asked him why he bought it cuz he didnt' need the small form, and he commented that he thought it was a computer.
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January 17, 2013 5:07:19 AM

Most people will tell you Mac sucks and I am admittedly PC biased enthusiast but really to be honest I don't dislike Mac because they have limited hardware for the price because they make up for it in the enclosure design and workmanship. To be honest if you want a Mac there is nothing wrong with the imac for light to medium duty computing and gaming so by all means go for it if that's what you want but I have to recommend against the mac mini.
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January 17, 2013 5:09:53 AM

twelve25 said:
imac mini is laptop processors, too. It's basically a nice quad core laptop in a box with no screen.

The worst part about an imac is that they come with fantastic screens. Why is that the worst part? Because you are paying $400-1000 for that screen and it can't ever be used with any other computer hardware!


There is an input on the new imacs so you can hook up whatever you like to the wonderfully brilliant and ultra high rez display Xbox or even your PC.
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January 17, 2013 2:46:05 PM

Tom Burnqest said:
There is an input on the new imacs so you can hook up whatever you like to the wonderfully brilliant and ultra high rez display Xbox or even your PC.

All PCs come with a high rez output, and you have the choice of HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, or VGA. What more do you need?
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January 17, 2013 4:24:10 PM

Tom Burnqest said:
There is an input on the new imacs so you can hook up whatever you like to the wonderfully brilliant and ultra high rez display Xbox or even your PC.


That's a nice upgrade. It wasn't like that a few years back.

I guess that's why you shouldn't ask a PC forum about Macs..... :whistle: 
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January 17, 2013 4:26:46 PM

All of the software you mentioned except iMovie are available on PC. For the money you would waste on any Apple product you could build or buy a PC that would run circles around either of those Macs that you mentioned.

Video and picture editing have very little to do with the OS and are more about absolute processing power and for the money, a PC has that battle won by a sizable amount. Especially once you factor in a real graphics card on a PC and it's better implementation of OpenCL/CUDA tied to that much more powerful GPU.

Mac's have never been better than PC's on the hardware front and were only ever viable in photo and video editing because the software available (Aperture and Final Cut) was better than anything found on PCs and that is starting to change.
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January 17, 2013 4:33:17 PM

Adobe products are available on both, anyway, and that's what most people use. Although if you only have the Mac licenses, it could cost a LOT more to switch to PC.

Again, sure would be nice if Apple offered a $800-1200 desktop system based on Ivy i5/i7 and real graphics options.

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January 17, 2013 7:24:29 PM

We do have a mac section and while this is a majority pc community as is the world, there are mac knowledgeable people here. Most people do not say macs suck, they say it is overpriced. In all fairness it is actually not overpriced when comparing to oems. I would agree with a custom build, not necessarily pc, being better bang/buck but to answer the question: For video editing, you are not going to want just the integrated hd 4000 so would suggest the imac. There is no 3.6ghz i5 and it is configurable to a 3.4ghz i7. Laptop vs desktop cpus doesn't matter, the cpu that is better specs will win. You are going to want 16gb ram.

The fusion drive is a ssd and hdd. It is not ssd caching but is not independent either. It is both. You can use the full ssd size but it is also acting as a cache. You see both drives as 1 drive combined. (It is 128gb ssd so with the 1tb option, you'd see 1.1tb) I'd expect it to be near ssd caching performance which is similar to ssd performance when the files are cached.

envy14tpe said:
All PCs come with a high rez output, and you have the choice of HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, or VGA. What more do you need?

I think you misread. The imac can be used as a monitor for another mac/pc. Video cards on pcs are just output. But you would never input into a video card, you would just input to the monitor so you are talking about completely different things. But inputting video to all in ones is normal, you can find this on most pc aios too. All the imacs with displayport (since 09), not just the new ones, are bi directional.

Btw the mac mini is a computer so mentioning that comment that your friend said confuses me. Macs can play games and you can just run windows if there isn't a mac version. But it is true, you get a pc to game. Macs cost "more" because they use ips monitors. They are not actually more than pcs if you look at pcs that use ips monitors. Again compare oems to oems not custom builds.
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January 17, 2013 8:01:29 PM

They are expensive because they don't offer options that would make them affordable. If that makes sense. :) 


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January 18, 2013 9:04:39 AM

k1114 said:

I think you misread. The imac can be used as a monitor for another mac/pc. Video cards on pcs are just output. But you would never input into a video card, you would just input to the monitor so you are talking about completely different things. But inputting video to all in ones is normal, you can find this on most pc aios too. All the imacs with displayport (since 09), not just the new ones, are bi directional.

Btw the mac mini is a computer so mentioning that comment that your friend said confuses me. Macs can play games and you can just run windows if there isn't a mac version. But it is true, you get a pc to game. Macs cost "more" because they use ips monitors. They are not actually more than pcs if you look at pcs that use ips monitors. Again compare oems to oems not custom builds.


It is a computer but he said everything was too slow for him. (It didn't help that the first one he bought was DOA.) He tried Photo programs and games, all were bad....according to him.
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January 19, 2013 12:00:19 AM

envy14tpe said:
All PCs come with a high rez output, and you have the choice of HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, or VGA. What more do you need?

Input man input the Imac has an INPUT so you can you it as a monitor for what ever you want Xbox PC etc.
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