Imac vs Mac Mini Vs Hackintosh


Active Member

After getting a macbook pro last year, im after a new desktop for work mainly.

Ideally, im wanting mac as im a graphic designer / Web designer / Photographer freelancing as currently work on my mac more than my windows desktop and prefer it - it feels more natural and I seem to work quicker using Osx.

Obviously, im after a large screen 27"+ really so I can have multiple windows open especially when coding sites and using programs like Indesign/ Ai as quite often have multiple programs open for various reasons. Will be using CC subscription for programs and openoffice.. This is going to be my main machine other than mbp. Will also be investing in colour calibration

I also need to be able to run a 2nd screen off whatever I choose as I plan on purchasing a Cintiq soon.

Ive narrowed the options down to the following:

Option 1:
Mac Mini Quad I7 with rest standard

(will DIY upgrade on ram as I will not pay apple prices! !! Prob to either 8gb or 16gb depending on cost and performance as MBP runs fine on 8gb but might go for 16gb this time.. )

Lg 29" 21:9 monitor 2560x1080 - 29EA93

Option 2

Imac 27" I7 Quad
8gb ram
1tb drive

Option 3

Custom specced hackintosh

Was looking at the I5 3570K and z77 board but now haswell has launched, this may be a better option if I go this route.

This would save me some dosh but I want reliability and decent performance and not having to worry every osx update is going to kill the machine.

I can swap out my current desktop setup with new cpu and board and keep everything else.

Current setup is:
  • AMD 1055t Hex
  • Asus m4a89gtd pro usb3
  • 8gb xms3 1600mhz IIRC
  • 120gb agility 3 ssd
  • 1tb f3 hdd
  • water cool loop
  • 750w psu

I think the things I would change would have to be - bigger SSD 240gb + , CPU/ Board for Intel, Perhaps some more ram 16gb??

Any help?

Apologies for such a long and complicated post!

Adam K

Active Member
Having built 2 i7 hackintosh's i got bored of little niggles and reliability issues and ended up selling everything and getting a 27" iMac. Lobbed an SSD in that and have never looked back. The hackintosh did absolutely smash a Mac Pro when benchmarked, and for about 2 thirds of the price. The iMac does look pretty though, and the screen is good quality. Mine had applecare on it and a few days before it ran out of warranty i took it into Apple and they replaced £500 worth of parts.


Distinguished Member
I'd forget about the Mini. It may be quite capable with some good ram but the i7 is "only" 2.3Ghz and I think it might struggle with in long run.

The i7 quad iMac is a beast. I have a friend who has one and he says it's very quick. He also has the 1TB Fusion drive with SSD/HDD. I'd definitely spec one with the Fusion

A few months back when the new iMac came out I was looking to get one, but stuff got in the way and the funds had to be spent elsewhere. At the time though, I was looking to get a hackintosh but spending the same money so as to get something that run the world AKA a new game on max settings :D

But then came looking into hacking it to run OS X. While I didn't have a really good look, I just thought whats the point? If I'm spending the same money and probably not going to actually do much gaming to justify the cost and yes the updates are an issue afaik.

Yes the i7 27" is not cheap, but if you get an equally good 27" screen and spec a PC to the same or better, it's still not going to be cheap. If you add your own ram to the 27" (something you can only do on the 27") then that a big cost saving from Apple prices.

If you want a powerful PC AND dont want to spend iMac money then it's probably worth a go because of course, you have the flexibility (something I must admit to missing slightly in the old PC days).

If your willing to spend that amount of money on the iMac and don't mind loosing the PC customisability, then I would get the iMac. It looks fantastic, great display and will run OS X and all it's updates.

I would never use Windows again (least as my main OS) and having helped my mum buy and set-up a new Win8 laptop I hate Win8 with a passion. I don't want to go anywhere near it and so (almost) without question, I'd spend the money on the iMac. Plus you can get the large trackpad for it which I absolute love to bits. The multitouch for OS X is far and away miles in front of what anything MS will come up with and I for one miss it every nanosecond when I forced to use Windows at me maa's or work.

Oh and as Adam K said, I'd budget for Apple Care. If nothing goes wrong, then yes it's a waste, but if something does, no one I've spoken to has had an issue with Apple. I've seen a few people (not a great sign lol) go into an Apple store with something broken either iPhones/iPad or Macs and have not seen Apple bat an eyelid over repairs or simply swapping phones there and then. Having an Apple computer is still an elite thing, but it seems the Apple Care is an Elite service that Apple is happy to brag about
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Active Member
I know the mini is only 2.3 but so is my macbook.. This with 8gb ram runs pretty well tbh even with loads of chrome windows open, plus ps, dw,ai, id with multiple docs...

Im half hoping the minos being refreshed between now and when i buy so hanging off slightly..

The other reason for the mini nd the lg screen meant that i could have my mbp hooked in aswell into the single monitor and even have both side by side at the same time!

Im defo going to rethink my options!

Thanks guys!


Well-known Member
Ah yes, I was wondering if a Hackintosh would still receive Apple updates from the App Store. Sounds interesting though.


Active Member
Yes it would as the actual os isnt really affected much so updates still available.

If it was going to be my personal machine, I may be more open to a hackintosh as I really want one as they are best bang for buck but I cant afford to have it down for a couple of days or weeks when an update kills it for whatever reason..


Distinguished Member
I run CS5 without issue on my 2009 2.53Ghz C2D Mac Mini with 4GB RAM without issue, so running the equivalent on the latest Mac Mini will be more than satisfactory.

Order the current Mac Mini with Fusion Drive and the Mac Mini will boot in less than 10 seconds while any program will launch instantly (how much faster do you want). In due course, put 16GB RAM in the Mini and you have an excellent machine.


Active Member
Ive just realised also that the mini spec im looking at is the 2.6ghz not the 2.3 quad..

Are the fusion drives worth the massive extra or would I be better with standard 2.6 spec and diy a 240gb ssd into it and couple with a external usb3 drive?

I think Im probs going to go with the Mini and the LG 29" 21:9 screen tbh.. Can I connect the screen Via display port / thunderbolt from the mini and use display port on the monitor and then connect 2nd display Ie cintiq to HDMI?


Well-known Member
I don't know what your budget is but there's a new Mac Pro due very soon, might be worth waiting for.
You could also consider a referb iMac direct from Apple. Any 27" i7 model from mid 2011 onwards will offer plenty of power with significant savings.


Active Member
I don't know what your budget is but there's a new Mac Pro due very soon, might be worth waiting for.
You could also consider a referb iMac direct from Apple. Any 27" i7 model from mid 2011 onwards will offer plenty of power with significant savings.

Budget aint going to stretch to pro! I like the imacs but the mini gives me more options for displays than the imac does as it means i can connect macbook to it as i quite offten have things between my machines...

I personally think the quad I7 2.6 mini would suffice even with 2 screens.. One connected via display port / thunderbolt and the cintiq on hdmi port..


Distinguished Member
There was a separate thread on the MacMini vs iMac and many posters are inclined towards the former given the flexibility of choices re very good IPS monitors, the compatible "looks" and the overall costs involved. The iMac, it seems to many, has lost it flexibility when things start to wear away due to its very closed (if not sealed) form factor.


Distinguished Member
I am a Mac Mini convert, from an iMac. Still have the old iMac, but it's barely used these days, in favour of the Mini.

Don't forget that you can use Screen Sharing to access your MB Pro from the Mini if you want to avoid messing about with cables all the time.


Well-known Member
I agree with BP and I doubt if I'll buy another iMac next time I upgrade. Don't get me wrong, I love my 27" beast and don't find it wanting in any area, but having separate components does make upgrading far easier, especially when the components are as small and easily hidden as the Mac Mini (or god help my wallet, the new Mac Pro).
I also have a 2012 Mac Mini that purrs away almost silently just doing media server duties so I know how neat they are too.
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I Am Custard

Well-known Member
I am looking to upgrade my ageing 2007 iMac this year (probably nearer November)

Was thinking of swapping it out for a 21.5" iMac as on paper it seems like 4 times faster.... Are you guys saying that a top spec Mac Mini with a 27" monitor would be a better option....?

Most it will do is a bit of video conversion / music recording and browsing.... Would that be a better bet for me?


Well-known Member
I have an i7 3770k hackintosh and it works without issue, takes all updates direct from Apple store including the latest 10.8.4

My spec is:

32gb ram
120gb ssd
Z77 up4-th mobo
1tb hdd
Gtx 580
Lg bdrw
Tp link 450mbps wireless

It performs faster than any standard iMac for a fraction of cost, but to be fair you are getting a monitor in those iMacs and the 2560x1440 monitor is beautiful. £2400 for a similar spec imac versus about £1600 for hackintosh pc including dell 27" 2560x1440 monitor and apple keyboard and Magic Mouse and all required components, ie case, software etc..


Moderator/Games Reviewer
Tony, what hardware would you buy now if specc'ing up a hackintosh? What's the general thoughts about Haswell Z87? Will hackintosh builds be as easy on the new stuff once Mavericks is released?


Active Member
I was looking at a similar build to that except for:
I5 3570k rather than i7
Same board as its the thunderbolt board right?? Not that i can find anywhere that still has it!...
16gb ram
240gb ssd with probs my 120 as 2nd ssd for working files

Looking at lg 2560x1440 monitor i think as its the nicest looking and i think has the best features.

I too am waiting for haswell boards to come down for thunderbolt and to see how well they intergrate with either maverics or ML


Moderator/Games Reviewer
Been doing some digging around and it looks like tha Gigabyte Z87x-UD7TH is being tipped as the board to have of the Haswell Hackintosh crowd. There is even speculation its been delayed till mid October as they are adding Thunderbolt 2 but I think that might be wide of the mark. Eitherway, I think I will wait for that board, shove a Haswell i7 in and run Win 7 or 8 until the process for installing Mavericks is sorted. Then I will Dual Boot.

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