Mac Mini vs 24-inch iMac: Which Apple desktop is better?

Apple’s latest offerings are easier and harder to tell apart than ever: most run on the M1 processor, which means the choice largely comes down to price and features. If you’re interested in a macOS desktop, the choice is even tougher, because Apple’s current offerings are so different. Do you need (or desperately want) an amazing display with great sound in an easy-to-use package? Or do you just want a basic case powerful enough to run all your favorite apps?

Today we’re breaking down the 24-inch iMac with M1 chip and the M1 Mac Mini so you can make that decision for yourself.

Buy the Mac Mini for $699 at Amazon

Buy the 24-inch iMac for $1,299 at Amazon

Performance and speed

Credit: Revised/Jackson Ruckar

The 24-inch iMac and Mac Mini both run on Apple’s M1 processor, an ultra-efficient chip adapted from their MacBook line.

Basically, the Mac Mini and the iMac have the same computing power. Both run on Apple’s M1 processor, which easily outperforms most laptops running on midrange Intel or AMD processors. If you need a desktop computer for high productivity and light 3D applications, such as Adobe Creative Cloud software, you should have no problem with either Mac desktop computer.

That said, there are some performance differences. The base 24-inch iMac has one less graphics processing core than the Mac Mini (7 cores versus 8 cores). In real-world applications, this missing kernel makes little difference – it averages about 3 fewer frames per second in World of Warcraft on medium settings, for example, but this could affect your workflow if you use your computer a lot for graphics-intensive applications.

The Mac Mini and iMac also perform slightly differently when it comes to cooling, but both are more than adequate for the ultra-efficient processor. The Mac Mini features a single fan in a spacious chassis that gives the processor plenty of room to breathe. Meanwhile, the iMac’s fans must push air away from the processor in a super-thin profile. Either way, the M1 processor is so efficient that the fans are almost always silent.

Our choice : To design

Ports and Features

Rear view of Mac Mini

Credit: Revised/Jackson Ruckar

The Mac Mini has a multitude of ports for your needs.

Both the iMac and the Mac Mini support Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 6. You can have a fast, wireless connection to your Internet and all necessary peripherals without a problem. Because they use the same processor, they also share the same screen support. Each computer can run a 6K resolution display at 60Hz and a 4K display at 60Hz simultaneously. From there, things start to diverge a bit, starting with port selection.

If you’re considering a desktop PC rather than a laptop, chances are you care about your PC’s port selection. The Mac Mini, despite its palm-sized body, has a decent selection of ports, including two Thunderbolt 3/USB 4 ports, two USB-A 3.1 Gen 2 ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, a headphone jack 3.5mm and an Ethernet. Harbor. Meanwhile, the base 24-inch iMac only comes with 2 Thunderbolt 3/USB 4 ports and a headphone jack, but the more expensive $1,499 model adds an Ethernet port and two more Thunderbolt/USB ports. 3.

However, the Mac Mini’s advantage diminishes when you factor in the other features and accessories that come with both machines. The Mac Mini is just that: a tiny PC, smaller than a laptop, that barely fits on your desk and can easily be thrown into a backpack.

Overhead view of the Magic Keyboard and Mouse

Credit: Revised/Jackson Ruckar

The Magic Mouse and Keyboard are great peripherals that bring useful features like swiping and Touch ID to desktop computers.

The all-in-one 24-inch iMac is a PC, monitor, and speaker system. Plus, it comes with the excellent Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse, and Magic Trackpad, all of which feature all-aluminum construction to match your iMac’s color scheme and come pre-paired with the iMac for wireless performance. flawless. The iMac also comes with an included 1080p webcam, which is handy for video calls and streams. The Mac Mini has no webcam at all.

Where the iMac far outstrips the Mac Mini is in its phenomenal display and sound system. The Mac Mini has no screen and its speaker is tiny and thin. Meanwhile, the iMac’s 4.5K Retina display is incredibly bright, has a wide color gamut, and is ideal for movie buffs and visual designers. A screen of similar quality can cost hundreds of dollars, so pairing that screen with a Mac Mini would already approach the cost of the iMac itself. Meanwhile, the iMac’s lower lip houses multiple speakers that deliver rich, detailed sound that’s great for listening to movies or music.

Our choice : 24 inch iMac


The person uses the mouse on a desk

Credit: Revised/Jackson Ruckar

The Mac Mini is an affordable desktop computer with a small footprint.

For its raw computing power, the Mac Mini is a fantastic bargain. The Mac Mini starts at $699, but these days it’s often on sale for as little as $600. It’s almost half the price of the iMac, but in exchange you’ll have to buy your own monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers. You can still save a lot of money on the iMac for a similar computing experience, but buying the Mac Mini and peripherals that match the quality of the iMac’s included accessories (an HDR10-certified 4K display and keyboard set /high-end wireless mouse) can rack up enough costs to match the iMac’s asking price.

Starting at $1,299, the iMac will cost you about as much as a MacBook Pro 13. However, with the extra cash also comes the convenience of an all-in-one desktop computer: a keyboard , a high-end mouse and trackpad; a loud sound system; and a 4.5K display with an excellent color gamut. Plus, setting up an out-of-the-box iMac takes five minutes, and the computer looks so good it works as a decorative piece in your living space. However, the base model’s limited port selection and disabled GPU make the $1,499 model worth it if you can save the money.

Our choice : mac mini

And the winner is…

The Mac Mini is placed on a table

Credit: Revised/Jackson Ruckar

The Mac Mini leaves a minimal footprint on any desktop.

Because the Mac Mini is the perfect Mac for a budget home computer, it’s the best choice for most people. For $699, you get a hand-sized PC with the powerful M1 chip. You’ll have to buy your own monitor, keyboard, and mouse, but if you don’t need anything beyond a decent budget monitor, you’ll still save hundreds of dollars on buying a $1,299 iMac. $.

However, the iMac offers a lot of value for AV enthusiasts. It’s an all-in-one solution whose 4.5K resolution Retina display and high-end peripherals make it a fantastic family PC for productivity and entertainment. The base iMac costs $1,299, but the $1,499 model comes with extra ports, an Ethernet connection, and an extra graphics processing core for a slightly faster GPU (the base Mac Mini has the same graphics processor than the $1,499 iMac). If you need a fast productivity PC and a reliable display for visual work, the iMac is also a great choice.

Buy the Mac Mini for $699 at Amazon

Buy the 24-inch iMac for $1,299 at Amazon

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.

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