Mac Shootout: $3,500 iMac 5K vs. $1,700 Mac mini

“The first computer that comes to mind for an Apple desktop for best performance for less than $3500 is the iMac 5K with lots of upgrades, but the Mac mini gives it a run for its money,” Vadim Yuryev writes for AppleInsider.

“Our iMac 5K was priced at $3,300 and came loaded with a 4.2GHz 4-core i7 processor, 32GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. The Mac mini we’re comparing has an upgraded 3.2GHz 6-core i7 processor, 32GB of RAM, and 128GB of Flash storage for $1700,” Yuryev writes. “That’s almost half the price the iMac and would leave you $1,600 for a monitor — except that you lose $400 of that if you add flash storage to the Mac mini that’s comparable with the iMac’s.”

“Testing raw processor performance, the Mac mini matches the iMac 5k in single-core tasks and easily outperforms it in multi-core,” Yuryev writes. “In Geekbench 4’s Metal test, the iMac 5k delivers almost five times the score of the Mac Mini, scoring 117 thousand compared to the Mac mini’s just-under 25 thousand, showing where the true power of the iMac lies.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Of course, if you need better graphics performance, you can always boost the Mac mini significantly with an eGPU.


  1. I bought very similar to that, but I am busy and just did not have the time to spend much time with monitors. I already had one that was comparable to the iMacRetina, and so it was just easier to go with the imac-2nd monitor combo . Could have bought two identical monitors to go with a Mini, but needed to be back to work the same day, yes I spent more by buying the imac, but not that much more in total. It worked.

  2. The could have built the MacMini larger and solve a lot of problems.

    The Mini two generations ago was a tad bigger but had easy to access RAM, held in by a clip, takes a minute to remove. Larger they could have added a real GPU (perhaps as a customer option ) as well instead of needing an eGPU. Why obsessiveness for ‘thinness’ in a DESKTOP that doesn’t need to be moved ?

    Also they need a cheaper drive version. If you have a lot of data SSDs become very pricy. Not to mention the entry level has gone up in price for budget users.

    1. Its not just the mini that gets expensive if you have lots of data, for literally every Post-Cheesegrater Mac has this issue.

      Case in point, four 3TB drives … say WD Blacks ($150 ea) dropped into four internal bays on a Cheese Grater costs $600 … whereas the comparable performance of a 12TB (4 x 3TB) Promise Pegasus on TB3 is $1200 …

      Yup, for the vanity of a non-expandable case, the storage now is 2x the price … and with it requiring a second box and power cord, its also 2x as ugly.

      1. good points
        Typing this on an upgraded Cheese Grater (btw with 4TB )

        (nowadays I sound almost like a ‘hater’ but I’m an Apple fan and investor, it’s just so many areas we see that Apple needs to improve on — and many areas it seems an easy fix but exasperatingly Apple doesn’t do it )

        1. Indeed, the AAPL investor part of me is who’s particularly irritated.

          My take is that all of the “sexy” projects are sucking talent, resources & attention away from core businesses. The problem is that initiatives like Project Titan are still quite high risk: it haven’t shipped, let alone made a profit.

      1. Sorry, but trolling MDN and being an asshole are the only two things I’m good at.

        Mucho love and respect to the Mac Pro community, or what’s left of it after Cook shafted everyone.

  3. MDN take: “Of course, if you need better graphics performance, you can always boost the Mac mini significantly with an eGPU”

    So that is so incredibly stupid. Apple should make a computer that you can change the graphics card of your choice. Like they used to make. Resorting to a 3rd company to do what no other computer in their line up does is just dumb.

  4. $400 for an extra 256 GB of flash memory? An entire Terabyte from Samsung or WD costs $140! Of course that is why Apple won’t give you a native way to plug those drives in!

    I’ve never owned a Windows PC, but this is getting so damn cruel, I’d feel guilty for buying another mac.

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