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20" iMac or Mac Mini?

 
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devin_c_co
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:16 pm    Post subject: 20" iMac or Mac Mini? Reply with quote

So I have seen the light and am ready to make the switch from the PC Winblows world to the Mac world. This will be my 1st Mac and I’m looking into buying either a 20" iMac or a Mac Mini. I mainly do office stuff, internet surfing, itunes, some home movie stuff with iMovie, and some stuff in Photoshop/GIMP. I don’t do any gaming or 3D stuff. I will also be booting into XP and/or using parallels and XP (Got to for work). I’d like the machine to last at least 3-4yrs, or longer if possible. I currently have over 180GB of data split between 2 HD’s, so disk space and backups are going to be an issue for me as well. So I’m trying to figure out which one would suit my needs the best?

20” iMac - With the iMac, I am debating on either upgrading to a 500GB drive and keeping with 1GB of RAM until I can afford to upgrade the RAM within 6 months or so. Or, Upgrade to 2GB of RAM and keep the 250GB drive for the time being and add some large external fire wire drives when I can afford to. With the education discount, both are pretty close in price, but I can only afford to do 1 right now. The 250GB drive would be fine for now, but I would fill it up pretty quickly. And I’ve heard that upgrading the HD in the Intel iMac is not very easy. That’s why the 500GB drive is appealing.

Mac Mini - With the mini setup, I would get the 1.8GHz and 2GB of RAM. Since the largest HD for the mini is 160GB, I was just going to keep the stock 80GB drive and add a pair of external Fire wire drives 300GB or larger. Along with that, I would get a 19” Standard LCD or 20” widescreen LCD.

Which one of these setups would work out best for me?
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Sparkstack
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even though i have 3 Mac Mini's i would say you would be better off with the 20" iMac.

Go for the 500GB drive and when you are ready you can upgrade the memory yourself (just pop open the flap) Memory prices from Apple are ridiculous.
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MacWaffler
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having just recently sold my Mac mini Core Duo 1.66 to pay for my iMac Core 2 Duo, I can safely say buy the iMac. The mini is a nice PC, but the iMac is all around faster, RAM upgrades are much easier, the display is gorgeous and the GPU a nice addition for the future. My mini was great, but the difference in overall performance with the bumped CPU and 7200RPM hard drive is pretty massive on many apps.
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SOCOMRAIDER
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah. I would say get the iMac. It will be more convenient, as you won't have as many cables and such. Plus the iMac's storage space and especially the speed improvement is a major advantage over the Mini.

You also have to realize, not only are you getting a bigger faster hard drive, a keyboard and mouse, an iSight... but you are also getting a Core 2 Duo chip. Oh yeah, a REAL graphics card.

You might not need those features now, but having those will prolong the life of your computer. Including the GPU if you ever decide to play a game or two later down the line.
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MacWaffler
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SOCOMRAIDER wrote:
Including the GPU if you ever decide to play a game or two later down the line.


And likely moreso as the OS leans more on the GPU, looks like TimeMachine might finally put the GMA950 to the ultimate test.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MacWaffler wrote:
And likely moreso as the OS leans more on the GPU, looks like TimeMachine might finally put the GMA950 to the ultimate test.
Yeah I know. Too bad my (old G4) Mini doesn't support the eye candy of Time Machine. Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
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Pleiades
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless you already have money invested in a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, get an iMac. You'll be a lot happier.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MacWaffler wrote:
And likely moreso as the OS leans more on the GPU, looks like TimeMachine might finally put the GMA950 to the ultimate test.

TimeMachine killed the Intel graphics card on my 1.66 Mini. Like 3 frames / Sec or so... I can only hope that this is because it is a developer preview and not the finished & optimized version.
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Tenex
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Go iMac but external drive prices mean that the 500Gb upgrade is roughly as costly an external My Book 500Gb, which would mean you had 750Gb of storage instead.

I'd go with the RAM instead.
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MacWaffler
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sparkstack wrote:
MacWaffler wrote:
And likely moreso as the OS leans more on the GPU, looks like TimeMachine might finally put the GMA950 to the ultimate test.

TimeMachine killed the Intel graphics card on my 1.66 Mini. Like 3 frames / Sec or so... I can only hope that this is because it is a developer preview and not the finished & optimized version.


I'm assuming there will be a lot more optimization before it ships, we have several months and I suspect they have some pretty serious interface revisions saved up that we might finally see at MW2007. That said, if I was buying a Mac right this minute, it would be something with a more serious GPU.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having used my minis for the past 11 months I will get an iMac for my next mac.

More Graphics power needed.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MacWaffler wrote:
Sparkstack wrote:
MacWaffler wrote:
And likely moreso as the OS leans more on the GPU, looks like TimeMachine might finally put the GMA950 to the ultimate test.

TimeMachine killed the Intel graphics card on my 1.66 Mini. Like 3 frames / Sec or so... I can only hope that this is because it is a developer preview and not the finished & optimized version.


I'm assuming there will be a lot more optimization before it ships, we have several months and I suspect they have some pretty serious interface revisions saved up that we might finally see at MW2007. That said, if I was buying a Mac right this minute, it would be something with a more serious GPU.
Not only that. But the first release is usually rough. Panther and Tiger were rough around the edges until 10.4.2+. So I would expect the same with Leopard.
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devin_c_co
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:51 pm    Post subject: That's what I was leaning towards, but... Reply with quote

Tenex wrote:
Go iMac but external drive prices mean that the 500Gb upgrade is roughly as costly an external My Book 500Gb, which would mean you had 750Gb of storage instead.

I'd go with the RAM instead.


How is the performance of external FW drives compared to the internal SATA drive? Since I would be getting a pair of them (1 for storage, and one for backup) I would like to get the best performance as possible without breaking the bank.
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Tenex
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 4:09 pm    Post subject: Re: That's what I was leaning towards, but... Reply with quote

devin_c_co wrote:
Tenex wrote:
Go iMac but external drive prices mean that the 500Gb upgrade is roughly as costly an external My Book 500Gb, which would mean you had 750Gb of storage instead.

I'd go with the RAM instead.


How is the performance of external FW drives compared to the internal SATA drive?

How long is a piece of string?

What I mean is I use firewire externals constantly and I don't suffer any performance lag beyond the initial boot but obviously internals are faster. I can edit movies stored on my external My Books, I can stream - without a single dropped frame - playback from them. They perform well for me and I'd risk saying the same would hold true for you. Ultimately you'd have to decide for yourself in real life use.
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