Most Mac users view the Mac mini as a poor step child compared to the iMac or MacBook models. The mini has always had a small footprint (8” x 8”) but only comes with the basic guts of a more expensive Mac but without a monitor, keyboard or mouse. One needs to just add these peripherals to get a complete Mac system.
Traditionally, the mini series has had a slower processor, less RAM, and hard drive space to account for its lower pricing. But in November of last year, Apple introduced the mini with Apple’s own M1 chip at the same price point. Most retailers offer the mini at $699 with 256GB storage or $899 with 512GB of storage. Both models come with 8GB RAM. However, if you want larger RAM or storage, you need to order your mini from Apple. A 16GB RAM is an extra $200—non-user serviceable.
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In the past, I owned an iMac and was considered upgrading to the new 2021 iMacs with Apple’s M1 chip. Checking the pricing of the newly released 24-inch models, I expected to upgrade to a newer 27” or larger iMac closer to $2000. I considered this as a financial decision to upgrade to a mini and transferring the same peripherals to the new Mac to give me a similar performance level. I never expected betterperformance!
To make this system complete, I also needed a new computer monitor with similar specs to iMac’s Retina 5K display. I could easily find a monitor in the $150-200 price range that would do the job, but I preferred one that would approximate the resolution and brightness I obtained with my iMac. My research led me to the LG 27UN850, a 27” 4K display. This monitor offered 2 USB-C inputs as well as 2 HDMI inputs.
Although this monitor originally sold for $600, discounts can be found around $400 or less. An alternative would have been the LG 27MD5KL-B monitor, a 27” 5K model designed for Macs. The only problem with this monitor is the price – $1100 or more at most vendors! I’m just not sure how much of a difference that resolution would make to the naked eye.Continue reading…