Get a free 17-inch Apple display PLUS $375 cash! - Macenstein

Get a free 17-inch Apple display PLUS $375 cash!

Posted by Lab Rat

Ok, so that headline is slightly misleading. You can’t actually get a free 17-inch display from Apple… unless, that is, you are thinking of buying a Mac mini.

In addition to beefing up its iMac line today, Apple was nice enough to bump up the low-end Mac mini from a 1.66 Core Solo processor to a 1.66 Core Duo (perhaps a hint at the needed power to run their upcoming Leopard OS?). However, prices have not changed for the mini line, and neither have the specs on the high-end $799 mini. With the new iMac’s specs and price drops, the minis’ value is even more debatable than ever.

The top of the line Mac mini still comes with a 1.88GHz Core Duo processor, an 80GB hard drive, and is priced at $799. The new low-end iMac comes with an upgraded 1.88GHz Core 2 Duo processor, a 160GB hard drive, and a 17-inch monitor with a built-in iSight camera (a $149 standalone value). So to get the iMac, you would be spending $200 more than the high-end mini, but for the $200 you would get the new Core 2 Duo processor, twice the hard drive space, an iSight camera, and a 17-inch monitor.

Price Comparison

Apple doesn’t make a stand-alone 17-inch monitor, but seeing as the 20-inch monitor is $699, I will generously knock off $100 per inch, and figure a 17-inch Apple monitor might go for $399. Add the price of an iSight ($149), and the extra large hard drive ($100), and you get $648 worth of extra goodies for only $200 more. And that is of course not factoring in that the iMacs are now sporting Core 2 Duo chips instead of the regular “old� Core Duos the mini has. The mini DOES have built-in wi-fi ($49) over the iMac, but iMac comes with a mouse and keyboard ($78), so there’s another $27 in the iMac’s favor. The only thing the top of the line mini seems to have over the new low-end iMac is that it has a SuperDrive, something you cannot choose to add to the low-end iMac. I will knock $100 off the mini for the price of a SuperDrive, and bring our cost difference down to $375, in favor of the iMac. You can certainly buy a couple external DVD burners for that price!

OK, so the mini is now clearly over-priced. In fact, although it is Apple’s cheapest PC, it is arguably the most expensive PC Apple makes when you realize what you get (or don’t) for your money.

Pretty much the only argument I will accept for why someone would buy a mini now over an iMac is that you want to somehow cram it into your car or a tight fitting entertainment center where an iMac’s screen could get in the way. The argument that you already have a monitor and keyboard doesn’t really hold up anymore. How much better than the new, 40% brighter 17-inch iMac’s screen is the monitor likely to be that you would be hooking to a mini? I doubt if you have a 23-inch display you are hooking it to the mini’s GMA 950 graphics card (the same as in the 17-inch model).

We at Macenstein believe we will be seeing a price drop in the mini line of at least $100 within the next 30-days, if not the discontinuation of the mini line entirely in favor of the rumored “dedicated streaming media box� (since that is what most mini owners use theirs for anyway). I say all this as a mini owner who is very happy with my purchase, however if I were buying my mini today, I think I would have to think good and hard about the value before laying out any cash THIS time around.

4 Responses to “Get a free 17-inch Apple display PLUS $375 cash!”
  1. Tomasz says:

    Not that it makes too big a difference to your point, but all iMac’s have Airport cards in them.


  2. Lab Rat says:

    Ha ha, you’re right, Tomasz, I misread that.

    And apparently the iMac doesn’t come with a remote, and the mini does, so that puts it up to about a $397 or so difference.

    -Lab Rat

  3. Mike says:

    The first Intel Mac minis were 1.5 Core Solo/1.66 Core Duo, the new ones are 1.66 Core Duo/1.83 Core Duo. More here:

  4. rob says:

    Why would I want a 17″ screen on a computer I plan to attach to a home theater? The mini also offers major benefits in form-factor and near-silent operation for HTPC use.

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