iMac or Mac mini? That is the question

I’ll spare the grueling details of my current setup and how I use them. I would like to get a (always on) desktop for the family to share (mostly pretty light duty).
I can’t decide if I should:
a) get a current Mac mini (would need to buy monitor, keyboard, and trackpad)
b) get a decent iMac new
c) wait to see if a new Mac mini is released this year and buy one then (still need to buy monitor, keyboard, and trackpad)

Any thoughts are welcomed. Should be said that I’m not in a huge rush to make the purchase.

I am a year in on my second iMac 27. The first one lasted me 8 years, and now I am really enjoying the 5k monitor and the SSD drive. As a shared machine, the iMac should be a great choice.

I also suggest you check out the Buyer’s Guide at MacRumors. They track the age of Apple products, and the average time between refresh. If you have a little leeway on timing, it is usually better to get in early on the new model than to grab one of the last old ones.

Go with an iMac for the display alone. 4K or 5K displays are breathtakingly beautiful.

Unfortunately Mac minis can’t drive retina displays…

The Mac Mini hardware hasn’t been updated since 2014. Nobody knows if/when Apple decides to finally update it with new technology (Thunderbolt 3, graphics, CPU). I’d go with an iMac.

I’m in a similar boat. My home Mac Mini is getting long in the tooth; my work Mac Mini is at the end of its rope. I need a new one. The question is whether Apple release a new Mac Mini before one or both of these machines either die or become untenable. If I had to replace it tomorrow, I’d go buy an iMac, but I’d be really pissed about it. I’m hoping that Apple will get their act together and bring out a new Mini this year, I’m holding out for it as long as I can.


I was hoping a new Mac mini would have been released by now. Every time I go to my local Apple store, I am drawn to the iMacs. That’s the route I’ll most likely take.
Thanks for all y’alls input.
(Yes, Tennessee)

OK. I’d like to pose this question again now that the new Mac Minis have been announced.

I need a desktop replacement. On paper, the new Mac Mini doesn’t seem like a much better value than the iMac.

One question is how much better the 8th gen intel processors in the Mac Mini are than the 7th gen processors in the iMacs.

Curious if anyone else out there is weighing this decision and has any thoughts.

Thanks much.

At this point I think the biggest difference between the mini and the iMac (aside from the display) is that the iMac can be had with a discrete GPU, while even the most powerful configurations of the Mac mini are stuck with Intel’s integrated GPU. Of course, you can connect an EGPU using Thunderbolt, but from what I’ve read there are still areas where that’s a little wonky.

Another difference that may or may not matter to you is connectivity. The mini has four Thunderbolt/USB-C ports while the iMac only has two. You need to bump to the iMac Pro to get four. I’ve got an iMac and have sometimes found myself wanting additional Thunderbolt ports (right now both are occupied by external displays).

I have a late 2012 iMac that I really want to replace (High Sierra wasn’t kind on it, but Mojave definitely made it much better but still slower than when it was on Sierra). I want all SSD especially when working with Parallels. The new Mac Mini has peaked my interest since new iMacs weren’t announced, but I would miss how the iMac looks on my desk (compared to just a 3rd party monitor). I wonder how much longer Apple will take to release new iMacs (I was ready to spend a few weeks ago!). Sounds like the new iMac will be space gray and I bet we get more Thunderbolt ports over USB. I hate waiting though…it might not be until next Spring or Summer now :frowning: Researching interesting 3rd party monitors though in case I want to jump to a Mac Mini as my iMac replacement - I would probably get a curved ultrawide monitor with it (the new LG is $1499 - gulp).