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Member Since: Oct 25, 2010
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 324
lrd is on a distinguished road
Mac Specs: 2009 MacBook Pro 15" - 2013 iMac 3.4GHz quad-core i7, Fusion Drive, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX

lrd is offline
OK, so I am having a hard time deciding. I currently have a Win7 PC for basic home use and a 2009 Core2Duo Macbook Pro that I've been using for digital photo processing. The MBP is marginally suitable (more speed is always better when using Photoshop and Lightroom) but the monitor is way too small. I'm looking to buy a desktop with a high end 27" monitor to replace the PC and be my dedicated digital photo lab. What I'm showing below may be total overkill but at these prices I don't want to have to upgrade again anytime soon. The options below compare the fastest Mac Mini with a separate 27" high-end monitor with the fastest 27" iMac.

Option A
  • Mini: 2.6GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, 16GB Mem, 1TB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm = $1200
  • 240 GB SSD to replace 1TB drive = $250
  • NEC PA271W-bk-sv monitor =$1100
  • Total price = $2550
Option B
  • 27 iMac: 3.4GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz, 16GB Mem, 1TB Fusion Drive = $2650 (can't replace drive, buying 16GB on 2x8GB allows a simple addition of 2x8GB more for 32GB)
  • Total price = $2650

Price is almost a wash, let's look at the advantages of each:
  • The best iMac is much faster than the best Mini and has a dedicated graphics card vice a chipset.
  • On the iMac I can start with 16GB with 2x8GB sticks and upgrade later to 4x8GB sticks without throwing away memory.
  • The iMac is a fully integrated system that is easier and cleaner to setup...and flat gorgeous
Mac Mini
  • With the iMac you can't swap in an SSD (cheaply) so you're forced to go with a Fusion drive for speed, but at 128 GB it's half the size I want, plus I don't know how much control I would have over what stays on the Fusion flash and what get's dumped to the Fusion HDD.
  • The NEC monitor is way better than the iMac monitor (but not as pretty )
  • With a separate monitor/Mini, separate repairs and/or upgrades are easier and cheaper
  • I can buy just the monitor for now and use it externally with the MBP and buy the Mini later (budgeting purposes (but I'd have to waste money buying a new video card for the soon-to-be-obsolete PC)

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