Answer by ItsDaveyB · Jan 05, 2013 at 06:54 PM
That depends. If you get an iMac you are getting an entire computer (display, computer, keyboard and mouse) the Mac Mini (quad core) is a very capable computer do bear in mind that you will also need to buy a display, keyboard and mouse if you don't already have ones. I would choose the iMac simply because I prefer the all-in-one form factor
Answer by jah600 · Jan 05, 2013 at 08:03 PM
The iMac, in my opinion, is a better value than a Mac Mini. It comes with everything you needâ€”a high quality, IPS display; nice wireless keyboard; and your choice between a decent multitouch mouse or multitouch desktop trackpad. The base model iMac is also more powerful in almost every way compared to the base model Mac Mini. It's got a quad-core 2.7GHz i5 compared to a dual-core 2.5GHz Intel Core i5, 8GB of RAM compared to 4GB, and it offers dedicated NVIDIA graphics. The NVIDIA graphics are not the most powerful (at least in the base model) and won't blow games out of the water, but it's definitely overall better than what you get with the integrated HD Graphics 4000 on the Intel chip, which is what you get on a base line Mac Mini.
The Mac Mini, however, does have some good things going for it. It's highly affordable; if you want a Mac but don't want to pay the typical Apple $1000+ for one, the Mac Mini is a great choice. It's basically a MacBook Pro in a different body without being an all-in-one packageâ€”however, you do have to provide your own keyboard, mouse, and display. The Mac Mini is also a good choice if you need a small form factor computer to sit and perform one purpose. Chris Pirillo runs his 24/7 live stream on an older Mac Mini that's been running for years non-stop. It makes a great, quiet home theater PC. You can use it as a basic media server on your network, and you can get OS X server in the Mac App Store for $20 to expand that server capability. You can do that on an iMac, too, but it doesn't have the right form factor for doing that kind of thing. The Mac Mini is, in some ways, more flexible than an iMac. It's got USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt, but it's also got FireWire 800, HDMI, and a dedicated audio in jack, which are all things that the new iMac lacks.
You can, of course, upgrade both in the Apple online store and change things, making a lot of this comparison invalid; however, I hope this helps you in a decision. If you want a new desktop computer with everything all done for you, and you've got the money for one, the iMac is a great choice. It'll be much better in demanding tasks such as video and photo editing, building applications, and even some casual gaming. It'll cost you, though. If you're on a budget and have a display, mouse, and keyboard of your own ready, or if you just want a secondary computer or little server, the Mac Mini is a good choice.
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