I am debating merits of a base 27" iMac & upgraded Mac mini, for someone with $2000ish to spend on a new Mac.
For reference, I am on a 3.5yr old 24" iMac 2.66ghz core2duo w/ 8GB RAM.
It's fine for Leica M8 files. But any 12-16MP camera files kill it.
Lightroom is my most resource hungry app by far. I also use Silver Efex 2 plugin. Everything else I do is basic productivity/web/entertainment.
There are a lot of variables:RAM, GPU, CPU speed/cores/hyperthreading, HDD v SSD, etc.
I'v read mixed reviews on relative importance of each, so wanted to see if anyone here had some practical experience of mini vs iMac.
My two biggest hang-ups on the mini - 16GB RAM ceiling & lack of GPU.
In the $2000ish bracket, could do.. a) top CPU mini & upgrade SSD/RAM aftermarket or b) base 27" iMac & upgrade RAM aftermarket
a) mini - 2.6ghz i7 / 16GB RAM / 1TB HDD + 256-512GB SSD / No GPU
a1) same as above, but could do 2xSSD (1 for boot / 1 for photos & LR catalog)
b) iMac - 2.9ghz i5 / 24-32GB RAM / 1TB HDD / Nvidia 660M 512MB GPU
In above case the mini also comes out about 20% cheaper, depending on details of config
So questions are, what are the relative merits of-
* Faster clocked i5 vs slower i7 (i7 has hyperthreading, which LR4 may use.. but also may currently have a bug causing people to disable hyper threading!)
* 16GB RAM vs more headroom
* SSD upgrade vs HDD only (does the SSD offer much benefit)
* GPU vs no GPU (does it matter at all)
Yes I can put an i7 & SSD in the iMac, however at that point it feels like Mac Pro price w/o Mac Pro expandability... quickly approaching the $3000 mark.