Mac Mini vs iMac
I just wanted to take a moment to discuss the two desktop choices that consumers or home workers such as yourself are going to consider: the iMac and the Mac Mini. I have shared this info in shorter form before but I wanted to unpack these possibilities a bit more. The current M1 Mac Mini was released in the fall of 2020 and the current M1 iMac was released in the spring of 2021. Despite their different shapes and set ups — INTERNALLY SPEAKING — the logic board, the chips, the hard drive, and the memory — they are the same performance wise. I’m going to have you look at the configurations for the Mini https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/mac-mini and in the red trunks in the other corner, I’m going to have you look at the iMac https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/imac
This email is going to compare the $899 Mini and the $1699 iMac. Both systems have the 512 GB SSD hard drive and the 8 core CPU. One is not double the cost of the other, but you may certainly perceive one as the better value or the more attractive option after reading the following. It’s your choice.
Mac Mini — Apple has sold the Mac Mini since 2005. I remember ordering the first one. The Mini is about the size of a small cigar box, but it packs a punch. It is the computer “tower” only. You must provide your own keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor – and if desired webcam. Those accessories need not and probably should not be Apple branded if you are going for the value proposition. A decent 21 to 24 inch monitor can be purchased for about $150 to $180. Next I would recommend a USB keyboard / mouse – MacAlly brand on Amazon is Mac compatible — $30 to $40. These are good for initial use and as a backup, even if you plan to use wireless later. Decent Amazon brand speakers are $30. Next comes a webcam if you plan to use Zoom. The C922 Logitech is $85 and known to be compatible with the current Mac OS. The total cost of those accessories is $295 – $335. With the cost of the Mac Mini being $899 –you are looking at a little less than $1299, in line with what I’ve said previously. Note: you will have wires all over your desk, just like with a traditional desktop computer.
iMac — the new iMac has a 24 inch screen. Everything is built into the screen. The monitor, the speakers, the computer tower: it’s all there. Apple includes a wireless keyboard and mouse too. The webcam is built in. It’s slim, colorful, even sexy if a computer could be. There is one wire for the power cord. Unlike the Mac Mini which has 2 traditional USB A ports, the iMac has none, which means you will probably need an Anker USB hub to plug things in. That will run you about $30 on Amazon — so your cost is about $1729.
The choice is yours, not mine. Do you want to save about $400 and pick your own accessories? Or do you want to pay $400 more for style, compactness and visual appeal? Both computers are equally as fast or “good” inside. Hope you appreciated the review. It might not be as good as Consumer Reports but I think I made a compelling case for EITHER system – if you want a Mac to begin with.
PS. If you didn’t have hardly any photos or files you could get a slightly cheaper iMac or Mac Mini. There is one model of each that is $200 cheaper. You can do that math. The same price differential and logic of this post would be true.